Letters to the Editor, November 12, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 November, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 November, 2016, 12:15am

Flight changes for Haima not handled well

I refer to the letter by Cheng Cho-ming, of the Hong Kong Observatory (“No 8 signal for Haima raised on ­public safety concerns amid gales”, November 4) in reply to my letter ­(“Observatory’s response was over the top”, October 26).

What irony and waste of public money it was, that the storm-penetration aircraft was unable to take off due to the ­onset of ­adverse crosswinds of the very storm that it was ­supposed to penetrate and report on?

Surely, if the Observatory really wanted it to take off (to read the actual winds which might prove or disprove the forecast), it could have done so in the many hours after the No 8 signal was hoisted but before the adverse crosswinds actually struck (typically over 25knots/46.3km/h sustained wind, not gust). With a flight ­endurance capable of loitering in the storm for hours before landing at a storm-free alternate aerodrome, it could have taken off comfortably.

The Observatory said, “Chek Lap Kok was consistently ­affected by cross winds of 50km/h for several hours”.

At 30 runway movements an hour, if “several” means five, then five hours would have caused only 150 to have been cancelled or delayed. But more than 780 flights were cancelled or delayed. Clearly many were cancelled or delayed unnecessarily early.

If the decisions to cancel or delay flights were only taken after the storm-penetration flight reported back, many would not have been cancelled or delayed.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Wildlife paying price for great human greed

A recent research report said nearly three-fifths of all animals with a backbone had disappeared since 1970, mostly due to human appetites and activity.

Stocks of global wildlife could plunge two-thirds by 2020, an annual decline of 2 per cent, WWF and the Zoological Society of London warned in their joint Living Planet report.

The report implied that a big change in our lifestyles is necessary. Biological diversity is important to humans. If all the animals are driven to extinction, our lives cannot be maintained. It is time for us to change things and help endangered species.

Most human activities tend to expropriate animal habitats, which urban development ends up destroying.

We build villages and factories near the homes of wild animals. The villagers drive out or hunt the creatures, while factories emit pollutants that damage their environment and health.

Life becomes more convenient for humans, but there’s a price to pay for our selfishness – and the animals are paying it.

Also, we are not eco-friendly in our daily lives and this contributes further to the problem. We depend heavily on electrical appliances, despite knowing power plants using fossil fuels pollute the air, adding to global warming. Their waste products enter the wildlife food chain.

We must work together for change. The report is also an alarm bell for the government to consider ways to balance the needs of environmental protection and urban development.

The earth is our only home, so shouldn’t we love it and the valuable lives on it?

Katie Lee Hoi-kei, Yau Yat Chuen

Ageing city faces a myriad long-term ills

A greying population is a serious problem that may bring numerous negative impacts to Hong Kong in the long term.

According to the 2016 policy address, the proportion of the population aged 65 or above will go up from 15 per cent, or 1.07 million, in 2014 to 36 per cent, or 2.58 million, in 2064.

As a result, the pressure on the younger generation to ­support the family will increase, as will medical costs – as the elderly get even older.

Coupled with a falling birth rate, an ageing population will mean dwindling labour supply.

Suggested steps to tackle this include providing employment information for the second generation of Hong Kong emigrants and for our students educated in overseas tertiary institutions.

Also, increasing housing prices, salaries that never catch up with inflation, and dissatisfaction with the administration are fuelling a desire among the young to emigrate.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, almost 19,000 Hongkongers emigrated in the year to June, and the above factors could be among the reasons. The situation could change for the better if the government is willing to improve citizens’ quality of life.

Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng

Learning woes to blame for student deaths

I refer to your report relating to student suicides (“Hong Kong education system not to blame for student suicides, say government advisers”, November 7). On the contrary, I think that the education system should bear the blame for the phenomenon.

First, I blame our culture of spoonfeeding. Teachers pile on the homework to make sure children memorise their ­lessons. This, coupled with tests and examinations, is a source of great pressure because students are saddled with a seemingly endless workload, with little chance to relax.

Second, Hong Kong’s highly competitive education system demands that students get high grades. This makes parents put pressure on their children to excel and blame them if they fail. Such lack of parental approval may cause students to become depressed and harbour suicidal thoughts. Parents should be the first to notice the problem and counsel them so that they do not take any drastic step.

Most of all, I think the education system should offer more freedom and creative space to students, and help them learn in an enjoyable setting.

M. Ngan Miu-sik, Ho Man Tin

Target cooking fumes in urban pollution fight

I believe cooking fumes must be taken into account in targeting roadside pollution.

The government does not appear to pay much attention to the problem of cooking fumes, especially in crowded areas such as Mong Kok. Restaurants allow their extractor fans to blow right onto the street. Sometimes, I even avoid walking past as I can clearly see the clouds of smoke.

The Environmental Protection Department must act to ban restaurants from letting fumes escape into the street and impose fines as a deterrent. It should also bring all restaurants under one emissions control system, with frequent checks to ensure cleaner air for all.

Gordon Cheung Chun-Hong, Tseung Kwan O

Cultural show live streaming was good start

I refer to your article on live streaming of shows (“Cultural hub embraces live streaming with Greek classic”, October 31).

There are many advantages to live streaming. We can watch the shows for free and enjoy them anywhere. But, of course, a live show have a special appeal, as it allows the audience to truly feel the emotions of the actors.

I believe live streaming will be popular with teenagers, most of whom have a mobile phone these days.

Also, Hong Kong’s fast pace of life may not allow people to go and watch a live show too often. But with internet streaming, they could enjoy the show on their daily commute, if they wished. Such broadcasts are also good for those who cannot afford tickets to cultural shows.

Lastly, it offers an opportunity to enhance public awareness about different cultures.

Sandy Chan, Tiu Keng Wan