Letters to the Editor, December 1, 2016
Self-interest plain in alarm over economy
I refer to the reports on November 28 (“ ‘Get tough’ to stop localists hurting HK” and “Tycoon sounds alarm over HK economy”), where a Shenzhen-based businessmen’s club warns that the fraught political environment in Hong Kong may restrict the investments of its members.
Most of these Harmony Club members are involved in the property market, and they anticipate that if they withdraw from this market, “property prices will fall, the stock market will slump, and the economy will be hit”. These tycoons are expressing blatant self-interest when they call on the government to give them “a free hand” in the private housing market.
Their strident statements and political adverts will create disharmony: they are failing to connect the dots. Out-of-sight property prices are one of the principal reasons why Hong Kong’s young people have been expressing radical localist and anti-establishment sentiments.
Property has a direct knock-on effect on the cost of living, and it is generally accepted that it is mainland money that has ramped up the property market here. In the article (“Fringe dwelling”, November 28), Vincent Ng, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, remarks that people’s homes are getting smaller, and “property developers see housing as a commodity to maximise their profits, instead of a place to live”.
I surmise that these club members will likewise view their investments here as space stores of value rather than homes. The sizes now on offer are not viable for family life, and the government should impose minimum room-size regulations.
Expecting property developers to voluntarily apply ethics is like expecting rabbits not to eat lettuce. In this context, may I suggest that these Shenzhen members change the spelling of their club name from Harmony to “Ha-money”.
K.Y. Leung, Shouson Hill
Patronising Patten just a relic of empire
The Last Governor should be the title of a film starring Hollywood A-list actors, instead it is the frequent repeat of a B-list politician and a Z-list diplomat.
That Chris Patten descends into Hong Kong to lord it over his former flock is bad enough. That he finds it his role to tell those who held our city to ransom for 79 days that they were the “brave young people of Hong Kong who established the moral high ground about democracy” is patronising in the extreme, coming from a man imposed on the city without any democratic process whatsoever.
Had he been one iota more diligent in his role in crafting the wording that defined Hong Kong’s return to China, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the pickle we now find ourselves.
Patten sailed away from Hong Kong wrapped in the privilege of his suite aboard Brittania; like the ship itself, he should now be retired and seen as nothing more relevant than a faded part of empire.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
Cuban icon was a dictator and hypocrite
I refer to your article on Castro (“From chocolate milk to light bulbs, how Fidel Castro reshaped life in Cuba”, November 29). While it is clear a lot of people admired him, I think he was a dictator and a hypocrite.
He started the revolution because he was dismayed by the actions of the dictator Fulgencio Batista, and when he overthrew that regime, he promised the people of Cuba democracy. We all know how that turned out.
The main difference between him and Batista was that Batista wanted to please the US and Castro harboured hostility towards Washington.
He had immense pride and did not respect human rights. With deteriorating relations between the US and Cuba, Washington severed diplomatic ties and imposed a unilateral trade embargo, including banning American citizens from visiting the island as tourists.
Those who suffered the most as a result were ordinary Cubans, but Castro did not care. While Cuba got basic food and other aid from the former Soviet Union, that ended with its demise – causing more economic problems for Cuba.
Castro’s highest priority was to cling to power and he jailed thousands of dissidents in order to make that possible.
As many people have said, a dictator has died, but the dictatorship is still functioning.
I hope Cuba can look forward to a better future when his brother Raul, who is 85, finally steps down.
Irene Ng, Lam Tin
Smaller bins a rubbish idea for city’s image
Whoever decided on smaller rubbish bins for the streets should be fired.
Do they think it looks good for the pavements of Queen’s Road Central to be overflowing with rubbish when this is the centre of the city’s business district?
It is the same in Causeway Bay and on Bonham Road, with plastic bags with rubbish on the pavement, as they can’t fit in these stupid bins.
Does the government have nothing better to do than try changing things that will now have to be rectified?
What does it expect people to do with their trash, carry it around in their bags? This was a really foolish move and the person that decided on this should take a walk around at 1.30pm and check the bins.
I very much doubt it is giving tourists a good impression of Hong Kong. It is more likely they think of Hong Kong as a filthy city with garbage littering the pavements.
Beth Narain, Sai Ying Pun
Squeezed lives make smiling a tough task
There are many reasons why our citizens are feeling so dissatisfied (“Hongkongers feeling at their lowest in a decade”, November 24).
Housing is a major factor. Flats are small and many family members often have to share a cramped space. This can lead to a lot of arguments and strained relationships, as people are deprived of their private space.
A home should be a place where you can relax after a hard day’s work, but that can be difficult in a small, crowded flat and this leaves a lot of people feeling unhappy. It is especially true for the many Hongkongers who have to work long hours and the students who have to do a lot of homework.
As a student, I feel under a lot of pressure and have to attend tutorial classes, because I need to supplement what I have learned in the classroom during the school day.
By the time I get home, it is already 9pm or even later, and I still have my homework to do. For some students, the stress and workload get too much and they take their own lives.
I wish the government would try to do more for Hong Kong citizens so that they can adopt a more positive attitude in their lives.
Kris Lam Ka-wai, Kowloon Tong
Benefits of new MTR station may be limited
I do not think the new MTR station at Ho Man Tin is benefiting me or my fellow Ho Man Tin residents.
The fastest way to get from the station to Ho Man Tin Estate is via the A3 exit of the station. However, from there, you still face a long road and that includes a steep slope. I am a teenager and the walk tires me, so just consider how elderly residents feel.
It seems to me that the location of the new station will chiefly benefit those well-off people who live in the new residential block next to it.
The opening of the station will also lead to rent rises for nearby properties. I know some restaurants in Homantin Plaza have already closed. One of them had been there for more than 10 years.
It will be sad if businesses that are part of the collective memory of local residents have to close.
June Tam, Ho Man Tin