Letters to the Editor, December 5, 2016
Full disclosure needed on air traffic system
It is inexcusable that the new air traffic control system has had so many glitches since it was launched. It was not until legislator Jeremy Tam Man-ho’s relentless effort to get to the bottom of the incidents involving phantom flights that the flaws of the system were thrown into public light.
Flight safety should undoubtedly be the priority for the Civil Aviation Department. Human lives are invaluable and should be protected at all costs. Even the most costly system is worth less than thousands of passengers and crew members on board flights coming in and out of Hong Kong on a day-to-day basis. Yet, the department does not appear to have been very forthcoming when it comes to disclosing information related to recent events that leave everyone reeling.
I understand that any switch to a new system in any field might entail a transition period during which flaws can be rectified and procedures fine-tuned. I also understand that trial-and-error is part of the streamlining process. However, when problems arise, the least the department can do is be candid; it should admit that the system is by no means perfect and release relevant reports detailing the hiccups in a timely manner.
If it were not for Mr Tam and whistleblowers, the public would still have been left in the dark about the faulty system.
Any attempt to downplay the seriousness of the incident only undermines the authority of the department. It should come clean on any errors in order to restore public confidence.
Jason Tang, Tin Shui Wai
Building flats in parks cannot be a solution
I refer to the letter by Michael Chow (“Hong Kong’s country park land not the solution for housing shortage”, November 19).
Our country parks are back yards for Hongkongers; once they are destroyed, there is nowhere left where we can enjoy the beauty of nature. We need well-planned land-use zoning for the whole of Hong Kong. Building in country parks would not solve our housing problems, as only expensive low-density housing would be constructed.
To ease the housing shortage, the government should encourage more subdivided units, but ones which meet all the safety laws and are hygienic. Many of them could be housed in old factories which are now lying empty.
These old buildings could be revitalised along with nearby public facilities. This would breathe new life into old urban areas which have been decaying. If the government was involved, it could ensure that the new units stuck to all the necessary fire safety regulations.
This plan could address short-term needs, while the public housing building programme can help in the long term.
Sammi Lo wing-sum, Sai Kung
Young people should learn about history
J. Geitner (“Help students to be aware of engines of power in their society”, November 1) stressed the importance of scholars and students criticising the political system in Hong Kong and calling for “needed reforms”.
This makes good sense except he omits to mention something that is more important, that is, teaching students the history of Hong Kong, China and the world, and allowing them to develop a sound mind.
History is used as a guide to understand past economic and political situations, so that good decisions can be made in the present and for the future in a society. Only when students are able to see the big picture gained from life experiences, rather than from a narrow vision, are they ready to be helped.
Most Hong Kong students choose not to study any form of history in school. They also lack an understanding of how the ugly, real world works. Hong Kong shares the same problems as many other big cities where youngsters struggle to get good jobs, everything is expensive and buying a flat is out of reach.
Some political activists are using young Hongkongers as pawns and blaming the Hong Kong and central governments for all of the city’s ills, real or imagined. Little do these youngsters know how lucky they are to live in one of the most liberal and democratic cities in the world. At 3.4 per cent, they also enjoy the lowest youth unemployment rate (ages 16-24) of all the world’s big cities. Compare that with Sydney at 6.5 per cent; London, 5.8 per cent; New York, 5.2 per cent, Washington, 5.4 per cent; Toronto, 7.1 per cent; Montreal, 7.6 per cent, and Vancouver, 4.9 per cent. Politics is a universal dirty word. Politicians are not trustworthy.
I believe it is best to leave our children to be innocent of politics and allow them to excel and enjoy what they love to do.
That is, until they are mature enough, through their life experiences and their study of history, to be in a better position to listen to what the politicians say and come to their own conclusions.
The farcical behaviour of the two disqualified localist lawmakers show they have not learned the lessons of history and what it teaches about the rule of law, liberty and democracy.
I believe they have been used as pawns, and foot soldiers by more experienced politicians.
Charmaine Chan, North Point
More must be done to help the elderly
I refer to the report (“Worries begin at home for squeezed elderly”, November 21).
The fact that almost half of the elderly people in Hong Kong are upset about their pension arrangements and the lack of quality care homes, according to a new survey, is a cause for concern.
I believe that the government should be doing more to help pensioners.
They devoted their working lives to helping develop the city and so they should be looked after during their old age.
As Li Tin-lun, who is in charge of the Hong Kong Christian Service’s Sham Shui Po integrated home care service team, said: it is very important for the mental health of elderly people that they always have a sense of hope.
In order to fulfil the mental needs of the elderly, the government should build activities centres for elderly citizens in different districts in Hong Kong, so that they can join classes that they find interesting.
These classes should be free of charge. This will encourage elderly citizens to get involved in activities that they find fulfilling and fun, instead of being stuck at home in front of the television.
It also needs to increase the pension that is paid out to elderly citizens so they can afford to enjoy a decent lifestyle and be able to buy decent food. I want to see elderly people enjoying their lives.
Emily Leung, Tseung Kwan O
Lunar New Year food fairs a great idea
I back a proposal to have 10 sites for hawkers to make food over Lunar New Year.
I think they will be popular as they are a unique part of the Hong Kong tradition.
I think they would also be popular with tourists who would often rather go to these outdoor food stalls than eat in a formal restaurant.
These food bazaars are part of the collective memory of Hong Kong. They sell good, low-priced food. For children, these bazaars will give them a rare chance to eat at these stalls.
I also think it is a good idea to spread the bazaars out over different districts. It will minimise disruption rather than having one bazaar in a single place.
It is a win-win situation, because residents can enjoy the food and experience something from a bygone era, and hawkers can make some money as well.
Tsui Fung-yi, Kowloon Tong