Letter to the Editor, January 8, 2017
Ban visitors who only want to beg in city
I cannot agree more with Edith Fung’s comments (“Undesirable visitors should be denied entry”, December 14). It is indeed embarrassing and shocking to see what appear to be tourists on bridges begging, often in the guise of musicians, earning money tax free.
People with signs written in English and Chinese saying “I need money to travel”, should be checked by police, after all, wouldn’t we all like money to travel?
When I first entered Hong Kong, I had to prove I had sufficient funds to support myself; now it seems too easy for people planning to beg in this way to gain entry.
Allowing people to loiter on and under bridges, and on roadsides, displaying such placards while playing loud music, should be stopped, as it causes noise pollution which distresses nearby residents. We want tourists to spend not to beg.
Hong Kong is a world city, we should eradicate begging in any form, and this type of busking is begging in disguise.
These people also prey on the generosity and sympathy of the innocent and the gullible. They are detrimental to our society, they do not set a good example for our children to follow, and in fact disgust many law-abiding citizens.
Jean Afford, Causeway Bay
Consultation on museum not necessary
The decision to build a branch of the Palace Museum in Hong Kong should be received with gratitude.
The West Kowloon Cultural District has failed to deliver any of its proposed artistic and cultural benefits to the city, and for former chief executive Michael Lynch to express shock that the Hong Kong public were not consulted is hypocritical. Were we consulted when he was appointed at vast cost to the public purse?
Those who claim it further undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy are wrong.
The public does not need to be consulted on every issue and certainly not one that brings benefit to our waning tourist industry and employment to many.
When the museum opens, the people of Hong Kong will flock to it, to see the magnificence of China’s history, its art and its culture.
They will be reminded of a country that Hong Kong has always been, and will forever remain, a part of.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
More factories can be turned into cheap flats
Last year, the government joined forces with a social enterprise to turn an abandoned factory into affordable flats for grass-roots families in Sham Tseng.
There are many abandoned factories in Hong Kong in areas like Sham Tseng and Fo Tan. This project illustrates their potential.
They can be converted into homes where people on low incomes can enjoy a decent living environment.
In this housing project in Sham Tseng, families can live in one of the flats for up to three years. So it encourages them to save during that period, so that they might eventually be able to afford a home of their own.
Efficient land use is key to any successful housing policy. There is a lot of unused land in Hong Kong. Some of it has been unoccupied for as long as 10 years.
The government must sort out any problems connected with these areas of land so that they can be used to build public housing estates.
With proper planning by officials, there should be no need for the government to encroach on our precious country parks in order to increase the housing supply in Hong Kong.
The government should also provide incentives to developers, so that when they are building an estate it includes some specially designed blocks for the elderly.
Many elderly citizens from the grass roots have to live in tiny subdivided flats in unsuitable conditions.
The government could also offer financial incentives such as a lower profits tax rate to encourage developers to rent out or sell flats at a lower price to those in need.
I hope it will launch further housing projects like the one in Sham Tseng, and turn more underutilised industrial space into flats for people from the grass roots in society.
Emily Wong, Tai Po
Many citizens struggle to pay high rents
Many impoverished citizens lead difficult lives and endure harsh conditions, often being forced out of the accommodation they are living in because of skyrocketing rents.
Wherever they end up, people on low incomes will find that a large portion of their wage will go towards rent and they struggle to pay for other necessities, such as utilities.
This causes a great deal of unhappiness, but also dissatisfaction and that is leading to social instability. They feel angry with the government and society because they are not getting the help they need.
The government has to act to alleviate the plight of grass-roots citizens.
There should be enough flats available for the poor at affordable rents. Apart from building more public estates, there are simple measures which could be introduced, such as converting empty schools into temporary housing. As I say, this is a temporary measure, but it can be effective.
Also, more subsidised housing projects with rent controls could be set up.
Everyone in our society deserves fair treatment. Therefore measures must be implemented to ease the plight of these vulnerable citizens.
Jennifer Leung Hoi-shan, Shek Kip Mei
Tough rules essential for beauty sector
I agree with calls for further legislation to regulate the medical beauty service sector in Hong Kong.
A growing number of people now go to beauty salons for various kinds of treatment, but there have cases where there have been accidents. Therefore, it is clear some kind of regulation is needed.
I think these procedures are becoming more popular because of the obsession with physical beauty. Many individuals go ahead with treatments without considering the potential risks, such as staff not having any medical training.
We should not ridicule people’s pursuit of beauty, that is someone’s right.
The medical beauty industry should certainly not be banned, but there should be legal changes so that regulations are in place which offer customers some protection.
Christine Lee Tsz-ching, Lai Chi Kok
We must end obsession with spoon-feeding
Exams like the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education cause a lot of stress to students. And it has become a trend for teachers to hand out more homework. In fact, I would not single out exams. The entire curriculum is stressful.
Our education system is counterproductive. Because of spoon-feeding methods of teaching, we produce young people who can regurgitate what they have memorised, but have not acquired the sort of real knowledge that they could use in their daily lives.
All that the parents care about is a good report card, but they neglect things like helping children learn to take care of themselves and ensuring that they have enough time to relax.
In some schools in the US, they are trying not to give out any homework, because they believe it is not effective and just causes more stress.
The education secretary in Hong Kong has to recognise there are problems and implement the necessary reforms.
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O