Letters to the Editor, January 15, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 12:17am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 12:17am

A very worthy addition to cultural district

The decision by the government to build the Hong Kong Palace Museum at West Kowloon Cultural District is proving controversial and there has been a lot of discussion about it over the last few days. Strong opinions have been expressed for and against the project.

I agree with the government that this museum should be constructed and this is the right location, as the cultural district has already hosted activities connected with Chinese culture, such as operas and some ­exhibitions.

Having this building will enable us to see precious artefacts from Beijing’s Palace ­Museum that have never been seen here before.

I can understand why people are unhappy with the way the government has dealt with this, especially the lack of consultation. Despite those views, I still believe it is a good idea to build this museum in Hong Kong. I know that once it is open for business, I will definitely be ­visiting.

Hilary Lau, Yau Yat Chuen

Chance for living museum squandered

I can see great kudos in having an outpost of the Palace Museum in Hong Kong.

But I remain sceptical of another ­museum in a town where ­museums are half-hearted ­affairs and, as a result, given scant recognition with low ­visitor numbers.

The Museum of History, which moved to its present location 18 years ago, includes replicas of many aspects of our city.

It includes a replica village house, which was constructed out of artificial materials at a time when the actual village of Sha Lo Tung had been abandoned, and was in pristine ­condition and almost intact.

I wrote to the government suggesting that it should buy the land from the developers, who had bought it from the villagers hoping to build a golf course with villas. It could have been set up as a living museum, with green groups farming the land and the village run as a hostel for student groups on educational field trips. But, no, apparently this was too difficult. We get a plastic copy in an air-conditioned box in Tsim Sha Tsui. The only museum of merit in Hong Kong is the wetland park in Tin Shui Wai.

What will the Palace Museum offer us? There will be jade, lots of seals and walls full of calligraphy.

All this and we ­already have a Museum of Teaware? Whatever happened to King Yin Lei ­mansion and the proposed ­museum of ink drawing? Why haven’t I been ­spending my weekends enraptured by the use of a No 3 squirrel brush?

So please, if we are going to gamble all our gains from what punters spent at Happy Valley on another museum, let’s be sure that it is actually going to be educational, full of cultural relevance and interest and, that ­horrible word, “popular”.

John Dainton, Pok Fu Lam

Will funds be clawed back by government?

I have no strong views on whether or not the proposed Hong Kong Palace Museum should be built as part of the West Kowloon Cultural District. However, it appears odd that to accommodate it, the originally planned 15,000-seat multi-purpose venue has been cancelled without any apparent consultation with interested parties.

Given this latest plan, I would like to know if the very substantial funds allocated for the 15,000-seat venue will now be clawed back by the government, given that the Palace ­Museum will be separately funded by the Jockey Club. If not, why not?

Doug Miller, Tai Po

We will get a chance to see rare treasures

Although Hong Kong is an international financial centre, it is still often considered to be a cultural desert.

This is why many people welcomed the announcement that a Hong Kong version of the Palace Museum will be established in the West Kowloon Cultural ­District to display some of the unique collections housed in Beijing’s Forbidden City.

When a version of the famous painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival was displayed in Hong Kong in 2007, it attracted large crowds. This proves that more treasures from Beijing’s Palace Museum would be very popular here.

Cultural issues get complicated when they are politicised. As the election approaches, chief executive candidates become vulnerable and open to criticism over decisions they have made, especially when the spotlight is put on the China-Hong Kong relationship. What first appears as good news can become a political time bomb.

Critics of the museum have focused on the lack of public consultation and the ­failure to seek approval from the Legislative Council. I think we should reflect on the chance to see displays of national ­treasures.

Yau Chi-hung, Sai Wan Ho

Trump should at least be given a chance

Why all the doom and gloom prophecies about US President-elect Donald Trump?

He is not all bad and has some good ideas. I voted for Obama the first time and wound up being severely disappointed. No real jobs for the middle class and no actual affordable health care.

Let’s give the guy a chance.

Peter Stern, Driftwood, Texas, US

Parents must get their priorities right

I refer to Alex Lo’s column ­(“Forget children, let’s educate the parents”, January 10).

Nowadays, many Hong Kong parents place far too much importance on their children’s academic results and the school where they will study.

They send their children to extracurricular and tutorial classes in the hope of getting them into the best kindergarten or a top primary school. They use the same tactics to get a place at a good secondary school.

Of course they want their children to have a better future, but they put them under far too much pressure.

They are already stressed from having too much homework and then they are forced to do all these additional activities.

If the pressure gets too much, it will damage the parent-child relationship.

Parents need to talk to their children to find out what they are thinking and what they need. And they should be there to help their sons and daughters if they are feeling stressed.

They should not focus so much on academic results.

Chloe Kwok Hiu-yu, Kwai Chung

Let lawmakers appoint proxy in Legco

Meetings at the Legislative Council can be adjourned ­for the lack of a quorum.

Legislators may have to attend to many public duties so they may not always be able to make themselves available for Legco meetings.

Rather than criticising lawmakers who make calls for a quorum count, we should be looking at ways to increase attendance rates at meetings so that there is a quorum.

Proxy voting should be introduced to the legislature. Laws should be amended to allow lawmakers to designate a proxy, throughout their term, to attend meetings and to vote on their ­behalf in their absence. As a democratically-elected government may appoint an unelected representative to vote at the UN, or a shareholder may designate a proxy at an annual general meeting, there is no reason why a legislator should not designate a proxy.

Given that there’s been so much criticism against quorum calls, I am surprised that no one has made this suggestion before. As there is no controversial bill in sight and thus less tension in the chamber, I believe that it would be a good time to consider a ­reform such as this, as a way of achieving good governance.

Leung Ka-kit,Yau Tsim Mong