Letters to the Editor, January 30, 2017
Country parks not answer to housing issue
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s proposal to look at the possibility of building homes in country parks contradicted other parts of his policy address on January 18.
In paragraph 137, he said the government would “implement the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong”. Yet, at the same time, he advocated the possibility of destroying land with low ecological value in country parks to build flats. It may have little ecological value, but such land can act as a buffer zone between urban areas and land of high ecological value.
The latter also supports biodiversity and protects important species. If land of low ecological value is destroyed, it will adversely affect the habitats of species in country parks and sites of special scientific interest.
Our government is not addressing the problem of ecologically sensitive sites in rural areas being destroyed. For instance, we see illegal dumping of electronic waste causing heavy metals to leach into the soil. Some developers have also ruined wetland areas by dumping construction waste.
Hong Kong citizens, including migrants from the mainland, do need more flats, but they also need the country parks and the unique natural environment they provide.
Country parks also attract tourists from the mainland and overseas, and they can become even more popular with greater development of ecotourism. This can aid economic growth.
I hope the candidates for the chief executive election will listen to the views of the public. It is important to get more homes, but the candidates must recognise the need for the government to strike the right balance between economic growth and environmental protection.
Felix Mak Hoi-kuoh, Kowloon Bay
Parents should let children sit revamped test
Like any other student, I do not look forward to tests and can understand why schools can be blamed for scheduling too many of them.
However, I cannot understand why there has been so much opposition to the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), which is now about to be replaced (“Revamped tests extended to all primary schools”, January 24).
I do not really know why the TSA was blamed for putting so much pressure on students. Some parents said schools gave students a lot of exercises in order to get better TSA results. I think it is much easier than some other tests and exams. I sat it in primary and secondary school.
Before the test, I had been worried I would not be able to answer the questions, but once it was finished I realised it had not been that difficult.
I agree that students get too much homework, but I am not sure you can blame the TSA.
I would urge parents to let their children sit the revamped test. I think it will bring more benefits than harm.
Hilary Lau, Yau Yat Chuen
Think about what students really want
Because parents always want their children to do well in life, many persistently urge them to get good academic results.
I agree with correspondents who say that these parents cannot see past doing well in exams.
They do not think about what subjects and activities will stimulate their children and so encourage them to learn more. If there are extracurricular activities available, parents must ask their children which ones they would enjoy taking part in.
They also should not sign their sons and daughters up for too many tutorial classes, which could leave their days overloaded with having too much to do in addition to their normal school work.
They need to find the right balance so that the children are not put under too much pressure and are able to develop and progress at their own pace.
Athena Ng, Po Lam
Private jets add a lot of value for Hong Kong
I refer to Jake van der Kamp’s column (“Private jets: convenient luxury but little reward to HK”, January 17).
Having worked for a major operator of private jets in Hong Kong, I must wholeheartedly disagree with him. The value added to major corporations within Hong Kong from private jet use should not be overlooked.
The accessibility it allows for faster trade globally is a massive benefit for Hong Kong. Van der Kamp’s article also overlooks the additional passenger tax that is paid on a private jet and the additional landing fees per aircraft as a whole, as opposed to per passenger on a commercial aircraft.
Also, it is not correct to say that the service on a private jet is equal to that of a commercial flight and that passengers “cannot fly non-stop to Europe and America”.
Alasdair Haszlakiewicz, London, England
Retirement age of 70 is best policy to adopt
There has been a great deal of discussion about how Hong Kong should deal with its ageing population and what effect it will have on our economy.
We have to work out ways to deal with this problem before it is too late. One reason the population is ageing is the low birth rate in the city.
Many young people here are focused on their careers and more reluctant to start a family.
This is partly a result of a change in social values, where emphasis is placed on excelling in your career. This often takes priority for a couple over having a child.
We will face huge age gaps in the workforce. In some firms, when older people retire, only young and inexperienced employees will be available to fill the vacancies.
Also, with more retired people living longer there will be greater pressure on medical services, leading to increased costs for the government.
This huge financial burden would fall on the shoulders of young people in the workforce as taxpayers.
It is difficult to calculate the effect on a company which loses a lot of experienced staff and has them replaced by employees who still have a lot to learn, but some firms could suffer.
I think the retirement age in Hong Kong should be set at 70. This would increase the likelihood of having a more stable workforce.
It would give younger employees more time to learn the ropes, so that when they take over from senior colleagues they had the necessary experience.
The government must take the initiative.
Cindy Chong, Tai Kok Tsui
Determined saviour for a broken Britain
I agree with Mark Peaker that Margaret Thatcher was a great and selfless prime minister (“Thatcher took a broken UK and fixed it”, January 20).
She was a born leader with charisma and determination.
She took over leadership of the Conservative Party when Britain was in a political and economic mess, being mismanaged by the Labour government.
The country was really broken and needed someone with courage to fix it and return it to a prominent position on the international stage.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong does not have a person of that calibre to lead the city as chief executive. Previous chief executives have obeyed the instructions of Beijing and the next one is likely to do likewise.
We were fortunate that the last governor, Chris Patten, really fought for our political and economic rights even when his policies ran counter to the wishes of Beijing.
A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui