Letters to the Editor, February 11, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2017, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 February, 2017, 12:15am

Stationary food truck plan will go nowhere

I am writing to express my ­opinion about restricting Hong Kong’s food trucks to designated locations.

Unlike those in the United States, the food trucks in Hong Kong have fixed locations, such as the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, rather than being allowed to cruise around the city. This totally contradicts the concept of food trucks. Their ­purpose is to provide a mobile restaurant so that people can enjoy snacks more conveniently and also save time.

Moreover, fixed locations also bring cons for the operator.

If people want to try the delicacies, they have to go to the designated area. Once they have tried it, they may not visit again as they will waste time in travelling to the designated locations. As Hong Kong is a food paradise, most of the food can be tasted everywhere. There is no need to travel a long way to try them.

Besides, there may not be enough clients in the fixed locations. For instance, the Golden Bauhinia Square gets very few local visitors; even the number of visitors from the mainland and other places is dwindling. And during weekdays, incomes must drop sharply for operators as there are even fewer visitors.

To help citizens find the food trucks, the government has even developed an app. But the first thing it should do is promote the app, as very few people seem to have noticed it.

Jonathan Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Historical buildings are collective gems

There has been a lot of discussion about whether cultural and historical buildings in Hong Kong should be preserved.

Such buildings should be protected for their high cultural and community value, as they enhance a sense of belonging among Hongkongers.

Hong Kong was a British colony and also occupied by Japanese forces during the second world war. Some of our buildings are reminiscent of that history. We have both British and Chinese heritage in our architectural styles.

The Haw Par Mansion is a Chinese Renaissance style building featuring a fusion of Chinese and Western elements. Such buildings highlight Hong Kong’s unique colonial architectural style. Thus, they are worth protecting. Also, historical buildings are part of the collective memory of Hongkongers and a part of their unique identity. These buildings are in a way a record of citizens’ lives.

Take Queen’s Pier, for example: it was the traditional landing place of successive governors and even Queen Elizabeth. It marked the history of Hong Kong as a colony. However, in 2007, the pier was closed by the government to enable land reclamation. This act was widely criticised as it destroyed a part of the memory of Hongkongers.

Moreover, as globalisation tends to decrease a city’s unique cultural identity, there is a greater need for the government to ­implement measures to preserve historical and cultural buildings.

Vivian Lo, Hang Hau

No logic in drilling for tests like TSA

I refer to the report (“Revamped tests extended to all Hong Kong primary schools”, January 24).

Secretary for Education ­Eddie Ng Hak-kim revealed plans to extend the “basic competency assessment research study”– said to be simpler and shorter than the unpopular Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) – to all primary schools this year.

However, the same day, ­education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen dismissed the new test as just a “play on words”, saying, “I see no difference between this and resuming [a simpler ­version] of TSA.”

Ip also warned that the government’s proposal would not reduce pressure on students by eliminating drilling.

Ng and the Education ­Bureau don’t seem to realise that the public opposition is not so much about the format and purpose of the tests; the ­problem is a serious breakdown of trust between schools, ­parents and the government.

There is nothing wrong with benchmarking the core competence of students in key subjects to determine if schools are performing well. This is common practice around the world. For such benchmarks to be meaningful, though, drilling should be discouraged.

It is believed that the test will not be that difficult because the government has to accommodate all kinds of schools.

But students should be able to treat it as a normal school test, even though the marks are ­related to the schools’ ranking.

It should be the teachers’ responsibility to teach well so that students can absorb the knowledge in class and perform well in any kind of test, without the need for intensive drilling.

Christy Lam, Po Lam

People must blow whistle on fake food

Cases related to food safety problems on the mainland have been rising at an alarming rate.

The massive underground trade in packaging recycled spices and toxic industrial-grade salt as counterfeits of well-known branded sauces and flavourings was just the tip of the iceberg.

The government should treat this case seriously to ­prevent any repeat.

Also, it must provide strict guidelines to food factories and carry out regular checks, as well as enforce stronger penalties like prison terms.

On the other hand, the public should care more about the food safety issue and be mindful of what they consume, such as avoiding food of unknown ­origins. They should take up the role of supervisor for both the government and the food ­industry.

Monica Li, Yau Yat Chuen

Green lai see campaign starts with us

A survey by a green group found that over 16,300 trees are killed each year to make 320 million of the red lai see envelopes so many Hongkongers receive ­during Lunar New Year.

Many are not well designed, and require glue to be sealed, rendering them almost ­impossible to reuse. If the designs could be ­improved to enable reuse, the packets would be much more environmentally friendly and we could achieve a green Lunar New Year.

It has been suggested that the government, housing ­estates and schools should do more to promote the recycling of lai see packets and spread awareness. But, most ­importantly, we should start from ourselves – reuse every red packet if possible, take damaged ones for recycling, and change mindsets with our actions.

Kristie Ko, Tseung Kwan O

Underground spaces worth exploring

The Hong Kong government plans to develop underground spaces in built-up areas such as Tsim Sha Tsui West, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley.

Such development is a ­feasible way to beat land shortages and promote multi-functional urban living, but it is not without its challenges.

First, how can such projects proceed without affecting MTR stations and water pipes?

Secondly, the new spaces will be in areas like Causeway Bay and Admiralty, where rents are already very high. Developers will compete for the underground spaces, driving up prices, and then stores will be leased at high prices as well. Eventually, only brand names may win.

The government launched a three-month public engagement. I urge readers to express their opinions.

Chan King-yi, Yau Yat Chuen