Letters to the Editor, February 15, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2017, 4:53pm

CCTV on MTR not an invasion of privacy

Friday’s firebomb attack on an MTR train travelling from Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui will have led to Hongkongers having a ­rethink about many things, ­including the installation of closed-circuit television ­cameras.

If we have CCTV cameras ­fitted in all trains, police will be better-equipped to deal with any incident, especially when they are conducting an investigation into the chain of events. CCTV would mean that anything that ­happens inside a train carriage is ­recorded.

I do not think people should be concerned about this, as there are CCTV cameras ­installed in train carriages in many countries.

They can act as a deterrent to people tempted, for example, to break MTR by-laws. You hear the announcement on platforms (where they have cameras) reminding people not to eat and drink in MTR ­stations and I ­seldom see people ­breaking this rule.

Some people say the widespread use of these cameras would be an invasion of individuals’ privacy. However, you see them all over the , on streets and in shops.

They can help to deter a crime or catch criminals, and so it makes sense to also fit them on trains. They can be used in court to prove a case against a ­criminal.

Chloe Sze, Kwai Chung

Why reward awful cabbies with fare rise?

The worst taxi drivers in the world recently got a pay increase (“Hong Kong taxi fares set to rise after HK$2 increase in flag fall approved”, February 7).

I find this strange, because if you have ever tried to get a taxi in Tsim Sha Tsui you will find the drivers’ modus operandi is to stop, roll down the window, ask where you want to go, and if they don’t like the destination they drive off.

Ever tried to get a taxi in Tung Chung, because it is the same MO? If you are not going to the airport they simply don’t want to know.

And then there is the experience of trying to get a cab when it is raining. Suddenly, the “out of service” card appears.

Last week, I hailed a taxi in Tsim Sha Tsui. He stopped, opened his window, and asked “Where?” and I replied: “Wan Chai”. He then said, “OK HK$500”. I shook my head in disbelief and he swore at me and drove off.

They should be fined the first time they contravene regulations, suspended the second time for a year and have their ­licence revoked the third time. As for me, I will be catching the bus and train a lot more.

Martin Clifford, Sha Tin

Apps threaten traditional HK eateries

I agree with academics who have warned that the increasing popularity of food delivery apps in Hong Kong is “contributing to an erosion of the city’s traditional food culture” and can have an adverse effect on ­people’s health (“Driving out food culture”, ­February 11).

Food is extremely important in Hong Kong, with so many ­citizens and visitors enjoying the different kinds of cuisine on ­offer.

We have long had our traditional recipes and more recently fast food, which has become so popular. As lifestyles change, so do eating habits and this ­affects food culture.

Food apps were launched to make ordering and takeouts more convenient. But as people use them with increasing regularity, we see food habits change.

As one academic said, traditional cuisine is less convenient than modern fast food. And buying fast food online is easier than cooking a healthy meal at home.

I am concerned that because of this trend we could gradually see Hong Kong’s traditional food culture disappear. Local eateries like dai pai dong and cha chaan teng could die out. Therefore I do see these apps as a threat.

Another problem is that the fast food meal is not always a healthy option. But it is very popular, because many Hongkongers have fast-paced ­lifestyles.

Some of the food ordered through the apps is often high in oil, salt and sugar content.

When planning lunch or ­dinner, people should be aiming for healthier meals, but the ­delivery apps make this less ­likely.

We should value traditions from past generations, including nutritious local cuisine.

Hazel Lee, Kwai Chung

Old factories perfect for building flats

I would be opposed to any government proposals to build homes in our country parks.

I agree with those who have said that it would be better to ­redevelop old factories, as there are so many of them, especially in older urban areas.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has suggested using the periphery of country parks with low ecological value for building homes. However, once a natural environment is ­destroyed, it ­cannot be restored.

A treasured rural area loses its appeal once housing estates are built on it.

I believe that empty factories and warehouses can be converted into homes. This makes sense given the huge population and scarcity of available land. Brownfield sites that are no longer being used would also be suitable for new residential ­developments.

This would ensure more homes could be built. And by also protecting the country parks for future generations, there would be less likelihood of there being social unrest.

Of course, social problems will persist while we still have the most unaffordable flat prices in the world and this is ludicrous. Property speculation in the ­private housing market remains an issue in Hong Kong and there may need to be further intervention by the government to ­alleviate this problem at some time in the future.

This will be important if, for most citizens, it remains an ­impossible dream to own a flat.

Felix Leung, Tseung Kwan O

Imbalance in retail sector is major problem

Many mainlanders visit Hong Kong, as they are worried about food safety at home.

Various scandals have persuaded them that it is safer to buy products like milk formula here. The demand for these products north of the border has resulted in parallel trading. Also, many traditional shops here have closed, to be taken over by jewellery stores and pharmacies to meet mainland demand.

We should welcome visitors from the mainland as tourism is one of the pillars of our ­economy. However, we need to get the right retail balance and make sure our traditional stores can stay in business.

Zoe Chung Ka-man, Po Lam

Students must know that they are not alone

I was shocked to read news ­reports that three students had committed suicide in Hong Kong in just eight days following the Lunar New Year.

Of course, I feel sympathy for the plight of these young people, but wonder how they could give up their lives so easily.

I urge young people feeling troubled over their exams to talk more to their ­parents.

I appreciate that there is a lot of academic pressure, but I think problems can be compounded when there is a poor level of communication in interpersonal ­relationships ­involving local youngsters .

The message must be got through to students that if they are having psychological problems they should talk to friends, teachers and school counsellors.

Schools must also urge their students to seek help.

Angela Chow Hoi-Chiu, Sheung Shui