Letters to the Editor, February 27, 2017
Sensible use of underground space matters
There is no doubt that the underground spaces proposed by the government would provide more space in urban areas. However, I believe what matters is how these spaces are used.
For example, the pedestrian subway system between Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stations provides an extensive subway network for pedestrians. Examples from overseas also demonstrate that extensive pedestrian networks covering large areas can ease overcrowding on the ground.
However, the proposed underground projects in Kowloon Park, Victoria Park and Southorn Playground are expansions of shopping malls. There is little contribution in providing alternative pedestrian passage underground. There are no high pedestrian flows across these parks so there is little point in having underground passages.
Samuel Yu (“Underground spaces would be good for city”, February 17) suggests that underground spaces can be successful and cites Japanese underground shopping malls. However, creating more shopping malls will not help to ease overcrowding in urban areas. Instead, it will attract more shoppers and intensify the congestion that these areas already face.
Your correspondent also thinks that freeing space at ground level would mean more facilities could be made available for community use facilities and lead to a better neighbourhood for residents. In fact, Wan Chai has been losing leisure areas. The waterfront park was removed to make way for the construction of the Central-Wan Chai bypass and there was no compensation with another park. If Southorn Playground had to be closed for construction of an underground space, we would have lost an important leisure area that provides most of the football pitches and basketball courts for the area.
I am not opposed to the idea of exploring underground spaces, but I hope that they can be utilised in those areas where there is the greatest need.
Also, if community areas have to be closed, other community areas must be found as compensation.
As I have already pointed out, Tsim Sha Tsui offers a network of underground pedestrian passages and this is the best solution to overcrowding at ground level. Instead of exploring space under these parks, the government should be exploring how to expand the underground network that actually helps to ease congestion in urban areas.
Simon Lee, Wan Chai
Japan’s leaders must admit to massacre
The owner of a Japanese hotel chain was criticised for distributing books he had written denying that the Nanking Massacre had taken place.
As a student of Chinese history, I know that the Nanjing massacre is a hugely sensitive issue in China. In December 1937, Japanese troops invaded the eastern city of Nanking. Chinese historians say that more than 300,000 Chinese were massacred, although some historians have disputed this figure and some Japanese nationalists deny any killings took place. Because of this dispute, Beijing continues to accuse Tokyo of failing to properly apologise for its wartime past.
Denial of the massacre by some Japanese people, including this hotel owner, causes Chinese citizens to feel resentful. This may lead to some Chinese citizens refusing to travel to Japan for a holiday or purchase Japanese products. It could damage cooperation between Japan and China.
It could lead to the continued mutual dislike felt by Chinese and Japanese. There have been some protests in China which have included people burning the Japanese flag.
The massacre has harmed relations between the two countries. Japan’s leaders must accept that the massacre did take place and apologise for what happened.
Kaka Lau Hei-yu, Tseung Kwan O
Teach students to think in a positive way
There can be no denying that the education system is one of the main causes of student suicides. Many students feel under a lot of pressure, because they have so much homework and tests.
I know the aim is to develop young people to become pillars of society, but some of them cannot cope with the pressure. Some parents also make things worse by having high expectations for their children.
Steps should be taken to encourage students to think positively. Parents also need to keep the lines of communication open. If there are good relationships within the family, this could help to prevent suicide.
Jamie Yu, Lam Tin
We ought to follow town’s green habits
I was interested by the report on a small town in Japan that is very environmentally friendly (“Welcome to the town that ‘produces no rubbish’ ”, February 22). The recycling efforts of its citizens are good news for landfills.
We should all follow the example they have set and try to reduce the volume of rubbish that we generate. In Hong Kong, our landfills will soon reach their capacity.
The government should look at the recycling efforts of the residents of Kamikatsu and get Hong Kong residents to adopt the same habits. If more recycling is adopted, we can ensure a better life for future generations.
The efforts of this Japanese town have attracted worldwide attention and some tourists from overseas have been so impressed they have visited the town. The Hong Kong government should use social media to encourage people to get involved in recycling.
If we reduce our volumes of waste, then I think this could prove to be a boost for the tourism sector if Hong Kong acquires a reputation for being an environmentally friendly city.
The government could put out a video suggesting how citizens can adopt a greener lifestyle. We waste so much food and this is something we should be trying to rectify.
Chrissie Li Siqi, Yau Yat Chuen
Budget should always be prudent
Pan-democrats and the proestablishment camp have criticised the budget for being too conservative, but I disagree.
There is only so much money in the Treasury and so the government has to ensure it has kept enough in reserve to deal with any financial crisis.
Hong Kong has a free market economy, where citizens are encouraged to be financially independent. There has to be a limit on the number of sweeteners that are handed out, as this is not a welfare state.
Also, the government has to keep a lot in reserve to cope with the effects of having an ageing society.
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O