Letters to the Editor, April 7, 2017
E-vehicles are a green option, even in HK
Your correspondent Paul Stapleton continues to spread misinformation about electric vehicles, much to the delight no doubt of big oil and big auto (“Electric Vehicles are not a green option in a city like Hong Kong”, March 21).
No one can dispute that taking public transport, walking or riding a bike is greener than driving a car. The point is that, if you acknowledge that the other 10 per cent of Hongkongers who can’t take public transport all the time will drive a private car, then EVs with no local emissions are better for Hong Kong people.
Stapleton tries to back up his “EVs-aren’t-green” claims by citing Hong Kong’s fuel mix of 53 per cent coal and 22 per cent natural gas – from outdated 2012 figures.
In my last letter, I referenced an exhaustive report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave”, which said: “By the end of their lives, gas-powered cars spew out almost twice as much global warming pollution than the equivalent electric car.” From that statement alone, it is clear that, in their lifetime, EVs are truthfully the greener option – even when the fuel mix to generate electricity is over 90 per cent coal, as it is in the US state of Kentucky. The report did also take into account manufacturing emissions.
Zero-emission EVs indisputably help to reduce roadside air pollution – that alone is reason enough to support them.
Supporting EVs helps to accelerate the advancement of related technology in order to create better, cheaper batteries that offer higher energy density, and increased longevity with less environmental impact; or to create more efficient EV drivetrains. These advancements are needed to develop viable, fully electric buses and minibuses which are the last remaining mass public transport vehicles on land that are not electric-powered – our trains and trams are electric, of course.
EVs will only get cleaner over time as Hong Kong’s electricity grid gets cleaner, while petrol cars get dirtier as they age. Our level of EV support will determine whether we make the great leap to all-electric transport in 15 or 30 years. The longer it takes, the more people and our planet suffer from air pollution and climate change – and the associated health issues.
Derek Tom, Pok Fu Lam
Carrie Lam is evidently a safe pair of hands
I’ve been away from government for 20 years, but not away from Hong Kong.
For my final six years, I worked at a low policy level in an area of government. For a part of that time, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was policy secretary. Consequently, I attended a number of conferences where she was the main speaker. This left me with one overarching impression of Ms Lam.
She did her homework. She grasped the issues at hand and arrived ready with her own thoughts on them.
I believe no higher praise can be given to a bureaucrat. It is something that could not be said of all senior officials of that era (or even now?).
In the choice given to the privileged few deemed fit to select our chief executive, the one to be selected was always going to be the one Beijing trusted the most, the safe pair of hands, the one who can get things done without frightening Beijing witless.
Attempts at vote garnering by deploying proposals for radical changes to the neo-colonial way under which we are governed were never going to succeed, and the candidates seemed to grasp this reality.
We must live with the realities, while keeping the bureaucrats and politicians honest and working for our best interests.
I’d like them to start with actively defending our freedom of expression, seemingly now under attack.
There’s plenty to say in criticising Beijing. There are central government laws and the implementation of perfectly good ones that are unacceptable to most of us. This must be made clear to leaders in Beijing – after all, they may learn something. What we say cannot hurt Beijing, only what we do, which will also hurt us.
Peter Berry, Lamma
Rioting and arson cannot be tolerated
I am writing in response to your report on the Mong Kok riots cases (“Hong Kong technician found guilty of rioting and setting taxi on fire ”, April 3).
Computer technician Yeung Ka-lun, 32, is facing jail as the first rioter convicted of arson over violent clashes between protesters and police during the Lunar New Year in 2016.
Arson is a serious crime and cannot be tolerated, given the serious casualties fire can cause.
Yeung even set a taxi on fire. Fortunately it did not explode. If the flames had reached the fuel tank, the dangerously flammable substance inside could have exploded, causing many casualties.
It is fine for protesters to express their views about issues. But arson or rioting cannot be tolerated.
Chloe Ng, Tseung Kwan O
Jihadists doing true Muslims no favours
Terror attacks in London and St Petersburg within less than two weeks have left at least 19 people dead. The world has been witness to a number of terror attacks in the past two decades. Preventing jihadist attacks is the most essential issue that many governments are concerned about. And a number of recent attacks have been attributed to Islamic State jihadists.
They claim to believe in Islam. However, such people are not real followers of Islam. They just use religion as an excuse to attack and kill. They only create a bad impression about Muslims around the world, famously on US President Donald Trump, who temporarily banned citizens of several Islamic countries from entering America.
This is unfair, as it may give rise to racism and is unfair to true followers of Islam. For instance, several families from the Middle East were planning to travel to the US but were turned back or held by US customs officials. They had done no wrong but suffered the consequences of jihadist acts.
Tsurumi Shuntaro, Lohas Park
Be tolerant of strollers on trains
In response to the letter from Cyrus Wong (“People missing the point on priority seats”, April 3), I agree that we should learn from the Japanese in offering our seats to the elderly, pregnant or disabled.
However, I was surprised to learn that the Japanese do not welcome people bringing baby carriages into trains, especially during peak hours. It is seen as inconveniencing other passengers. People with strollers, usually mothers, may be apologetic and even need to seek permission before boarding.
No matter whether in Hong Kong or Japan, I think all passengers should be considerate and helpful. Even though strollers may occupy a lot of space, mothers and small children also have the right to use public transport and they would certainly choose to travel during off-peak hours if they could. We should be more welcoming of people travelling with luggage or strollers.
Winki Chan, Wong Tai Sin