Letters to the Editor, May 20, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 May, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 May, 2017, 9:01am

Funding for bigger Disney needs rethink

Plans for an expanded Disneyland have sparked controversy in Hong Kong, as taxpayers will have to foot a HK$5.45 billion bill. People are debating whether the government can recoup its investment and also whether it should even pay this amount, which is half of the ­revamp cost.

Granted, the Hong Kong ­version is not as big as the other Disneys, especially the one in Shanghai which is four times larger. It is logical that the local theme park should expand to ­attract tourists and boost related sectors to increase revenue.

But I don’t think the government should pay half the costs, as the only entity that benefits is the Walt Disney Company.

Also, I believe the government took a weak stance when negotiating with Disney. We can’t really be sure that the new attractions will bring in more visitors, when Hong Kong’s overall draw as a tourist destination has taken a hit. I suggest ­including some elements of ­local culture to present the ­expanded park as something unique to Hong Kong, which may attract more tourists.

The government should seriously rethink its role in the ­Disney expansion, given the risk that it may not only fail to bring economic growth, but may even trigger economic loss.

Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

Preserve local culture to draw more tourists

I am writing to express my views on whether economic development should take priority over preservation of local culture, in view of current development trends in Hong Kong.

I believe local culture preservation is very important, as this can attract more tourists to Hong Kong.

We already have several festivals that draw the crowds in their thousands, like the Cheung Chau Da Jiu, or bun festival, and the birthdays of the Buddha, Tin Hau and Tam Kung.

These festivals offer a great opportunity to soak up the ­energy, tradition and passion that together make up the soul of Hong Kong.

Tourism can be developed by preserving the local culture, which also means boosting ­economic growth. So a focus on preserving local culture will ­benefit economic development.

Moreover, cultural preservation can strengthen the sense of community and belonging among Hongkongers, whereas a loss of local culture may do the opposite, that is, erode our sense of belonging.

Also, if the public gets the sense that the administration has no interest in preserving the ­local culture, there will be ­conflict between the government and the citizens.

We still remember how plans to remove Queen’s Pier from the Central waterfront in 2007 drew strong opposition from the ­public and sparked hunger strikes by activists.

If there is conflict between the government and the public, that will affect lawmaking, as ­citizens will lack confidence in the administration.

Therefore, even though ­economic development is the hard power that Hong Kong must continue to bank upon for a secure future, preservation of the local culture will help boost its soft power, which can also boost economic growth.

It is hoped that the Hong Kong government will consider the preservation of diverse ­cultural aspects in formulating development plans.

Jenny Sit, Tseung Kwan O

All jobs must be respected as social pillars

As a Secondary Five student, I frequently have to attend various talks about career and life planning with my classmates.

On one occasion, I asked my friend about his career goal. His answer came as a shock to everyone around us: he wanted to be a bus driver. Some of our friends were speechless, while some others laughed at him.

So what is the first thing that springs to mind when you hear that someone is a bus driver? “Low pay”? “Low skills”? Before we realise it, we end up judging or even looking down on someone because of their occupation.

This tendency is especially prevalent in a money-minded city like Hong Kong. Admit it or not, ours is a heartless city. Basic values like ­respect and gratitude have been forgotten.

What used to be a friendly and warm city has become one that lives by a rigid social hierarchy. Workers like street cleaners occupy the ­lowest rung of the ladder and ­office ­ladies are in the middle, while a handful of multi-billion-dollar company owners are at the top. The better-paid indulge in a sense of superiority.

Growing up in Hong Kong, we are encouraged from our ­earliest years to make life plans. The idea keenly instilled in us is that money and power are paramount. Observing and imitating the adults, we grow up to look down on those at the bottom of the social ladder.

For sure, highly educated professionals make huge contributions to our GDP. However, one thing we must never forget – our city will stall without people who take up the jobs that we choose to shun.

If there are no construction workers, we won’t have a roof over our heads. Without janitors, we can’t enjoy a pleasant living environment. Without factory workers, we won’t get to wear trendy clothes.

Everyone of us should ­remember that all jobs are of equal value to society, and all members of society should be respected for ­making our city a better place to live.

Yeung Tsz-lee, To Kwa Wan

Hongkongers out of control on shopping

I refer to the recent survey that showed Hongkongers’ shopping habits are among the ­ ­unhealthiest in the world. I think there are a few factors that have fuelled this phenomenon.

First, our city’s value system has become too materialistic. People are always chasing after brands, believing luxury products are a sign of status. They buy as many brand-name products as possible to show off their high social standing, and this can lead them into credit card debt.

Also, some people are ashamed to repeat an outfit for fear of being seen as untrendy. It is easy for such persons to ­become shopaholics and buy much more than they need.

The survey found 53 per cent of interviewees owned clothes that still had the tags on. It is clear that unhealthy shopping habits in Hong Kong result from the worship of consumerism.

Second, shopping induces a sense of well-being or happiness in many: 37 per cent of respondents reported feeling empty, bored or lost when they did not shop. That sense of euphoria, however, is short-lived – as 59 per cent felt their feelings of satisfaction from shopping ­disappeared within a day.

It is not that we should not shop, but we should learn to control our shopping habits.

Joyce Li, Yau Yat Chuen

City birth rates down due to lack of support

I refer to article on falling birth rates in the city (“Hong Kong’s women struggle with cost, ­careers and cultural barriers in family planning”, May 13)

The birth rate relates to ­economic and social realities in Hong Kong. Firstly, I believe that long working hours, the high cost of living and prices of homes are making people shun the extra ­expenses in having a baby, and many will choose to have just one child or none at all.

Career concerns are also making many women delay motherhood, but older women may have fertility issues, which again affects the birth rate.

A better social and professional support framework for working women is needed.

Wong Sum-yee, Kowloon Tong