Letters to the Editor, June 20, 2017
New space to park profits in Hong Kong
My suggestion to all car owners living permanently in Hong Kong is that they purchase their own parking spaces instead of renting, because of the severe shortage of such slots across the city (“Hong Kong motorists ‘face traffic disaster’ with closure of car park in main business district”, April 28).
Renting is getting costlier and may soon reach unaffordable levels. So it may be worthwhile spending a few million now to own a space before we see prices move up even further.
I do not believe the government can do anything at all to solve the shortage of parking spaces in Hong Kong, other than make it more expensive to own a car. But as we in Hong Kong know, raising taxes on cars doesn’t prevent the affluent from purchasing them; rather, it prices out the middle class.
It is not a coincidence that we see new record selling prices for car parks (“Sai Ying Pun sets world record with a HK$5.18 million car parking space”, June 14). We may get used to the average price of a parking space touching HK$5 million in the coming years if the government doesn’t increase supply, because builders are definitely out to maximise space for offices or flats.
So, car parks are definitely a niche investment that could offer multifold returns.
Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels
‘Blue Whale’ is a sad reflection of our times
Why have dangerous games such as “Blue Whale” made their appearance? “Blue Whale” is an online suicide challenge that originated on Russian social media. The name comes from the way whales will sometimes beach themselves and die.
The 50-day challenge asks youngsters to complete some relatively harmless tasks, from watching horror movies to waking up at odd hours of the night, but then moves on to self-harm, such as cutting the shape of a whale on their arm. On the 50th day, they are urged to take their own life. More than a 100 youngsters in Russia are said to have done so after playing the game.
The alleged creator of the game, 21-year-old Philipp Budeikin of Russia, was arrested in May for inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide. He claimed the dead teenagers were “biological waste” and that he was “cleansing society”.
The question is: why has such a game been created? And why has it become popular among young people, not only in Russia, but around the world?
Budeikin said the game is meant to get rid of people not valuable to society. But how can he be the person to decide this? Moreover, even though people know that this is a deadly ”game” , why do they still play it?
I believe this is because of our society today. We always talk about the “value” of a person, and crave peer support on social media for our appearance or our achievements. People think that if they are not “valuable” by the standards of this society, they do not have any right or reason to live. This kind of thinking is affecting young people around the world. That is behind the popularity of games such as “Blue Whale”.
To them, my message is: no matter how unappreciated and “not valuable” you may feel, you need to remember that there are many people around you who care about you deeply.
Therefore, please do not think of ways to commit suicide or join in sick games like “Blue Whale”. Please cherish your life and think of ways to make everyday truly more meaningful.
Dennis Fan, Tseung Kwan O
Gender roles still holding women back
I refer to your article on the lack of female leaders in the fashion industry (“Why the fashion industry still has so few women at the top,” May 5).
I believe this is closely related to the issue of gender inequality in traditional societies, which believe that women lack the drive or efficiency of their male colleagues, so the post of top designer may often go to a man.
Another reason is the conflict between the traditional role of women in the family and as a professional. A woman wants to contribute to society and have a successful career, but many also want to be there for their children and family. It is a difficult choice. Also, if new mothers take time off, their careers are often seen to be affected.
These reasons combine to affect the number of women in boardrooms, and not just in the fashion industry.
Joyce Lee, Kowloon Tong
Double bridge fiasco a blot on highways men
Two of your recent articles have brought to public attention the issues of failed governance within the Highways Department.
The first relates to the ongoing revelations about faked concrete tests on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (Bridge scandal widens with revelation that concrete tests were faked at 55 other projects”, June 18), and the second relates to the incorrect clearance height for Tsing Ma Bridge (Tsing Ma Bridge height debacle costing Hong Kong billions”, June 17).
Why are we not holding the Highways Department to account for its continued gross negligence?
While the contractor may have faked a significant number of concrete tests, the department holds ultimate responsibility for its failure to enact effective governance from a quality control perspective.
Misstating the height of a bridge is really an absolute joke. As your report said, the bridge is 8.1 metres higher than the official height stated by the Highways Department, and this has so far needlessly prevented mega container ships from using the Ma Wan Channel.
The Highways Department is an embarrassment to Hong Kong; a modern city with fantastic infrastructure, such as the MTR, the airport and brilliant drainage systems. When it comes to the Highways Department, we are seriously let down.
Just look at our roads – nothing more than a massive patchwork of shoddy asphalt repairs and manhole covers. One can’t drive more than 50 metres without riding over a poor repair job or a total change in road surface.
How can we expect the Highways Department to effectively manage the construction and maintenance of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge when they cannot even maintain our roads and highways at a reasonable quality level?
Simon Constantinides, Pok Fu Lam