Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 4:36pm

‘Frog-in-well’ Singapore still leaping ahead

I refer to Mr C.P. Ho’s paean to his beloved world city of Asia (“Why Hong Kong still has the edge over inward-looking ­Singapore and washed-out ­London,” June 13)

Self-indulgence and ignorance of others unfortunately pervade all communities across the globe, and not just those ­so-called “stay-at-home” ­inward-looking Singaporeans in the Lion City, to quote Mr Ho’s put-down.

Few can deny that Hong Kong’s economy has prospered since its return to China in 1997.

The mainland’s tremendous economic growth over the past two decades has certainly been a boon for the city’s wealthy.

Yet, despite benefiting from the world’s biggest market in terms of population size as its hinterland, the gap between Hong Kong’s GDP per capita and that of Singapore has ­widened, and is predicted to be about US$30,000 this year.

How did Singapore manage to steam so far ahead of the world’s leading city in this respect if it is indeed awash with ­inwardness and backwardness?

A reason could be the blinkered hubris of Hongkongers like Mr Ho. Singapore is home to the most religiously diverse society on Earth, according to a Pew ­Research Centre study in 2014.

The city is more multi­cultural in texture and taste than an overwhelmingly Cantonese-Chinese ­community like that of Hong Kong.

Singapore is also widely ­regarded as one of the most ­globalised ­cities on Earth.

Hopefully, a sophisticated connoisseur like Mr Ho can learn to savour the rich and ­diverse bouquet of the Garden City slowly but surely, the next time he lands at Changi airport.

Living as a “frog in the well” of his “Hong Kong pace” cannot be bliss when his dear city is playing catch-up with a very keen and ­dynamic competitor.

The proof, as they always say, is in the pudding.

John Chan, Singapore

Politicians in school row just seek applause

Albert Cheng made some excellent points in his article (“Nord Anglia international school row shows up Hong Kong’s bigoted politicians”, June 15).

As a secondary school teacher, the controversy has made me realise that our young politicians and social activists are blinded by their belief in “standing against the big cooperates”. I had expected to see some maturity from these educated minds.

Nord Anglia has promised to contribute to the local community, to take steps to avoid traffic jams, and open up campus facilities after classes for residents’ groups in Tin Wan ­Estate. The argument of causing a disturbance and inconvenience to the area thus does not hold water.

Politicians have fully demonstrated their bigotry in their ­opposition, especially the younger ones. They do not compromise, even if there is room to, caring more about whether their ­supporters would approve, ­instead of doing the right thing, as applause drowns out reason.

I wonder what shops they expect to see coming to Tin Wan Shopping Centre if the school is kicked out. Do they actually ­believe there would be 50 independent local stores? What is likely to happen is that the space will be half occupied by chains like the other malls. Would local residents prefer a school that could also provide them with community facilities, or a line-up of the same old boring stores?

Kimson Lee Wing Chuen, Austin

Medical sector malaise yet to be diagnosed

David Dodwell writes well about bridging the skills gap in the Hong Kong medical sector (“Our health care would benefit from this fix,” June 16).

But like so many of your excellent ­exposés, there will be no answer from those who failed to do the numbers in the ­bureaus responsible. Joining the dots between an inexorably ­ageing population and the length of time it takes to train a nurse or doctor is not rocket ­science, to borrow a phrase.

Our responsibility system was designed not to witch hunt but to let the daylight in, to ­recognise the difficulties and find the money if it was indeed a question of money.

Are financial services inadequately named? Should they not let us know what the problem is when we appear to have so much of it?

“Sorry we got it wrong” might calm down the patients waiting for hours for treatment, if a reasonable explanation were presented.

David Akers-Jones, West Kowloon

Hong Kong at 20 has to take stock of future

With Hong Kong about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its handover, it is time to take stock of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Over the next five years, ­several new infrastructure projects are expected to start ­operation, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, high-speed rail link and extra MTR stations.

Hong Kong’s retail ­industry is expected to bounce back, as more visitors arrive by railway and highway.

Property prices in the city have risen exponentially in the past five years. Identifying alternative sectors for profitable ­investment will be necessary. IT development is a good choice.

E-commerce is rising in ­popularity, and Hong Kong is a much-favoured channel for the transporting of international goods because of convenient clearing. Big data, artificial intelligence and the city’s famed ­logistics services are expected to generate numerous opportunities for growth – from online ­platforms and mobile apps, to physical delivery services.

The pan-Pearl River Delta and Greater Bay Area projects are expected to offer more partnership opportunities with ­hi-tech mainland companies.

Long-term gains are also seen arising out of the Belt and Road Initiative and renminbi internationalisation.

Above all, maintaining open, clean and efficient governance, strengthening infrastructure for better connections, addressing the housing issue, and diversifying the economic structure will be the keys to future growth.

Tseung Cheuk-yee, Shek Tong Tsui