Online Letters, August 8, 2017
The serious downside to renewable energy
Imagine it is 7pm on a cold, still night in a city which boasts that it has “100 per cent green energy”. Thousands of electric cars are plugged into chargers; electric lights, heaters and TVs are running; electric stoves are cooking dinner, electric trains and lifts are moving late commuters and early revellers, and the pubs and clubs are busy.
The hills bristle with turbines, but there is no wind and not one is turning. Every roof is covered with solar panels, but there is no sunshine. The green city is facing peak electricity demand on batteries. But for several days, clouds have shaded the solar panels and there has been no wind to turn the turbines – the battalions of batteries are running out of juice. One by one they drop out. The street lights fade and the city goes dark.
In this green energy utopia all the wicked coal-powered generators have been demolished, exploration for gas is forbidden, no one dares to mention nuclear, hydro schemes have gone, new hydro developments are stalled by green lawyers, and diesel generators are banned.
There is only one problem with this green perfection.
When the city wakes to another cloudy windless day, where will its electricity come from?
Viv Forbes, Rosevale, Queensland, Australia
Huge government surplus should be used to ease housing problems
There have been calls for the government to dip into cash reserves rather than holding on to all them.
While he was financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah used to emphasise the importance of maintaining a substantial surplus whenever he presented his budget. However, if it was used to meet the needs of the poorest sectors of society it could improve the quality of life of so many Hong Kong citizens.
The biggest problem we face is housing. Many people have to live in subdivided flats while on the long waiting list for a public flat. If the government could build more public estates and more affordable housing, this would make a real difference.
Government reserves should be used to improve people’s lives.
Susanne Ma Suet-sin, Kowloon Tong
Educate citizens so they can be wary of phone scammers
Online and mobile phone scams have increased with many people losing substantial sums of money. People need to be aware of this and react with scepticism to suspicious calls from strangers.
If they are asked to give any personal information they should first confirm the identity of the caller. So often people are duped, because they have not even thought about the importance of ensuring online safety.
The government can help by investing more resources in education. It can produce short adverts reminding the public about the importance of online safety. Workshops can also be organised, especially for teenagers so that they become more careful. These measures could help cut the smartphone scam rate.
As the online criminals targeting Hongkongers often come from abroad or north of the border, it is good that our police force is cooperating with police in other jurisdictions. I hope they will succeed in arresting more offenders. Then the punishment they receive can act as a deterrent to other would-be scammers.
Helen Ng Wing-shan, Yau Yat Chuen
Let children choose when it comes to extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are essential for the development of children and therefore they should definitely join them.
Nowadays children are under a lot of pressure, because of schoolwork, exams and from parents. Extracurricular activities can help to relieve that stress. Getting involved in sports is particularly helpful. With such a heavy workload most children do not get enough exercise and if they have unhealthy diets this can lead to obesity.
Also these activities, whether in or outside school, can help them to meet new friends and this enlarges their social circle. Learning to interact in this way can help them in their working lives.
Emphasis is so often placed now on a child’s full-person development and extracurricular activities can help with this. It is often said that there is a lack of creativity and innovative ideas in Hong Kong and this has to change. Young people from the next generation must be allowed to fulfil their potential and find their talent. Eventually society will benefit from this.
It is not easy to make a living in Hong Kong. Young people should be given all the opportunities needed to become more competitive when they are working by fully utilising their innate skills.
Jerry Lam, Tseung Kwan O
With sensible regulations busking can flourish in Hong Kong
More youngsters want to try their hand at becoming street musicians. However, their performances can lead to complaints from nearby residents concerned about the noise. Also, they can cause congestion by blocking busy pavements and making it difficult for pedestrians to move around.
We do not have specific laws governing buskers and determining designated venues. They can only be charged with occupying a public space. I think legislation is needed which allows busking activities to be monitored, so they know the ground rules and cause minimal disruption.
There are venues which are suitable for them, open spaces such as parks and public spaces. Busking can help with the development of young people as it can enable them to get out of their comfort zone. It also encourages cultural exchanges between them and the audience. With legislation in place they could be stopped from causing a nuisance in residential areas.
In Europe, busking is accepted by the public. Many youngsters are encouraged to busk on the street and show off their talent. It can help them build up their self-confidence. Some European schools even add busking to their curriculum, so I do not see why Hong Kong cannot allow busking.
But, as I say, legislation is needed so that busking can be monitored and there are designated venues and times when street artists are allowed to perform.
Chloe Ng Sin-yee, Po Lam