Online Letters, October 31, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 October, 2017, 3:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 October, 2017, 3:53pm

Protecting intangible cultural heritage can boost tourism

The government recently published a list of intangible cultural heritage items including traditional eggs tarts and mahjong. I share its view that these two items are worth protecting, because they have cultural and historical importance.

One survey found that there has been a decline in the number of citizens who feel a sense of cultural identity with the city. This is why the government has drawn up this list, so that residents can have a greater sense of belonging.

Promoting the items on the list can also boost the tourism sector. It helps visitors learn more about some of the unique characteristics of Hong Kong. The bakeries selling custard tarts and mahjong parlours, have been part of the street culture of Hong Kong stretching back decades. Visitors are fascinated by old street life and other aspects of the city’s multifaceted history.

Learning a bit more about mahjong can also increase their understanding of Chinese history as the game became popular during the Qing dynasty. It evolved over time into the modern game that is enjoyed by so many people.

When visitors eat egg tarts they can learn more about the traditional cafe culture of Hong Kong and the snacks like tarts that people enjoyed in these eateries. It can help them appreciate the unique East meets West culture of Hong Kong.

Having this intangible heritage list is important, because if it is not compiled, then items that were so popular decades ago and were an integral part of culture, are soon forgotten. Those things that are part of our collective memory should be preserved.

We must not lose touch with the city’s past. To ensure this does not happen takes a collective effort of citizens and the government.

Hailey Ng Pak-yan, Yau Yat Chuen

Students need to focus on having healthy diets

The government is failing to pay attention to the important issue of how a bad diet can affect the health of citizens, especially young people (“Teenagers in Hong Kong don’t get enough fruit, vegetable or exercise and risk strokes in later life”, October 29).

Students in Hong Kong suffer from a lot of stress, because of their punishing workload. They often have to do so much homework that they might snack instead of having a proper meal. A friend of mine studies virtually all the time and has given up all her leisure activities. She is not eating properly and does not look well.

If youngsters like this continue with these unhealthy habits as adults then it will have negative consequences for them and for society and in later life they could be at greater risk of strokes. It is detrimental to society if so many adults are unhealthy and getting sick.

The government should recognise there is a problem and take action. It should be getting schools to organise more physical education, including running and swimming. For example, when you go to a swimming pool you notice that many of the people there are elderly citizens, with hardly any young people of school age. They must be encouraged to get into the habit of regular exercise and healthy diets.

Michelle Mai, Sau Mau Ping

Senator’s strong-worded attacks on Trump are justified

Donald Trump is a political party-pooper. He is alienating many Republican officials and others with assaults on truth, the media, minorities and the very meaning of the American experiment. His ignorance of our history and the meanness that animates his verbal attacks are inimical to the essence of leadership.

As he weakens the party he hijacked, he will turn to Democrats for support, perhaps even changing political loyalty as midterm elections near, but he will not find a fit. His base will wither as all but the most aggrieved recognise the danger this intemperate man represents to the country we love and the world abroad.

Senator Bob Corker, a respected two-termer Republican from Tennessee, has announced he will not stand for re-election. His characterisation of the Trump White House as an adult day-care centre resonates with many Americans. He is right to encourage the secretaries of state and defence as well as the chief of staff to continue their labours, for they bring the maturity of judgment and temperament the country requires.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Police should work with online shops to curb scammers

It is not only local citizens who are becoming targets of phone scammers. Many who fall victim to these cons are students from north of the border studying here and newcomers from the mainland (“Phone scammers play on fear of law”, October 24).

I think it is important for police to have an in-depth understanding of how these criminals operate and who they are targeting, to have a better chance of curbing their activities and making them less successful.

As your report pointed out these con artists play psychological tricks with their victims. They are able to sound genuine, playing to fears, for example, questioning the eligibility of their documents that allow them to stay in Hong Kong. These residents are more savvy when living on the mainland, but are less familiar with the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and the criminals play on this lack of knowledge and uncertainty.

Other victims are those who frequently shop online. They make get fake calls claiming to be customer service, making up bogus delivery problems.

Mainlanders coming to live here as students or for other reasons should be encouraged to install special apps on their smartphones which can filter calls and can, for example, shut out the cold calls that scammers often use to get to their victims.

The police can encourage people to install them. They can also work with online shopping platforms to help them beef up online security and make it more difficult for the scammers to succeed in duping the online shoppers.

Enhanced cooperation between police and these platforms can help to curb at least one form of cybercrime. The customers could be given a special code once they make the purchase and a caller claiming to come from that platform would have to quote the code, which a criminal could not do.

Heidi Keung, Kowloon Tong

Bike-share problems show need for more parking areas

Bike-sharing services are becoming more popular in Hong Kong. They offer a more environmentally-friendly way for people to get around town especially where there are cycle tracks, such as in the New Territories. However, they are also creating problems. A lot of these bikes are just left by users in areas that are not designated for bicycle parking.

This is obviously unsightly and a nuisance, especially in busy public areas, but the government does not seem to be addressing the problem and it needs to act as soon as possible. People who are caught dumping these bikes should be fined to act as a deterrent.

One of the reasons this is happening so frequently is because there are so few public parking spaces for bikes. The government needs to designate more areas for these bikes and the police must have more operations where they clear the illegally-parked bicycles.

Also, the government must have more civic education and raise levels of awareness. People who hire one of these bikes have to act responsibly and return them to the bike-share operator.

The operators should also be deploying staff to collect the bikes so they do not cause such a nuisance.

Suki Lee, Tseung Kwan O