Letters to the Editor, November 23, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 November, 2017, 3:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 November, 2017, 3:56pm

Fewer cars the only way out ­of traffic jam

The problem of traffic congestion has become more serious over the past decade in Hong Kong, with the number of ­private cars skyrocketing.

If this trend continues, it won’t take long for our main roads to reach capacity. The government has proposed lowering tolls at the Western ­Harbour Tunnel to increase usage and to relieve pressure on the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.

However, though it is practical, this can only be seen as a short-term measure.

The city needs to control and slow the growth in the number of private cars. Even improvements in infrastructure, including new and wider roads, will be outpaced if curbs are not placed on rising vehicle ­numbers.

Efforts must be made to ­reduce the number of cars, ­although I do not support the establishment of a quota as some suggest, as this could harm our reputation as the world’s freest economy.

One way to get people to either not buy a car or leave it at home more often, is to improve our public transport system. There have been more reports of breakdowns on the MTR network. The MTR Corporation has to address this problem.

There is also room for ­improvement when it comes to franchised bus services.

More buses should be provided on roads with the worst record for traffic congestion, so that people realise it is faster to get the bus than to be stuck in traffic in their cars.

The government must also treat alleviation of traffic ­congestion as a priority.

Jacky Chui, Sha Tin

China’s rights stance sparks concern for city

I was dismayed to read the report about the teenage son of Wang Yu not being allowed to leave the international airport at Tianjin for a holiday in Japan, because he “could potentially endanger national security” (“Fury as son of lawyer barred from flying out”, November 15).

He has done nothing wrong, but his crime in the eyes of the authorities is that he is the son of a rights lawyer and activist.

I am concerned that we might eventually see similar ­actions in Hong Kong, given that the city has a lot of pro-democracy activists who are trying to stand up for the freedom we enjoy here.

The central government might feel it can do this, as Hong Kong is an integral part of China.

Could we also see more supporters of democracy from abroad also being denied entry, even former governor Chris ­Patten? After all, Benedict ­Rogers, the deputy chairman of the UK Conservative Party’s ­human rights commission, was not ­allowed into the city last month.

I also see a threat to freedom with the possible enacting of ­national security laws (under ­Article 23 of the Basic Law).

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Saudi women not only ones battling bias

I was pleased to read about the royal decree in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women drivers there next summer.

Women in Saudi Arabia face many restrictions, so this is ­major step forward. Discrimination against women is widespread in many Muslim-majority countries with rules and attitudes that are outdated and ridiculous.

However, it is not just a problem with those nations or with a single religion. Even in progressive Japan, women are often paid less than men for doing the same job or despite holding the same rank in a ­company.

I am lucky to have been born and brought up in Hong Kong, a city where there is far less ­discrimination.

However, even here, activists do have to keep up the fight to end all forms of discrimination and promote equal rights for women.

Tai Ying-yee, Yau Tong

More action needed on mental health

A study claims that one in seven Hongkongers suffers from some form of mental health issue, ­although I suspect the real figure is higher. Many people with problems stay silent.

Why is the government failing to deal with this serious issue? Why are officials not listening to concern groups? Are they waiting until things get out of control? New mental patients in public hospitals are already having to wait as long as three years to see a psychiatrist.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor did recognise that more must be done when she alluded to mental health care in the policy address.

But in addition to more funding, education is important, to remove the taboo surrounding mental health in society.

Jacqueline Kwan, Mid-Levels

Park could boost interest in geology

I recently visited Choi Wing Road Park, built on several levels along the old quarry near Ping Shek Estate.

Given its location, the theme of the park is rocks. Different types of rocks are on display. I really like this tranquil park, but the Leisure and Cultural ­Services Department could make improvements.

There are only a few rock samples, and I would like to see a lot more varieties of rock from around Hong Kong.

A competition could be held, encouraging people to come forward with rocks they have collected and high-quality photos they have taken of many of the city’s impressive rock ­formations (for example, Lion Rock, Bluff Island, Ping Chau sedimentary rock).

The best examples could then go on ­display in the park.

With such an impressive collection of rocks and photos, the park could become a popular field trip location for students.

There is enough room in the park to have all these exhibits, and it would encourage students to take a greater ­interest in geology.

Eva Law, Sha Tin