Letters to the Editor, February 14, 2018

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 February, 2018, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 February, 2018, 12:06pm

Grieving city has heart in ­the right place

Hong Kong was hit by a terrible tragedy on February 10, when a bus crash in Tai Po left 19 passengers dead and more than 60 others ­injured, with at least five of them still in serious condition.

The accident, in the days leading up to what is the most joyful time in the local calendar, the Lunar New Year celebrations, caused an outpouring of grief in the city. The New Year fireworks display was cancelled as a mark of respect for those affected; flags are flying at half-mast at government headquarters, and the Executive and the Legislative councils ­observed a moment of silence, with other government departments and even private offices ­doing the same.

With the driver being charged over the accident and ­allegations of reckless driving, questions are being raised over the training and quality of bus drivers. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has promised an independent inquiry commission, headed by a judge, to make recommendations to ensure the safety and reliability of the public transport system.

However, amid the grief and the desperate search for answers, one message reinforced my belief in the deep humanity of fellow Hongkongers. It was your report about the queues at the Red Cross blood donation centres, with thousands waiting for hours late last Saturday and on Sunday to help the crash victims. (“Blood donors flood Red Cross centres in Hong Kong to help 40 injured victims of fatal bus crash”, February 11). The crowds were such that many had to be requested to ­return the following day.

Hongkongers are called many things: rude, arrogant, too busy to be polite, even racist. But a response like this shows that, at a time of crisis, we all come together in a spontaneous outpouring of the Lion Rock Spirit.

Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O

Best to develop part of golf course for flats

The government’s Task Force on Land Supply plans to launch a public consultation on developing the Fanling golf course for public housing. Respondents can vote for either full or partial development of the three golf courses run by the Hong Kong Golf Club.

I support partial development of the 170-hectare site, as this will not only ­increase land supply for housing in the middle- and long-term, but also preserve a large area of the recreational facility.

As Liberal Party leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan told RTHK last week, the golf course has a long history and is the most accessible among the few golf links in the city. Although it is said to serve mainly the more privileged class, it is still a valuable recreational site for Hong Kong. Some may argue that it is not open to the public often, but this can be ­improved by adding new terms when renewing its private recreational lease.

Those who support full development cite the long list of people waiting for decent homes, and may accuse the government of “lowballing” the number of possible flats to “mislead” the public into choosing the partial development plan. But can we deny the need for recreational facilities within that future community? We can’t just pack the site with high-rises.

There are also concerns about widening Fan Kam Road, relocating Dongjiang water pipes, and the future of historical buildings, and old and valuable trees. Partial development would be more feasible and less time consuming.

Raymond Cheng, Tin Shui Wai

Unfair not to include teens ­in flu concern

The Lunar New Year holiday started early for children in Hong Kong, when the Education Bureau closed all primary schools and kindergartens – as well as special needs schools – amid a serious winter flu outbreak in the city.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the move, which saw schools shut since last Thursday, aimed to “cut off the chain of infection”. Given the ­severity of the flu outbreak, it was ­absolutely the correct response.

SCHOOLS SHUT EARLY AMID WINTER FLU OUTBREAK

However, as a secondary student, I’m unhappy that the policy only applied to primary schools and kindergartens. I understand that, compared with teenagers, children can catch the flu virus much more easily and are more affected by it. But that doesn’t mean teenagers and secondary students are not at risk.

In my school, many students are sick. The school has measures in place to protect us from getting sick, like checking our temperature every morning. But the best way to prevent us from getting the flu is, as the government said, making sure that we stay home.

The move to shut only children's’ schools was unfair to us secondary students. I admit that I am a bit jealous that they started their holiday early but, more than that, I feel our health is at stake when the government seems to think that teenagers will not get sick or, even if they do, they are strong enough to fight it. Teenagers are not superheroes.

Cloris Poon, Ho Man Tin

Go green in celebrations for the Year of the Dog

With the Year of the Dog just days away, it is time to avoid another round of wasteful and environment-unfriendly celebrations.

We must remind ourselves to reuse and recycle our lai see packets and gift wrapping. And, at the traditional reunion dinner with our families, we should not let our “eyes be bigger than the stomach”, and only order what we can eat or, failing that, make sure we take the leftovers away to eat later.

Jojo Wong, Po Lam