Letters to the Editor, March 8, 2018
Left cold by free tickets to Ocean Park
I refer to the budget announcement of free admission tickets to Ocean Park for 10,000 primary and secondary school pupils in Hong Kong.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po also allocated a one-off sum of HK$310 million to support Ocean Park in developing education and tourism projects.
Ocean Park is wholly owned by the Hong Kong government, and posted losses of HK$241 million and HK$234 million in the last two financial years. In my opinion, the free ticket plan is useless and unnecessary. It will not really benefit students; it is for profit. Parents will have to buy tickets if they want to take their children there.
Why not announce free tickets for the Wetland Park or any other educational venue?
Another surprising move was the HK$100 million boost for e-sports. The government wants a slice of the video gaming market pie and has given its official support to develop the industry. But is Hong Kong ready for it?
While e-sports is hugely popular in South Korea, mainland China and Taiwan, Hong Kong has been slow to catch up. So far, only a few dozen Hongkongers count themselves as professional players, and very few have qualified for world-class competitions.
Marcus Lee, Sai Kung
Straight-talking finance chief proves TV hit
I regularly watch Straight Talk on TVB Pearl, hosted by Michael Chugani. And on March 6, it was straighter than ever.
Programme guest Paul Chan was very straight and tactful even amid Chugani’s insistent questioning on whether he will ever hand out cash as his predecessor, John Tsang Chun-wah, had done in 2011.
In that year’s budget, all permanent residents of Hong Kong had received HK$6,000 each from the government.
Chan politely made it clear that the blind handing out of cash across the board is not in keeping with the public finance management philosophy of the current administration.
He said even though it sounds simple, such handouts constitute a very complex and controversial matter, as it needs wide consultation and the approval of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, even though the city has vast fiscal reserves.
The small sum of HK$6,000 may have been useful to some people at the time but did not solve the big financial problems for many, such as housing or education loans.
Rather than one-off handouts, investing in regular income for the ageing population would be wise and farsighted.
A.L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui
Try sports boost to cut health costs
Sports coupons, as a parallel to medical coupons, to encourage sport and physical activity can drastically cut Hong Kong’s medical expenses and improve psychological health in society.
Should the government prepare now to issue such coupons next year, in view of possibly another huge budget surplus?
Albert Tong, Quarry Bay
Uber silence on misplaced phone is vexing
I am extremely upset with the failure of Uber to address an administrative problem.
In January my son, who was visiting from Nashville, left his mobile phone in an Uber car which had been ordered by a friend who lives in Singapore.
The friend was able to contact Uber using her app before leaving that day, but was told there was no way they could contact the driver.
She tried to contact the company for three more days from Singapore without a positive result. I also tried to contact the company, only to find that they have no telephone number and do not respond to emails.
Finally, after three weeks, during which time my son bought a replacement, I was told that the phone had been handed in by the driver but there was no explanation as to why the delay occurred.
The company has so far failed to respond to a registered letter sent to them on this matter – this despite my complaint to the Consumer Council.
Meanwhile, I note that Uber UK has now voluntarily installed a phone line for such complaints, which could have resolved the problem earlier. Surely it is time for some government intervention to control this company.
Dr Brian Apthorp, Shouson Hill
Family and friends worth the extra effort
I refer to Donald Chan’s “choice of friends” conundrum (“Toxic or benign, friends are always friends”, March 6).
I suggest that he seek clues from The Paradox of Choice by the American psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz says that autonomy and freedom of choice are critical to well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy.
Some choices are easily made, such as if a restaurant is full or the food is bad, we can choose to leave and find another one.
But when we come home, where all the people are our family members, we should not choose to leave early. Rather, we should try to stay and correct whatever has gone wrong, so as to maintain and sustain the relationship.
Likewise with friends, for they are among the “family” that we choose. Life is then all contentment and happiness. All because we chose our friends wisely.
Edmond Pang, Fanling