Letters to the Editor, August 9, 2013

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 2:31am


Activists need to engage in dialogue first

It has been fascinating to follow in the media over the past few months the ardent efforts of associate professor of law Benny Tai Yiu-ting and his co-organisers of Occupy Central to persuade Hong Kong people to support their civil disobedience movement.

Tai said publicly that Occupy Central planned to recruit 10,000 activists who would promise to physically but peacefully occupy key public thoroughfares around the heart of Central.

According to media reports, such mass action by the group and its proposed 10,000 supporters could occur in mid-2014 should the group's leadership become disillusioned with the government's proposals or decisions on universal suffrage for the chief executive and legislative elections in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

At that time, these activists would occupy key thoroughfares in Central, illegally and without police permission, expressly for the purpose of having the police arrest them for committing an illegal act.

In effect, Occupy Central and it leaders have been telling the community that should they block the key transport arteries in Central and subsequently get arrested, they would be justified in violating the rule of law by claiming they were fighting on the higher moral ground by demanding a higher level of universal suffrage for Hong Kong.

As such actions are untenable under the laws of Hong Kong, would it not be a wise move for Tai and his group to now engage in dialogue with the government by presenting their views on political changes for 2017 and 2020?

Next year, if they still want to go ahead with whatever assembly and demonstration plans they may have at that time, they would be acting in the public interest if they first discussed with the commissioner of police the guidelines as to the locations and manner of conducting their activities legally.

By so doing, Tai and his group would be demonstrating to the public the right qualities of political leadership that Hong Kong would need in its future governance under the rule of law and a high degree of self-government as stipulated in the Basic Law.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan


Police doublestandards are hard to fathom

I refer to the report ("Spark lights a firestorm that divides the city", August 6) regarding teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze "losing her temper and shouting abuse at police handling a dispute" in Mong Kok.

As Albert Cheng King-hon pointed out in his column ("Shameful incidents show police bias towards pro-establishment", August 2) "in a separate incident, another group of pro-China hooligans was seen verbally and physically abusing police but officers appeared restrained and didn't take action to stop them".

Instead the police are now making Alpais Lam their scapegoat. I am still scratching my head as to why the police cannot even come up with a good explanation for this. This is clearly an example of double standards.

Nathan Tseng, The Peak


Pros and consof increasing landing slots

I refer to Keith Moran's letter ("Air-traffic controllers the key element", July 27).

One way to increase runway capacity is to permit the use of the "land after" technique used by the London Heathrow controllers from time to time. That is, permit an arriving aircraft to land before the preceding arriving aircraft has cleared (left) the runway.

Quite apart from whether the Hong Kong authorities would permit this practice, perhaps Mr Moran could indicate whether the aircrew union would accept it in Hong Kong.

This would envisage the preceding aircraft "landing long" routinely. Would the aircrew union be prepared to do this routinely, in preference to "landing short" and trying to clear the runway quickly to reduce runway occupancy?

Another way to increase runway capacity is to routinely allow simultaneous independent operations between the two runways, in which case the total capacity is equal to twice that of a single runway.

I believe this is how the British expert quoted by Albert Cheng King-hon arrived at the total runway capacity of 75 aircraft movements an hour ("Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway", July 19).

This is not procedurally allowed when the cloud ceiling and visibility are below certain levels, for fear that if an aircraft "blunders" across - that is, encroaches upon - the flight path of another aircraft using the adjacent runway, the latter may not be able to deviate to escape collision, due to nearby high ground, for instance Lantau Island.

It is not the accepted practice to arrest the blundering by the former aircraft. The interdependent mode is then instituted.

In theory, twice the single runway capacity could still be achieved with interdependent operations if nobody misses a slot, but sometimes they do.

In the case of three parallel runways such as at Dallas Fort Worth, however, the aircraft using the centre runway and being encroached upon cannot deviate on either side.

The only escape route is up - to steepen its climb. Again, quite apart from whether the Hong Kong authorities would accept the use of this vertical escape technique, would the aircrew union accept it?

That being the case, could simultaneous independent operations be employed all the time regardless of weather conditions?

Peter Lok, Chai Wan


Resisting the urge to buy will cut waste

Some of your correspondents are trying hard to suggest waste reduction solutions for our government, given that waste in Hong Kong is a growing problem.

Recently, I witnessed an example of needless generation of waste on my estate.

A family has just welcomed the addition of a new baby. This obviously required renovation of the flat.

As a consequence some old furniture was thrown out, including a two-metre high wardrobe, a cabinet, drawers, some toys and clothes. All of these items were in good shape but the owners chose to throw them away.

The government must advise Hongkongers to adopt simpler lifestyles through adverts on television.

It must steer people away from feeling that they must buy something when there is an Ikea sale, a Fortress promotion or their child wants more Lego.

It must get the message across in an effort to reduce material waste, before it feels the need to introduce a waste tax similar to that which has been adopted by South Korea.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling


Housing takes priority over golf courses

You often hear people talking about Hong Kong as an international and world-class city and giving various reasons for these claims.

In sporting terms some would argue that the loss of the Hong Kong Golf Club courses at Fanling would mean the end of the annual Hong Kong Open golf tournament. And they believe that this would damage the city's international image.

I can understand the importance of this tournament, but does that mean the courses should not be redeveloped for housing?

Hong Kong has a long-term housing problem.

For many citizens the cost of private housing is still unaffordable despite the government's efforts to cool the property market. Also, there are not enough public housing estates for people who want to rent because they cannot afford to purchase a flat.

Having adequate shelter is essential for all of us and should be seen as a right.

Solving this housing problem should be at the top of the government's agenda.

Here is an opportunity to at least partially tackle the problem. Officials cannot ignore the needs of the majority just to save these golf courses.

A government which does that does not deserve the respect of its citizens or to be respected on the world stage.

Failure to deal with the housing problem will only lead to feelings of even greater public dissatisfaction.

I realise that the closure of the course will inconvenience those club members who use it. However, I have no doubt that the government should redevelop this site so that it can increase the supply of housing in Hong Kong.

Tony Cheung Ka-wai, Shun Lee


Bad habits an obstacle to student fitness 

I do not think students in Hong Kong are doing enough exercise and this is quite a recent phenomenon.

They need to be encouraged to exercise more so that they can lead healthier lifestyles.

One of the obstacles they face to getting fitter is the large amount of homework they are given by teachers. Of course, this leaves them little time to exercise.

Also, in some areas of Hong Kong I do not think there are enough sports centres, for example Wong Tai Sin.

Students living there may want to participate in some sports, but can't because the facilities are fully booked.

Young people also prefer interests such as watching television, or playing computer games, rather than getting involved in a sporting activity.

I do hope we will see a change in these habits and more sports facilities will be made available.

Miko Tse Chun, Tseung Kwan O