Letters to the Editor, May 29, 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 May, 2015, 6:10pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 May, 2015, 6:10pm

Science sector could be another pillar

Hong Kong is a modern international commercial centre.

However, a recent report released by the Legislative Council found that the four pillars of our economy (financial services, professional and producer services, tourism, and trading and logistics) are all slowing. Their contribution to gross domestic product has dropped to 58.3 per cent.

For the sake of economic diversity, we must seek new engines of growth and the development of science and technology should be promoted. Yet, many parents in Hong Kong discourage their children from pursuing a career in the innovation sector, instead, wanting them to focus on a stable job, such as a lawyer or doctor.

Investing in science and technology, including research, can bring lots of benefits to the city. Excellent ideas can be generated here and the products manufactured elsewhere. This will improve people's living standards outside Hong Kong. Also, as the sector grows, more multinational companies will open offices here. Youngsters will be offered the chance to learn new things.

The SAR already has a world-class infrastructure, highly-regarded rule of law, low tax, a skilled bilingual workforce and our prime geographical location which allows us to tap easily into the wealth of resources in mainland China.

The government must not only establish a strategy of long-term planning, it should also offer more incentives to attract talented people and investments from around the world.

Most importantly, teenagers should be encouraged to pursue their dreams. Schools need to find ways to get students more interested in science and, if they show ability, encourage them to be creative.

If our city wants to maintain its competitive edge in the world, the development in science and technology should definitely be encouraged to bring about more economic growth.

Joanne Cheng Sze-yu, Lam Tin

Success out there for the taking

Form Six students have just finished their Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam and are now fretting over the results they will get.

There is a prevailing view in Hong Kong that if you get poor academic results, you will not be successful in the future. However, I do not agree with that argument. I think it all depends on the attitude you adopt.

Youngsters must not just daydream about being successful. If you just keep thinking about it, it will not happen, you have to act. You must decide what you want to do, then get information about that career and find out what kind of courses you will have to study and where to apply. The opportunities to move forward are out there, but they will not come to you. The individual has to grasp these opportunities.

The most important thing for these students to understand is that they should maintain a positive attitude and, despite reversals, not give up.

There is one example of a young university graduate who wanted to launch his own networking company, but needed HK$150,000 for the start-up. So he worked as a salesman and saved up. With persistence, he overcame the hurdles he faced.

As I said, students just need to have a plan and be determined to see it through.

Chloe Tong Ka-ling, Tai Po

Caravan rules should be different

I read with amazement the report ("Trailers and tribulations", May 18) about efforts to launch a caravan rental business at Tong Fuk, Lantau.

The Home Affairs Department insists that operators of caravans must apply for licences under the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to regulate the fire and building safety of hotels and guesthouses. They are typically situated in dense multistorey buildings like Chungking Mansions. They pose fire and building risks if unregulated.

Single-storey caravans in open space are a far cry from these guesthouses. Caravans have much lower structural and fire risks, and the occupants could easily escape into open space if there was a mishap. Caravans were never licensing targets when the ordinance was conceived.

As a former civil servant dealing with the subject, I think the ordinance could include an exemption for caravans, or require the operators to install sprinklers in order to get licences. The government should facilitate entrepreneurship as opposed to stifling it with red tape.

Francis Lo, North Point

Taxi drivers doing the wrong thing

Yet another infuriating story of taxi drivers destroying Hong Kong's reputation, this time in Tsim Sha Tsui, last Friday, at 8pm.

Taxi after taxi, with taxi lights on and no reservation sign, either refusing to open doors, cracking a window only slightly to hear the destination and then driving off, or once in the back seat feigning ignorance, to determine whether passengers can be taken for a long ride and an inflated fare.

These types of stories have been well publicised, yet no authority seems to care.

Indeed, the criminal actions of these drivers in Tsim Sha Tsui (contravening transport/taxi ordinances) last Friday night occurred within full view of parked police vans. Stealing from locals, expats and tourists alike, the taxi industry here is a Hong Kong shame.

Phillip Weber, Discovery Bay

Students need smartphone self-control

Millions of people around the world, especially teenagers, can't imagine life without their smartphones and find them indispensible.

Because of their popularity, many schools have now introduced regulations governing the use of these devices and some do not allow them to be brought to the campus or to the classroom.

This is in response to teachers complaining that their students spend more time chatting to friends on apps like WhatsApp instead of listening to the lesson.

However, they can also be an aid to learning. For example, I use my smartphone as a dictionary.

It is quicker and more convenient than using a print edition dictionary.

Secondary students need to exercise self-control when in class to ensure they do not interrupt lessons.

I accept that a ban rule is needed for primary pupils as they are too young to practise this kind of self-discipline.

However, I think schools should allow students to bring smartphones to school as long as they only use them for academic purposes.

Tang Wingkar, Yau Yat Chuen

Green belts offer better flats option

I agree with some of the remarks made by Carmen Li in her letter ("We should build flats in country parks", May 20).

It is certainly the case that there is a lot of space in Hong Kong's extensive country parks.

However, there is also a lot of green-belt land.

I therefore think it would be more logical, where it is appropriate, to rezone some green-belt land instead of resorting to building flats in our country parks.

In an article published by the South China Morning Post in 2013, it was explained why choosing other land as an option for new residential developments was better than encroaching on our country parks.

It was pointed out that in addition to green-belt areas, there was also land already zoned for housing, and brownfield sites.

Also, some green-belt land has lower ecological value than most country parks, so it would be less controversial and less likely to meet opposition from green groups worried about threatened habitats.

James Wong Chun-ho, Tseung Kwan O

Bus display defects fixed promptly

We refer to the letter by Anthony R. C. Green on the electronic destination display boards of our buses ("Unable to read destinations on so many buses", April 8).

All franchised buses of New World First Bus (NWFB) and Citybus are equipped with electronic destination display boards on the bus front, rear, and near the passenger entrance door.

Each bus is inspected every month and every year to ensure mechanical fitness, including the condition of these boards.

Any defects found during operation are also reported to the company with prompt rectification.

Furthermore, the Cityflyer (A-route) double-deck buses and NWFB and Citybus buses were equipped this year with a larger side-destination display. Besides the route number, it can also show the destination and en-route points in English and Chinese for better recognition.

Regarding his comments on bus body adverts, all these adverts are in compliance with the regulations stipulated by the Transport Department.

We face a difficult business environment due to the fierce competition of the railway, rising staff costs as well as tunnel fees. Bus adverts are an essential source of non-bus fare revenue which can help ease financial pressure.

We will continue to spare no effort to provide an excellent bus service to the public.

Kevin Li, public affairs manager, New World First Bus Services Limited, Citybus Limited