Letters to the Editor, July 12, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 July, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 July, 2015, 12:01am

Tourism sector sometimes ignores culture

Some have expressed the view that cultural tourism can help cultural preservation in Hong Kong, but I disagree.

To begin with, cultural tourism fails to preserve Hong Kong's unique culture because at the moment it is only being used as a business tool. Genuine cultural tourism should provide visitors from all over the world with one-of-a-kind encounters that raise their awareness of the relative issues.

However, there is very little information on cultural tours in Hong Kong on the Tourism Board's website. You will find very little about intangible cultural heritage.

The tours offered are unlikely to leave the visitor with a deeper knowledge of the city's cultural heritage.

Cheung Chau Island has long been a popular tourist spot for its parade-in-the-air and its Bun Festival.

Although many people from abroad make the trip to Cheung Chau and remember the festival, if you ask them whether they know the history underlying those carnivals, they may not be able to give you an answer. People easily forget the real meaning of cultural heritage. They think the vast economic advantage and the enormous income brought by the tours.

What they fail to appreciate is the true reason those carnivals or events are part of the intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong.

All of us should help preserve the unique culture of Hong Kong for everyone's benefit. Instead, cultural tourism seems to be having the opposite effect.

Of course, any necessary changes can be made overnight.

Cultural tourism in Hong Kong is in its early stages, and we need to be more patient.

However, we need to recognise that there are flaws in the way Hong Kong has developed its cultural tourism. What officials have done is to turn Hong Kong, which was once charming and warm, into a cold-blooded and snobbish city.

We must not dismantle the special we once treasured.

Rachel Ma, Yau Yat Chuen

Suggestions to help the city out of obesity

Many Hongkongers are physically unfit. An increasing number are obese.

World Health Organisation research shows that the number of people who are clinically obese has nearly doubled since 1980. The probable reason is that they eat too much and exercise too little. They are likelier to suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders.

Also, people's immune systems have become weaker. They are liable to get colds or fevers and need to rely on medicines. Some of my friends ask for several days of leave because of sickness.

The best method to prevent those problems is to exercise more. However, most of them lack the time to do sports due to working or study. The teenagers often join numerous extracurricular activities such as musical instrument lessons. They think electronic entertainment is more interesting, so they sit in front of the computer, and that is their only form of recreation. If it is too hot or too cold, or if it's raining heavily, they are less willing to exercise.

To encourage exercise among youngsters, the government can build more sports venues, and schools can help, too, by increasing the number of PE lessons.

Tsang Chung-mei, Sheung Shui

Why not have a fitness room at each school?

With more Hong Kong students becoming overweight, here are some proposals to help them stay fit and healthy.

Every school should provide a fitness room so that students can work out after school. It should contain a variety of exercise equipment such as treadmills, rowing machines and weightlifting equipment. Professional fitness trainers could be hired to ensure that students use the exercise equipment correctly and safely. The trainers could also offer classes to help them tone their bodies effectively.

I also want to suggest a city-wide fitness club that could offer various types of fat-burning classes. The club's sponsors should invite local sports stars to write blogs for both boys and girls to share training tips and even their success stories to inspire students to become more fitness-conscious.

To stimulate students' interest in outdoor sports, each school could consider setting up its own outdoor sports club.

The reason it has to be held outdoors is so that while they participate, the students can admire nature.

Tsang Chun-man, Yau Yat Chuen

Airport lacks gates, needs new safety rule

I refer to your reports on June 25 ("Ditched airport plan 'could have eased chaos'") and ("When an airport suffers a heart attack").

On Monday, in an article in the Chinese-language press, the Airport Authority continued to deny the root cause of the fiasco [in May] was the complete stand-down of all the ground services it deems necessary when the thunderstorm warning is in force.

The stand-down is, in my view, a result of the management's unrealistic view taken of the lightning-strike hazard to ground service personnel. This being the case, it seems that a repeat of the May 23 fiasco ["during particularly foul weather"] is likely during the summer.

As your reports indicate, ground and apron staff are required to take shelter indoors when a thunderstorm warning is in force for safety reasons.

We can all understand why it is unsafe to venture out to open-air (non-airbridge-linked) parking stands when a thunderstorm warning is in force. But it is completely unreasonable to prohibit service to be done on an aircraft parked in an airbridge-linked parking stand where everything including the aircraft is earthed.

People downtown don't stop going out when a thunderstorm storm warning is in force.

The earthing rods on the buildings draw away the strikes.

The major shortcoming that led to this airport fiasco is not only that we didn't build the X-shaped concourse in 2010 as originally planned that would have given us more airbridge-linked parking stands, but also that we don't allow ground crew to go out to its airbridge-linked parking stands, anyway, under the belt-and-braces rules.

That's why the taxiway is stacked.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Exercises help learners of a new language

I agree with correspondents who have written saying that reading a lot is the key to learning a language.

It should be part of the language learning process along with writing and listening. But reading alone, whether it is books or other materials, is not enough.

You will improve your understanding of the language, but you need to test yourself by doing other language exercises.

The exercises will help you to identify your areas of weakness so that you can work on them and improve your overall skills.

The most important thing is to keep practising the language in as many ways you can think of until you improve your understanding of it.

Luke Lam, Tai Po