Letters to the Editor, July 22, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2015, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2015, 3:32pm

High-speed rail link is crucial for city

The last phase of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link will be concluded as soon as possible.

This line will connect Hong Kong with the rest of China. Mainland citizens already enjoy a clean and fast transit experience when they travel between the country's largest cities.

In this regard Hong Kong is far behind the rest of the nation.

With 70 per cent of the construction work done, the SAR government now faces a delayed completion date for a project which is already over budget.

Some people are asking who should be blamed for these problems.

We certainly deserve a satisfactory explanation. However, finger-pointing will not provide any solutions.

Legco has no choice but to agree to supplementary funding.

A pro-pan-democratic think tank, the Professional Commons, suggested the project should be aborted.

They said it would be foolish to waste more taxpayers' money. Even over decades the railway would not pay its way.

They suggested that the tunnels that have already been dug could house shopping arcades and the rest could be allocated for community use. They showed examples of successful underground facilities overseas.

We are talking about paving the last mile of the railway, a rail link that is for all citizens.

Fancy shopping malls with designer-label stores are just for the rich. We should be part of the wider community of the nation.

Hong Kong has been one of the leaders in gross domestic product per capita in China.

We can afford the additional construction costs. But what we cannot afford to do is distance ourselves from the rest of China.

The door to the mainland has always just been left ajar.

With the high-speed rail link that door will be opened all the way. The positive ripple effects will be felt by all of Hong Kong's 18 districts and so there is no excuse for giving up at this late stage.

Hong Kong needs this transport hub which connects us to our motherland.

Arthur Lam, member, professional committee, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong

Recalling bad old days of rationing

The government has tried to alleviate citizens' fears about the tainted water scare in Hong Kong by taking samples and testing lead levels from more estates.

As someone living in a public housing estate, it is obviously a case for concern that some tested water samples were found to be above the World Health Organisation recommended level.

A photo of residents in Kai Ching Estate, in Kowloon City, taking bottles to collect water, reminded me of a hosepipe ban in the late 1970s and the old days when Hong Kong had to impose water restrictions.

It is clear that the government must remedy the problems connected with water supplies to people's homes as soon as possible.

It must ensure all the water is safe and ease the concerns of all Hong Kong citizens, not just those living in estates where high levels of lead have already been identified.

Also, where it is putting in place temporary emergency supplies of water, so people do not have to use their taps, it has to consider the needs of those residents who would have difficulty walking any distance to fill up bottles and buckets of water. I am thinking of people such as the disabled, the elderly and pregnant women.

I also hope effective measures will be taken to ensure that there is no repeat of these incidents in the future. I am grateful to those workers who are now working to replace pipes.

Kary Chan, Tseung Kwan O 

Extend tests for excess lead in water

We seem to read a new story every day about tainted water in Hong Kong.

What we have read about so far may be the tip of the iceberg, and I suspect there will be more revelations about contractors who used lead soldering for pipes in other buildings on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

This may result in calls for all flats to be tested for lead and bacteria content.

I thank those pan-democratic lawmakers who would not let this issue rest and who have called for tests in all public housing estates. But as I say, testing should also include private buildings.

We must be given guarantees that the commission looking into the tap-water contamination scare is totally independent. It must have absolutely no connection of any kind with our administration. Otherwise, questions will be raised about the process of the investigation and its findings.

Whatever funds are needed to deal with this problem and any possible health issues, must be allocated.

Fortunately, the government has sufficient funds, and the chief executive should recognise that it is a livelihood and health matter. He has always said that livelihood issues are a priority for his administration.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui 

Not easy to crack down on cyberbullying

With the rapid advances in internet technology, cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment have become more common.

Earlier this year Monica Lewinsky, who was intimately involved with then US president Bill Clinton, described how she had been a victim of cyberbullying because of that relationship.

She received a lot of negative and sometimes abusive comments online. Her story reveals how the effects of cyberbullying can be brutal. However, I do not see that it can be successfully curbed through new legislation.

The definition of cyberbullying is not clear-cut and this would inevitably lead to some legal grey areas.

Also, it is hard to charge someone and start legal proceedings if the identities of the netizens are unknown. And the internet is vast. The authorities, including the police, cannot supervise all of it.

If victims know the identity of those who are responsible for the cyberbullying, laws already exist to enable them to sue for defamation.

However, as always, prevention is better than cure. The government should provide more resources to educate people in Hong Kong about proper use of the internet.

We cannot rely solely on the government. We should be willing to offer support to victims of cyberbullying.

Helen Wong Yan-lam, Kowloon Tong

Premier was wearing formal attire

As a resident of Fiji for almost 20 years, before coming to Hong Kong in 2012, I would like to point out that the title of the picture ("Long story, shorts", July 17) is both misleading and quite disrespectful to Pacific Island culture.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, shown talking to Premier Li Keqiang , is most certainly not wearing "short pants" - he is wearing a "sulu vakataga" - the formal dress for men from, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

This dress resembles a Scottish or Irish kilt, meticulously ironed, with its own pockets and in-sewn belt.

Mr Bainimarama would most certainly never turn up to a formal event at the Great Hall of the People in shorts.

Pat Colgan, Tseung Kwan O