Letters to the Editor, August 01, 2015

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 July, 2015, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 July, 2015, 4:02pm

Appalled by behaviour of HKU students

On Tuesday evening, students stormed a council meeting of the University of Hong Kong and, with use of force and in full view of Hong Kong citizens, and in order to get what they wanted, did not allow council members to leave the conference room.

As students of an elite university, they are considered the cream of the crop.

They are the city's future leaders and captains of industry. Some may have the potential to one day be chief executive.

I felt deep sadness when I saw the chaotic scenes choreographed by these members of an academic elite.

Some say that university students are idealists aiming for perfection. If that is the case, then surely these homegrown idealists should be trying to make the city a comfortable and safe place to live.

Unfortunately some of them have an innate propensity for intimidation and violence, as was evidenced by the Occupy movement and this incident on Tuesday. Despite being in a top university, it has not crossed their mind that there are peaceful and more effective ways to get what they want.

They employ only militant means to achieve their aims. Instead of being part of an academic elite, they have degenerated into being a rabble of unruly youths and radicals.

I would also question the legality of their actions as they would not let the council members leave and therefore restricted their freedom of movement. If what they did is illegal, then I hope the appropriate action will be taken.

To avoid setting a dangerous precedent, they should not be let off lightly if any offences have been committed.

Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po 

People will not volunteer for public service

I was saddened and shocked by what happened at the University of Hong Kong council meeting on Tuesday.

It was especially sad to see an ambulance stopped at the entrance to the university for 30 minutes, which was there to treat council member, Dr Lo Chung-mau, who had collapsed during the fracas in the conference room.

When I think of this group of dedicated and knowledgable council members being ridiculed in this way, I fear for the future. Fewer loyal Hongkongers will come forward for public service.

Another council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung always speaks the truth when talking about some of our selfish young people.

I have a lot of respect for these council members. No one should break the law, no matter what cause they believe in.

G. Chan, Mid-Levels

Wrong way to generate more land in city

I refer to the letter by Mak Kong-ling ("Revive idea of reclamation at Green Island", July 27).

I think using this island and green-belt sites to generate more land would have a negative impact on the environment.

Putting residential blocks on green-belt locations and Green Island would exacerbate the "heat island effect", and there is also the issue of air pollution.

These high-rises would hinder wind flow in coastal areas and trap air pollutants. Wind flow helps cool down neighbourhoods.

Also, implementing such a plan for Green Island would be irreversible.

Natural scenery, including on Hong Kong Island, would be lost forever. And reclamation and construction would ruin marine habitats. Increased land and water pollution would be inevitable.

It would simply not be a satisfactory way to alleviate Hong Kong's housing problems.

Jason Cheung, Tseung Kwan O 

We can be part of trail that crosses China

Chung Hoi-ki is spot-on that Hong Kong's "magnificent hiking trails" could provide an excellent tourist attraction for tourists ("Loss of charm should make tourism sector rethink city's pluses", July 19).

However, for this to work well, the trails need to be better designed and maintained. Walking along them in recent months, it is noticeable how many way markers are run down and poorly maintained. Moreover, the design is odd.

For example, there is little equivalence between different sections on the same trail and many sections start and end in places which are inaccessible other than by doing parts of other sections.

It may be too late to change existing trail design, but this ought to be borne in mind for future trails, and trail maintenance ought to be brought up to scratch immediately.

I think that many walkers would welcome a trail across China akin to Land's End to John O'Groats in the UK.

Hong Kong with its deep hiking base and experience in this regard could kick-start such an initiative.

It could do this in conjunction with Guangdong, for example, which would bring significant additional tourists to the city whose agenda is not simply shopping.

Christopher Ruane, Sheung Wan 

Old-fashioned system does create jobs

Euan Barty ("Procedure to renew licence is primitive", July 25) laments the low-tech procedure to renew a car licence in comparison to that of Cyprus.

Given that the current unemployment rate in Cyprus is running at about 16 per cent (and over double that for males under 25) and the rate in Hong Kong is about 3.2 per cent, I know which version I would support.

Sometimes the dignity of employment is more important than personal convenience.

Philip Murphy, Pok Fu Lam

Department staff looked very scruffy

I entirely agree with Euan Barty ("Procedure to renew licence is primitive", July 25), following my recent visit to said Transport Department in United Centre. But I must confess to being mildly impressed by the efficiency of the manual system adopted for my licence renewal. Total time spent - 20 minutes.

Online this might have been a lot less for a user-friendly system, but I would not be too hopeful of our current administration providing such a service.

My beef with the department visit, however, is how incredibly scruffy all the staff are generally dressed.

Why can't the government supply smart uniforms for the customer-facing staff at the department, as occurs for a number of other departments? It might make visiting these premises annually a little more tolerable.

Stewart Aldcroft, Discovery Bay

In-service taxis ignored pleas to stop

My two friends and I, all long-time Hong Kong residents, recently took our first ride to Kennedy Town MTR station on the West Island Line.

We were so thrilled to be venturing into unknown territory, and with seating all the way (from Hang Hau), the journey was quick and comfortable.

One of my companions has not used the MTR in eight months due to illness.

She was delighted with the efficient train journey and we all gave the MTR's new line the thumbs up.

It all unravelled though when we tried to find a taxi rank outside Kennedy Town station to get to Queen Mary Hospital.

It was raining heavily, and there was not a taxi in sight.

Suddenly, about 10 red cabs approached from various directions, all with their lights on indicating they were in service, but they drove past, ignoring our desperate attempts to flag them down.

We got wet trying to find a taxi rank and just could not get any taxis to stop.

It was all very stressful and upsetting, particularly for my elderly friend who is in poor health.

After 15 minutes, we managed to get a taxi. We asked the driver where the taxi stand was situated outside Kennedy Town station and he said there wasn't one.

If this is the case, can the powers that be please address this unacceptable situation immediately? And can Hong Kong taxi drivers please lift their game?

Victoria Didenko, Clear Water Bay

Water tests now needed at all estates

I refer to the report, "Now nickel and cadmium found in water samples" (July 24).

More harmful heavy metals are now being found in water samples in Hong Kong. At first, only traces of lead showed up in tests at the Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City.

However, now we have evidence of tainted water in estates in other parts of the city.

This is causing alarm and health fears among residents.

These test results would indicate that the safety of drinking water is a real problem in Hong Kong.

After all, heavy metals are harmful to health. This is why I think a comprehensive checking procedure must be adopted.

The decision by the government to carry out tests was a result of pressure put on it by some lawmakers and by the media.

It must now go further and inspect the water at all public and private estates in Hong Kong to determine the extent of this problem.

Once residents are informed, they can take the necessary action.

Christine Chan, Tseung Kwan O