Letters to the Editor, August 13, 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 4:46pm

New airport better than third runway

In light of the article by Tony Kwok ("An example in Heathrow", August 8), perhaps it's time we cleared the air again on this vexed subject.

As with Hong Kong, London's question has always been where to build an additional runway, a third at Heathrow, a second at Gatwick, or a completely new London airport on reclaimed land outside the Thames estuary replacing existing ones.

At best, a third runway can be accommodated at Chek Lap Kok, assuming that the additional manoeuvring airspace can be had and the air traffic control coordination problems with neighbouring airports can be resolved. But there is no room for a fourth one.

By the time the third runway becomes operational, it will be nearly up to capacity, with certainly not enough time left to build a fourth one, even if it could be built there and we started construction now.

So, why don't we build a replacement airport elsewhere that can accommodate four runways and more?

If we think we're happy to stay with three runways forever, why are we not happy with two forever? And I'm not saying we should be happy with that.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan 

Owners asked firm to stay on at estate

We refer to the letter by M. Chan, for a group of Parc Palais owners ("Flat owners calling for accountability", August 3). It mentioned Urban Property Management Limited (UPML) and made misleading statements which require clarification.

UPML is the property management agent appointed by Parc Palais Property Management Limited (PPML), which is the property manager under the deed of mutual covenant of the property.

We have been managing Parc Palais for the last 11 years with the utmost care, transparency, total accountability and openness. And we have done so with the appreciation and support of the majority of owners and residents, which is reflected by the annual customer satisfactory survey conducted throughout the years.

We tendered our resignation as the property management agent of Parc Palais in May following the resignation of PPML. The 11th owners' committee of the property obtained some 55 per cent of the undivided shares of all owners to invite PPML to withdraw its resignation in July. PPML and UPML were persuaded by this vote to withdraw their resignation and to continue to manage the property.

As a consequence of this decision, the owners' committee decided to cancel the tendering process for the selection of the property manager and maintain the continuation of the management services for all owners and residents.

We do hope we can clear up any misunderstanding as a result of M. Chan's letter and we are always ready to provide quality services to Parc Palais at all times.

Candice Wong, senior group manager, property asset management, for Urban Property Management Limited

Waiver of rent for affected residents

More citizens have been found to have excessive lead in their blood, including young children, breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.

In response to the spreading problem of lead-tainted water in housing estates across Hong Kong, the Drinking Water Victims Alliance has been formed.

It has brought on board legal and medical experts.

There have been growing calls for follow-up medical assistance and compensation for residents on affected estates. The alliance has called for regular follow-up health checks for children up to the age of 18 and a waiver of rent or water bills.

I agree with the demand for compensation.

Since the lead-in-water scare came to light, residents in these estates have talked about having to go out for their meals every day, to avoid consuming water from taps at home. This obviously involves extra expenses.

They have also talked about getting their children privately tested to ensure they get prompt treatment.

Again, this involves added costs and so the government really has to consider a waiver of rent or water bills.

It also has to arrange more extensive blood testing, especially for women and children. Hong Kong prides itself on having a well-structured and comprehensive medical system, so shouldn't the Hospital Authority be organising all necessary blood tests and follow-up medical health checks?

Other health care providers from private clinics could also offer blood tests, either at a discount or free of charge.

The government also needs to speed up the pace of its investigation into the cause of the lead contamination.

Sophy Tam, Ma On Shan 

Garlic remedy is an old wives' tale

I refer to the letter by Nick Anderson ("Worse things to worry about than lead", August 10).

His comments on smartphones, "high electromagnetic field", lead and garlic are erroneous and misleading.

The amount of irradiation from the low intensity of microwave from a modern cellphone is probably harmless.

Lead, once entered the body, is accumulated and can only be partially removed by chelating method.

His mention of the use of garlic is no more than an old wives' tale.

Felix Shin MD, Kowloon City

Staff keep repeating clerical errors

I refer to the letter by Yoyo Chan ("Work to ensure safety of food plants", August 4).

Some people struggle to understand why products made on the mainland are inferior to what is sold here, which are mostly made overseas (for example, milk formula and electrical appliances).

Many mainland workers have quite long commutes, often by bicycle, and may struggle to concentrate after a 30-minute ride to work. Also, educational standards are still not high among the public so mistakes are frequent.

In our Shenzhen factory I see the same clerical mistakes being repeated every day. And I get confusing messages.

I try to correct these errors over the phone and in emails, but they keep cropping up. Until there is an improvement, mainlanders will keep shopping here.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

Smartphones an important learning tool

Opinions are divided on whether mobile phones have a detrimental effect on young people.

I think that youngsters can gain so much from these devices as long as they do not go too far in terms of overuse and become addicted.

Some parents take the attitude that a smartphone will be too much of a distraction from their children's studies.

They may, in extreme cases, ban them or impose restrictions. But, used properly, they can be an invaluable learning tool.

The fact is that there are subjects children will struggle to understand and new technology can help them.

Also, they can discuss what they are studying with classmates through communication apps that they will find on their smartphones.

A total ban could prove to be an obstacle to learning for students.

I think children who are academically motivated are quite capable of resisting the temptation to overuse and abuse their smartphones.

If they are faced with the temptation to misuse the smartphone and overcome that temptation, then this will be a lesson for them and they will learn from it.

Parents should certainly oversee their children's use of smartphones and offer advice when they think it is appropriate.

Xu Manfei, Kowloon Tong

Taking issue with claims about bias

In the article by James Griffiths about gender bias in science and technology ("Gender bias an issue not confined to Hong Kong", July 27), only one side in the debate is represented.

It is not even mentioned that there is a debate on gender bias in this area.

The impression is thus created that it is an established fact that the under-representation of women in science and technology is due to bias or discrimination.

However, there is considerable evidence to the contrary.

Moreover, this evidence is not difficult to find or access.

For example, the psychologists Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, who are well-known experts in the field, do not believe in systematic anti-woman bias in science and technology. Their work has featured on the websites of CNN, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post between April and June 2015, just one to three months after the article in the Harvard Business Review appeared, from which your reporter seems to have sourced all his information.

At least it would have been better if an alternative perspective such as that of Ceci and Williams had been included in the article.

Rafael De Clercq, Yuen Long