Letters to the Editor, September 01, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 August, 2015, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 August, 2015, 4:56pm

Abandoned babies a real tragedy

Because of the central government's one-child policy, mainland China grapples with the problem of abandoned children.

When a family has a second child, some parents will choose to abandon or even kill the baby.

Some parents might also abandon the child, even if it is the first one, if it has been born disabled. The number of abandoned children on the mainland is significant.

Last week, a newborn girl was rescued from a public bathroom in Beijing, where police found her wedged face down.

Babies and disabled children do not deserve to be treated in this way.

The central government has a duty to help them. I also think that people living outside the mainland have an important role to play.

When we can afford to, we should be willing to donate money to mainland orphanages so they can buy whatever equipment they need to help these children. More couples, again if they can afford to, should think about adopting a baby from one of the orphanages.

Parents have to recognise that what they are doing is terribly wrong when they abandon a child.

Venice Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Higher petrol tax can raise awareness

I refer to the article by Paul Stapleton ("A drive for cleaner air", August 26).

I agree that an increased tax on petrol could help clean Hong Kong's bad air. Over the last few years, with a rapid increase in population and economic growth, we have seen different kinds of pollution getting worse, including our air. A major factor here is roadside pollution from car exhausts. This adversely affects citizens' quality of life and it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Apart from giving the government more powers, it is also important to raise levels of public awareness about environmental protection.

This can partly be done through increasing the price of petrol at the pumps. It may have little effect on rich drivers, but hopefully will get the message across to the motorists that fuel is non-renewable.

In our daily lives, we should all try to find ways to reduce pollution. For example, we can practise the three R's - reduce, reuse, recycle.

Citizens should try wherever possible to use public transport and bring shopping bags with them when they go to the supermarket.

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment.

Humans and the environment are closely linked and inseparable.

We should be aiming to actively develop the economy while protecting the environment. And we all have to accept responsibility for being eco-friendly.

Yoyo Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

Trams will need to be modernised

The suggestion to scrap the tram from Central to Admiralty in order to improve traffic congestion has made Hongkongers think about this form of transport.

The Hong Kong tram is one of the iconic symbols of the city. It is an integral part of our history and one of the things that makes the city so unique.

It is hugely popular with tourists and most of them will know about it before they come here and will be keen to take at least one trip while on holiday.

Many Hong Kong residents may not use it regularly, but enjoy travelling on it now and again.

It is therefore culturally very important. It is also much cheaper than other forms of public transport. Its low fares are in marked contrast to the high cost of so many other things in the city.

The tram system must be preserved at all costs. However, it must be upgraded, as it is often seen as too slow by those Hongkongers who lead busy lives.

If there are no improvements implemented, then I think passenger usage would continue to decline.

All the interiors of trams must have air-conditioning. The engines need to be updated so that it can travel at faster speeds. And there should be updates at stops about when the next tram is coming.

No part of the network should be eliminated.

The trams' unique qualities should be recognised and appreciated and it should remain in Central. But improvements to the network are needed.

Shing Chun-yui, Kowloon Tong 

Congestion is due to illegal parking

I was astonished at the proposal made to the Town Planning Board to cancel the tram route from Central to Admiralty.

Anyone backing such an idea has failed to recognise the real cause of Hong Kong's congestion problems in Central.

It is wrong to point an accusing finger at this iconic part of Hong Kong's transport system.

The man who made the proposal to the board, Sit Kwok-keung, seems to believe these traditional "ding-dings" are outdated and pointless. They are a traditional form of transport that can save us from overcrowded streets and filthy air.

The true source of Central's congestion is caused by the many private cars which park illegally and also overlapping bus routes. Even if the tram route was scrapped, it would not lead to fewer cars and buses. In fact, it would make congestion and pollution even worse than it already is. We would end up with even more illegally parked cars.

The presence of trams makes cars avoid their tracks in the middle of the road, thereby alleviating congestion.

Also, they use electricity so they are a very clean public transport option.

If it wants to alleviate congestion in Central, the government should encourage upgrading the tram fleet.

Also, it should crack down on this serious problem of illegal parking and overlapping bus routes. Officials have to accept that they have a responsibility to tackle this problem.

If action is not taken, the congestion problems will only get worse.

Chan Yan-lam, Yau Yat Chuen 

Why are product labels in Chinese?

Can anyone at Watson's explain to me why product labels at Tai Wo are in Chinese only?

For those of us who don't read Chinese, how are we supposed to discern which prices apply to which products (items on shelves don't always line up with tags), not to mention what promotions are available?

For A. S. Watson Group to discriminate against foreigners in this manner, in this day and age, is simply a poor business practice.

Randall van der Woning, Tai Po

Construction sector needs to import labour

The Hong Kong property market is approaching an irrational condition.

There are record-breaking property transaction prices despite the recent turmoil in China's financial market. A shortage of construction labour and rising labour costs add fuel to the fire; the government should address this unhealthy situation immediately.

The chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association said the bottleneck of property supply was partly due to the shortage of construction labour. Skyrocketing labour costs also mean there is little room for price reductions in private housing.

The government and Construction Industry Council have spared no effort to encourage young people to join the industry. But the turnover rate of young construction labour is disappointingly high. It is difficult to endure the tough working environment in construction sites.

As such, we should seriously consider the feasibility of labour importation for the construction industry.

It would be a more flexible method to relieve the labour shortage while preventing the problem of unemployment, which may occur when the market reverses in the future since labour demand in the construction industry is only cyclical and relatively short-term.

When we consider the pros and cons of importing labour, we should remember the plight experienced by unemployed construction workers in the early 2000s.

Stanley Ip, Tseung Kwan O

Against total ban on e-cigarettes

I refer to the letter by Ling Koo ("E-cigarettes ban may not be the answer", August 27).

A recent study has shown that the vapours from electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco. Despite this, the government seems determined to go ahead with a ban on their sale. I think it should think twice before going ahead with a total ban.

The content of e-cigarettes is less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Some smokers find it very difficult to kick the habit. If they had access to e-cigarettes, at least it would provide them with an option.

I realise the concerns about youngsters using e-cigarettes, but I think the advantages of making them legal outweigh the disadvantages.

What the government can do is regulate the ingredients of e-cigarettes that are sold in Hong Kong.

The best way to help students is for schools and parents to warn them about the harmful effects of smoking.

Adults have to ensure impressionable youngsters are kept on the right track.

Ho Chui-ying, Sha Tin