Letters to the Editor, September 25, 2015
A world-class city needs a green park
It ironic that a proposed garden bridge spanning the River Thames in London will be receiving donations from four Hongkongers ("HK help for London's 'garden in sky'", September 5).
The money will go towards installing benches on the bridge, and naming rights will be sold off.
Hong Kong Alternatives, a citizen advocacy group for a cultural green park in West Kowloon Cultural District, has been promoting this type of citizen participation as part of the overall financing of the park.
It is disappointing that our appeals to the West Kowloon District Council Authority and other bodies over the last decade have been ignored. After 12 years, the site remains barren land, devoid of the world-class green park that could be the pride of Hong Kong. A decision was made to downsize the park from the original plan of almost 20 hectares.
A world-class city must not focus only on economic development, but must pay equal attention to education and culture.
We are at a loss to understand why the authority has not initiated our proposed citizen sponsorship of tree planting, bench naming and other available amenities? That the arts hub's projects keep going over budget is irresponsible.
The authority should think about future generations and those hard-working citizens who are entitled to enjoy a sustainable, open green park along the vanishing harbourfront.
Perhaps the authority chairman and chairman of the Legislative Council's subcommittee on the cultural district's development would care to comment.
K. N. Wai, on behalf of Hong Kong Alternatives
Protect forests and help save the planet
I agree with the article by Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation ("Deforestation slows down, bringing hope", September 8).
Although the rate of net global deforestation has slowed by more than 50 per cent since 1990, citizens of all countries need to try and protect their forests. When more trees are felled, the precious resources of the forest are lost.
The UN summit to adopt a new sustainable development agenda starts today in New York. I hope it can agree on the goals to be set. The challenge of feeding a growing global population has been made even harder by climate change, increasing water and land scarcity, and soil and land degradation.
However, if the sustainable development plans are to be successful, we need to preserve our forests. Forests are cut down for many reasons, but the biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Millions of people depend on forests to meet their food, energy and shelter needs. They are an irreplaceable part of any sustainable development programme.
We cannot reduce the impact climate change is having on the planet unless we protect the forests that are left on the planet.
Susie Yip Pui-sze, Kwai Chung
Parents should step back for children's sake
I refer to the report ("Employers would rather hire mainland graduates over 'less hard-working' Hongkongers, experts claim", September 9).
It concerns me that the quality of fresh graduates in Hong Kong is declining.
I think there are reasons for them being less hard-working than previous generations and more reluctant to face challenges.
One reason is over-protective parents. One example was mentioned in the report, where a management trainee found visiting construction sites to be "hard work" and his parents called the supervisor the next day and complained.
This is a distorted mindset and leads to young adults finding it difficult to face challenges.
There are also a lot more universities now than there were in the 1980s and a lot more graduates.
If I were an employer, I would probably be looking at a graduate who also had a master's degree.
Another problem is that if fresh graduates are being paid low salaries, they may feel less motivated, because even if they work very hard, they feel they won't be justly rewarded.
These young people are the future pillars of society. It is up to teachers and parents to educate the next generation and encourage them to adopt the correct attitude towards their working lives.
Otherwise, I think there will be a growing reliance on the part of employers on mainland graduates.
Kathy Sze Mei-yi, Tsuen Wan
Air-raid siren appropriate to reflect on war
I refer to the report ("Burnt fingers: National Day fireworks sponsor for Hong Kong drops sirens and bombs soundtrack after public outcry", September 16).
I can understand people being concerned about any theme in the fireworks display which is influenced by the central government.
However, I disagree with critics who were opposed to a proposed section of the display which would mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan in the second world war.
During National Day, this is an anniversary which we as a community should celebrate. Chinese people and the Chinese Communist Party fought against Japanese aggression and I think the proposed theme was acceptable.
Having an air-raid alarm sounding would enable people to reflect on war.
Eddie Wong Ting-yiu, Tseung Kwan O
What's behind Ocean Park's hike for cars?
I renewed my six family Ocean Park annual passes last month. Last Thursday, I received an e-mail from Ocean Park telling me that parking at weekends had to be pre-booked. The next evening, I tried to reserve for Sunday, but it was fully booked. In addition, the price for parking has been increased from HK$150 to HK$250.
The justification for the two changes has been presented as an effort to alleviate congestion and queuing. If it were a simple supply and demand problem, then the massive price hike would surely correct the misalignment.
There must be more to it than that, particularly since it now appears impossible to actually book a parking place, even two days in advance.
I have a question for Ocean Park. It is a professionally managed organisation, which doubtless knew it would upset many loyal customers with these changes. It must have done the maths, and cost-benefit analysis. These changes cannot be driven by inept management thinking and decision-making.
So, tell us honestly, what is the real reason for the change? Could it be that there is a special interest group that the new policy is really pandering to? Maybe the corporate hospitality segment?
George Haylett, Tai Tam
Regulator turning deaf ear over HKT
I have recently had reason to complain to the Office of the Communications Authority (Ofca) about the appalling service meted out to me by HKT on Lamma Island.
In its reply, the authority told me that in a fully liberalised market, it should not interfere in matters affecting the service quality, maintenance arrangements and complaints handling provided by telecom companies.
In a fully liberalised market, with proper and reliable consumer information, it is true that consumers can indeed rely on the workings of the market to deal with their grievances - if they don't like one company, they cancel their contracts and go to another.
However, on Lamma and other outlying islands, we are stuck with the fact that HKT operates as a de facto monopoly.
Residents cannot, therefore, rely on the benefits of a "fully liberalised market" as we have nowhere else to go. We are stuck with an omnipotent HKT.
If Ofca will not exercise its powers to protect our interests, then the only other option for us is to use the courts, which takes time, patience and money.
While I agree with Ofca's position in the parts of Hong Kong where a free market does actually exist, it must look very hard at its role in supporting customers who live in the outlying islands.
Regulators exist to prevent companies abusing their licences and to protect against the failures of the market, and there is no doubt that we need their protection.
Lee Faulkner, Lamma
Too many mooncakes wasted
I refer to the letter by Chan Yuen-yi ("We must try to cut back on festival waste", September 15) about the Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend.
I appreciate that mooncakes are a symbol of the festival and most Hongkongers will buy them before and during the festival.
However, people tend to buy too many and a lot of them are thrown away.
This adds to the problem of the large volumes of food waste generated in Hong Kong every day, which is getting more serious.
Also, many adults enjoy purchasing gifts for children, especially lanterns, which are an integral part of the festival.
There is nothing wrong with that, but again, after the festival, a lot of these lanterns are discarded.
However, the lanterns are usually still in perfectly good condition and citizens should get into the habit of keeping them so they can be used next year.
We need to think more carefully before buying products so we can have a more environmentally friendly festival.
Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O