Letters to the Editor, November 8, 2015

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 November, 2015, 10:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 November, 2015, 10:30am

China is not the only one building reefs

It is no surprise that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting closed without making the statement that the US requested ("Asean scraps joint statement as Beijing blocks mention of South China Sea", November 5), amid a stand-off between US and Chinese warships around the Chinese islands built up from reefs in the South China Sea.

Not only have some of the Asean members carried out the same reclamation works in the South China Sea before the Chinese did, but America's protégés elsewhere were also doing the same. Asean was not convinced that the reclamation work was, as the Americans allege, wrongdoing.

Japan claimed the Okinotori reef in 1931 and, after its return by the US in 1969, proceeded to lay several thousand square metres of concrete on top to turn it into an island and claimed both territorial waters and an exclusive economic zone around it.

In 2014, Britain finally claimed possession of the Atlantic rock Rockall and claimed territorial waters and an exclusive economic zone (shared with Ireland) around it, having failed in the 1970s in the face of objections.

Singapore is now 24 per cent and, by 2033, will be 41 per cent reclaimed land. Where do we think its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone should start from?

At least where the Chinese built up the islands from are sovereign reefs formally returned by the Japanese after its defeat in the second world war. They are entitled to territorial waters. Whereas China has never denied foreign vessels innocent passage through her territorial waters, the US warships' were not innocent passages.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan


Taxis need protection from Uber

The ride-hailing service Uber should not be legalised in Hong Kong.

Uber's better service does not make it legitimate. In August, several Uber drivers were arrested in Hong Kong, allegedly because they lacked the required hire-car permits or third-party insurance. Hong Kong is a lawful city and should not tolerance the illegal use of vehicles for hire.

The government should protect the licensed operators. Free ride-hailing services like Uber create unfair competition because the company does not pay taxes or licensing fees.

Uber is making the lives of many Hong Kong taxi drivers miserable, as anyone with a car can be a non-licensed "taxi" driver. A report found that yellow cab drivers in New York earned 9 per cent less on average after the introduction of ride-hailing services.

People who support Uber are dissatisfied with the poor attitude of the taxi drivers and want more competition in the transport market. What is perhaps needed is a self-monitoring system for the licensed operators.

Legalising ride-hailing services in Hong Kong is not the best option to protect consumers' interest. I believe the number of complaints about taxi services can be substantially reduced if a self-monitoring system is in place.

Maggie Mak Yuen Ting, Yau Yat Chuen

HK should have more statues of note

The appeal of the world's great cities is judged by their passage through history, their cosmopolitan inhabitants, their arts, architecture, parks and gardens, flourishing fountains and, not least, by the statues of those who contributed to this rich matrix.

Rather than eradicate associations with Hong Kong's colonial past, by removing the crown symbol from postboxes, perhaps our local mandarins might consider adding to the already existing assemblage of statues of Queen Victoria, Sun Yat-sen, Thomas Jackson, King George VI, John Robert Osborn VC, and Bruce Lee.

They could do this by reinforcing the truly international flavour of Hong Kong's heritage, commissioning statues of such historic figures as José Rizal and Ho Chi Minh. Like Sun Yat-sen, Rizal and Ho spent time in Hong Kong, organising revolutions to subvert the occupiers of their respective countries.

Frank Fischbeck, Central


Add a 'support' button instead on Facebook

As a frequent Facebook user, I love getting "likes" from friends on my posts. It encourages me to share more about myself. This way, I improve my interpersonal skills and communication with friends.

I also make it a point to "like" friends' posts. This is because, to me, the gesture means giving support or attention to a person or an event. If Facebook introduces a "dislike" button, I am afraid that some people would just use it to attack or bully people they don't like.

Facebook already has a "report spam" feature that users can use on posts that make them feel uncomfortable. This is good enough. There's no need for a "dislike" button.

In fact, I think a "support" button should be added instead. Sometimes people share news of a death or other sad news. In this case, giving a "like" may not be appropriate. So, apart from sending our condolences by writing in the comment section, a "support" button, if there was one, could be used to send comfort.

I think Facebook has no need and no legitimate reason to add the "dislike" button. But a "support" button would be a great way to encourage people going through difficult times.

Justin Yeung, Tai Wai

Flaunt our postboxes, not hide them

Last month, the whole world watched the visit by President Xi Jinping to Britain, accompanied by the pomp and circumstance given to no other leaders in modern Chinese history.

Therefore, it is incongruous, to say the least, and politically insensitive for the Hong Kong government to consider defacing the crown crest or royal insignia cast on our postboxes.

The only magnanimous gesture to commemorate the event, I would suggest, is for the postmaster general to gild the crown crest and royal emblems, and to compile and publish the locations of the 59 posting pillars to form a trail for tourists.

Let Hong Kong people save the interesting artefacts for posterity, to be able to flaunt our legacy that is not found anywhere else in China.

Helen C. Ma, Mid-Levels


Officials not doing enough on tunnel toll

I refer to your editorial, "Seize chance to review tunnel toll" (November 4).

I, too, disagree with the government's view that cutting the Eastern Harbour Tunnel toll might not help divert traffic from the congested Cross-Harbour Tunnel. Drivers will appreciate being given the choice of which route to take.

I also doubt if the Eastern Harbour Tunnel has reached its full capacity. Seldom do we hear of a traffic congestion near the eastern tunnel. Yet traffic congestion is commonplace at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.

I believe officials have not done all they can on this issue. If they continue to turn a blind eye, sooner or later, it will become an international laughing stock, just like the closure of the Tsing Ma Bridge a few weeks ago.

Willis Wan Chun-yu, Clear Water Bay