Letters to the Editor, November 29, 2015

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 November, 2015, 12:16am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 November, 2015, 12:15am

Housing or conservation, we must decide

Hong Kong is famous, or infamous, for its high population density and housing shortage.

It has long been a dilemma - whether the government should cater for housing needs or stand firm on environmental protection.

After all, it is a matter of opportunity cost and choices. While land reclamation or the construction of artificial islands are put forward to create more land supply, the destruction of marine ecology must not be overlooked; while the development of green belt areas seems to be feasible, it raises the question of breaking environmental conservation laws.

Housing and the sense of security brought by it remain the foundation of our living. ­Imagine a utopia where we all own our own shelter and live with dignity.

To realise this ­utopia, we have to escape the current deadlock and search for a new way ahead.

Building vertical cities of interconnected mega-towers may be a potential solution.

Winnie Fong, Mong Kok

Better care for trees in city is long overdue

I refer to the report (“Poor tree care puts Hong Kong’s green heritage at risk, warn experts”, October 23).

Trees are valuable natural ­resources. In Hong Kong such a relentless and rapid city, trees adds a pastel colour to it. ­However, because of the ­scarcity of land in Hong Kong, trees ­often have to be cut down to build houses.

The relevant government department might do something putting in a supporting bracket.

This can prevent a tree from falling, but the department is not really taking care of the tree.

Also, when roadside trees are deemed to have their branches too low and it is thought this could adversely ­affect traffic, they could end up being be severely pruned by government staff.

I see this as a poor quality of care and it may create a cavity or lead to decay. In the long run, the trees may fall.

There should be better care of trees and any treatment ­needed to save a tree should be done promptly.

All citizens should be ­concerned about the state of our trees and the need to ensure proper protection so that we can maintain a green environment.

Sarah Lam Kwan-fong, Kowloon Tong

Many helpers get raw deal even on day off

In addition to the questions posed by Farzana Aslam (“Up to helpers to decide how to spend their day off in HK”, November 22) to Hong Kong residents ­regarding their helpers’ days off, I would add the following: would any of us accept demands from employers that we return home at 6, 7 or 8pm in the evening?

Would any of us accept demands that at the beginning of our day off we spend a couple of hours washing our employer’s car and getting his/her breakfast ready, or that after returning home early we do other housework? Or get up a couple of times in the early morning of our day off to tend to our employer’s ­crying baby?

While the live-in rule seems to me to have both advantages and disadvantages, being able to avoid such unreasonable ­demands would seem to me to be a good thing.

Geoff Carey, Sai Kung

Unable to take terrorists at their word

Many commentators, while defending Islam from inspiring the Paris terror attacks, have stated that in all religions justification for such actions can be found in the scripture, which is a common argument heard, but one which is factually false.

Looking at the Bible for example, of course one can find horrible stories in the Old Testament, but in no way does this transcend into one believing that they must hurt, kill, rape or harm other people.

The idea that all religions are the same, that they all hold the same views on free thinkers, human rights, and promote living in a pluralistic society is completely incorrect.

People in the West are unable to take the terrorists at their word when the terrorists say they commit these savage acts in the name of their religion, while pointing to the scripture for justification.

Secularists just cannot understand that people actually believe these things, that they actually look at the Koran as the word of God and follow the instructions inside, even when they blow themselves up or dance on the streets celebrating their children’s deaths as they commit these acts.

Boko Haram, Hamas, Islamic State (IS) Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, to name but a few, all commit their terror acts in the name of their religion. The leader of IS has a PhD in Islamic studies from the most prominent university in Islam, Al-Azhar. To suggest that these people, who devote their entire lives to their religion, don’t know what they are talking about, is rather foolish.

Dermot Cooper, Causeway Bay

Integrated education not suitable for HK

Implementing integrated education in mainstream schools is a controversial issue in Hong Kong.

Integrated education aims to provide an equal learning opportunity for both disabled and non-disabled students by studying in the same learning environment inclusively.

The idea is sound . It is seen as a way of eliminating discrimination against disabled students and can help them to develop good communication skills.

However, there are practical problems when it comes to implementation of such a policy. The education system in Hong Kong is very competitive as students work hard to get a university place. The learning pace is fast. How could a disabled student adapt to this hectic learning atmosphere?

The government has offered little economic support to make an integrated system possible. There are not enough training courses for teachers to learn to cope in an integrated teaching environment. There are not enough suitably qualified teachers who would be able to teach disabled students in mainstream schools.

Children with special needs may face social stigma when studying in mainstream schools and might face even more discrimination than before.

Based on the unreadiness of Hong Kong society to accept integrated education, it will be much better for disabled and non-disabled students to study in different schools.

Helen So, Sha Tin

Statue is less of a problem than phone zombies

I refer to the report (“It’s an obstruction, insists complainant about statue”, November 25).

I find it bizarre that the ­Highways Department would fence off the Antony Gormley sculpture on the strength of just one complainant. Where is its common sense? The triangle of railings that its contractor placed around the statue ­created much more of an ­obstruction.

The Naked Man statue is looking straight ahead with arms by his sides, and is much less of an obstruction than the legion of smartphone ­“zombies” who wander our pavements mesmerised by their hand-held screens.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai