Letters to the Editor, December 20, 2015

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 December, 2015, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 December, 2015, 12:15am

Ban private cars to ease traffic jams

I refer to Bernard Chan’s article (“No good reason to choke idea for car-free Central”, November 27).

I do not think the proposal to ban vehicles from Des Voeux Road Central is an efficient way to solve the traffic problem in Central.

It will be very inconvenient for many citizens and keeping the tram service will not appeal to those rushing for school and the office. It’s slow and may take 15 minutes to go from Central to Sheung Wan, but only five minutes by car. Although commuters can take the MTR, why would they when there is already a bus stop nearby?

The plan would cause a lot of complaints and it can only solve the traffic jam in Des Voeux Road. How about the other roads in the area? When drivers find a new route, many will be stuck in the same road, causing congestion somewhere else.

And as for the air quality problems, it may end up being cleaner in Des Voeux Road but the roadside pollution will just be transferred “around the ­corner” when the cars find ­another way to their destination.

More drivers will be searching for the same route and that won’t help the environment.

The government should just ban private cars from passing along Des Voeux Road. This move would not worsen the quality of life of the citizens ­nearby. The lower number of vehicles would help improve the air quality.

Emma Lau, Ho Man Tin

Taxi drivers not doing the right thing

It is now clear the bad behaviour somehow tolerated by residents during Occupy Central is now common among taxi drivers.

The rise in the number of complaints does not paint the full picture of the situation that has really deteriorated over the last 12 months.

Many passengers prefer to move on and decide not to file complaints (it is only a phone call to the hotline 2889 9999 by the way) believing it would be a complete waste of time.

The authorities, other than trying to create obstacles to fair market competition (Uber crackdown) are doing nothing, possibly standing by the “small government in large market” rule, and forgetting that you still should guarantee a proper functioning of the “market”, and not the interests of a local lobby.

In the end, it is a very good example of why other “world ­cities” (Singapore, for example) are now better equipped than Hong Kong to provide residents and visiting businessmen and tourists with good and reliable taxi services.

Fabio De Rosa, The Peak

Little wonder Uber niche opened up

Another day, another taxi driver breaks the law and refuses our hail.

Instead of turning around, which he could have easily done, he rolled down the ­window, asked us where we were going, and then drove away when he didn’t like what he heard.

Shame on this taxi driver.

I have little sympathy for drivers like him, who complain about a service like Uber (but it wouldn’t gain such a strong foothold if cabbies like him didn’t behave so poorly).

I know not all drivers are alike, but there are enough bad actors to poison the well, and it seems only to be getting worse.

They will have no one to blame but themselves if they lose their jobs.

Randall van der Woning, Tai Po

TSA stress is from parents, not the test

What is wrong with parents? It is ridiculous and radical of them to tell the government to the scrap the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA). It’s just a test to assess students’ abilities and weaknesses in the three core subjects, Chinese, English and mathematics.

I don’t see any stress in dealing with an assessment as this is like a check-up by a doctor, to diagnose and point out some demerits of my studies so I can improve my study methods. This test is not something that has to be practised a lot, but only needs full attention in class as the way to excel in grades.

The TSA is to help the government review policies and to provide focused support to schools. Scrapping it certainly won’t help solve Hong Kong’s deteriorating English standard.

The most stress comes from students’ parents who force them to do hundreds of exercises every day hoping they can pass with flying colours.

I think parents should encourage their children to pay more attention in school and do their homework wholeheartedly. Students will get higher marks in the TSA as it is just a test for basic skills which students should have learnt from class.

A way to relieve students’ stress is to let them play outside more often.

The TSA is important for the government and students. However, parents and society should pay more attention to the daily pressure children face and try to tackle it with them.

Justin Yeung, Tai Wai

Paris deal is a start but hard work ahead

Beware the joyous vibe emanating across the world from Paris.

I applaud the actualisation of global consensus. By itself, however, the Paris climate ­accord will not save the earth. It is the first step in a perilous journey that holds the potential to drag our planet back from the abyss.

The long-term operationalisation needed to meet the ­accord’s ambition remains at risk of being stillborn by internal rivalry,vested self-interest, lack of will and worst of all, sabotage by climate change deniers.

Paris is a healing step but the great ice sheets remain imperilled, the oceans still rise, forests and reefs remain under stress, tens of thousands are dying in heatwaves and floods, and ecological degradation continues unabated.

2014 and 2015 were the ­hottest years in recorded history; all 10 of the hottest years dating back to 1880 have ­occurred since 1998.

Meaningful action on global warming has been delayed for so long and emissions allowed to rise so high, that targets set in Paris will remain difficult to achieve.

The Paris deal will hopefully incite a concerted assessment of the mammoth challenges we face.

Importantly, it is a sentinel signal to global financial and ­energy markets that triggers a fundamental shift away from investment in coal, oil and gas as primary energy sources toward zero-carbon energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear power.

Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Careful eating and exercise key to health

Nowadays, there are many ­public health problems concerning food and we should do more to protect ourselves.

Firstly, when we go to the supermarket we should check the nutrition label carefully to know which ingredients it’s best to avoid.

W e should not only remember to buy foods that have less sugar and salt but also to do more exercise and play more sport.

We should aim for around 15 to 30 minutes each day or do sport twice a week with friends so that it’s fun while we make our bodies stronger.

The government can also play its part and should remind citizens to be more careful in their daily lives and develop healthy habits.

Following some simple rules can help us reduce the risk of public health problems.

Suki Lee, Hang Hau