Letters to the Editor, February 5, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 5:29pm

Road racers put lives at risk in Pok Fu Lam

Barely a week goes by without some idiots in sports cars and modified sedans engaging in street racing along Pok Fu Lam Road.

This sometimes involves up to eight cars travelling at excessive speed, ducking and weaving as they try to overtake each ­other.

Although the races typically take place in the early hours of the morning, there is still other innocent traffic along the road at that time, not least ambulances entering and leaving Queen Mary Hospital.

This is of course incredibly dangerous. It would be a real ­tragedy if one of the racers killed themselves, worse still if they killed an innocent, for instance a student at the Ebenezer School for the Visually Impaired.

I would like to know what the police are doing to stop such road racing, and to arrest and jail the offenders. Sitting back and waiting for a fatality to occur seems to be the current policy.

I have been told that the ­racers often engage scouts who cruise the course before the ­racing starts.

Well, if that is the case then surely that suggests the need for multiple, permanent speed cameras. Even if such cameras run at an operating loss (I am sure they don’t), what price do the police and Transport Department place on lives saved?

Andrew Smyth, Pok Fu Lam

HKU students standing up for their principles

I refer to Paul Serfaty’s letter (“Encourage youth’s love of freedom”, January 18).

I agree with your correspondent that Hong Kong citizens should encourage young ­people’s passion for freedom in order to propel society forward and improve its development.

It is good to see that university students are enthusiastic about politics and are getting ­involved. Their willingness to voice their opinions on how to progress towards their ideal society are of paramount importance and an integral part of the evolution of Hong Kong.

Students at the University of Hong Kong are not to blame for HKU dropping in any academic rankings tables.

They are protesting against what they see as improper manipulation of the university. They want to make fundamental changes. Achieving that is far more important than rankings. Anyway, there is no proof of a link between a drop in rankings and the current ­student activism. We should not call into question the good intentions of these young people.

It is vital the young people are encouraged to be active in movements and causes they ­believe in and all citizens should be interested in current affairs and the issues that directly affect Hongkongers.

Proactive public participation in political issues can show these students that they are not alone.

Cindy Lo, Tseung Kwan O

Lawmakers highly-paid circus clowns

Legco meetings are like a three-ring circus, with quite a few lawmakers employing the filibuster and not turning up so there is not a quorum for a vote.

This stalls proceedings in the chamber, and can stop the government from implementing some policies. And in this ­circus, these lawmakers are the most highly-paid circus clowns on the planet.

Existing procedures in ­Legco can only work if the lawmakers are conscientious and take their responsibilities very seriously.

They have a duty to attend all meetings, irrespective of ­whether they are familiar with what is being discussed or disagree with the issues under consideration. In Hong Kong, conscientious workers occupying public offices are a dying breed.

Some of these lawmakers have covert objectives and in ­order to achieve them they wreak havoc on the economy and the livelihoods of members of the community who are poor. However, they are unaffected by a malfunctioning government and any economic downturn, because as lawmakers they earn high salaries. Internationally, they have tarnished the city’s reputation for impressive efficiency, by dragging their feet over issues of importance to the SAR.

This is a fiercely competitive world, and they are leading the city towards an economic catastrophe. Before it is too late, the rules for Legco must be ­amended, to:

Introduce rules that are similar to the Australian parliament with regulations that ­restrict the time lawmakers are allowed to speak on a bill; and

Legally empower Legco to compel the attendance of lawmakers by the “call of the house” procedure.

I hope that our lawmakers will stop acting like circus clowns and carry out their ­duties.

Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po

Irresponsible actions during city’s big freeze

Many of the frost chasers who went to Tai Mo Shan during the very cold weather last month did so without thinking about the consequences of their actions.

Some of them got into ­trouble, falling ill with hypothermia and sustaining injuries and had to be rescued by firemen. They ignored warnings from ­police about the freezing conditions on Tai Mo Shan and this makes me furious. They showed no respect for police officers.

They did not bother to think about why they were being urged to stay off the mountain. Going up a mountain like Tai Mo Shan when temperatures are so low is like going to coastal areas when a typhoon is approaching.

I went to my secondary school as usual and although I wore a few layers of clothes I still felt very cold. We all need to ­better prepared for these ­extremely cold weather conditions in the future.

Annie Lai, Kowloon Tong

Street sleepers 24-hour shelter when it is cold

When temperatures dropped dramatically last month street sleepers struggled to find a place where the could get some protection from the extreme cold. Government shelters only opened overnight and people had to leave the next morning.

Also, some of the homeless avoided the shelters, because they were afraid their possessions would be stolen.

Outside with temperatures being as low as three degrees Celsius in urban areas it was ­difficult to find any place where they could keep warm and they had to stay on the streets shivering.

The next time we have very cold weather the government must open shelters for longer periods, if necessary, for 24 hours.

It should also ensure that warm clothes, hats, blankets and food are made readily available.

Sin Tak-yiu, Sha Tin

New app could encourage cyberbullying

We keep seeing more apps being introduced, making internet ­access easier for everyone.

One of the most recent is the mobile app Blindspot from ­Israel.

However, it has met with fierce criticism since it was launched, with parents, ­teachers and Israeli lawmakers expressing concern.

They fear it could lead to a rise in cyberbullying and I agree with that view.

Those who use Blindspot can send messages, videos or photos to anyone without the ­receiver knowing who the ­message came from.

I can’t help thinking that many of those who wish to ­remain anonymous want to ­harass, embarrass or even ­threaten other people online.

In Israel, high schools have issued warnings to parents ­urging them not to allow their children to install this app in their mobile phones.

The government in Hong Kong should do the same. ­Education Bureau officials should be concerned about the consequences if Blindspot ­becomes popular here and ­attracts a lot of users online.

Cyberbullying is a serious problem. There have been cases in some countries of young ­people committing suicide ­because they were victims of bullying online.

There needs to be more ­discussion of this serious issue of cyberbullying in our society.

It is vitally important that the Hong Kong administration cracks down on this disturbing phenomenon.

Anson Hung, Kwun Tong

Remembering a pioneer in trail running

Your excellent article on trail running in Hong Kong ­(“Thereby hangs a trail”, January 26) mentioned the key role which was played by the ­founders of Hong Kong’s ­brilliant country parks.

Another name we should mention was Andy Blunier, who revolutionised running in Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s.

His Marathon Sports shop, his running magazines On & On and then Asian Runner and above all his “7 Reservoirs” race series changed the face of Hong Kong running.

There were a few trail races on the calendar before Andy (the very tough Plover Cove race and the Mount Butler race for ­instance). However, it was Andy who popularised trail running especially among local ­youngsters.

He was a very determined man and like all crusaders he could be difficult, but Hong Kong runners owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his work here over nearly two decades.

After Andy’s relentless campaigning, Hong Kong trail ­running was never the same again.

Clinton Leeks, Houghton le Spring, England