Letters to the Editor, March 27

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 12:15am

Replacement airport best solution

The answer to David Dodwell’s challenge (“Crowded skies add to woes for airports”, March 21) is to change to larger aircraft.

At Kai Tak, the single-runway old airport replaced by Chek Lap Kok in 1998, we saw the breath-taking traffic growth coming with the advent of the wide-bodied jets in 1969 and stretched the airport capacity from 18 million to 30 million passengers a year by adding about 200 per cent more parking stands (to a total of 69) on the fortunately still vacant Kowloon Bay reclamation and doubling the passenger ­terminal space.

Sure enough, Kai Tak was handling 30 million passengers a year at its close of play. The airlines had done their part changing to larger and larger aircraft types – averaging 280 seats per aircraft in the end, which could still grow if necessary, the intercontinental B747 then having 420 seats and the high-density short-range B747 (used inside Japan) having 550 seats.

The lateral spacing between runways and parallel taxiways could have been a problem for most airports in the region ­because of the unexpected increase in wing span of these new super large aircraft types.

We in Hong Kong solved this problem by building a link bridge from the runway promontory, across the “fragrant” nullah, to the Kowloon Bay parking apron.

Having learned this expensive lesson, Chek Lap Kok was designed from the ­outset to accommodate aircraft with the wingspan of the then not yet flying Airbus A380.

The congested skies? My firm belief, shared by many, is that we should build a replacement (not second) airport elsewhere so our flight paths do not have to go outside our own airspace to get entangled with those of the Shenzhen and Macau airports.

It won’t take much longer, if at all, than building the third runway at Chek Lap Kok (ready in 2026 at the earliest).

The land at Chek Lap Kok could be sold for probably as much, if not more, than the money needed to build the replacement airport. Hong Kong will never have too much land.

And the clash, resulting from a third runway at Chek Lap Kok, is not only air-to-air, it is also air-to-sea. The shipping restriction area required to give the obstacle clearance slope for this third runway goes outside Hong Kong SAR’s territorial sea.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Keeping air con blasting is madness

There was another article in the South China Morning Post about the dangers of climate change, this time on how it will soon start to dry up Hong Kong’s reservoirs (“Climate change to claim ‘half a reservoir’ ”, March 21).

Meanwhile, as the cool ­winter drags on, Hong Kong’s public buildings and transport continue to waste millions of dollars keeping their air conditioning on high to make people uncomfortable (and quite possibly sick) and pump thousands of unnecessary tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Am I the only person here who thinks this is insane and just plain wrong on so many levels?

Warren Russell, Tseung Kwan O

Youth suicide must not be brushed aside

I refer to the report (“Alarm bells ring over Facebook posts on ­suicide”, March 15).

It is an alarming trend that some university students are posting suicide messages and information on social media in Hong Kong.

There has been a spate of ­student suicide cases in recent months which shows that teenagers’ mental health problems have to be noted and addressed .

A common reason for youth suicide is the pressure of study and from relationships with peers. Gloomy sources on the internet and books on suicide can also tip those in distress over the edge.

Measures should be taken to alleviate this intense situation. However, some critics say methods including organising seminars, talks and delivering leaflets are too passive.

Seldom do youngsters show interest in traditional approaches so these are not effective in addressing the problem. Unless effective action is taken, the situation will get worse.

The government can make good use of social media. With the trend in using apps and the internet, the government can promote mental health advice and stress-relieving guidance through simple apps or games. Also, parents should pay more attention to children in order to prevent tragedy. Students can seek help from professional counsellors for detailed advice.

To sum up, suicidal issues are severe. Teenagers need help and care from others. We must look into this matter seriously.

Iris Law Ka-yee, Yau Yat Chuen

Mobile app good avenue for advice

I am writing to express my point of view towards designing ­mobile apps to alleviate the ­severe suicide problem among students.

I think that is a creative and effective approach to get ­students to seek help. As a ­student, I would rather use the apps than visit a library and ­borrow some inspiring books when I am depressed.

I don’t think borrowing those books is an effective nor useful way to solve my emotional ­problem because the ideas in many of them are very common and have been repeated over and over again. Therefore, I think those traditional avenues are not as suitable as a mobile app, which is more convenient to tackle adolescent problems.

Nancy Lam, To Kwa Wan

Change exam system to ease pressure

Recently, some students gave up their lives because they were too stressed by school work.

As many people have ­pointed out students in Hong Kong should be free to explore different interests and possibilities, instead of being spoon-fed or overfed.

I agree with those legislators and teachers who have ­suggested that anyone reaching the age of around 15 should be allowed to choose between the academic stream and a government-funded vocational ­option.I will now explain why I am in favour of this policy.

Under the spoon-fed education system in Hong Kong, all pupils are required to spend six years in secondary schools studying the same curriculum, regardless of their academic abilities and be judged by the same final exam results.

No matter how bad the ­results, students should not feel frustrated. We all have different abilities. Exam results should not be the sole criteria to determine their future. The schools should not be blamed – the exam-oriented system should be changed.

Melody Wong, Tsuen Wan

Apply law safeguards to e-cigarettes

I refer to the letter by Borromeo Li Ka-kit (“Stringent rules on sale of e-cigarettes needed to protect youngsters”, March 7).

I agree that laws should be established quickly to stop adolescents from using e-cigarettes before it becomes a trend in Hong Kong.

I have no doubt that e-cigarettes are damaging to people’s health, with numerous research papers supporting this point of view.

Many users still insist that e-cigarettes are “safer” than ­tobacco, but it doesn’t change the fact that e-cigarettes are harmful to their health.

Worse is that there aren’t any age limits when buying e-cigarettes; in other words, it is technically not illegal for those under 18 to buy e-cigarettes.

All anti-smoking legislation in Hong Kong should also apply to e-cigarettes.

James Wong, Tseung Kwan O