Letters to the Editor, June 7, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 5:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 5:07pm

Sports groups could run some public venues

Both Robert Wilson’s article (“The weakest link”, May 28) and Sir David Akers-Jones’ ­ ­letter (“Why Olympic glory remains elusive for city”, June 1) argue that the government should give sports organisations more freedom to run facilities as a way to help develop organised sport in Hong Kong.

There are several examples of sports organisations that have taken the initiative to find vacant land, and to lease and build facilities on the sites concerned, which not only run more ­dynamic and varied programmes than the government but also do so at no direct cost to the taxpayer.

Aside from the examples quoted by Sir David, special mention should go to the Hong Kong Rugby Union. It has built good-quality sports pitches at King’s Park that are an invaluable resource not only to rugby players of all ages and levels, but also to the grass-roots amateur football players and community organisations that are given ­regular and easy access to the venue.

In a similar vein, Kitchee FC, with the help of a donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, has developed a sports ground in Sha Tin that is not only used for the club’s own training, but also allows a high degree of access to schools and community groups in an area that has a chronic shortage of football pitches.

Admittedly, not all sports organisations have the financial or administrative clout to develop or manage facilities in a way that is both responsive to community demands and financially ­viable.

For this reason, the government will continue to manage the majority of such facilities for general public use in the near term.

But it would not be too great a leap of faith for the government, in the light of the successful projects mentioned by Sir David and noted above, to allow more sports organisations with a proven track record of competent financial and event management the opportunity to help shape the development of sport in Hong Kong by running some of our public venues.

K. N. Mak, Mong Kok

Phone users keep paying for no service

Without warning, those of us using the SmarTone cellphone service in Clear Water Bay were suddenly without service.

Many phone calls to their helplines provided the information that their transmitter was no ­longer working because the lease on the building expired, and they were searching for ­another building on which to place their transmitter.

We have been without coverage for some months, and SmarTone has made no effort to let us know when coverage might be resumed.

Of course, we still have to pay the balance of the contract, right?

In my case, that is until next February. This strikes me as a very bad business practice, and perhaps the Ombudsman would like to give us advice.

I would like SmarTone to ­reply, through these columns, to their many aggrieved customers, to tell us when they can resume coverage.

If coverage cannot be resumed, then surely a refund on the contract is appropriate?

B. Park, Clear Water Bay

Use tow trucks to curb illegal parking in city

The Hong Kong police made a big show of “cracking down” on illegal parking in Central last week.

I am sure that as a good PR exercise, it also proved to be a tidy little earner. But the reality is that it hardly addresses even the tip of the problem.

In the working areas of this city, where thousands of drivers like myself need to go to work, ­illegal parking, including double (and even triple) parking, ­continues on a daily, if not ­hourly basis.

Inconsiderate motorists continue to park in spaces designated for disabled drivers.

We have heard ridiculous justifications for parking illegally, such as, that it is better to risk the very occasional ticket, which works out cheaper, than willingly letting our city’s car park operators gouge us with their ridiculous fees.

A solution is much simpler. Why not contract out to our hundreds of garages for their tow trucks to be on 24-hour call? Only by towing offending vehicles will the lesson be learnt. Now that would be a really tidy earner as well.

Gordon Loch, Sai Kung

Parents should monitor their children’s diets

A recent survey showed that more children are becoming obese in Hong Kong and we must try to understand why this is happening before seeking solutions.

I think that a lack of physical activity is an important factor that contributes to child obesity, since children can burn off a lot of calories if they exercise.

If they are getting very little exercise, it is easy for them to put on weight and then to become obese.

The government needs to recognise there is a problem and should organise extensive physical exercise programmes which are specially designed so that children will find them interesting.

They could be rewarded with small gifts when they met certain exercise goals.

Hopefully, having a regular exercise programme would become the norm for many youngsters and they would not develop weight problems. They might even become interested in sports.

Advertising is also a contributing factor when it comes to ­rising obesity rates.

Children are bombarded by adverts and tempted to eat fried foods and unhealthy snacks and drinks, which contain a lot of sugar.

If they consume these kinds of food, they stand a higher chance of becoming obese. The message that comes across in some of these adverts is that these types of food are good and enjoyable to eat, without any focus on the adverse health implications.

Parents should be urged to supervise the diets of their children. They should teach them about the importance of having a nutritious diet throughout their lives in order to avoid obesity.

Parents need to explain the possible health problems youngsters could develop in ­later life, such as increased risk of different forms of cancer.

Sheila Wong, Lai Chi Kok

Schools can get students to exercise more

Too many students in Hong Kong are developing bad eating habits.

They are ignoring the need to aim for a nutritious diet and so we are seeing more young people becoming obese, which brings with it various potential health problems. The government, teachers and schools can take action to deal with this.

There must be more education about nutrition, how obesity can affect your health and students should be encouraged to exercise more.

Schools could have a longer lunch break so that students can get involved in sports such as ball games.

Amy Hung, Tseung Kwan O

Bad report card for CY as chief executive

I refer to the report, “Whoever is Hong Kong’s next chief executive shouldn’t throw my policies away, insists Leung Chun-ying” (May 29).

Over the last four years, C. Y. Leung has failed to understand local politics and has sometimes acted in an arrogant manner.

The umbrella revolution and the Mong Kok riot showed that he has not addressed deep-rooted public discontent.

A year before the election for the next chief executive, Hongkongers should accept that ­­C. Y. has not been a good leader. He has failed to bring prosperity to the city. The weaknesses of the political framework under “one country, two systems” have been exposed. The spread of localism and calls for Hong Kong’s independence recently are natural consequences of this.

As Eldridge Cleaver said, “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”

Gravis Cheng, Yuen Long