Letters to the Editor, July 17, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 July, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 July, 2016, 12:15am

Lam shying away from real challenge

I agree with David Ollerearnshaw that our government officials become weak-kneed and ineffectual once they venture to the north of the Lion Rock ­(“Officials and police failing to crack down on illegal activities”, July 12 ).

Recently it was reported that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, our chief secretary for administration, had set her sights on conquering “three mountains” ­before the end of her term; one of which was issues with the Link Reit.

Subsequently I read (“Link Reit reminded to obey conditions of land leases”, July 7) where Mrs Lam expresses a will to get tough with the real estate investment trust.

However our chief secretary has lowered her sights considerably as the Link is a molehill when compared to the smouldering volcano that is the New Territories small-house policy.

Since the 1997 handover the problem remains substantially unaddressed, despite a legal case history that has exposed ­illegal practices.

From 2007 until 2012, Mrs Lam was secretary for development in the Donald Tsang Yam-kuen administration so she has full knowledge of the unsustainable and sad state of affairs in the New Territories on many land issues.

In June 2012 she called for an end to the small-house policy, which is viewed by the majority of Hongkongers as unfair and discriminatory, and also untenable.

It does not appear difficult to be able to implement measures that could ensure that the ­original intention of the small house policy could be met by bone fide individual applicants.

It appears that departmental policy when dealing with New Territories land matters and with the representative Heung Yee Kuk, is not only to “let ­sleeping dogs lie” but also to facilitate the building of kennels for them.

Frank Lee, Wan Chai

Encourage firms to take on older workers

It is always said that experience is valuable.

The government should therefore encourage employers to tap the wealth of experience of the people who have been ­driven out of the labour market on account of their old age.

I suggest that the government help employers who employ people aged 55 or above with subsidies.

At the age of 55, the rate of subsidy to the employers should be 30 per cent of the elderly ­employees’ pay and be progressively increased for older ­employees.

Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po

It is now time to leave Tony Blair alone

There has been a war of words following the Chilcot Inquiry and its comments about former ­British prime minister Tony Blair and his role in the war in Iraq.

For the seven years it took for the inquiry to be compiled there was little Mr Blair could do to counter the hostile attacks in the media.

It was good at last to see him speaking out. I admire the sensitive way in which he spoke out about the people who were killed, but pointed out the difficult position he had been in.

No doubt there will always be people who continue to vilify Mr Blair, such as those people seen on the television news shouting “War criminal!” and brandishing placards with the word ­“Bliar”.

I had the privilege to prepare food for Mr Blair when he was prime minister along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2002, when he was conducting peace talks in the Middle East and I was a chef at the Hilton Tel Aviv.

Saddam Hussein was a ­serious threat back then and I had to have a gas mask and underground bunker along with my Israeli friends, both Jewish and Arab, when the Iraqi tyrant was threatening to send a ­barrage of Scud missiles and ­poison gas onto Tel-Aviv.

With the benefit of hindsight it is always easy to apportion blame, but Mr Blair has stood by his convictions and has shown integrity in the face of his detractors.

Let’s hope after seven long years, a special Biblical number, that Mr Blair and his family can enjoy a bit of “Sabbath-rest” after such an ordeal.

I was living in Tel Aviv when Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by his own people, because there were those who opposed him so vehemently for his actions, which were carried out with the intent also to help an intractable situation. I think now it’s time to leave Mr Blair alone.

Colin Nevin, Tel Aviv, Israel

Parents can get children to exercise more

Many Hong Kong children do not get enough exercise and eat too much junk food.

This had led to an increase in child obesity and this has many related health problems.

Parents can help deal with this problem by taking their children on more outdoor activities and encouraging them to do more exercise. Parents also have to ensure their children get a balanced diet, with nutritious food.

They should ensure that their children reduce their ­intake of junk food.

Anson Ng, Tseung Kwan O

Very difficult to cancel Now TV contract

Let me add to the chorus of complaints that we often hear about consumers being short-changed by big business and the inability to easily access firms’ consumer affairs or customers services departments in Hong Kong.I recently tried to terminate my Now TV service contract.

After several days of ­attempting to reach them (sales lines are instantly connected, ­service lines are not), I finally got to speak to a service representative.

I was told that they would need to send me a termination form by post and I would have to return it to them also by post.

It is not possible to confirm the identity of the person you speak to on the phone or to disconnect using their website or by e-mail or by fax.

The form cannot even be downloaded from their website. On the other hand, it is very ­possible to enter into more ­sensitive transactions such as buying a new connection and confirming precious credit card details on phone or online.

Talk of double standards. I recently read a speech by ­Warren Buffett who said that only those businesses flourish which believe in delighting their customers, because the sheer word-of-mouth publicity gets more customers.

Now TV obviously doesn’t believe in this principle.

The only good thing to come from this bad episode is that it helped resolve any doubts we had about giving up the ­Now TV service.

Rahil Ahuja, Repulse Bay

Phone firm still looking for new cell site

We refer to B. Park’s letter regarding concerns over Smar­Tone’s service at Clear Water Bay (“Phone users keep paying for no service”, June 8).

SmarTone had a cell site at the old Shaw Studios on Clear Water Bay Road. However, due to redevelopment of the property, the cell site was terminated and telecom service in that area has been adversely affected.

Upon receipt of the termination notification, we immediately started to identify alternative locations to install a replacement cell site. We had identified two suitable locations over the past few months. However, both were declined by property ­owners. A satisfactory alternative is yet to be identified.

While we continue to look for a suitable location, we have ­provided Mrs Park with an ­interim solution for voice and data connectivity, and she has accepted this.

We will maintain contact with Mrs Park to provide any ­further support, if required, and will continue with the search to find a suitable location to install the replacement cell site as soon as possible.

Ada Chiu, general manager, customer relationship development, SmarTone