Letters to the Editor, September 30, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 4:35pm

Reminder of unique landing experience

I was delighted to read Barnaby Paul Smith’s letter (“Let’s restore old airport’s checkerboard”, September 19).

The Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association has been proposing the preservation of this checkerboard relic (“with its red and white graphics”) for at least 10 years, to no avail, I am sorry to say.

I do not know Mr Smith, but I endorse every word that he has written.

Six years ago, I wrote to ­Bernard Chan, then chairman of the ­Antiquities Advisory Board, suggesting that the checkerboard be listed as an ­antiquity, and thereby given some assurance of preservation.

He wrote about this request in a newspaper column saying that it might join the list of protected monuments in Hong Kong.

Well, everything takes time, and we were extremely pleased to see an entry on the board’s website on September 8, giving details of new items, including “N69 – Checkerboard on the hillside near Kowloon Tsai Park”. Mr Chan’s earlier assistance is greatly appreciated.

However, we need to now ask how we should progress. The collective memory of ­landing on the “13 ­approach” at Kai Tak airport is still there, and a recent article in the Chinese-language press tells of the writer’s experience about 30 years ago when he “closed his eyes and could not bear to look”.

He thought that “the pilot was showing off his low-flying skills”.

Also, the internet is filled with ­comments and videos of this unique approach to Kai Tak ­.

Probably the government department that would be best suited to handle the restoration and possibly the maintenance of the checkerboard would be the Civil Engineering and Development Department.

This would also tie in with its development of the whole Kai Tak site.

I echo Mr Smith’s request that the relevant government department should respond to proposals for preservation of Checkerboard Hill, through these columns.

I hope we will not have to wait too long before receiving a reply.

Gordon Andreassend, Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association

Allowance can help citizens with high rents

I do not think the one-off living allowance for the city’s neediest citizens should have been suspended (“Social workers hit out as ‘N-nothings’ allowance halted”, September 27).

This subsidy helped relieve the financial pressure for those people who do not receive Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.

Also, as they do not live in public rental housing, they have to pay higher rents than tenants in public estates.

These “N-nothings”, as they have been dubbed, are often in a miserable situation and need all the help they can get.

The labour secretary said they could apply for a low-income family working allowance, but I do not think this is an ­adequate replacement for the one-off ­subsidy these citizens have lost. And if they are not considered eligible for the working allowance, then they end up getting nothing.

The government needs to reconsider its decision.

Wong Ha-ping, Yau Yat Chuen

Some Muslim clothing is acceptable

I cannot agree with your correspondent Francois Moirez’s opinion that non-Muslims ­visiting or resident in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran should kowtow to “the customs and habits of the country” in matters like covering their hair or denying their natural physical shape (“Why French take hard line on burqinis”, September 26).

Similarly, I believe Muslim visitors and residents in France should not have to fully embrace European dress codes.

The niqab (covered face) in my opinion should be outlawed in public (in private, or in the desert, everything goes).

Identification and communication (which the niqab precludes) are essential ­elements in a functioning ­society in the 21st century.

But the hijab (covered head) seems to me totally unobjectionable; my mother in Ireland would never have thought of going to town without a headscarf.

She certainly would never have worn a bikini, maybe a ­burqini, but the word was not in that lamented lady’s dictionary.

Although I don’t appreciate them, I also can’t take exception to the burqa.

The nuns all wore them when I was young, and some may do still.

P. Kevin MacKeown, Lantau

Attitude of French police discrimination

I refer to the letter by Francois ­Moirez (“Why French take hard line on burqinis”, September 26), in reply to the letter by Chiu Ka Lam (“Nothing wrong with wearing a burqini”, September 19).

We are living in the 21st century and the double ­standards displayed by the ­burqini ban should be ­condemned by every responsible society.

Surely your correspondent would not suggest that people should give up their faith if they want to live in France.

This is a nation which proudly promotes its culture throughout Europe and yet ­police have sometimes acted with brutality towards ­citizens wishing to wear a ­burqini on the beach.

It is the kind of discrimination you would not experience in Hong Kong.

Mohammad Ishaque, Chai Wan

Tax incentives to cut waste not for city

I refer to your editorial (“HK must deal with waste in haste”, September 27).

The French and Swedish governments have adopted new measures to try and reduce the volumes of plastic and electrical waste. However, I have doubts about such policies being feasible in Hong Kong. France will ban all plastic plates, cups and utensils unless they are biodegradable from 2020.

This would be impractical in such a fast-paced society as Hong Kong. Many Hongkongers have to rush their meals during the working day and do not have time to sit down at a restaurant.

Also, if eateries could not use disposable utensils, their overheads would increase. Manufacturers of plastic products would see a drop in business.

In Sweden, citizens are offered tax ­refunds if they have white goods like fridges and washing machines repaired ­instead of buying a new one. This might prove difficult and costly for the Hong Kong government to implement.

I accept that we must find ways to reduce the pressure on our landfills, but they must be policies that are workable in Hong Kong.

Karen Leung, Sheung Shui

Occupy protest was a political watershed

The Occupy Central movement which ­erupted two years ago was blamed by critics for disrupting social ­order in Hong Kong, but I do not accept this.

Many citizens stood up and expressed their support for it, because they wanted Hong Kong to have a genuine election with universal suffrage for chief executive.

People who had not taken much interest in such things were now showing they were concerned about political developments. I am proud of these protesters. Although we did not succeed in getting ­that democratic election, at least Hongkongers made the effort.

I think this greater level of political awareness was reflected in the historic Legislative Council election results last month, where there was a record turnout.

I hope we will continue to see a growing interest in politics, which will ultimately lead to a better Hong Kong.

Winky Lai, Kowloon Tong