Letters to the Editor, October 14, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 October, 2016, 3:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 October, 2016, 3:41pm

Wrong time and place for these protests

I understand that some of the new lawmakers are young and passionate in defence of their beliefs.

However, I think their behaviour when they were being sworn in as legislative councillors on Wednesday was reckless (“Declaration of war as Legco opens”, October 13). What they did will have resulted in many Hong Kong citizens now ­holding very negative views of the more radical pan-democratic parties in the Legislative Council ­chamber.

Being courteous should be part of your moral code. Using insulting and sometimes foul language, which is what happened during the swearing in ceremony, is improper and ­impolite. It cannot be justified under any circumstances.

They have a responsibility to win over those who are opposed to, or have doubts about, their political platform.

Unfortunately, some of them showed on Wednesday that they are not mature enough to shoulder that responsibility.

The oath-taking session was not the appropriate forum to take this kind of stand. It was a moment to act in a serious ­manner, not to insult the nation.

I understand their discontent with Beijing, but with this kind of behaviour they will lose people’s trust.

Christy Ma, Tseung Kwan O

Dog bans on promenades make no sense

A successful Walk21 conference on walking was held in Hong Kong earlier this month, which was attended by top officials and delegates from different countries. It was proposed that we should eventually have a ­complete walkway loop along both sides of the ­harbour.

It is sad to note that dogs are not allowed on the new walkways we already have (such as the harbourfront promenade facing the government headquarters, or West Kowloon promenade). Dogs encourage people to walk and I found it strange that I was able to walk my dog all the way from Sheung Wan to Pier 9 in Central, then I was stopped from taking the dog on to the ­adjoining ­harbourfront ­promenade.

Walks are supposed to be good for our ageing population.

I have no objection to setting some rules governing dogs (such as big dogs should be on a leash or clean up after your dog), but I do hope that man does not have to walk alone and can be accompanied by his best friend.

Dennis Li, Mid-Levels

Large breeds unsuitable for Hong Kong

Over the past five years, the ­number of households owning dogs as pets has grown ­considerably.

Five years ago I hardly ­noticed a dog being walked, apart from the gathering of 20-odd maids each with a dog squatting outside Glenealy ­Junior School for their morning exercise. Rarely was it perceived that the walker was the owner. Now you see professional dog ­walkers with five to seven dogs at a time leaving some tied up while they collect or drop off in private homes and seemingly with ­security keycards provided by the dog owner so the owner does not have to come down to ­receive the dogs.

Now I see dogs taken on the Mid-Levels escalator (not ­carried as ­required) on and off a leash. So, apart from being walked in packs, taking the whole footpath and fouling it, and impeding others without caring, owners assert their disregard for other users of the ­escalator. Where is this going to end?

Only 10 years ago, the limits set by living in high-rises ­restricted dog ownership. Now we see people with bigger and bigger “designer” breeds, which are wholly unsuitable as ­domestic pets in Hong Kong.

What do these dogs say about their owners? Those who do not own a dog and those who are not dog lovers will continue to suffer from the indulgences of owners, and so many of these animals will end up being put down after the fad passes.

Shane Kelly, Mid-Levels

Put affordable flats in city’s empty schools

I refer to Alex Lo’s column (“Put an end to tragedy of subdivided homes”, October 5). In the short term, abandoned schools could be converted into temporary flats to rehouse the estimated 200,000 people living in sub­divided apartments.

As the Platform Concerning Subdivided Flats points out, there are currently 29 unused schools in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island, so a lot of families could be housed in these premises and their living standards would improve.

I agree with Lo that the ­problem of these subdivided units has got worse because the government has been slow to respond to the problem. It should have acted at least three years ago, when stories about these cubicle apartments, especially in old factories, appeared frequently in the ­media. Instead, it waited until the fatal blaze in the ­industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok.

In the long term, a comprehensive ­redevelopment strategy is needed. There are many ­unused ­industrial buildings in urban areas like Kwun Tong and Kwai Chung.

After being given a change of use designation, they could be ­converted into estates which would offer a lot of good-quality, safe and affordable homes to the ­underprivileged.

Hong Kong is an international city. It should be able to ­offer a decent quality of life to all its citizens.

Yau Ka-shuen, Ma On Shan

Pipeline placed in front of wartime shrine

Earlier this month, I noticed that the Water Supplies Department had constructed an above-ground water pipeline, with concrete ­supports, right outside Pillbox 2 (PB2) on the western slopes of Jardine’s Lookout.

This pillbox is one of the ­information stations on the popular battle trail around Wong Nei Chung Gap and Jardine’s Lookout. There were so many other places they could have placed the pipeline, only five or 10 metres away, but for some reason they placed it ­immediately in front of PB2.

This pillbox and the one higher up the hill (PB1) can be considered war shrines and part of Hong Kong’s heritage ­because people fought and died at these two pillboxes on Friday December 19, 1941, following the Japanese landings on Hong Kong Island the previous night. They were ­mainly defended by the locally recruited No 3 Company Hong Kong Volunteer ­Defence Corps.

This seems like a desecration. Will the department offer an explanation?

Philip Cracknell, Stanley

Same-sex marriage law long overdue

I refer to the article by Suen Yiu-tung (“HK needs to achieve greater equality for same-sex couples”, September 27).

People cannot control who they are attracted to and who they will love, whether it is someone of the same sex or the ­opposite sex. I do not understand those people who make such harsh comments about ­individuals of the same gender who want to be together.

Same-sex couples suffer ­discrimination. Critics call their relationships unnatural attachments and say they have the “wrong” sexual orientation. But there is no right or wrong when it comes to love.

Why shouldn’t same-sex couples enjoy the same rights as straight couples? In many countries such as the US, Canada, France and the UK, same-sex marriages are legal. I cannot understand why Hong Kong, as an international city, does not follow suit.

And people in these marriages should enjoy the same benefits (work and ­welfare) as heterosexual ­couples.

I hope that the Legislative ­Council will soon pass the ­necessary legislation.

Natalie Chan, Sha Tin