Letters to the Editor, November 7, 2016
Why genuine democracy is the best option
I agree with your correspondent, Frank Lee (“Cream usually rises to the top in countries with true democracy”, November 3).
One major advantage parliamentary systems have over the US presidential one is that, when the leadership cream turns sour, the country doesn’t have to suffer for a full four years. A flexible term allows party members, or voters, to pour that curdled cream down the drain before the smell becomes overpowering.
In the Hong Kong context, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should realise that they have passed their sell-by date and that, if Hong Kong had true democracy, they would stand little chance of being (re)elected.
Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing deserves credit for shaking up the 2017 chief executive election with the surprise announcement of his candidacy. He is talking with some straightforward common sense – while the other “potential” candidates prevaricate, ostensibly awaiting “a sign from heaven”.
K. Y. Leung, Shouson Hill
Aircraft part of our collective memory
Cathay Pacific has now retired its last Boeing 747 aircraft.
It marked the end of the jumbo jet era in Hong Kong and was an important stage in the city’s aviation industry.
Cathay used Boeing 747s for 37 years and these aircraft helped connect Hong Kong to the rest of the world.
The retirement of the plane is not only an important watershed in the history of the company, these Cathay 747s were part of the collective memory of Hong Kong citizens.
They helped spread the spirit of the city around the world, the spirit that makes this city so unique.
It was sad to see the retirement of the 747.
I would like to see a retired Cathay 747 being housed in an aviation museum in Hong Kong. Such a museum would be very popular.
If we had this museum, it could house planes that were an integral part of our aviation history.
Jacky Chow Tsz-kiu, Tseung Kwan O
Sort out the problems at MTR stations
I think the two new MTR stations, Whampoa and Ho Man Tin, will bring inconvenience to nearby residents.
Ho Man Tin is on eight levels . This means most passengers will want to take lifts, but there is only one lift at the platform level and so long queues will form after a train has arrived.
During peak hours, the situation could become chaotic. It could take someone around 20 minutes just to get out of the station.
I also do not think there will be enough trains at either station to meet the demand during busy periods.
It will also prove more costly for those people who earlier travelled by bus and paid less than the fares on the MTR.
Some bus routes have been cancelled now, for example the one between Whampoa and Sham Shui Po, and this means that transport options for the people living in these areas have now been reduced.
Sometimes people will have choice but to use the MTR even if they do not want to.
In addition, the Ho Man Tin station is located far away from many housing estates.
This means those residents will face a walk of around 20 minutes or be forced to take a connecting minibus to get to the station.
In addition, their overall transport costs will be much higher than what they were before the opening of the Kwun Tong Line extension.
This will add to their overall daily expenses, especially if they are commuting to and from work or school every day.
This seems to me to be a case of robbing the poor to help the rich, that is, the MTR Corporation, and I do not think that this is fair.
The government and MTR Corp need to look at the problems that exist with these two stations and take steps for the necessary improvements and adjustments.
The MTR should also be considering cutting fares, especially to help the poorer citizens from the grass roots.
Natalie Siu Hoi-tung, Yau Yat Chuen
Hiking trails will be magnet for visitors
I support proposals to make people more aware of our hiking trails (“Hong Kong’s hiking trails offer hidden gems beyond shopping and dining ... if you know where to look”, November 5).
Some people from abroad would rather go on a hike than visit shops and restaurants, and with November we are now in the hiking season.
In fact there are so many hidden gems in our country parks and there are convenient transport links to them. The Hong Kong Tourism Board is therefore right to promote the city as a top hiking destination.
It is important to launch a campaign abroad, because we are experiencing a drop in tourist numbers.
Keen hikers from different countries would be happy to come here if they knew about the many hiking trails in our country parks.
They would see there is more to Hong Kong than luxury hotels and shopping malls and discover the hidden beauty of the countryside. And they would be able to take some stunning pictures as well, especially of sunsets.
I also hope more locals would take to these trails as they are a great way to help relieve stress. Hiking helps you to forget about the office. I am therefore glad that the Tourism Board is trying hard to promote them.
Amy Ho Bik-yu, Kowloon Tong
Transgender people need our support
I refer to the report, “Hong Kong’s transgender community still faces an uphill battle against discrimination” (November 6).
I feel sad for transgender citizens in Hong Kong. They have to complete a series of psychiatric assessments lasting about two years to change gender officially. I think this may be too long a period. And they face another long wait before they can have full sex reassignment surgery. If they are sure that they want this surgery, they should not have to wait so long.
I am also concerned about the discrimination they face in society which must cause them great anguish.
I think intolerant attitudes towards them in Hong Kong are changing, but it will take a while before they are fully accepted in society.
Amy Leung Fung -yan, Kwai Chung
Provide more incentives to start a family
The problem of an ageing population is getting worse and more must be done by the Hong Kong government to address it.
I think the child allowance should be raised. The sum a couple can get [up to HK$100,000] is not sufficient to encourage enough of them to start a family. The government needs to deploy more resources in this policy area, especially as high costs, fuelled by inflation, eat away at the savings of a young family.
In countries such as the UK and the US, parents get higher child allowances. This is because it is very expensive to bring up a child.
Also, both mothers and fathers should get paid leave upon the birth of a child. The present entitlement is not enough. In Japan, women can get 14 weeks of maternity leave and in Singapore it is 16 weeks.
Angel Cheung, Tseung Kwan O