Letters to the Editor, November 29, 2016
Use portion of country parks for housing
A long-term planning report prepared by the government has identified how many flats will be needed over the next three decades (“One million flats needed to meet growing demand in Hong Kong by 2046”, November 22).
This means that by 2046, 1,670 hectares of land will be needed for all these extra homes. We face a very serious housing problem and we still do not have enough land to meet short-, medium- and long-term targets. That is why I agree with those officials who argue that we need to develop the country parks to provide more homes.
Many people have to endure substandard housing conditions. They cannot afford the city’s high rents and live in subdivided units, which are unhygienic and unsafe. That is why we have to make optimum use of our land resources and additional housing must be considered a priority.
I am not proposing using all country park land, but it makes up over 40 per cent of the territory. If we took 10 per cent, we could swiftly solve our housing problems.
As long as the government plans projects properly and strikes the right balance between development and conservation, there is no reason why ecosystems in these parks should be threatened.
The government cannot satisfy all stakeholders, but with proper planning and consultation, it should be able to go ahead with some housing on country park land.
Michelle Wong, Kowloon Tong
Not nearly enough public seating in HK
Public seating is a basic amenity, of great use to many people, but especially the elderly, infirm and those who simply wish to rest or enjoy a view.
Hong Kong is lacking in public seating of any kind, let alone the comfortable kind, which also offers proper lumbar support. A quick visit to any MTR station will attest to this point all too clearly, something which the MTR Corporation could fix in a matter of days if it was so inclined.
It is therefore baffling to see the pathway along Mui Wo’s lovely waterfront, which has finally opened after a long renovation. There are a couple of benches under oversized glass roofs which provide no shelter from the sun and limited shelter from driving rain, despite their incongruous size. But most of the seats are rounded concrete ones too close to the ground for even average build and with the small back – actually a flowerbed wall – set too far back for anyone to use it.
Public seating is a cheap way of improving public health and welfare. It is time to stop neglecting it.
Christopher Ruane, Lantau
No justification for helping out Disneyland
I do not think the government should be contributing as much as it plans to do (HK$5.8 billion) to help with the HK$10.9 billion expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. Its priority should be trying to solve the problems in our society.
I accept that upgrading the theme park and introducing new attractions could boost the local economy, but we have serious social problems to address, such as a lack of affordable housing to meet rising demand and the effects of having an ageing population.
Instead of giving so much to Disneyland, the administration should be using its reserves to find additional sites and build more homes on them. It would be better if areas reserved for the upgrade of the theme park were instead used to build much-needed housing estates.
It is also necessary to allocate more money to enhance our medical services and provide more hospices as demand will grow with our ageing population. The living standards of many elderly people are poor and they need more help from the government.
Failing to deal with the problems caused by having so many elderly citizens, could eventually damage Hong Kong’s economy.
I believe people will come to Disneyland even if it does not go ahead with this upgrade.
Besides, tourists do not just come here for Disney. There are many other places which attract visitors, such as the Ngong Ping cable car to the Big Buddha and traditional sites such as The Peak.
The government really has to get its priorities right.
M. Ngan Miu-sik, Kwai Chung
Right work-life balance is so important
I think there are many reasons why the Hong Kong Happiness Index fell to 67.6 in 2016 (on a scale of zero to 100) from 70 last year (“Hongkongers feeling at their lowest in a decade”, November 24).
Many people feel that the government has failed to listen to their opinions on important issues and rejected their political demands. They fear for the future and for freedom of speech and movement.
This leads to growing dissatisfaction. The government should promise to protect those freedoms.
The poor working environment is also a problem, with some people having to work 60 hours or more a week. It is difficult to be happy when you face such harsh working conditions and such a punishing weekly schedule, especially if you are doing a lot of unpaid overtime.
In Hong Kong, we seem to have ignored the importance of finding the right work-life balance.
We all need to have time to relax and be with our families and friends. Companies should recognise the importance of giving their staff enough time to rest.
In addition, I think individuals can help themselves by using their free time productively, such as taking up hobbies.
Citizens who have a stable working environment with good employers and sound time management and who use their spare time productively can enjoy their lives and are less likely to feel depressed.
Heidi Keung, Kowloon Tong
MTR should offer fare cuts on new line
It is a shame that fares on the MTR Corporation’s new South Island Line, which will open at the end of the year, are so high.
Given the one-year delay in opening the line, there should be special fare concessions for residents from Southern district.
Commuters had to spend a lot of money on transport because of the delay. To make up for this, the MTR should offer some introductory fare-saving arrangements.
Those local residents whose homes are some distance from one of the new stations on the South Island Line will be reluctant to use it, but with lower fares they might change their mind.
Rita Chan, Yau Yat Chuen
Voters felt let down by localists
I refer to the article, “What the people who voted for Hong Kong’s Youngspiration pair think now” (November 27).
I agree that the disqualified Youngspiration lawmakers wanted to introduce a new brand of politics in Hong Kong, and to prevent the spread of communism from the mainland. However, the way they acted during the oath-taking ceremony in the Legislative Council chamber was very immature. It offended the nation and all Chinese people.
It may be their intentions were honest and they wanted to raise awareness about independence, but they did not think about the consequences of their actions.
Because of this, I think many people who had voted for them in the Legco elections in September were disappointed by their actions.
Wong Ka-yi, Kwai Chung