Letters to the Editor, January 5, 2017
Museum will be seen as just a vanity project
I wonder why Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor thinks she can use the Hong Kong Jockey Club as a piggy bank for the HK$3.5 billion Palace Museum project (“Lam evasive on election bid as museum row snowballs”, January 1).
The elite members of the Jockey Club may think that it is fine to use funds to curry favour with the mainland authorities.
However, members need to recognise that their funds are mostly supplied by the ordinary punters in Hong Kong.
The club’s remit is to fund charity works for the people of Hong Kong, and ordinary people will view this museum as a vanity project.
If the government thinks that this museum is a valid asset, then it should fund it through the regular channels, and the massive Capital Works Reserve Fund could be applied.
The report that Mrs Lam has purposely avoided any consultation with the Hong Kong public in order to avoid embarrassing mainland officials sets a bad precedent if she wants to run for the post of chief executive. Any chief executive has to unabashedly place the interests of Hong Kong over mainland sensibilities. Will Mrs Lam’s museum become as big a political liability as Henry Tang Ying-yen’s basement?
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Jockey Club funds meant to benefit public
The sudden announcement by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor about the planned Hong Kong version of Beijing’s Palace Museum came as a surprise to many. They included a rival in the chief executive election (if Mrs Lam opts to stand), Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
Chiu Kwong-chiu, an adviser to the Palace Museum in Beijing, also expressed surprise over the “secrecy involved when the Hong Kong government” announced proposals for the new museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District (“Handover events ‘fail to bond with
public’ ”, January 3).
Neither the Legislative Council nor the public have been consulted. In other words, the consultation process has been skipped.
Spending the Jockey Club’s funds in this way does a disservice to the poor of Hong Kong.
They need extra public clinics, schools and playgrounds, more than they require a new heritage cultural museum. It is not needed and is being built to please Beijing at the expense of the community of Hong Kong. I suppose some people will see the need to do this, with the chief executive election in March.
However, it is difficult to look at Mrs Lam’s behaviour regarding the museum and square this with her claim that her main motto is to serve the people of Hong Kong.
The Jockey Club, by allowing its money to be spent in this way, has overlooked the needs of the Hong Kong public in order to please mainland and Hong Kong officials. It should not forget that most of its funds come from local citizens through their bets on football, racing and the Mark Six.
I am disappointed, because the club has a well-deserved reputation for being well managed and using its funds well to meet the needs of the Hong Kong community.
A.L Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hike in tobacco tax will help stub out habit
I understand why the government is going to increase warnings on cigarette packets that “smoking kills” and have more graphic imagery (“Hong Kong to press ahead with cigarette packaging reform”, December 24).
It wants to get the message across to the public, especially teenagers, about the negative effects of smoking and hopes the new packaging will act as an effective deterrent.
However, I doubt if this will do much to put off existing smokers. Most of them are probably already aware of the health risks they are taking.
Many smokers already know what adverse health effects smoking will bring. But if they are already addicted, how many will actually stop when they see a graphic image?
The best way to stop people from starting on the habit and to encourage smokers to stop is by raising the tobacco tax. This is an effective measure, because it hits smokers in their wallets.
Higher taxes should be part of a multi-pronged approach, and changing the packaging is only part of that.
I do hope that in 2017 we will see more Hongkongers realising that the health risks of smoking are unacceptable, and giving up.
Margaret Kwan Yun-lam, Kwai Chung
Everyone can pitch in to fight air pollution
We are facing serious pollution around the world, the worst being air pollution.
Different countries talk about ways to curb the problem and come up with new measures almost every year, but these do not appear to be effective. Global warming can only get worse, so swift action is needed.
Governments must do more cut emissions from the factories. And they must redouble their efforts to develop renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.
As individuals, we can all pitch in by, for example, using public transport more often, and walking and cycling where possible. If we all try harder, I am sure we will see more blue skies.
Holden Cheng, Tseung Kwan O
Boarding pass risk flags need for secure data
I think the report on hacking risks in flight bookings (“Flight booking systems lack basic anti-hacking safeguards, researchers warn”, December 28) illustrates the need for more eduction on data protection.
Hongkongers love to travel, and many book flight tickets through online systems. Therefore, it is a cause for concern when researchers say the short code on boarding passes can be hacked to alter flight details or steal personal data.
This emphasises the need for us to protect our personal data with better security. Firms running flight booking systems must also tighten their security to prevent customers’ information from being hacked.
Of course, the internet provides us with so many opportunities, including information and entertainment, but we also have to be aware that some criminals use it for illegal activities. More lessons are needed in schools so that young people are made aware of the security risks involved and how to counter them.
Zoe Liu Sze-yui, Kwai Chung
Students need to use online time wisely
Use of the internet is increasing in Hong Kong and globally.
While there is no doubt it brings many advantages, people need to recognise the importance of sensible use of online services.
I appreciate that there is so much that you can do on your computer or smartphone, such as checking news reports and weather forecasts, and keeping in touch with others through social networking sites.
You can also read books, watch films and play video games.
However, it can be relatively easy for some people to become addicted to the internet. Individuals who become obsessed will stay online for hours, glued to their screens. This can cause psychological and physical health problems.
It is particularly important to get the message across to students that they should use their time online wisely and not overdo it.
Fung Siu-chung, Tseung Kwan O