Letters to the Editor, February 3, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 5:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 February, 2017, 5:23pm

Leaders who polarise hurt city’s progress

Modern-day so-called leaders aim to rule and stay in power.

Instead of serving society, they’re busy trying to polarise the populace. Once someone is elected to a position of power, they are duty-bound to serve the community.

Of late, totalitarian China seems to be more sensitive to the needs of its people. Compare this to Hong Kong, with squabbling politicians who lack a vision and focus on the process, not the results.

When the Civic Party was formed, it promised to find a ­middle ground and try to work with mainland leaders. However, it has failed to maintain an effective dialogue and indeed has avoided such dialogue.

The party’s Alan Leong Kah-kit resigned from the Legislative Council to join four other lawmakers to trigger a de facto referendum in 2010 which proved to be a waste of taxpayers’ money. He also took part in a meaningless contest in the chief executive election in 2007.

Another Civic Party member, legislator Tanya Chan Suk-chong, is busy creating sound bites about the Hong Kong ­Palace Museum and seems to want to oppose the government at every turn.

What are the consequences of this kind of opposition in ­Legco? It leads to more delays in projects, resulting in escalating costs for which Hong Kong taxpayers foot the bill – and then what happens? These same pan-democratic politicians then come out opposing the cost escalations for which they are responsible?

As regards the public consultation process, wouldn’t an expert panel consisting of members from the public be better qualified to comment on the museum? Wouldn’t that be able to better ensure prompt ­implementation of the project ?

Why are Chinese cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou on the fast track, achieving in less than 10 years what Hong Kong has failed to achieve in nearly 20 years of quasi self-rule? These politicians should cross the ­border to see how focusing on results is making a difference for these cities.

There is still time for us to stop the rot with a new chief executive with better PR skills to take over in July.

However, nothing will be achieved if the so-called leaders who were elected to serve the community continue with their agenda to polarise the population and try to trip up the ­government at every step.

Venkitaraman Krishnan, Cha Kwo Ling

A New Year’s wish for better government

My wish for 2017 is that Hong Kong will have a truly responsible and competent government that, like the Singapore government, will consider the interests of the people as paramount.

We have not had a good ­administration since 1997, with poor policies in the areas of housing and health care, ­especially in public hospitals.

People face ridiculously long waiting periods for public ­housing and medical treatment.

We need a more responsible and competent government.

Nelson Ng, Tseung Kwan O

Wean farmers in HK off use of antibiotics

According to your report (“Healthy chickens given antibiotics”, January 31), a Consumer Council study found that 96 per cent of locally raised chickens contained bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

This figure shows that the abuse of antibiotics in farms in Hong Kong is serious and this could adversely affect the health of citizens and chickens.

I agree with experts who say farmers should be educated, by giving them more “professional advice and expertise”.

However, the government should also place restrictions on the use of antibiotics as soon as possible.

Antibiotics should not be given to healthy chickens. If they happen to fall sick, antibiotics then administered to them may not be effective as they already harbour bacteria that cannot be treated effectively by antibiotics.

Already the US and European Union have banned certain antibiotics that promote growth in animals. Some ­members of the EU parliament want to go further and ban the use of these drugs to prevent disease. These initiatives clearly show that many developed ­nations accept that this kind of abuse of antibiotics will be harmful to humans.

Part of any education ­campaign by the government should include the promotion of organic farming in Hong Kong. This would actually help local farmers, as organically reared chickens fetch higher prices in markets.

The extra money the farmers made would cover the costs of a higher death rate among the chickens because they were not being given ­antibiotics.

I hope the government will act to deal with this problem.

Jessica Tsui Kit-lam, Kwai Chung

Playgrounds should be safe and interesting

The government has placed a great deal of emphasis on safety when it comes to the designs of its playgrounds in the city.

This is likely because of pressure by parents in the past to make all these facilities safer after their children may have been hurt in accidents at playgrounds run by the Leisure and Cultural ­Services Department.

Ensuring these playgrounds were also fun and stimulating became less important. This has meant that some of the more creative purposes of a playground have been neglected in Hong Kong.

Some critics have said parents are being overprotective; that children who suffered minor scrapes and dealt with them learned about ­overcoming ­adversity.

Very young children might still enjoy these playgrounds, but as they get older they find the equipment is not challenging. Nowadays, children will often seek entertainment elsewhere.

They prefer spending their leisure time on their smartphones and computers. So they do not benefit from exercising and, for example, joining with a team in a sports competition, all experiences which can help build character.

Well-equipped and interesting playgrounds contribute to the development of children. Safety is important, but they cannot be cocooned.

They need these spaces so they can play with peers. The ­department must accept that safety must not be so dominant at its facilities and that other ­important features that make them ­interesting are not ­ignored.

May Chong, Tseung Kwan O

Give children a say on park equipment

I think the government should accept the criticism that its playgrounds are boring (for ­example, slides that are too short) and redesign them.

It should listen to the suggestions from children and remodel those aspects of the playgrounds that are considered to be old-fashioned and boring.

Children’s ideas matter ­because after all they are the users and know what they like.

One survey found they would like slides at different heights. Given the pressure they are often under in Hong Kong, children need places where they can go with parents, really relax and play with others of their own age.

Crystal Chan, Tiu Keng Leng

Be prepared before hitting the hiking trail

The accident last weekend, when a man died in a fall from a cliff while hiking in Lantau, highlights the need for people to be vigilant when they are ­involved in activities which may carry some risk.

More young people are now going hiking in different parts of Hong Kong.

While there are safe and relatively easy trails which are suitable for beginners, other hiking areas are far more difficult.

Youngsters must not neglect the importance of safety, especially if they go somewhere with a steep fall and they are intent on taking pictures and ignoring potential risks.

They need to make sure they have all the right equipment before they set off, including proper shoes and clothes.

They need to check out a trail so they know in advance if there are any hazardous parts.

They should also go hiking with friends rather than on their own.

The risks they face will be ­reduced if they are well ­prepared.

Joyce Chang, Yau Yat Chuen