Letters to the Editor, February 10, 2017
Underground spaces work in other cities
There are widely differing views about how to deal with Hong Kong’s housing problems and the lack of available land.
One of those that has come from the government is the creation of underground spaces in designated urban areas.
In the long term, I think this is one of the most plausible ideas that has been put forward.
I can see a number of uses, both commercial and residential, for these areas.
I think it would be feasible for people to live and work in what would in effect be underground cities. Residents would live there just like their counterparts at ground level.
Some vital industries could also be relocated there.
It has also been proposed that they could be used to house sewage treatment plants, large depots and refuse collection points.
As they free up more land at ground level, this could then be converted to residential use, especially for public housing estates. This would offer affordable accommodation for Hongkongers on low incomes, many of whom at the moment have to stay in substandard housing.
With a lot more flats available, prices of private flats would then drop and more people could afford to purchase them. As a result, the standard of living for many Hongkongers would improve.
This idea is far more environmentally-friendly than reclamation and using some areas of country parks.
Reclamation projects will inevitably damage marine ecosystems and prove controversial. They are deeply unpopular with many sections of the community.
The government does have examples from overseas, which can help it draft its plans and give it some guidance about the right kind of ideas that should be implemented, with underground developments, including malls, in cities such as Montreal and Taipei.
They have been very successful and show what can be done with meticulous planning.
I think we will see more underground spaces being created in cities around the world in the near future.
Ethan Lam, Yuen Long
Don’t force food trucks to stay in one spot
The new food trucks scheme launched in Hong Kong is inspired by similar projects in countries such as the US, the UK and Australia. There, food trucks have successfully helped to promote the local culture and cuisine.
It is hoped that these mobile restaurants will offer citizens a greater variety and more food options, and that their choices will no longer be limited to eating in restaurants.
I also think that in certain locations these trucks will prove to be a popular tourist attraction, enjoyed by people of different nationalities.
I am sure they will offer good-quality and interesting food. They should do well because Hongkongers do love their food. But the people who are operating these trucks face some challenges.
First, the cost of purchasing and equipping these trucks is too high. This means the vendors will probably have to charge more than they would like in order to get back what they have already spent. The government should offer subsidies to encourage more people to set up these trucks.
Also, the government has so far allowed only a few designated parking places. These trucks need more mobility if they are to do well financially.
I am sure if the government did a public consultation exercise it would find there is backing for the trucks to be allowed more mobility.They should be allowed to choose different locations in the city, depending on where there is greatest demand.
Theodore Tam, Po Lam
Aircraft and street noise bad on Lamma
As a tourist who visits Lamma for peace and quiet, I would like to know if there is a good reason for prolonged early-morning flights over the island.
I am also concerned about noise levels at Yung Shue Wan, which increase every year and have reached a level which can only be described as intolerable.
If Lamma islanders want to sell their souls and their birthrights to outsiders that’s their business, I guess, but the resulting noise pollution from construction work is everybody’s business. It has reached the point where I won’t patronise shops and restaurants on the main street because the cacophony precludes enjoyment.
Haven’t the owners complained? If not simply banned, shouldn’t the high-decibel village vehicles on Lamma be converted to electric power?
I understand the original Lamma trade-off was power station for pedestrian-friendly walkways. Has everybody forgotten this agreement?
Gordon Speirs, Loring, Ontario, Canada
Let students wear what they want to school
I agree with Albury Ma that schools should be flexible when it comes to students’ uniforms (“Trousers are better choice for schoolgirls”, February 5).
I attend a Catholic girls’ school and the uniform regulations are rather strict. Surely we should be allowed to have some say on what we want to wear to school.
Why should we all have to wear skirts? Forcing us to wear skirts is a form of gender stereotyping. Also, trousers are more comfortable.
I think students in local schools should be allowed to wear what they want as long as it is not inappropriate.
Beatrice Chan, Kwai Chung
Pros and cons of going to tutorial class
Students have their own studying preferences based on their priorities.
They have to decide what is best for them, for example, whether they prefer to study alone after school or join tutorial classes. Some find it hard to focus in one of these classes. They find it easier to concentrate when they are studying on their own, because there are fewer interruptions.
However, a tutorial class does have some advantages. You can listen to varying views. And you can share notes and other class material with fellow students. This can help you acquire more information and broaden your understanding of a subject.
You can also have a better idea of the progress you are making in grasping the subject you are studying, because there will be a lot of mock tests.
When you are on your own, you might have questions about something you are reading, but there is no one to ask.
At the private college you can clear anything up straight away with the tutor. I do not think that one option is better than the other. At the end of the day, it is up to each youngster to choose what they think is the most suitable studying environment.
The most important thing is for them to strike the right studying balance.
Ning Tsz-ching, Tseung Kwan O
US courts have put Trump in his place
US President Donald Trump, with his arrogant way of governing, has faced a few challenges, particularly with his executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
But he has been thwarted by
federal court judges. This is a good example of the judiciary acting as an effective checks and balances system in a democratic society.
As we consider issues relating to democracy in Hong Kong, what is happening in the US emphasises the importance of having a democratic system which exists within a viable framework.
Mr Trump appears at times to be taking an almost dictatorial approach to some issues. If he continues to have this mentality and is unwilling to change, I wonder if he will be able to complete his four years in office.
Randy Lee Chin-hung, Ma On Shan