Letters to the Editor, February 17, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 5:08pm

Not convinced food trucks are suitable idea

The food truck pilot scheme aims to provide a diversity of high-quality cuisine to tourists and locals. Such trucks are new to Hong Kong and have attracted a lot of attention, but I am not ­convinced they are suitable.

Each vehicle has been allocated a designated location, and these are mostly in areas that are densely populated. That could see them exacerbate the congestion in these areas.

The trucks are ­allowed to move to another spot under a rotation system. In the US, such trucks have much more freedom of movement and can choose their own parking places. Given the restrictions imposed here, I am not sure that the scheme will be able to achieve its original goals.

The environment may not be suitable for the trucks at some of the designated locations.

For example, Wong Tai Sin Square is near the temple of the same name, where a lot of incense is burned and so there is ash and smoke in the air. This might put people off eating in the square. Also, there is no seating option.

These trucks may also pose a threat to the city’s traditional street hawkers. As it is, the government has been trying to phase out hawker licences. A lot of the trucks offer Western food and so I do not see them as promoting Hong Kong’s traditional food culture to tourists.

Tse Ka-lam, Kowloon Tong

Street hawkers need help from government

The “fishball riots” in Mong Kok last February highlighted the plight of ­hawkers in Hong Kong who have to operate ­illegally.

The government has tried to phase out hawker licences ­because of hygiene concerns. However, these street food stalls are a unique part of our culture and they should be made legal.

Because they are part of the city’s heritage, they very popular with tourists and also loved by locals. Hawkers have to operate illegally because they cannot get a licence, and I do not think this is right. It does not make sense to crack down on them. They should be given licences.

They provide an income for people who find it difficult to get other jobs, including elderly citizens.

Laurent Li, Tseung Kwan O

It is time for Disney to ditch the fireworks

Although fireworks have been with us for thousands of years, that does not mean that Hong Kong cannot live without this kind of toxic amusement. ­Traditions, if harmful, should be stopped.

As the city battles serious air pollution, is it not high time to stop this kind of harmful ­entertainment? There are many more ways to celebrate than with fireworks.

It was reported in Beijing that air quality was made worse by the traditional practice of setting off fireworks. In Shanghai, an improvement in air quality is ­attributed to a downtown ­fireworks ban.

With fireworks at the Disneyland theme park, we have a daily dose of air pollution being added to Hong Kong’s harmful haze.

New technology now exists, such as 3D video mapping, which can create high-quality shows. This has been implemented successfully in other world cities. The Environmental Protection Department does not deserve the word “protection” in its title, unless it strives to curb this unnecessary pollution.

Thomas Gebauer, Discovery Bay

Event sparked question about HK’s future

The Connected City event last month, part of the 2017 StartmeupHK festival, enticed with a packed agenda and a balanced mix of speakers.

It offered an ­insight into the dizzying world of smart city ­innovation.

Oddly, the gates of innovation were only opened via the ­archaic bank transfer or cheque payment options.

Nevertheless, the set-up at the PMQ Qube was slick and ambitious, although only half full (I wondered how many people didn’t make it past the payment predicament). Huge screens, polished brochures, smartly dressed audience; I am glad that my attempt at creative dress was on the conservative side, I was both ­impressed and disappointed at how corporate it felt.

Of the topics discussed, some, like building a fully functioning city on empty mudflats in 12 years, were mind boggling. Some, such as the argument for online shopping delivery ­kiosks, I would have thought self-evident. Timekeeping deserves a ­special mention, with the ­speakers practically hounded off the stage by the facilitator if they went over their allocated 10 minutes.

Their talk completed, each speaker was presented with Laurent-Perrier champagne, followed by a group photo and a selfie with the facilitator.

Sadly, I seemed to be the only one to find this hilarious.

Lunch was a segregated ­affair with the speakers and VIPs whisked off to a private room while the rest of us feasted on a more proletarian boxed char siu in the atrium.

The afternoon discussions grew more sombre, with recurring observations that Hong Kong was increasingly lagging behind mainland China or even Singapore. Also palpable was both stated and implied discontent with government ­restrictions.

Despite the facilitator’s ­efforts, this was not a playful event but a serious day for grown-ups, informative and ­thought-provoking, but not ­daring.

At the end, I had one question. In the cutthroat environment where cities spring up from nothing, or take great pains to reinvent themselves to ­compete for being the next big thing, is Hong Kong daring and hungry enough to remain ­competitive, or will it settle for being an attractive but high maintenance and predictable follower?

Alex Setchina, Wan Chai

Invest more to develop young sporting talent

Every year, the winners of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon are from African ­nations like Ethiopia and ­Kenya.

These two countries are ­famous for producing world-class long-distance runners, but these winners are also professional athletes who can train every day.

It was great to see so many Hongkongers taking part, but I doubt if many were professional runners. Most have demanding full-time jobs.

I am sure there are young people in the city with the natural ability to compete at the highest level in their chosen sport. Unfortunately, the ­government has not invested enough in sports development, and so many young people are unable to reach their potential.

I urge the government to ­allocate more resources to sports development, so that one day we can see local athletes standing on the podium as Olympic champions.

Peter Tam, Po Lam

Pressure piled on after New Year holiday

I was shocked to read about three students committing ­suicide within an eight-day ­period after the Lunar New Year holidays.

I sympathise with the ­families and wonder if young people who take their own lives think what effect their actions will have on their loved ones.

I appreciate the pressure many students feel at this time of the year. They are given assignments to do during the New Year break and a lot of homework when they return after the break.

With so many people visiting their homes over the holiday, many youngsters are not able to finish all their work and so end up with a backlog.

Some face other problems, such as bullying.

Schools need to realise there is a problem and teachers must be vigilant. If they think a ­student in their class is deeply troubled, they should get that student to talk to the school social worker immediately.

Jerry Chan Ho-yin, Sheung Shui