Letters to the Editor, April 27, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 April, 2017, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 April, 2017, 5:25pm

HK needs right policies for better livability

I think there are a number of factors that have caused Hong Kong to lose its ranking in a recent global survey of livability (“A first-world city with third-world air quality: Hong Kong loses ground on expat livability ranking”, April 12).

Air pollution is certainly one factor, and it is a serious problem. The number of private cars in the city keeps rising, with more registration applications every year. Our bad air also has a negative impact on Hong Kong’s reputation abroad.

Another factor is the minimum wage. The prices of homes and commodities, and rents, have kept on rising since the statutory minimum wage was introduced. Workers are guaranteed higher wages but ­employers face greater expense. They pass that on to the customer by raising prices. While the minimum wage was meant to enhance the quality of people’s lives, it is doing the opposite.

The government and citizens must work together in ­order to find the right policies that can improve Hong Kong.

Cheung Wai-sum, Yau Yat Chuen

Emigrate call leaves little hope for future

I have always known that a city can only provide so much to ­satisfy a person’s needs and taste, and every city has its ­merits and weaknesses.

That’s why some emigrate, and some choose to stay in Hong Kong. However, now we have a message from the ­financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po.

If a senior member of the government can suggest that to enjoy a better living environment and quality of life, one should ­consider ­moving to ­another city in China [and commute], what hope do we have to ­continue being Hong Kong ­citizens?

What kind of education and future are we giving our teenagers? Shouldn’t our top leaders be talking about how we can ­improve the city for everyone?

Anson Yang, principal, King Ling College, Tseung Kwan O

Ban on alcohol sales to minors long overdue

I support the proposed legislation to stop stores from selling alcohol to minors, as drinking is ­harmful for young people.

Also, I think it would be good to have tobacco control officers leading the crackdown on stores which flout the law (“Hong Kong’s smoking squad likely to enforce ban on alcohol sales to minors”, April 19).

Having these officers police this new policy will draw public attention to this regulation. The current ­legislation is flawed, so making changes to the law is long overdue.

I am sure the tobacco control officers would do a good job at ­overseeing the law and ensuring it is effective, and that the stores stick to the rules.

Kelly Cheng, Kwai Chung

Organ donor age bar can’t be taken lightly

I refer to the report, “Under 18s will be ­allowed to donate organs only if big majority backs it, Hong Kong minister says” (April 22). The call for changes to the law came after a teenager was not allowed to donate part of her liver for a life-saving transplant for her mother because she was a few months short of 18.

This story has been ­discussed a lot on Facebook, with most of the posts expressing sympathy for the plight of the patient and her daughter.

Some of my classmates, and I’m sure many other Hongkongers, support a change in the law.

However, we cannot make such an important change just because of a wave of sympathy over one case. If we do so, then what will happen next?

Perhaps a son or daughter who is almost 17 will ask for the age to be lowered even further, and where will it end?

Older citizens might hold back from registering as organ donors, saying that young, healthy people probably have a better chance of recovery if they donate part of an organ, and so more responsibility will rest with the younger generation. This is obviously not fair on teenagers.

A revised law will not change the fundamental problem that the organ donor rate in Hong Kong remains low because of the traditional belief that the body should stay intact after death. This attitude also causes problems for students in the medical faculties of our universities in Hong Kong needing cadavers for dissection, which is a vital part of their training.

What really matters is to find ways to raise the awareness of citizens, so that they realise the importance of signing up on the organ donor register.

There are queues of patients for different kinds of transplants. More of us aged 18 and over must try to alleviate their plight by signing up as donors and therefore help to save lives.

Laura Tam, Tsuen Wan

Bike-sharing faces hurdles in urban crush

Bike-sharing services have ­become a global trend, and one such service has just been launched in Hong Kong.

While it is environmentally friendly, I am not convinced that such a scheme will be operated as effectively in Hong Kong as it is in other cities. For one thing, I think we lack the necessary infrastructure.

Our cycle tracks and designated parking sites are restricted to the New Territories and outlying islands. Cyclists living in the urban areas of Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island would have to use roads. Therefore, any bike-sharing scheme is only practical for locations where bike lanes ­already exist. If it is to really work here, the government must ­create a widespread network of ­cycle tracks.

Also, shortage of land would make it difficult to create suitable parking sites, or people will just leave their bikes in narrow streets. This would exacerbate the ­problem of overcrowding.

These problems would need to be solved in Hong Kong to have a successful citywide ­bike-sharing scheme.

Lam Ka-man, Kowloon Tong

Speed cameras can help rein in holiday racers

I have come to the conclusion that the authorities are not interested in clamping down on the so-called boy-racers who charge around on our city’s roads most weekend and holiday nights.

In fact, in my 20 years of ­living in Hong Kong, this very visible problem seems to have become worse. Worryingly, it can only be a matter of time ­before an ­accident happens that results in the deaths of several innocent people.

Why cannot a network of speed cameras be set up to trap the miscreants? Why cannot the police proactively monitor the roads where such activities are known to take place?

I am convinced that vehicle seizures, massive fines and ­substantial jail terms would soon snuff out this problem.

It is now time for the government to show some backbone and force the police and courts to act.

Jason Ali, Lantau