Letters to the Editor, May 8, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 5:28pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 5:28pm

Disney already big enough for a fun outing

I am writing in response to your report on the funding approval for Disney (“Hongkongers will have to pay HK$5.45 billion for major expansion of Disneyland”, May 3).

Since a lot of pro-establishment lawmakers on the Legislative Council’s Finance Com­mittee agreed to approve the budget on enlarging the theme park, Hong Kong taxpayers will bear the cost.

I disagree with this decision. First, I think Hong Kong Disneyland is already big enough for visitors to have a fun-filled day or two, so enlarging it at such cost would be unnecessary.

The number of tourists visiting Disneyland has fallen, and I believe the main problem is the price of tickets, rather than the size of the park. The price of a standard one-day adult ticket has been increased to nearly HK$600 and for children it is over HK$400.

Imagine if the additional land were not used for Disney but for public housing; it would be a blessing for all those street sleepers in our city. A good government should make quality of life for citizens a priority, not just be guided by economic data.

Even though approval for the expanded Disney has been granted, I hope that the government would think twice before making a decision on certain white elephant projects.

Anson Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Extreme steps needed to stop multiple buys

I share Andy Statham’s sentiment that extreme measures have to be taken to thwart the trend of ownership of multiple flats (“Impose new rule that residents must live in the property they own”, May 4) .

But not only is his suggested new rule impossible to enforce in this ill-disciplined society, but also this unresourceful and non-committal administration can never be expected to take sufficiently extreme measures to put such a rule into practice.

The reasons given in your report about a rising number of people wanting to leave the city (“Three-year high in people seeking life out of HK” May 5) spoke volumes about the current administration’s failure to effectively respond to or anticipate such dire situations. There is so little hope of having a roof over one’s head that emigration seems the only way out.

But what’s the cause of this seemingly unstoppable trend? The main reason why properties are snapped up, fanning the fire of price rises and causing a ­vicious circle, is really the huge amounts of cash – some dirty – brought out of the mainland to invest, or launder, in whatever trade looks promising.

At the same time, this free economy of ours will not cap the price of new properties coming into the market or the rental for commercial properties.

The reason why so many people continue to fall victim to telephone fraud, willing to transfer vast sums of money on the demand of claimed mainland officials, is that they have an Achilles’ heel – the fear of being caught.

The necessary extreme ­measure has to be the capping of prices or rentals, or the forbidding of purchases by non­permanent residents, or both.

Peter Lok, Heng Fa Chuen

Widodo quote on GDP claim not in context

In his column (“GDP rankings are economists’ equivalent of fake news”, May 2), Jake van der Kamp insinuated that Indonesian President Joko Widodo ­erroneously asserted Indonesia’s gross domestic product growth to be the third highest in the world.

He was quoting from your report (“Indonesian President Joko Widodo gets hero’s ­welcome from compatriots in Hong Kong”, April 30), where the president was quoted as saying that “Indonesia’s economic growth is the third in the world after ­India and China”.

I need to clarify, that when the president explained about Indonesia’s GDP growth rate, at the occasion referred to by van der Kamp and your earlier report, on-screen was a presentation slide that clearly stated “third-highest GDP growth among G20 countries”.

The president made the comment during his meeting with around 5,000 Indonesians at AsiaWorld Expo, in Hong Kong, on April 30.

It is clear that van der Kamp was not aware of the context of President Widodo’s remarks.

Bey Machmudin, chief of the Presidential Press Office, ­Republic of Indonesia

Respect the heritage of bun festival

I refer to your article on the bun festival (“Skip the meat during popular bun festival”, May 4). The Cheung Chau festival is known for its lively parade, ­exciting bun-tower climb and showcasing of cultural heritage.

If the ping on bun is an integral part of its heritage, eating vegetarian food during this festival is another. Why not show more respect to this custom?

Amy Wong Lai-ying, To Kwa Wan

BCA test may be different ­in name only

I’m writing in response to your article on the rebranded assessment test for schools (“Hong Kong schools ready for boycotts as pupils sit revamped tests”, May 4).

As we know, the government of Hong Kong “listened” to our students’ complaints and then replaced the controversial Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) test with the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA), claiming that the new system will save students from over-drilling.

However, I cannot really see any difference between the two tests. It seems that the name has been changed, but the system is almost the same.

A teacher interviewed by Pearl TV reporters actually said the exercise is still the same, just that the workbook no longer has the title “TSA” on it.

The reason why there were calls for the TSA to be scrapped was that young students were put through intensive drilling, which caused them stress and left them with no time for rest.

The Pearl TV report also mentioned a father who complained that his children were still being trained for the BCA, and could not go to bed until midnight.

So what has changed since the time of the TSA?

These cases show that the new BCA system has already failed. Over-drilling continues.

Michelle Mai, Sau Mau Ping