Letters to the Editor, May 16, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 May, 2017, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 May, 2017, 5:20pm

Indie venues must get equal treatment

When discussing the raid on the Kwun Tong club, Hidden Agenda, it is important to look at it in a wider context, rather than commenting on the specific ­incident.

I have an academic background in urban planning and music, and it appears the public perception is that venues popular with indie musicians often tend to be singled out. This could be labelled as unequal law ­enforcement.

If the law is not applied equally when it comes to these venues, this tarnishes Hong Kong’s image as a free city. Hong Kong is famous for its laissez-faire spirit which has helped to make it prosperous over the ­decades. Mainstream cultural events are important, but the government must also be willing to accommodate performers outside the mainstream to keep the city culturally competitive.

It is time for a cross-departmental programme so that ­different kinds of performers, ­including indie musicians, can find venues.

With the cooperation of all parties, it will be possible to ­ensure these premises meet the necessary building and fire safety regulations. Also, the ­current work permit exemption system must be extended to ­performers and athletes visiting Hong Kong for up to two weeks. Such a concession can help to enrich Hong Kong’s cultural life.

Raphael Mak, Mid-Levels

Duterte wisely trying to cool sea tensions

I refer to the article by Huong Le Thu (“Asean silence on the South China Sea speaks ­volumes”, May 4). I do not agree with the author that this silence shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s weakness; in fact, it shows his wisdom.

At a time when the Korean peninsula is on the verge of ­nuclear war, what the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members should do is use their diplomatic ties with North Korea and the US to push for peace. They should not fan ­tensions in the South China Sea.

And at the Asean summit in Manila, Mr ­Duterte sagaciously stewarded the bloc away from unnecessary confrontation.

Indeed, academics and ­analysts like Dr Huong Le Thu, who condemn China’s activities in the South China Sea, conveniently sweep historical facts under the carpet.

Territorial claimants like Vietnam and the Philippines began their island-building and militarisation in the 1970s, when China was still poor and weak. The speed and scale of China’s reclamation in the past couple of years may exceed those of these other claimants, but speed and scale are not necessarily violations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea .

Mr Duterte is trying to escalate economic ties and ­de-escalate conflict.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Integrated approach can reduce waste

I agree with your correspondent William Wan that there is a lack of public awareness about dealing with municipal solid waste (“Fight against waste must start at source”, May 9).

As living standards have ­improved, people have begun to possess larger disposable ­incomes, which has led to a rise in the volumes of rubbish. This is why the Hong Kong government proposes a waste charge, but this alone will not be enough to prevent saturation of landfills.

It will take a while for Hongkongers to adapt to the new ­system of using special waste collection bags. And it is unlikely to encourage those on middle and high incomes to cut back on waste. They will simply buy as many bags as they need and can easily afford them.

The government has to tackle this in an integrated way. It should have producer responsibility schemes, which means manufacturers and importers must collect and recycle the waste created from the goods they produce or sell. Manufacturers should be encouraged to produce durable goods that can be reused and recycled.

Citizens also have to change their ways. They must get out of the habit of simply dropping waste. And when we go shopping, we should all bring our own carry bags.

I would also like to see the ­development of a system where people exchange second-hand goods rather than throw them away. With more items being ­reused, we will see less waste.

To change bad habits into good environmental ones, the government must educate the public, through campaigns and adverts on television and online.

By raising the awareness of citizens we can eventually see the volumes of waste generated go down.

Sammi Lo Wing-sum, Sai Kung

SMEs need help to beef up online security

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and home ­computers are especially at risk from global cyberattacks.

Those with older operating systems or those who lack IT support were rendered particularly ­vulnerable amid the recent aggressive ­ransomware attack.

What happened should make us realise how dependent we are on computers and the risks involved. We must ensure that we have secure operating systems that can filter out viruses. The pattern in the ransomware attack appeared to be random, but it could affect all computers in an organisation.

The government should help SMEs regularly update operating systems and enhance security. All computer users should back up their most important files in an external storage ­device, so that their data is safe even if their computers are hit.

Amy Ho Bik-yu, Yau Yat Chuen