Letters to the Editor, May 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 May, 2017, 4:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 May, 2017, 4:49pm

Education best way to prevent cybercrime

The recent criminal ransomware attack was a wake-up call. It highlighted the need for everyone to become more informed about the importance of security on the internet.

In this electronic generation, we depend on devices like smartphones for much of what we do every day.

Schools, households and all private companies need to use computers. And yet so many are clearly not knowledgeable when it comes to cybersecurity and trying to ensure that all devices are protected against hackers.

We all need to know when it is time to update our operating systems and how to install ­anti-virus software. During the recent attack by WannaCry, ­victims reported ­feeling ­completely helpless as they were locked out of their computers.

In the short term, all ­computer users should have their systems updated. In the long term, the government has to adjust the syllabus in local schools so that compulsory computer classes are held and these include training in how to enhance cybersecurity.

Crystal Li Wing-yan, Tsz Wan Shan

Country park flats study is welcome step

I wish to express support for the feasibility study on public housing in country parks (“Contentious country park housing plan gets big push”, May 18).

Finally there is hope of an ­improvement in the housing supply in Hong Kong. I look ­forward to reading the results of this study to look into the feasibility of building public flats and homes for the elderly on two sites on the edges of Tai Lam and Ma On Shan country parks. If projects like this go ahead it will be good news for low-income families and pensioners, especially those who are on long waiting lists for public housing.

I am a hiker and I know the importance of protecting our country parks; they are beautiful and an essential part of what makes our society harmonious.

However, as one fellow hiker ­remarked, you see animals like monkeys freely enjoying the wide open spaces of the country parks, yet so many people in Hong Kong must endure life in tiny subdivided flats.

Country parks make up 41 per cent of Hong Kong’s land mass, while only 7 per cent of land is for residential use.

We have to analyse if it would be possible to adjust that ratio to meet the needs of an increasing population, and so this feasibility study is important.

Chan Po-ling, Ngau Chi Wan

Ruining scenic rural areas is not the answer

Because Hong Kong’s housing problems are so severe, it has been proposed that flats could be built in or near country parks.

While I can see why such a proposal has been put forward, I would not agree to any projects going ahead in these areas.

There are other policies that could be adopted to increase the ­housing stock which would yield better results.

If flats are built in country parks, trees will be felled, flowers and plants uprooted and beautiful rural areas destroyed. Sensitive ­eco-systems will be at risk.

Once we lose the green cover with the felling of many trees, we can expect the poor quality of our air to only get worse.

When it comes to all the problems associated with ­housing in Hong Kong, the ­biggest one is the high price of even a modestly sized flat.

This forces many people to rent instead of buy. And citizens who are on low incomes have no choice but to live in tiny subdivided flats, which raises quality of life issues.

If there was some way to cool the market and reduce prices, more people would be able to buy them.

The government needs to look at all available options to deal with the housing shortage, but it should not resort to ­building in our country parks.

Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

Tempt younger drivers by relaxing rules

I think the Transport and ­Housing Bureau should relax its restrictions on driving commercial vehicles, so that more younger people can join the workforce (“Action to tackle driver shortage”, May 10).

Given that there are not enough drivers of commercial vehicles, this means that it can often be difficult, for example, to catch a taxi and this is why so many people continue to drive private cars more often than they would wish.

This obviously exacerbates roadside pollution.

There is clearly a need for the bureau to act and find ways to solve the problems posed by an ageing workforce.

So I ­support the proposal to change the rule that drivers must have held a regular private car or light goods vehicle licence for three years to one year, to be eligible to drive taxis, trucks, buses and minibuses.

I think over a short period of time we would see an increase in the number of drivers.

Also, the government should set up more training courses to try and attract young people.

If these courses are promoted widely and qualifications are issued when they are completed, more young people might be tempted to choose driving ­commercial vehicles as a career and this could in turn ease the manpower shortage.

Carmen Cheung, Kowloon Tong

Clarifying notorious pirate’s portrait

I read with interest and pleasure Stuart Heaver’s article on the new exhibition at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (“The pillage people”, May 12).

However, the portrait of Zhang Baozai that features in the article is nothing of the sort.

It is a woodcut engraving of Xu Yabao (contemporarily ­Romanised as Chui A-poo) that appeared in the Illustrated ­London News, Vol XVIII, No. 493, Saturday June 14, 1851, p.547 captioned “Chui-A-Poo, the Chinese Pirate (see next page)”. On the following page, p.548, is a description of his career since the deaths of Captain da Costa RE and Lieutenant Dwyer, ­Ceylon Rifles, in February 1849, for which he was held primarily ­responsible.

After a year and more of ­pirate activity and another ­escape, he was delivered, bound, to HEICS Phlegethon in Guangzhou (Canton) in ­February 1851 by, it was said, ­ex-confederates, and on March 10 tried in Hong Kong. Xu was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to transportation to Borneo (a common sentence at the time).

He hanged himself in his cell in Victoria Prison the night ­before he was to be taken to the transport ship.

There is no known portrait of Zhang, only a purported and highly stylised representation.

Dr Stephen Davies, Pok Fu Lam