Letters to the Editor, May 28, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 9:02am

We must leave country parks free of housing

I do not think the government should allow flats to be built on the edges of Tai Lam and Ma On Shan country parks.

Hong Kong does have a ­serious housing problem, but building in country parks is not the way to solve it.

Ordinances exist to protect these rural areas and they should not be developed. Using them should be seen as an act of last resort. Before that happens, the government should earmark abandoned land, wasteland and brownfield sites for potential residential developments. The country parks are an essential green urban-rural buffer.

The fragile ecosystems in country parks must be ­preserved. If they are destroyed, Hong Kong will just become a concrete jungle. These parks are important not just for citizens now; they should be preserved for future generations. They ­deserve to enjoy the beautiful rural scenery.

While economic development is important, the government should strike the right balance, also looking at social and environmental aspects.

Kary Li Tsz-ki, Kowloon Tong

Tough task for students to chase dreams

The story of Hong Kong teacher Ada Tsang Yin-hung conquering Mount Everest will have a positive effect on local youngsters and hopefully inspire them to follow their own dreams (“Former students of first Hong Kong woman to summit Mount Everest recall inspiring woman who never quits”, May 22).

It is such a positive story and a real motivation for students. However, sticking to that dream of achieving their goals is difficult thanks to the current exam-oriented education system in Hong Kong. Students face countless tests and assignments and have to put all their effort into their academic studies.

They have time for little else, not even to think about ­future career choices.

The Education Bureau must ensure schools have a life-plan programme to help students at all levels of ability prepare for their future careers.

Samuel Cheng Ka-ho, Sai Kung

Enjoy perfect avocados from Mexican farms

Mark Sharp’s article (“Finding the perfect avocado in Hong Kong: why it’s harder than it looks”, May 21) brought to mind my own missteps after moving out on my own for the first time.

Even in Mexico, where avocados originally come from, one must learn a few simple tricks. I am encouraged by your readers’ recommendation of keeping green avocados outside the ­refrigerator, and of individually wrapping them in newspaper or placing them next to other fruit.

Sharp’s follow-up article (“Where to buy the best avocados in Hong Kong: readers offer tips after our rant about being ripped off”, May 23”) is disconcerting. Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocado, and accounts for 65 per cent of its global trade. Our orchards are found in ideal climate and soil conditions, and at different ­altitudes. This allows for a high-quality product to be available year-round.

Mexican producers are well organised and are experts at their business. The ripeness at which they send their avocados into the market is not random. The standard procedure is to measure “dry matter content”, as it increases as the fruit ­matures. In Mexico, this is done at certified orchards by a thirdparty company. The fruit is picked by hand and shipped around the world in ­climate-controlled ­containers.

I invite your readers to visit avocadosfrommexico.com. It includes a “how to” section with short videos that might be useful. With practice, one can learn to buy two or three at a time and enjoy perfect avocados from Mexico at different times of the week.

Damián Martínez Tagüeña, consul general of Mexico in Hong Kong

Awareness key to curbing phone scams

The problem of phone/online scams is getting worse. I believe this is partly due to increased use of the internet on our smartphones.

People need to think very carefully before they download any app or document from the internet. They must be sure their phone will not be hacked.

We all need to become more aware of the potential scams that are out there. The government has a role to play in trying to raise those levels of ­awareness.

This is a problem that is not just confined to Hong Kong. There are victims of these scams in countries around the world.

Hazel Book Tsz-yiu, Yau Yat Chuen

Poverty trap becomes a vicious cycle

I refer to the report “How many Hongkongers are really living in poverty?” (May 21).

I believe poverty is a ­serious problem in this city and has many causes. One reason is ­inadequate housing supply caused by a high population density and insufficient flat land for development. This leads to skyrocketing rents which create serious financial problems for people on low incomes.

It is difficult for them to ­escape the poverty trap if they have not had much education, because they can only find low-skilled, poorly paid jobs. This ­becomes a vicious cycle for these individuals and for their families. They have to endure substandard living conditions in subdivided flats, which have poor ventilation and are ­unhygienic.

With so many people living in poverty, the government faces a huge economic burden because of the welfare payments given to citizens. As a society, we cannot ignore the negative impact of poverty.

The government needs to recognise that poverty is a ­serious problem in Hong Kong and come up with policies to ­address it as soon as possible.

Anka Wong, Yau Yat Chuen