Letters to the Editor, May 30, 2017
Flawed tests for concrete need rethink
The allegation of faking concrete test results for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge has raised public concerns about this multi-billion-dollar project.
The focus has been on those who may be responsible for this with arrests having been made. What we should be asking is how such an incident could happen in the first place, if the government’s quality assurance procedure had been properly implemented.
Traditionally, concrete tests in Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) contracts have been carried out by the Public Works Central Laboratory (PWCL). To ensure the testing quality, technical staff from CEDD must be present to witness the making of concrete cubes and the storing of these cubes in the curing room for future testing. At the date of testing, the CEDD technical staff will deliver the samples to the testing laboratory and witness the testing.
If this quality assurance procedure is followed, any faked test results or anomalous test samples can be discovered immediately at the date of testing, rather than being discovered a year later. Moreover, there is no way a contractor can fake test results or bring in other samples as the curing room will be locked at all times and the contractor is not allowed to enter without any prior approval.
I understand that in recent years, because of a heavy workload, the PWCL has contracted out a lot of testing work to commercial laboratories.
I am not sure if they have also contracted out the “quality assurance” part. Should this be the case, then it is really disastrous, as there is no direct and immediate contact.
Regarding this incident, I am concerned by recent statements from the government. It appears that officials think that with modern technology using a digital marker, they can always trace any cubes from preparation and curing to testing without their staff being present to witness all these processes. However, this is a misconception. For example, the concrete cubes might be damaged during delivery.
A complete overhaul of the government’s testing policy is certainly required.
Dr Wong Hong-yau, Happy Valley
Take time over same-sex marriage law
Earlier this month, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that the law must be changed to allow same-sex marriage. It gave the government two years to implement the ruling.
While Taiwan has been seen as being fairly progressive with the regard to same-sex marriage, the court’s decision will have shocked some communities in the region, including Chinese people.
It is a controversial issue in Hong Kong where many citizens still have traditional beliefs. I respect the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, but moving swiftly to legalise gay same-sex marriage is not the answer.
I am worried that children adopted by a same-sex couple would be confused about family relationships. Also, in Hong Kong society, there is still a lack of understanding about the LGBT community and these adopted children could find themselves being bullied, which could cause mental trauma.
It will take time for our society to progress and to reach the point where there is the mutual respect needed to make the necessary legal changes.
Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay
Shopping not best way to beat stress
Hong Kong is notorious for its high levels of stress and people try to find different ways to deal with it. Some choose to shop, but this is not always the best option, especially if they go too far (“Unhealthy shopping obsession revealed”, May 8).
People who shop but exercise self-control and do not spend too much can help themselves and the retail sector, which is good for the economy.
However, our excessive shopping culture promotes consumerism and materialism and it can have a negative effect on impressionable teens. Immature youngsters may think that these skewed values are the only way to deal with stress.
Unhealthy shopping is also bad for the environment. For example, items of clothes may be discarded without ever being worn and more needless waste ends up in our landfills.
Young people need to realise there are much healthier ways to help relieve stress, such as communicating with friends and family. Keeping open the lines of communication improves relationships and helps people to expand their social circle. Also, doing regular exercise helps. And another positive difference is that unlike shopping, it does not cost anything.
Ip Sing-leong, Hung Hom
Students could learn from climber’s feat
Teacher Ada Tsang Yin-hung has become the first Hong Kong woman to conquer Mount Everest.
I admire her determination. She had the courage to chase her dream and get to the summit of the world’s tallest peak at her third attempt. By doing so, I am sure she has helped to inspire her students.
She had to do years of training and it can’t have been easy, but she would not give up and has finally succeeded.
Many students in Hong Kong appear to be scared to try something new or chase their dream, because they do not want to fail, so they give up.
They just concentrate on their studies in almost robotic fashion.
I hope some of them will have a rethink following what Tsang has achieved. They will see that it is worth overcoming the difficulties they will face as they try to achieve their goals.
Yuki Tsoi Ka-yee, Tseung Kwan O