Letters to the Editor, June 4, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 9:02am

Student was on target with bad air comments

When I read about the comments made by Chinese citizen Yang Shuping when she graduated from the University of Maryland in the US, I thought she had made a very good speech (“Chinese student who praised US fresh air and freedom apologises after backlash in China”, May 23).

It reminded me of my first visit to Beijing in June 2015, when the air pollution was really serious.

I had really been looking forward to the trip, especially visits I had planned to prominent heritage sites. The Forbidden City, the Ming tombs and the Great Wall were amazing, but my experience was not as enjoyable as it could have been because of the bad air.

When I think about that holiday, I feel that Hong Kong’s air pollution problems are not nearly as bad as in the capital, ­although they are still a lot worse than, for example, many cities in Europe.

Of course, there was a very angry reaction from a lot of internet users on the mainland to Yang’s graduation speech.

She was simply describing the education system she experienced as an undergraduate in the US, praising the respect for freedom of speech and the fact that critical thinking is encouraged at American ­universities.

Having said that her critics are entitled to express their views, just as she is entitled to say what she thinks.

I can understand why they felt upset. We should not forget that despite its impressive gross domestic product figures in ­recent years and the launch of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, China is still a developing nation. Many villages are still ­poverty-stricken.

Young Chinese citizens with a good education can ask what the country has given them, but they should also consider what contributions they can make to the society as possible future leaders.

China is a rising power, and I hope the government and citizens will be more ­willing to listen to criticism.

Chan Po-ling, Ngau Chi Wan

China’s leaders must tackle pollution

Air pollution problems in China are getting steadily worse.

For days at a time, smog will descend on cities such as Beijing and this adversely affects residents’ daily lives and their health.

China is a developing country which has undergone rapid growth, with huge consumption of energy. It has experienced urbanisation and industrialisation. As more factories are built, we see a lot of emissions from chimneys and so the pollution gets worse.

The central government now has an alarm system when ­Beijing is enveloped in smog.

However, it has to pay greater attention to this problem. It must accelerate its renewable energy programmes, instead of building more coal-fired power plants.

Oriana Li, Yau Yat Chuen

Improve traffic flow at busy roundabout

Residents of Clear Water Bay and Sai Kung are very anxious to hear from Highways Department officials about any plans they have for improvements at the ­saturated Clearwater Bay-Silverstrand roundabout.

I understand there are plans to widen Clear Water Bay Road from its junction with Ah Kung Wan, but this will not solve the problem. As it stands, drivers approaching this roundabout from Hang Hau are unwilling to indicate their direction, and this results in motorists being afraid to even enter the roundabout until it is empty of cars, creating a huge tailback.

Some solutions come to mind, such as the removal of planter beds on three sides of the roundabout. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has done a great job with the planter beds, but the area is ­urgently needed for cars to exit the roundabout more easily. Also, the government should make approaches to the owners of the long-abandoned house known as “Chocolatier” at 828 Clear Water Bay Road, immediately adjacent to the roundabout.

By assuming control of this land, a dedicated lane could be established for Sai Kung-bound traffic, which would help the traffic flow enormously.

With a number of huge new housing developments coming on stream in Clear Water Bay and Sai Kung this year, this ­matter is now urgent.

Will the Highways Department reply through these ­columns?

B. Park, Clear Water Bay

People should never give food to wild animals

Last month a girl was caught on video being dragged into the water near Vancouver, Canada, by a sea lion. Fortunately she was rescued and was unharmed.

A marine mammal expert interviewed on CBC News said the sea lion probably mistook the girl’s dress for food and was used to being fed by people at this dock.

This incident highlights the importance of treating wildlife with proper respect. Sea lions like all wild animals should not be fed by people. They get their food from the sea and what they are thrown by people and consume might actually make them sick.

Christy Lau, Yau Yat Chuen

Give up MTR seat as an act of courtesy

I agree with Ambrose Chan that it is OK to use a priority seat on the MTR if no one else claims it (“Priority seats failing to meet primary aim”, May 23).

No one should feel obliged to offer the seat to anyone because this act should be done out of courtesy, not a sense of duty.

However, if there is a person in need, I will not hesitate to give up my seat to him or her, no ­matter if mine is a priority seat or just an ordinary seat.

Ben Ip, Tuen Mun