Letters to the Editor, June 7, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 5:00pm

Subdivided flat tenants could be rehoused

This administration has avoided getting the housing authorities to take immediate and direct ­action to stop the upward spiral of property prices and rents. It has instead got the monetary authorities to take indirect ­action, making it harder to borrow (“Hong Kong home prices hit record high in April”, June 1).

Likewise it has avoided ­taking immediate action to move the occupants out of the hellholes called subdivided flats, by diverting attention to the new flats that will be put on the ­market a few years later – pointing to the two birds in the bush to put off the trouble of getting one bird in hand.

The living conditions in these subdivided flats are a more serious health hazard than can be gauged from Suki Lee’s brief description in her letter (“Subdivided flats are no place to live”, June 4). I am sure those caring lawmakers who have gone to experience at first-hand these apartments, could testify to the awful conditions.

They are more crowded and with worse ventilation than the resettlement blocks for the ­hillside squatters in the early 1950s. Although the intentions were good when they were built, these blocks turned out to be hotbeds for contagious diseases transmitted through rodents and pests infesting the premises.

Ms Lee pointed out the difficulty faced by officials who want to check these subdivided flats in gaining access without the ­occupants’ consent.

What has to be done is something like the action taken by ­Anson Chan Fang On-sang in 1986, when she was director of social welfare. She ordered the forced removal of a five-year-old girl from her mentally unstable mother.

In other words, the government should take the necessary legal action to evict occupants from these subdivided units. But before that is done, it should make available, on a large-scale, prefabricated tenements near public transport lines where these tenants can be temporarily resettled.

This could be done in weeks. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Crackdown on dripping air cons is needed

I wonder if Hong Kong is the only developed city in the world which has a serious problem of dripping water from air ­conditioners.

In 2015, a report in the South China Morning Post revealed that there had been more than 170,000 complaints over the 10 years to 2014 about dripping air cons, but only 12 prosecutions.

Despite all these complaints over the years, you still experience this problem in every ­corner of Hong Kong.

You can be fined up to HK$10,000 for having an air conditioner that drips water onto the street, so why is the government so indecisive, when it should be cracking down and thereby putting a stop to this problem?

We keep boasting that Hong Kong is an international city and yet, during this hot weather, ­tourists walking on our streets will experience this dripping water wherever they go.

The government seems ­unwilling or unable to deal with the problem.

Cecilia Chan, Quarry Bay

Citizens should try to lead healthier lives

Many Hong Kong citizens lead high-pressure lives. This can ­often mean they don’t get enough sleep and never have any spare time to exercise.

Consequently they are not leading a balanced lifestyle and this is bad for them.

Finding the right balance ­requires a mental as well as a physical effort by adopting a positive outlook.

One way to improve that mental outlook is by allocating a time every day to read, which is what Microsoft founder Bill Gates does.

However, the physical aspect is also important and people need to get regular exercise. Getting involved in some kind of sport is the best way to get fitter.

I think it is important for ­people to realise that trying to lead a healthier lifestyle is not as ­difficult as some might think.

It is really about just trying to organise your spare time and ensuring you allocate at least a short period of time to do things which are good for you, mentally and physically.

Doing this can help people to have a positive outlook on life.

Wong Nok-lam, Tseung Kwan O

Anti-smoking talks in schools will be effective

Smoking is still widespread on the mainland (“Most smokers in China have no plans to quit, study finds”, June 1).

There is a thriving trade in smuggled cigarettes north of the border, as many citizens cannot afford to pay for legitimate packets where the government tax has been paid. But there is no quality control of the ingredients of these illicit cigarettes and so they may be even more ­harmful to health than legal brands. However, even if they know they are taking a risk, ­people will ­continue to smoke.

The central government has to look into the feasibility of ­extending its no-smoking areas and enforcing this ban with fines.

The best way to ensure more young people do not start to smoke is through education.

Adults who smoke and have ­suffered serious ill health could visit schools to give talks and persuade youngsters not to start on the habit.

Hopefully, these teenagers could then have a positive effect on their ­parents who are ­smokers and ­persuade them to give up.

Kwok Ching-sing, Po Lam