Letters to the Editor, June 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 4:54pm

Lam must tackle vested interests first

The biggest challenge for Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who takes office as Hong Kong’s chief executive in two weeks’ time, will be to bridge the divide in our community.

Issues that need tackling are poverty alleviation, better elderly care, overhauling the education system and ensuring affordable housing for all of us in Hong Kong. All of this can be realised if our tycoons, whose number I estimate to be around 1,000, start contributing.

Not just by funding universities and getting buildings named after them, but by paying back to the society that gave them a head start.

What about donating to or creating assisted facilities for the elderly, releasing them from nursing-home cubicles? What about giving up land holdings to ease the shortage that prevents affordable living? How about subsidising the education of children from lower-income families and minority groups?

Unfortunately, Hong Kong has tycoons and rural kuks that are either moving their assets abroad or only focused on self interest. If the have and have-not issue is not faced, there can be no future for Hong Kong.

So, Ms Lam, your legacy will depend on an honest fight against vested interests. Better still, get them on your side.

Peter den Hartog, Tuen Mun

Monitor entire supply chain for food safety

I am writing to express my ­concerns on the issue of food safety. I refer especially to the ­recent scare related to tainted meat from Brazil, which prompted a recall and a temporary ban on imports, and earlier ­reports about heavy metals like lead or copper, or even pesticide residue, in vegetables, some ­imported from the mainland.

Lead-tainted vegetables were even being sold as organic produce. This poses grave health risks, as excessive consumption of lead can lead to learning difficulties in children. These incidents suggest that the system for food quality checks is rudimentary and falling short.

If tainted mainland vegetables are offered at a lower price by supermarkets, people will naturally tend to buy them, without realising the risks to their health, while the bigger ­demand may in turn boost the imports of such vegetables.

Food safety affects people’s lives, so the government of Hong Kong should make it a priority to safeguard public health.

All varieties of food, whether meat or vegetables, should be examined without exception, and certified as approved. Also, only imports from ­registered and quality-approved suppliers should be allowed.

In addition, there should be strict supervision of the entire supply chain – from import to wholesale and retail – and the ­results of such monitoring must be publicised every month.

Cheng Sau Hon, Yau Yat Chuen

Disney failing to sustainably market itself

Your correspondent James Wong is right to say Disneyland is not a viable business unit in Hong Kong, and I think that most Hongkongers would agree (“Why should Disneyland get taxpayer help?”, May 6).

The theme park’s marketing team is so clueless that it misses the closest potential market, but always tends to look too far afield for an unrealistic group of possible spenders.

Only a successful business would seek ­expansion, that too paid for with its own profits, or spin off the business to seek public subscriptions for financing, which would be booked multiple times over if it had a positive balance sheet.

Disneyland has none of these qualities and is doing little to boost its business, but for flickering advertisement from a distance. I haven’t seen Disney put out any mobile ­adverts – the most effective ­marketing tool in the digital age; phone users can even be tempted to pay instantly by just pressing a button. Lots of entertainment businesses focus on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) travellers.

­Disneyland has to compete with concerts, the casinos in Macau, local excursions and Hong Kong’s many attractions to draw them. Its marketing team is seemingly too shy to capture a bigger market share.

The Disneyland team should try harder to sharpen its marketing skills ­before digging into the pockets of Hongkongers.

Edmond Pang, Fanling

Spare us the pious lectures on pets in flats

I refer to Joan Miyaoka’s letter regarding how unfairly she ­believes dog owners and their pets are treated in Hong Kong (“It is morally wrong to ban dog ownership in housing estates”, March 18).

First of all, could I say how much I object to being lectured by people about the merits of dog ownership? I am sure that there are benefits to be gained from having a dog. But this is not the point.

In land-starved, space-constrained Hong Kong, where the bulk of the people live in small flats in close proximity to each other, the issue is a practical one of noise being generated by dogs that are cooped up in small flats for prolonged periods of time.

This seems to me to be unfair on the dog. It is also unfair on the neighbours, subjected to incessant barking (as we have been from an upstairs neighbour).

So Ms Miyaoka, no more ­pious lectures, please. The issue is one of practical common sense and how we can all live ­together, hopefully harmoniously, in crowded blocks of flats.

Nicholas Rogers, Mid-Levels

Youth in HK need greater career support

A professional diploma course in power engineering ­recently launched by the Vocational Training Council and CLP Power is a positive step towards nurturing talent within the ­industry, and also opens up more job options for youngsters.

But the government has to do more to improve the job situation for the next generation.

According to a survey carried out by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, many teenagers have a bleak view of their future because of the widening wealth gap and a lack of opportunities.

Also, there is intense competition for jobs between local graduates and mainland or overseas ­candidates, making many here despair about ever owning a home or business.

Giving youngsters a bright future is important for the ­sustainable development of Hong Kong. It is high time the government made it a priority.

Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Tseung Kwan O