Letters to the Editor, July 29, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 9:00am

Observatory has tools but won’t use them

This is not another letter of criticism after Peter A. Tanner’s (“Storm warning but no sign of bad weather”, July 26), but a suggestion, not for the first time, that the scientists at the Hong Kong Observatory use their high-tech storm-detecting ­equipment instead of guessing.

First, why didn’t they task at least one of the Government ­Flying Service’s two weather reconnaissance aircraft to fly out to the storm to report back ­instantaneous readings of the winds? Their automated navigation equipment continuously resolves the triangle of velocities into readings of aircraft speed relative to the air, wind speed and ground speed.

Second, have they not got a Doppler Radar so they can read wind speeds instantaneously?

Instead, they seem to trust only the anemometers installed around the territory, of which only the Tap Mun station ­recorded a gust of 70 km/h.

To warrant a No 8 signal, a ­sustained wind of 63 km/h and above has to prevail, and yet none was apparently detected.

Macau held to a No 1 signal during the time the No 8 NW ­signal was in force in Hong Kong, and the centre of the storm crossed the Pearl River Delta to Macau’s side.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Let’s do more to promote the HK geopark

This month I went to South Korea on a school study tour and visited the Jeju Global Geopark. I enjoyed the spectacular views and was amazed by the island’s geological features which are millions of years old.

Hong Kong also has rich geological resources. We have even older rocks and more rock types than Jeju. However, we don’t seem to be successful when it comes to geo-tourism.

As a frequent visitor to the countryside, I have visited the Sai Kung volcanic rock region many times. But the trip could be off-putting for tourists. Imagine commuting for an hour and then hiking for three hours to get to the geopark. It is too time-consuming for tourists who are not staying for very long. Also, boat trips to the islands of the geopark are often expensive.

To promote geo-tourism, the government could start by improving transport infrastructure. It would also be a good idea to install free Wi-fi, as some parts of the geopark are far away from urban areas.

The government should set up training schemes to ensure the quality of geopark tour guides, and monitoring systems should be set up to oversee the guides and the transport ­providers.

Hong Kong schools could also organise more field trips to local geological attractions.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

Taxes on cigarettes must be increased

I thoroughly agree with Gauri Venkitaraman (“Smoking in public leaves even non-smokers in Hong Kong facing serious health risks”, July 11) that smoking not only jeopardises smokers’ health, but also does harm to passers-by through ­second-hand smoke.

Burning cigarettes release a multitude of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals like tar and nicotine, which do substantial damage to our respiratory systems and increase the chance of developing lung cancer.

Cigarette butts are often left burning on top of bins, producing second-hand smoke that is inevitably inhaled by ­passers-by.

The breathing in of cigarette smoke by pregnant women can cause a baby to be born too early or to have a low birth weight. The damage done to the body by cigarette smoke cannot be ­underestimated.

Apart from the health problems, the environment is another concern. Releasing noxious smoke pollutes Hong Kong’s air, which is already bad due to pollutants from factories and the traffic.

Given the negative consequences of smoking, the government should consider further increasing the tax on tobacco products.

The added cost will act as a disincentive to smokers, reducing their frequency of smoking and alleviating its adverse effects. At any rate, this will go some way towards creating a clean, smoke-free Hong Kong.

Wilson Chan Yat-leung, Ma On Shan

Blacklist irresponsible zoo visitors

It is very important that we always respect and stop feeding animals in zoos (“ ‘Don’t blame the bears’: another tourist risks life and limb at a Chinese safari park”, July 24).

These ­animals can be extremely dangerous. Some visitors have been injured and even killed.

It is also important to punish and blacklist irresponsible ­visitors from all zoos in China.

Many if not all incidents which have resulted in injuries and deaths are due to people trespassing on these animals’ territory.

Zoos in China and around the world must do more to remind and educate irresponsible visitors not to take foolish ­actions which could result in injuries or death to themselves and others.

These are not household pets, they are wild animals. They can and have killed human beings.

Ace Kindredzen Cheong, Singapore

Muslim voices against terror drowned out

In her letter (“No justification for any of these terror attacks”, July 24) Marian Schneps says, “I have to accept that many peaceful followers of Islam do not want to take time to issue an outright condemnation of these ­vicious murders.”

This came despite the letter by Muhammad Arshad, chief imam of Hong Kong (“Terror attacks by deviant foot soldiers can never be justified”, June 9).

A letter by Mohamed Hajamaideen (“Muslims condemn terror and are the biggest victims of its brutality”, June 22) was in reaction to the response to the detailed article by Siddiq ­Bazarwala (“Why must it fall to Muslims to decry terror?”, June 10), which conclusively addresses many of your ­correspondent’s misguided concerns.

Ordinary Muslims and ­Muslim leaders alike have been condemning acts of extremism committed by individuals with Muslim names for as far back as this has been an issue, but these are clearly being drowned out by endless futile calls for the same.

To echo the words of journalist John Pilger: to end terror, it is perhaps best to end our wars of terror in the Middle East.

Syed Ridwan Elahi, vice-chairman, Muslim Council of Hong Kong