Online Letters, August 1, 2017
Immigration problems can be solved at terminus
Some Hongkongers will welcome the new Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link, as it will make travelling to the mainland more convenient. However, there are others who fear it could undermine the principle of “one country, two systems”, which has already been under attack because of a number of incidents, including the cases of the Hong Kong booksellers who were detained on the mainland for a period of time.
They are worried about the presence of mainland immigration officials at the terminus in West Kowloon and what effect this will have on the Basic Law.
In fact some US customs officials are stationed in other jurisdictions, such as Canada, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Aruba, Ireland, Japan and Dubai. These arrangements have been successful and can speed up the process of entry to the US for visitors from these locations. It can reduce the stress often caused by being stuck in a long immigration queue on arrival at a country.
Hong Kong and the mainland are part of the same country so having these officials at the terminus should be even easier to arrange than the US and its agreements with other countries.
It would be unfortunate for Hongkongers using these trains if this new arrangement could not be agreed to.
Kenneth Lam Ka-lok, Tseung Kwan O
Parents and children need to keep lines of communication open
A number of children have committed suicide. Sometimes, their parents have failed to notice the signs, as they lead such busy lifestyles. Relations with their children are damaged and this is a situation that has to change. Students also have hectic lives, because of a packed school syllabus and communication can break down between parents and their sons and daughters.
I can understand why adults work so hard, because they want to do the best for their families. But children need their parents to spend some quality time with them. That lack of quality time can be crucial if youngsters are experiencing problems and do not feel they can turn to their parents.
The government should be doing more and ensuring cheaper housing is available so that adults do not have to work for so many hours every week, just to pay for necessities such as high rents. Citizens who are having to get by on low wages will feel resentful and this can cause disharmony in our society.
Families will get on better if they can spend more time together.
Kathy Cheung, Tai Wai
Food delivery apps are destroying Kong Kong’s culinary traditions
With advances in technology food delivery apps are becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong. A lot of people like them and use them regularly because they are convenient.
However, while they are time-saving, more young people are using them and so they are consuming more takeaway meals at home. They prefer to do this than to make their own meals which is more labour intensive.
Also, they spend less time in traditional restaurants. It is faster to simply order online, but means that eateries may find they have fewer customers which is obviously not good for business.
As more smaller, traditional businesses shut down they will be replaced by large restaurant chains which will also have a delivery app that people can use if they want to eat at home. The small entrepreneurs are already struggling to cope with high rents and the large chains can probably offer cheaper meals.
The food delivery apps are actually promoting a fast food culture, and the traditional eating out culture is changing. Fewer Hongkongers will eat local Chinese food or learn about how to cook it. They will depend more on the food delivery apps. The unique eating-out culture that exists in Hong Kong could be threatened. Also, I am concerned that people will eat food that is not as healthy.
While these apps do make people’s lives easier, they can be harmful to society and the individual health of people. They threaten our city’s culinary traditions.
Lam Yan-wing, Kowloon Tong
Disruptions on MTR are becoming more frequent
On July 28 a power failure caused service delays for more than an hour on the Tsuen
I have noticed that these service problems on the MTR network are becoming more frequent. This is making passengers angry, as well as delays to planned expansions of train lines, for example, the Sha Tin-Central Link.
Some commuters feel that when there some kind of service disruption the MTR Corporation does not deal with it as efficiently as one would expect. But I think that when there is a problem the MTR Corp does try its best to deal with it. However, if it is completely unexpected it may take time to fix.
Passengers need to appreciate that staff will try their best to ensure minimum inconvenience is caused to passengers and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Ruby Ho Sum-yu, Kwai Chung
Government not doing enough to deal with housing crisis
The waiting time to get a public housing apartment has increased. This causes problems for people on the waiting list who have to pay high rents until they can be provided with an affordable flat in a public estate. In the meantime the government struggles to find enough land to meet the demand for housing.
The longer waiting list is caused by the insufficient number of new public estates. Also, the government is failing to direct resources to the right policy areas. And as there are not enough vacant flats so rents keep rising.
Most citizens cannot afford to buy private housing as it is so expensive so more join the waiting list for public flats, because at least they can afford the rents.
The administration needs to work more with the private sector and ensure enough additional flats are built. It must ensure the supply of land is increased, and accelerate its public estate building programme so that the waiting list is cut.
Kathy Cheuk Ka-yee, Kowloon Tong