Letters to the Editor, August 28, 2017

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 4:41pm

Always heed advice about storm signals

The case of two people being trapped on a mountain at the weekend highlights the importance of heeding government warnings as a typhoon ­approaches: in this case, Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar.

A fireman was injured trying to help the hikers in an operation that involved 160 rescuers. Citizens are always urged to take shelter in a safe place when higher storm signals are raised by the Observatory.

Hiking should not be considered by anyone as soon as the No 1 signal is raised and other higher signals are expected. ­­This ­signal means adverse weather is expected and that is the wrong time to be out hiking. And, obviously, a rescue mission is trickier if it is on a mountain.

Anyone planning a hike should always check the weather conditions and forecast ­before starting out.

Emergency services workers may often get deployed on these kinds of rescue missions when they have other urgent work to carry out.

We are told about the safety precautions when there is an ­approaching storm and we should always heed them, especially those urging citizens to avoid ­low-lying areas.

Christy Wong, Tseung Kwan O

We must be wary of risks from robots

An article on the BBC’s website looked at the risks posed by “killer robots” and what warfare would be like if they were used.

I am very worried about the possible development of these killer machines, especially if they become a serious threat to the human race. Some analysts have even speculated that they could lead to a third world war. The lives of many innocent civilians would be lost, especially if the robots got out control.

Technology is a good thing, but we should recognise that there are potential risks, such as internet addiction. It can also cause problems if you store a lot of information, such as credit card passwords, on your ­smartphone and then lose it.

New technology is very ­convenient, but we also have to be aware of the importance of internet security. We should not rely on the internet too much.

If you look at history, people often had to depend on their own resources to survive. For example, hunters and gatherers had to catch or forage for food, or they would starve.

While we have advanced through the centuries, we must not depend on technology for ­everything. This can cause serious problems when it breaks down. Some people, for instance, might feel that they could not function if they did not have their smartphone.

Christy Lam Ki-wing, Sai Kung

Hong Kong still long way from a world city

Peter Kammerer touched on a sensitive topic in his column (“Hongkongers aren’t all ethnic Chinese who speak Cantonese”, August 15).

The problem, though, is that he perpetuated the very ­problem he dislikes.

Since he disagrees with some of the prevailing criteria for ­defining who can be called a Hongkonger, he comes up with his own definition: someone who doesn’t hang out with ­foreigners, who likes crowds, who plans on retiring here, and who has a Hong Kong-born ­girlfriend.

The very fact that people in this city debate over who is ­allowed the privilege of calling themselves Hongkongers illustrates why this is anything but Asia’s world city.

It is increasingly a provincial outpost that is trying to shut out the rest of the world – so much so that it has stringent codes (Kammerer calls it a “test”) about who is allowed into the exclusive Hong Kong club.

Why do others get to decide who I am? Most people would be highly offended if someone else tried to decide their identity based on sexuality, gender or race, and yet, here in Hong Kong, making judgments about who belongs to the local community and who doesn’t seems perfectly acceptable. I don’t meet any of the criteria in Kammerer’s column, but I identify as a Hongkonger.

If that self-identification isn’t enough to qualify, then that is proof positive that Hong Kong is disinterested in welcoming – and probably scared of – anyone perceived as an outsider.

I don’t recall anyone debating over who could call themselves Canadian, Utahn, Ohioan, Princetonian, or the label of any other of the many places I’ve lived in.

Hong Kong is unique in my experience by how difficult it is to break through the huge ­mental barriers designed to keep the world – foreigners, outsiders – out.

How such friendly and kind people as Hongkongers can ­simultaneously be so rigid, ­inward-looking, and insular is one of life’s great mysteries.

Malcolm Litchfield, Sai Ying Pun

Officials must do more to tackle pollution

I refer to the article (“Xi faces one of his greatest tests yet – China’s environment”, August 27).

The rapid economic development of the nation has led to serious pollution problems, such as rivers. I support the decision by President Xi Jinping to make top officials in different ­regions be responsible for the rivers in their areas.

Officials can no longer sit back and do nothing. They must act and start cleaning up ­polluted rivers.

In fact, these officials should be responsible for all enviromental matters in the areas under their jurisdiction. The message has to be got across that pollution must be addressed, as it is impacting negatively on people’s lives.

The central government should be trying to encourage more citizens to use bikes where possible instead of fossil-fuel vehicles. This can lower levels of roadside pollution. This is an important quality of life issue.

Clarins Ng, Hang Hau