Letters to the Editor, September 3, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 September, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 September, 2017, 9:00am

Slow internet link outside urban areas

Hong Kong aspires to be a “smart city”, and one would think that widespread provision of high-speed broadband internet via a fibre-optical network would be an essential component of this vision.

However, when I sit at home experiencing upload speeds of a pitiful 50 to 100 kilobytes per second, it is quite clear that this is not the case.

The economic and societal benefits of providing high-speed internet access to the whole community have been demonstrated in a number of places worldwide, so why is it that in Hong Kong these benefits are not accessible to many internet users, particularly in the New Territories?

Expanded access to high- speed internet stimulates economic growth and job creation by providing opportunities for innovation, expansion and ­e-commerce. High-speed internet enhances all levels of education, from kindergarten to college, by allowing alternative and/or more effective approaches to teaching.

Broadband reduces the ­carbon footprint of societies via lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; more ­people working at home means fewer people on the roads, but this cannot happen if internet speeds are slow.

I pay just over HK$300 per month for internet access, yet the service I receive is far inferior to that provided in urban areas. The speed is much lower, especially at times of heavy usage. The connection breaks at least once a month, and I spend 15 minutes negotiating the automated phone support to get the connection reset.

Once this is done, I am invariably asked if I would like to upgrade my modem by paying a further fee in order to provide a better service. I ask why I need to pay extra to get a reliable and effective service. Surely this should be mine as a matter of course.

Much of the problem relates to the monopolistic nature of broadband provision in Hong Kong.

As only HKT provides internet access in many areas away from the urban core, the company provides the minimum level of service.

The government should be subsidising the provision of a fibre-optic network throughout Hong Kong in order that all residents can ­benefit equally from what is, or should be in a smart city, a basic right.

Geoff Carey, Sai Kung

North Korea’s nuclear aims are pointless

I wish North Korea would abandon its programme to develop nuclear weapons. I cannot even understand why it harbours these nuclear ambitions. How will this country benefit from having nuclear warheads?

Instead, it could use the money it is wasting on these missiles to improve the lives of its citizens. When will leaders realise that wars bring people nothing but pain and misery?

Poon Ho-yin,Tiu Keng Leng

Hectic lifestyle often leads to unhealthy diet

Because Hongkongers lead such frenetic lives, many citizens focus too much on work. They do not consider their health, often skip having proper meals and go for the quick, easy ­alternative, which is fast food.

This might enable them to save time, but it is at the expense of their health if they are eating junk food a lot. It is often deep fried in oil and contains a lot of sugar and salt.

Some people get into these bad habits from an early age and many students enjoy eating fast food. This can cause them to put on weight.

No matter how busy we are, we need to focus on trying to eat a healthier diet, which includes a lot of vegetables and fruit. We need to try and get the right work-life balance so that we can look after our health.

Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

Cage homes are not part of city’s culture

I do not agree with claims about the cultural significance of cage homes (“Hong Kong cage homes for hipster tourists: ‘poverty tourism’, or a way to show visitors unique side of city?”, ­August 30).

Cage homes exist, because of the problem of polarisation of wealth here.

They should not exist in a developed city like Hong Kong. Therefore it is not correct to say they are a symbol or a cultural facet of Hong Kong.

They do highlight the need for the government to allocate resources to those who really need them and create a fairer society.

Rachel Wong Hiu-tung, Sha Tin

Downside to a raised retirement age

I understand people who want an end to age discrimination in the workplace and have called for a statutory retirement age of 65.

While such a policy might seem to be a good idea, it does have a downside.

If more elderly employees stay longer in their jobs, then there may be fewer promotion prospects for younger staff. This could slow down their efforts to achieve upward career mobility.

This creates other social problems. With housing prices being so high, young people need to depend on increases in salary so they can afford to get a mortgage.

However, if they are not able to take a higher-paid post until a colleague reaches the age of 65, and cannot climb the career ladder, they may not have enough for that ­mortgage. This will cause social discontent.

Ambitious young employees must be given the chance to ­advance in their careers.

Walter Chong, Tseung Kwan O