Letters to the Editor, September 9, 2017
Creative artists yet to receive all-out support
I refer to your article on creative artists in the city (“Meet the young designers leading growth in Hong Kong’s creative industries despite challenges”, August 19), especially this line: “It remains doubtful whether Hong Kong’s highly bureaucratic government has the means to push forward creative industries.”
The issue is that there aren’t many measures that actually promote the creative industry.
The Design Incubation Programme, run by the non-profit Hong Kong Design Centre, supported just 170 start-ups in the 10 years to 2015; the government’s CreateSmart Initiative ignored most small-scale designers and artists in favour of more lucrative projects in architecture or development. The difference could not be more stark when compared to the creative industries of most other economies.
Unesco’s 2010 Creative Economy Report said that, adequately nurtured, creativity fuels culture, infuses human-centred development and constitutes the key ingredient for creation, innovation and trade. In the US, creative industries added US$698 billion to the economy and also 4.7 million jobs in 2015.
It is clear that the Hong Kong government should do more to support small-scale designers and artists.
James Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Smokers may like to try out heated tobacco
In the Philippines, a nationwide smoking ban has taken effect after an executive order by President Rodrigo Duterte.
All indoor and outdoor areas open to public use, public transport included, are listed as no-smoking areas (e-cigarette excluded). Offenders will be fined and serious offenders will face imprisonment.
In Hong Kong, a ban on smoking in public has been in place since 2007. Streets, however, are not regarded as no-smoking areas. Smokers often light up on the street or while walking and are a nuisance to non-smoking pedestrians.
For decades, the smoking rate in Hong Kong had been dropping, but lately the decline has reached a bottle neck. There are hard-core smokers who are determined to carry on, no matter what tobacco control measures are put in place.
To them, the joy of smoking gets top priority, and it seems no-smoking areas, high tobacco taxes, cigarette advertising bans and the direst health warnings cannot deter them.
The emergence of a new smoking device that works by heating instead of burning the tobacco may be a way out. Such devices are said to be smokeless, scentless and less harmful, yet retain the pleasure of smoking. Smokers of traditional tobacco-based cigarettes and long-suffering non-smokers may both be helped.
Teo Ching, Tung Chung
Sleep trouble stems from urban living
I refer to your report on insomnia (“More than 2 million Hongkongers suffer from insomnia”, August 26). It said four out of 10 Hongkongers have trouble sleeping. I think there are three reasons for this alarming trend.
The first reason is stress. Busy schedules or workloads can cause anxiety so people find it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
The second is unhealthy food habits. As they lack adequate sleep, people drink a lot of coffee or tea during the day to stay alert. After work, they may need to drink with clients. All of this sets up a vicious circle and interferes with sleep.
Late heavy dinners and late-night snacks can also hamper one’s ability to sleep.
Use of electronic devices or watching TV in bed is known to interfere with the sleep cycle and must be avoided. Some people even put their phones to charge next to them while sleeping. This is another reason why they can’t get a good night’s rest.
Lam Chi-lok, Tai Po
Environment is top priority for Hong Kong
I refer to your article highlighting pollution in Hong Kong (“Soaring heat,choking pollution”, August 31). Climate change has become an issue of grave concern these past few years.
Hong Kong recorded the highest temperatures ever this summer, which implies that global warming is getting worse and hitting close to home.
Changes in climate are caused not just by weather-related factors but by human activities as well. Coal-fired power plants and other factories in China produce smoke that is discharged into the atmosphere every day. When this polluted air blows into Hong Kong, the city suffers from smog and lower visibility. Fumes from fossil-fuel vehicles add to the toxic mix.
The Hong Kong government should educate the public about this issue. The chief executive should pay more attention to the issue of environmental protection and ensuring clean air. It is also our responsibility as citizens to come together and find a possible solution.
Jackie Lo, Po Lam
East Lantau plans: a waste of tax money?
I refer to Tom Yam’s article on the debate over the proposed East Lantau town (“Opposition to creating a metropolis in Lantau must be heard”, August 1).
Mr Yam calls public consultations “costly road shows” that “are increasingly seen by the people as pro forma exercises”. He also says Hongkongers, “whose taxes pay for public consultations, deserve more transparency”.
The demand for housing in Hong Kong is really huge. However, mountainous terrain makes building difficult on a large part of its area. We all know and understand why the government needs to develop the Islands and New Territories. But are these the only methods to create land for building?
A lot of land in the city is owned by some developer or company. It would help if the government could buy back this land. When land is bought by companies at a high price, flats built there also become too expensive for most people.
As for Lantau, transport links with the city centre are not as smooth yet, while management fees at estates are high. So how many people would be able to afford houses on the proposed East Lantau Metropolis in 2030? Is it really worth spending our tax money on this?
Hui Ching, Po Lam
Joint terminus will make for smooth travel
I look forward to the opening of the West Kowloon terminus for the express rail link. Passengers will then be able to undergo border clearance procedures for both Hong Kong and the mainland under the same roof, before boarding trains to all cities on the national high-speed railway network.
Mainland law will apply to certain designated areas of the joint terminus, in a system similar to the US and Canada or the UK and France on the Eurostar.
As a Hong Kong citizen,I feel this project will bring great convenience and also save a lot of time. For instance, getting to Guangzhou will take just 50 minutes, instead of more than two hours as it does now.
Carina Cheung, Tseung Kwan O