Letters to the Editor, September 30, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 9:00am

Container flats will relieve housing stress

I refer to the article on alternative housing in the city (“Hong Kong container home trials to be launched at HKU and Science and Technology Park”, ­September 21).

I am glad that container homes are being considered in Hong Kong. Demand for public housing is rising, what with high property prices leaving few ­people able to afford the rent for ­private flats. Prefabricated and ­temporary accommodation can ease this housing pressure.

The government plans to build more public housing units, but this is time-consuming, while queues for public rental flats get longer. Also, more young adults and newcomers from the mainland are applying for public housing flats due to the lower rates compared with private housing.

The launch of container homes can help ease the situation and possibly even shorten the waiting time for a flat.

It is better for ­government and non-governmental organisations to tackle the housing problem together. The NGOs can propose more innovative ideas to solve social problems but they may lack capital, which is where the government can help, so the plans can achieve their goal. However, it is important that the government lays down guidelines to guarantee the security and stability of these container homes.

Jenny Chan Kit-yan, Kowloon City

Suitable design tops concerns for box homes

I refer to the report on container homes (“Hong Kong container homes could be on the way”, September 21). I agree that these homes can become a temporary solution to Hong Kong’s housing problem.

With demand for public housing far outpacing supply, this unprecedented scheme can relieve the shortage.

However, there are a few things to consider. Hong Kong does not have much free land, so where will these container blocks be built? The second problem is the material of these containers. Hong Kong has a hot and humid tropical climate for most of the year. Will container homes be comfortable?

Such homes are popular in Europe, where the weather is much cooler and drier. Maybe our developers can visit those sites and learn ways to improve the design.

But I believe the advantage of relieving the pressure on the public housing waiting list is a significant feature and our city should consider it.

Cathy Ng Ka-yi, Kwai Chung

Use surplus to build more recycling units

I couldn’t agree more with Alex Lo (“Let’s have a hi-tech solution to recycling”, September 19).

Instead of handing excess cash back to the public or declaring relief on property taxes, why doesn’t the government use at least part of its surplus to build recycling plants?

That would require subsidies to be sure. But putting trash in landfills is also subsidised – and simply wasted.

There is no need for yet ­another “consultation” or ­attempts at a “consensus”. As Mr Lo points out, the public knows major recycling is needed, and that we badly lag behind other developed economies. I urge Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to just do it.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Stricter laws needed to curb illegal parking

I wish to criticise the social phenomenon of illegal parking and road obstruction in Hong Kong.

Last year, about 1.6 million parking tickets were issued, compared with one million in 2014; and in the first half of this year, about 840,000 were handed out, marking a 40 per cent year on year increase. I have to say these drivers are selfish and irresponsible, as this kind of rule-breaking raises the risk of accidents. When cars are illegally and improperly parked, they obstruct traffic flow, delaying other drivers. Narrow spaces may even cause vehicles to hit the illegally parked one, causing not only material damage but injuries or even death.

Illegal parking also wastes ­resources. Police officers have to check on illegal parking spots regularly and issue tickets to ­errant drivers, and then spend more time following up cases.

Their energy can be better spent on other areas of law ­enforcement. Also, if enforcement operations require more officers to be recruited, this ­increases taxpayer expense on their salaries.

People should think twice before parking illegally. They must put themselves in the shoes of other drivers. If they realise how selfish their behaviour is, they may rectify it.

But self-discipline may not work for everyone. Therefore, we need stricter laws to act as a deterrent, such as much higher fines than the present few hundred dollars, and longer ­impoundment times.

Ho Shu-mei, Yau Yat Chuen

Donald Trump trying to make the world safer

I strongly believe the age of ­dictatorships is coming to an end. Tensions between North Korea and the US will ultimately lead to war. And it will be a ­victory for humanity.

The outcome of such a war will be righteousness and justice for human society. We will no longer live in a world of ­communism, slavery or ­dictatorships. If we reflect on human history, we will see that such wars have happened for the ­betterment of society.

Not all wars are bad. There are costs to human life but nothing outweighs the eventual freedom. We should realise as human beings that the world must promote freedom.

I support President Donald Trump and the US in ensuring that the world is a safer place.

All countries should realise that we will not be intimidated by dictators engaged in nuclear threats. China should understand where the US stands in this regard and ensure full ­cooperation.

Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels

Separation from mainland is unthinkable

I refer to your report on Chinese University students taking down a pro-independence ­banner (“Student union ­removes Hong Kong ­independence banner”, ­September 21).

The students should have removed the banner ­before being warned about it, because it is impossible for Hong Kong to be separated from the mainland. Many of our daily necessities come from there, as do a large number of our tourists. A variety of businesses here rely on ­mainland China.

China gives a wide scope of business freedom to Hong Kong as we have the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”. The students justified their actions by citing freedom of speech, but if we are deprived of the advantages of being with China, what will be the consequences?

Whether it is with regard to the economy, business or social freedoms, Hong Kong cannot ever be separated from ­mainland China.

Helen Ng, Yau Yat Chuen