Letters to the Editor, October 15, 2017
Special police squad can curb animal cruelty
I agree with concern groups which argue that the city’s laws for punishing people convicted of animal cruelty are too lenient (“Animal cruelty police force needed in Hong Kong, experts say, after shocking cases exposed online”, October 7).
Even those found guilty of quite appalling acts of cruelty receive light punishment, ranging from fines of a few thousand dollars to only a few months in prison. Some who should be incarcerated even escape prison and just get community service. I do not see how such light sentences can act as a deterrent to those who see nothing wrong with abusing animals.
There is clearly a need for the police force to set up a dedicated squad which targets the crime of animal cruelty. This will enable the authorities to deal more effectively with this form of abuse and ensure that animals enjoy greater protection.
They are an integral part of society but, unlike humans, they do not have a voice.
I hope this new unit can be set up as soon as possible.
Caroline Wong, Kwai Chung
Tourists will love hidden cultural gems
I agree with Colin Mackenzie, a visitor from Scotland, about what could be done to encourage tourists to extend their trips (“If Hong Kong protects its culture, visitors will stay for longer periods”, October 10).
The city has a unique culture and some aspects of it are hidden treasures and may not be known to many visitors or even locals.
You can find distinctive eateries and shops in the most unlikely of places, such as former factories in old urban areas like Kwun Tong.
These old buildings may also have artist studios and visitors can see the results of the creative talent of young Hongkongers.
Tourists should be made aware of these locations and persuaded that the city is not just about going to designer-label shops in large malls.
The city’s small, independent shops, while being distinctive, will also offer a lot of bargains.
One place that stands out for me is Mei Ho House, in Sham Shui Po. It was part of Shek Kip Mei estate, which was built in the 1950s.
It comprises a youth hostel and area for exhibitions. It is the last surviving example of a “Mark II” single-block building.
Also, the Cattle Depot Artist Village in To Kwa Wan, a distinctive red-brick building, is well worth a visit.
We can enhance our global reputation for our unique culture by promoting some of these lesser-known heritage jewels.
Amy Chan, Kowloon City
Switching to used books is eco-friendly
I agree with correspondents who have argued that it is environmentally-friendly for pupils to buy and sell second-hand textbooks rather than buying new editions.
If demand for new editions drops, fewer will be printed and more trees will be saved. It helps the environment whenever trees are not cut down.
It also makes sound financial sense, as youngsters will save a lot of money if most of the books they buy are second-hand. This is particularly important for grass-roots families on low incomes. Purchasing older editions is an affordable option for them.
Some correspondents urge pupils not to write in the margins of these textbooks if they want to pass them on, but if they are useful notes or answers to questions, this might help the pupils who buy them, assisting them with lesson preparation and revision.
Most parents want to buy new textbooks for their children. However, I hope that over time there will be a change of mindset and many will opt instead for second-hand editions.
Louis Fung Lam-lap, Sau Mau Ping
Get youngsters interested in science degrees
Some scientists have said that funding for scientific research is insufficient in Hong Kong universities compared to other developed countries.
The government must do more to help with the development of science in local tertiary institutions. It must also encourage more pupils in secondary schools to consider science as a career path.
More talks and workshops should be held so that youngsters who are interested can learn about what is involved in doing an undergraduate degree in science. Hong Kong needs more scientists to remain competitive.
Trisha Tobar, Tseung Kwan O
Family home a great idea for sick children
The new facility, which will be the second local site for Ronald McDonald House Charities, will make a huge difference to families of these young patients who suffer from serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Parents and their children will be able to stay together in the home, which will make a real difference to them as a family. I can understand how difficult it must be for parents to have to travel every day to Kai Tak, especially if their home is quite a long way from there. It can also reduce the stress felt by the young patients.
It also means that children who are well enough can stay at the home, thereby freeing up beds in the hospital, which can cut waiting times.
While the home is still at the discussion stage, I do hope the government will give it the go-ahead as soon as possible.
Suki Lee, Hang Hau