Letters to the Editor, October 20, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 3:46pm

Pupils will gain from Chinese history course

I agree with the announcement in the policy address that ­Chinese history will be an independent compulsory subject at junior secondary level.

Knowing more about China’s past can give us a better understanding of current issues. The policies of the central government can be influenced by past events. For example, the US wants Beijing to do more to control North Korea, but does not appreciate the long relationship between the two countries and the fact they were allies during the Korean war.

Understanding how Hong Kong became a crown colony and the effect this had on China helps us grasp the central government’s determination to have the special administrative region as part of the nation.

When I was in junior secondary forms, I did study Chinese history; it was an independent subject, but not a compulsory one.

It certainly deepened my understanding of the country. And I came to realise that, while we were vulnerable and weak in the 19th century, during our long history, there were times when we were very powerful.

But while I support this move, I do not want it to be used by the government as a springboard to launch national education in all local schools.

Mona Lum Hang-yi, Yau Yat Chuen

Get tenants out of subdivided flats right now

Summer temperatures have hit all-time highs this year. Meanwhile, pricing considerations have forced subdivided flats to get even smaller while the ­ageing apartments that are split up in this way become even more substandard. It’s time the health, housing, transport and buildings authorities got ­together to consult the expert who revealed in your article in June (“Bed and breakfast”) that the number of bedbug infestations in the city was ­increasing.

In just one subdivided unit, he estimated there were up to a million of these insects. As your July 9 editorial pointed out (“Issue of subdivided flats needs resolution”), the plight of those living in these places has been “so extensively reported that there is no need for another study to prompt actions from the government”.

Those actions involve immediately putting up prefab ­temporary homes and compulsorily moving the estimated 80,000 dwellers out of these ­subdivided flats into the new dwellings.

This would be similar to the actions of Anson Chan Fang On-sang, then social welfare chief, forceably removing a five-year-old child from her mentally ­unstable mother in the 1980s. The dwellers, like the poor child, are unable to help get themselves out of harm’s way.

There must be no more ­foot-dragging.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Race shows the potential of solar power

I was interested to read about the 3,000km solar car race across Australia’s outback (“Driven by the sun”, October 15).

The teams came up with ­designs that could eventually lead to ­solar-powered cars being ­produced and sold commercially. This event is important ­because there is a growing awareness of the importance of environmental protection.

If we are to save the earth’s precious resources, finding more solar energy ­options will ­become ­increasingly important.

Christopher Chan, Po Lam

Water taxis great for locals and tourists

Having a new form of transport in Victoria Harbour will certainly offer people more options (“Government floats ‘water taxi’ idea to boost tourism”, October 14). These vessels will not have a fixed route, like the Star Ferry, so visitors and locals will be able to choose different ­locations.

However, I am worried that water taxis might lead to more marine pollution or exacerbate congestion in what is already a busy harbour.

So, if it the scheme is to go ahead, the government will have to plan it well and ensure that potential problems are ironed out before it is launched.

For instance, it could limit the number of vessels allowed on the water and ­ensure they use clean fuel.

Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman has suggested an app that people could use to order a water taxi, like a car­hailing app.

If this was easy to use, it could prove very popular with tourists and local Hongkongers.

Above all, though, the priority for whichever department is tasked with overseeing the scheme must be to avoid any congestion in the busiest parts of the harbour.

There is a lot of commercial shipping, and ocean-going and other vessels must not be held up. If it is well thought-out, then there is no reason why we cannot all enjoy these water taxis.

Ho Nga-yau, Yau Yat Chuen

Give troubled food trucks more help

Another of the operators of the city’s food truck pilot scheme, Creative Yummy, has closed down.

I can understand his decision, because the scheme has been dogged by problems since it was launched in February. There were complaints about bad locations and the prices charged by some trucks.

Operators have also complained about the high cost of running their enterprises – for example, they must have a ­backup kitchen.

Another problem is that the scheme was primarily aimed at tourists, because food trucks are popular in a number of countries, but I suspect many visitors will not even have known about these eateries, except when they noticed them at popular tourist spots such as Ocean Park.

Some of the designated locations do not attract many tourists, so it would be difficult to make much money.

The government needs to fine-tune the scheme. There must be a more aggressive ­promotion of these trucks (with adverts online, for example) so more people know about them and the operators should be ­offered subsidies.

Serena Mak Kit-ying, Kowloon Tong