Letters to the Editor, October 27, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 4:02pm

Summer heat faulty gauge of climate change

I refer to the letter from Harmoni Wong Tsz-ching (“Eco-friendly message is not getting through”, October 19).

It is misleading to use maximum temperatures at any of the 50 stations in Hong Kong to indicate global warming, because of the effect of human activities on heat generation.

On August 22, when a maximum temperature of 36.6 degrees Celsius was recorded at the Observatory’s headquarters station, 37.5 degrees was recorded at its Hong Kong International Airport station. The higher temperature was caused by airport heat, particularly after sunset. A peak of 38.6 degrees on the same day at the Yuen Long Park station can be explained by the inland location.

For local indications of warming, the number of cold days each winter – defined as equal to or less than 12 degrees Celsius over time – is superior.

Based on an analysis of the number of cold days from 22 winters since 1995 at the Observatory’s headquarters station, and the Hong Kong International Airport, Pak Tam Chung and Waglan Island stations, the conclusions drawn are: Waglan under maritime conditions shows the lowest number of cold days; the headquarters station under the most urban ­conditions shows the second lowest number of cold days; the airport station shows the third lowest number of cold days; Pak Tam Chung – under the most rural conditions – shows the highest number of cold days.

“Global warming” is not supported locally by a declining number of cold days during winter at the Pak Tam Chung station, which is the best measure for reflecting natural variability.

If we do wish to combat ­human-induced global warming (which is only detectable by instruments) it is better to ­reduce heat generation by human agency than aim for lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Wyss Yim, Pok Fu Lam

Mainland lost chance to move towards city

I read with interest your editorial on the Hong Kong references in President Xi Jinping’s speech.

Given your upbeat assessment, I am left wondering what the South China Morning Post is missing.

The erosion of “one country, two systems” is evident – from the taking of Hong Kong people to China, to immigration control policy – given the recent issue with the UK ­activist – and to the jailing of local activists. I could continue, with the countless ­interpretations of the Basic Law.

The issue remains that Hong Kong is becoming more like China and all that means – sadly – is that China has long since lost the opportunity to move ­towards Hong Kong, with the crackdown on any freedom of speech under President Xi.

James Griffiths, Central

Awareness is first step for mental health

Reports say that Hongkongers do not clearly understand how depression or other mental illness can affect their lives.

Busy Hongkongers seldom have time to relax. This is true especially of students, who have to face the crucial Diploma of Secondary Education exam and other pressures, be it from parents and teachers or peers.

The pressure may see some of them develop a mental illness. However, due to their lack of awareness of the symptoms of mental illness and its impact, they may not seek help or care about it.

The government has a responsibility to educate Hongkongers about mental illness and the need to seek help if required. The stigma around mental health issues must be removed.

Moreover, schools should help pupils to reduce their stress by communicating more openly with them. Students battling stress may feel helpless and ­would welcome advice from counsellors. Parents must also be more understanding of the emotional status of children.

Many mental illnesses are caused by different forms of stress. If we can identify and ­express our problems as soon as possible, stress won’t ultimately turn into depression.

Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Rich-poor gap could trigger social conflict

Hong Kong is a global financial hub, but still has 70,000 families surviving on HK$15 per meal per person. This is ridiculous. The government must really work towards creating a better wealth distribution system.

Even a set lunch at a casual ­restaurant can cost at least HK$40, so there’s no way these families can afford to eat out.

Meanwhile, the rich people are richer than ever, while the poor can never aspire to a better quality of life. The Gini coefficient of Hong Kong is one of the highest in the world. Our small city houses both the richest people in Asia and those who can’t even buy a proper meal.

What is needed is welfare policies for the poor and support for the middle class, to prevent serious social conflict in a continued M-shaped society.

Jerry Lam, Tseung Kwan O

History lessons highlight our shared heritage

Pupils in Hong Kong are reported to have mixed feelings ­towards making Chinese history compulsory. I believe that it should indeed be a compulsory subject in schools.

First, I think it will not ­become a brainwashing tool, because I believe it is the right and responsibility of all Hong Kong students to learn about their heritage.

Second, I think Chinese history is important to Hong Kong people, especially students, as they are our social pillars of the future. They cannot possess wrong concepts about details of the city’s history.

The government should give teachers the right direction on taking lessons in Chinese history, so that students can assimilate the correct information.

Finally, I think we should ­approach the issue of making Chinese history compulsory in a more positive way, because it is not something negative.

Kiki Hon Sze Kei, Kowloon City

Will Asia trip reveal Trump the statesman?

Donald Trump’s upcoming Asia trip will be an acid test of flaws in his personality, when people will be able to see the “true colours” of the US president.

Mr Tom Plate is right to quote Blaise Pascal that, “All ­human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.” But, can the US president make a difference, do something positive to change the atmosphere?

Trump is the commander in chief of all US military personnel. He can say the buck stops here. The first leg of his journey takes him to Hawaii, and l ­believe the trip has been planned meticulously. Will Trump be able to picture what took place 76 years ago with the attack on Pearl Harbour, bringing the US into the Pacific War? Now, the US and Japan are close allies. Could the leaders of the then warring countries have ever imagined this?

The question is: will the current US president do the same and put an end to the enmity with North Korea? This is how Trump can make a difference.

Lo Wai Kong, Yau Ma Tei