Letters to the Editor, November 12, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 November, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 November, 2017, 9:00am

Flats scheme gets poor out of cubicle units

I refer to the report on cheaper homes for the poor (“Charitable landlords reject pressure to subdivide, team up with Hong Kong NGO to provide cheap, liveable homes for poor”, November 5).

I appreciate the efforts of the NGO, Society for Community Organisation, which is renovating old flats owned by civic-minded landlords to improve the living conditions of poor families in the long queue for public housing. For many of them, the only other option is to pay for a small and costly subdivided unit, and endure cramped and unhygienic conditions.

However, while I welcome this project, it is quite small in scale. For there to be similar schemes and more of these flats, the government must provide the NGOs ­involved with more financial help.

With additional subsidies, NGOs can renovate a lot of old flats and rehouse subdivided unit tenants while they wait for that coveted public ­estate home.

This would seem to be money well spent by the administration, given that I do not see it being able to shorten the long waiting list for public housing any time in the near future.

I also think the relevant government department should be helping NGOs to convert abandoned industrial buildings into housing.

Eddie Ng, Tsuen Wan

E-vehicles can only provide a partial solution

Some citizens, concerned about the city’s high levels of roadside air pollution, think that having a lot more electric vehicles would make a difference.

I can certainly see the advantages of owing an e-vehicle. It costs a lot less to recharge than putting petrol into a conventional car, and maintenance costs are also generally lower.

Emissions from fossil-fuel cars are a problem in Hong Kong and in many other countries, ­including large cities on the mainland.

This air pollution exacerbates global warming and so it makes sense for manufacturers to ­further develop vehicles which produce zero pollution.

However, there are some practical problems in Hong Kong which ­cannot be ignored.

There are still not enough charging stations throughout the city. In an ordinary car, when you are running low on fuel it is easy to find a petrol station.

This is not always the case when you need to recharge your e-vehicle.

Secondly, if there are a lot of e-vehicles, demand for electricity would rise, as would output from our power stations. That would therefore generate higher levels of pollution.

This is especially the case with coal-fired power plants.

Having more e-vehicles can help, but the government must come up with other measures as well to clean up our air.

Macy Chong, Kowloon Tong

Pupils should learn about nation’s history

I think it is a pity that so many young Hongkongers know so little about the history of our nation (“Hong Kong pupils ‘have poor knowledge’ of ­modern Chinese history … and some think Mao is a woman”, November 7).

I think the reason for these misunderstandings, such as thinking that Mao Zedong was a woman, is that secondary school pupils have not studied enough modern Chinese ­history. The amount of time ­allocated to this subject in the syllabus is inadequate.

This can lead to them not really identifying themselves as Chinese in a cultural sense. I therefore support the decision, announced in the policy ­address, to make Chinese history a compulsory subject in ­local junior secondary schools.

This will give pupils a better chance to learn about their country’s past and hopefully it will help them to develop a sense of ­belonging with the country.

Lau Lok-yiu, Tsuen Wan

Using fear to get respect will breed rancour

I do not see why we need legislation which instructs us how to behave (“Does taking photos during flag-raising ceremony break China’s new national ­anthem law?” November 8).

It is not good if people show respect when the flag is raised out of fear of punishment. This will intensify any resentment Hongkongers may feel towards the central government.

Alice Li Wai-yin, Kwai Chung

Treasure ships discovered in New Zealand

I refer to Stephen Chen’s article about the search for one of ­Chinese admiral Zheng He’s treasure ships in the Indian Ocean (“Clues emerge in search for sunken Ming ship”, ­November 5).

The article says that none of these vessels has ever been ­located. In 2003, I located a 120 metre by 48 metre Chinese vessel of the treasure ship design over a cliff at Moeraki, New Zealand, driven there by a tsunami.

An examination showed that the vessel had been part-lined ­internally with concrete, bonded to the hull with a rice-based adhesive. British naval architect, Dr David Chalmers, stressed the hull’s design and confirmed the ­feasibility of such a vessel.

Using magnetic anomaly and penetrative satellite photography, I found 23 other sand-covered vessels of the same design, all wrecked by the same tsunami around the coast of New Zealand. Also located were 23 of the unique harbours ­designed for these huge vessels. Full details of these vessels were published in Singapore’s exhibition for the 600th ­anniversary of Zheng He’s first voyage in 1405. Details are still available on Gavin Menzies’ 1421 website.

T.C. Bell, Penrith, Cumbria, UK