Letters to the Editor, December 21, 2017
‘City Trivia’ display simply depressing
Enid Tsui has written one of her typically insightful articles, this time on the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (“Cringeworthy contribution to biennale does city no favours”, December 20).
Going through the elevated walkway in the former Central Market, the major access route to the Mid-Levels escalator for pedestrians, has long been a depressing experience. However, it has been made worse by the current exhibition, “City Trivia”, which presents glib and simplistic explanations for various aspects of Hong Kong.
Using a fancy font does not make a bad argument better, nor excuse the compression of the reasons for phenomena like Hong Kong’s long life expectancy into just a couple of contentious lines.
There also seems to be an unstated strategy to present the colonial era in Hong Kong in the worst possible light.
While it would be ridiculous to be uncritical, it seems to me equally wrong to, for example, describe the creation of the country parks simply in terms of rainwater catchment, compressed land supply and increased government revenue.
Some of us can still remember the genuine enthusiasm and commitment of those professionals involved in the country park projects of the 1970s; it is a pity to see all that overlooked and the resulting unbalanced picture presented.
Rachel Cartland, Mid-Levels
Don’t invade country parks for new homes
The discovery in October of rare butterflies in a rural area earmarked for public housing highlighted the contentious issue of building in country parks.
There have been calls to build in or on the edges of country parks, as one way of dealing with Hong Kong’s shortage of land for public housing and accommodation for the elderly.
Country parks represent important habitats for animals and they should be protected. We can’t afford to have these habitats destroyed.
I agree with those who say that we must consider reclamation projects to provide more land for housing rather than country parks.
Rainbow Wu Tin-hung, Kwai Chung
Subdivided flat tenants must be rehoused
With experts fearing tuberculosis could make a global comeback, there is cause for concern regarding Hong Kong, because of “frequent travel between” hotspots of the disease and the “city’s cramped living conditions” (“Combating age-old killer”, December 2).
When it comes to cramped accommodation, there is nothing worse than our notorious subdivided flats. The priority should be to get residents out of these units. Further time-wasting by bureaucrats, by integrating these people into the long-term public housing waiting list, is unacceptable.
Officials must stop sticking their heads in the sand. In 2015, it was estimated that nearly 200,000 people were living in around 88,000 subdivided flats.
Conditions are dreadful, especially during the hot months, and this year summer temperatures hit all-time highs.
Officials from the health, housing, transport and buildings departments, should read your June 15 report (“Bed and breakfast”) where a pest control expert estimated a million bedbugs infested just one subdivided flat he tested.
Conditions in these flats are awful. There is no need for another government study.
The government should immediately put up prefabricated homes and have all tenants leave their subdivided flats and move into these temporary units. While these prefab homes are being built, there must be pest eradication programmes in subdivided flats and ventilation must be improved.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Keep eyes open for bullying at school
Bullying is a real problem in schools in Hong Kong.
While it is important to raise levels of public awareness, that is not enough.
Parents, schools and the government should take a proactive approach to bullying. For instance, parents should regularly talk to their children about their school lives.
They should teach them that bullying is bad and that they should always report any cases that they witness.
The government needs to do more to crack down on incidents of bullying.
Crystal Li Wing-yan, Tsz Wan Shan
Pupils need to play outdoors, not just study
I think it is important for local primary schools to place greater emphasis on learning through outdoor play.
Allowing children to interact with the outdoor environment can help them to be more creative. It gives them a welcome change from a syllabus where they spend hours in class doing academic work and then have a lot of homework in the evening.
Being under constant pressure is not a good learning environment. Pupils need to be given more time to explore the natural world outside the confines of the school campus.
For example, if they go on a class field trip to a country park they can learn about the unique ecosystems there. Of course, you can find out all you need by reading textbooks, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience.
It is also valuable because the pupils are not just learning, but interacting with their peers. This offers them a welcome break from their customary exam-oriented learning environment.
Primary-age children in particular must be given more time to play. They can get easily bored if they spend too much time in the classroom focusing just on academic subjects.
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O
Eat healthy and exercise to beat obesity
A recent study showing that half of Hongkongers over the age of 15 are overweight or obese, is worrying.
Part of this is due to the growth of a fast-food culture in Hong Kong. They are often eating unhealthy meals with too much sugar, salt and oil.
People also eat a lot of fast food as they work long hours and it is convenient. With little spare time to relax, many people do not get enough exercise and so they put on weight.
While change is difficult, it is possible. People who are overweight need to change their lifestyles, and that begins with a healthier diet. They need to eat more vegetables, and less salt and sugar. And they need to adopt an exercise regime, even a modest one would do.
Nicole Leung, Tuen Mun