Letters to the Editor, December 23, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 December, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 December, 2017, 9:01am

Don’t delay smart city innovations

The government’s smart city blueprint has been released with a view to building Hong Kong into a world-class smart city. I agree that through innovation and technology, we can tackle our urban challenges and ­improve residents’ quality of life.

The blueprint outlined improvements in six areas: mobility, living, environment, people, government and the economy.

For example, in “smart ­mobility”, real-time traffic information is suggested for drivers and an automatic tolling system would cut traffic congestion.

The government would also track various real-time data on climate, the environment and crowd flow by installing smart lamp posts.

A smart city is not a new concept. By making good use of digitalisation and technology, a lot of cities are enhancing their attractiveness to businesses and visitors.

Hong Kong has been a bit slow in keeping pace with advancements in technology. The government should be more aggressive in implementing the measures in the blueprint.

Setting up more Wi-fi hotspots in districts should be an easy task and should be a higher priority so that locals and visitors can benefit as soon as possible. The government should also better manage the data collected and share its findings with the ­public.

Collaborating with the private sector to support their innovative initiatives and trial testing their schemes could be another option to put more feasible measures forward.

With a concerted effort from the government, private sector and public, I believe Hong Kong can move forward faster, if the effectiveness of the measures is closely monitored.

Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin

Think before buying those new clothes

I would like people to consider the environmental impact of the clothes they wear.

Clothes are mainly made of cotton. However, industries mostly will choose cotton that is not organic and so will support the farming practices which use a lot of pesticides or other ­polluting chemicals which can damage eco-systems.

The natural colour of cotton is greyish and the bleaching used to make it white and soft produces large quantities of polluted water. As many factories may not have an adequate filtering system, the waste water flowing to the sea or rivers affects fish, animals and plant life.

And at home, eco-friendly laundry detergent should be used and we should resist buying so many clothes that won’t be worn because they are no longer considered fashionable.

Clothes are a major culprit affecting the environment. We need to think more seriously about what we wear, and change our throwaway mentality to help save the planet.

Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

Spread the word on used textbooks

I agree with correspondents who have urged students and parents not to throw out their old textbooks.

A cultural barrier to the acceptance of second-hand goods certainly exists in Hong Kong, which has led to the pitiful waste of textbooks here.

The traditional idea of “getting rid of the old to make way for the new” has prevailed for too long and families, particularly the financially well-off ones in this prosperous city, often prefer to buy brand new textbooks for their children instead of recycling used ones from siblings or seniors at school.

As a local student, I am guilty of contributing to the waste of old school publications because of this common custom. ­Perhaps that is why three of my Form Three textbooks remained unsold at my school’s book fair.

The long-term environmental benefits of book-sharing are obvious – saving trees and resources – but also money saved can buy extra-curricular readers students can enjoy for leisure. It also instructs young people about over-consumption.

Scarlet Poon, Hung Hom

Too many bikes spoiling share scheme

Bike-sharing services have been expanding rapidly in recent years as more people enjoy the convenience.

However, it seems that in some cities like Beijing, this business is overdeveloped and drawbacks are showing up (“Are China’s bike-sharing services oversharing?”, October 2).

The bike-sharing service in China has been popular due to its user-friendly services but the companies involved started to purchase too many bikes for the available parking spaces and so they clogged bike lanes and ­footpaths.

The resulting inconvenience for users and the general public is the opposite of what planners and bike-sharing companies had aimed for.

The distribution of bikes must be carefully considered but also how to reduce the numbers of shared bikes. After all, it’s not expensive for a family to own a bicycle and sometimes public transport is a better option than pedalling a bike.

In some city locations now bikes outnumber potential users by two to one so rather than ­producing more bikes, the ­companies should think about how they can attract more ­customers.

Government help is needed to manage the services and ­ensure benefits for users and non-users alike.

William Wan Wai-ming, Clear Water Bay

Onus on Japan to shed its racist outlook

I refer to the article by Rana Mitter (“80 years later: can China and Japan overcome the legacy of Nanking?” December 10).

For China to be able to overcome the bitterness of the Nanking massacre, Japan must first seek forgiveness from China. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Japan to “face its past squarely” in her 2015 visit to Japan. Obviously her entreaty has fallen on deaf ears.

The reason is Japan believes itself to be a race superior to its Asian neighbours. This is abundantly clear from the Japan Foreign Ministry’s post-war “Communication and Reconciliation” programme.

Reconciliation is conducted only with ex-prisoners-of-war from Western countries. No Asian prisoner, forced labourer, comfort woman or victim is included. Regarding its Asian neighbours, Japan sees its role as only to help them modernise. That is, it is only necessary for Japan to assume the “white man’s burden”.

Japan arrogantly imagines itself as knowing how to behave like a big power. Japan must show that it has the moral courage to shed its cowardice and racism (“Discrimination: Big in Japan”, December 10) and ­confront its past.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

China’s history should be in curriculum

Regarding the teaching of Chinese history as a separate, compulsory subject in secondary schools, I think such a move is essential.

Some schools now combine world history and Chinese history, while others include only a little Chinese history in liberal studies but as a Chinese, we have a responsibility to acquire thorough knowledge of the history of our country. Even in Japan and South Korea, students have to study their history as well as world history.

A nation’s history is the “root” of national consciousness and enhances the students’ sense of belonging , therefore the Education Bureau should act quickly to include it in the ­curriculum.

Chloe Ng Sin-yee, Tseung Kwan O