Letters to the Editor, January 24, 2018

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 January, 2018, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 January, 2018, 4:19pm

Subdivided flat tenants face safety issues

The latest figures from the ­Census and Statistics Department prove that the housing shortage is the most urgent issue that must be addressed by the government (“Another 10,000 call tiny cubicles their home in HK”, January 19).

Although it has launched various schemes and policies, the problem of an inadequate supply of affordable housing (to meet a rising demand) remains serious.

More tenants are forced to endure these cubicle apartments, because of the long queues for public housing and skyrocketing rents and property prices. And they are then faced with serious quality of life issues, as the subdivided flats are so cramped, often unhygienic, with inadequate ventilation and little or no fire safety features.

If a fire broke out, some residents might have difficulty evacuating the premises, so they are actually at risk.

I hope the government can come up with policies that eventually mean that these tenants can live in decent and affordable housing.

Katrina Lo, Tseung Kwan O

Turn golf club into public housing estates

I can understand why so many respondents to a survey (70 per cent) back calls for flats to be built on an exclusive golf course in Fanling (“Residents want public housing built on Hong Kong golf course site, survey finds”, January 21).

As a lawmaker pointed out, the size of the land covering the Hong Kong Golf Club’s course is equivalent to nine Victoria Parks. It is not an efficient use of land resources to have such a large area devoted to a golf course.

I am sure that a lot of public housing estates could be accommodated in such a large area and the proposal to do this should be seriously considered by the government.

There are so many residents still waiting for the chance to live in a decent flat, but all they can afford is a subdivided unit or even a cage home. So there is no justification for allowing a few wealthy people to enjoy this land for recreational use when it can help to ease our housing problems.

The government should be reviewing its lease with the golf club, with a view to ending it [when it expires in 2020] and planning instead to help ­thousands of citizens on low ­incomes get a decent home.

Theodore Tam, Po Lam

Climate change affects whole communities

When I look at the ongoing debate on climate change in Hong Kong, but also globally, I sometimes feel that the pollution problems countries face are far more serious than some people would have us believe.

Global warming and worsening air pollution pose a risk to people’s health and some governments do not appear to be taking this problem as seriously as they should. When they fail to act the problems that already exist only get worse and this ­creates a vicious cycle.

And it is not just leaders in underdeveloped nations who appear indifferent. I sometimes feel that the administration in the US is failing to take the effects of global warming seriously, not just worldwide, but in America. Pollution can affect the health of entire communities, often working-class people who don’t have the money they need to get treatment.

With the right policies President Donald Trump could help these communities, often living below the poverty line, but he is failing to do this. All employees deserve to have a healthy, pollution-free working environment, but often this does not happen.

Governments around the world need to face the challenges posed by climate change, including here in Hong Kong. We must all try harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Lau Ka-hey, Tseung Kwan O

Full and open discussion OK in classroom

There was a heated debate late last year about whether schools should allow pupils and teachers to discuss Hong Kong independence in the classroom and also if the distribution of pro-­independence leaflets should be banned in campuses. I think these are separate issues. No material expressing political opinions should be distributed in schools. But political issues should be freely discussed in the classroom. Open and responsible discussion helps pupils acquire knowledge and develop their critical thinking skills.

In a classroom environment the teacher can ensure different perspectives are looked at.

Vico Yeung, Tsuen Wan

Protecting press freedom vital for city

I think press freedom is still very important to Hong Kong people, no matter which platform is used. Whether it is newspapers, TV, radio or online media, ­citizens value the ability to express their views.

However, fears have been ­expressed that press freedom has been eroded in the city and this is a cause for concern. We need a reliable media that has no self-censorship.

In a society where press freedom is compromised people gradually notice a government that is less responsive to public views. Soon it is making changes without even bothering to ­consult us.

A trustworthy media provides checks and balances and helps citizens express their views on various issues. It can help to ­expose corruption in society and nip it in the bud.

We must all remain vigilant in our society and try to ensure that press freedom is ­maintained and protected at all times.

Shirley Yeung Suet-yi, Yau Yat Chuen