Letters to the Editor, March 29, 2018

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 4:51pm

Answer to Hong Kong’s land scarcity lies in Shenzhen

Much has been written about the tremendous difficulties of finding or getting additional land to build public housing for the less privileged (“Consultation on ways to ease housing crunch”, March 28).

Therefore, would it be an ­option worth ­exploring for the Hong Kong government to lease land from areas in Shenzhen that are in the neighbourhood of the New Territories?

The terms and conditions to be agreed upon by the governments between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, of course, will have to be negotiated.

The mainland government would be highly likely to support the programme under the “One Country” scenario, to help Hong Kong – after all local resources are exhausted to a large extent. The programme would also strengthen the link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, from both the business and civil perspectives.

Stanley Pang, Ma Wan

Facebook privacy fears make job of censors easier

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle has shone a light on a huge issue of our times – covert surveillance, whether by corporations, political lobbyists or governments.

Like many others, I have been shocked into deleting Facebook Messenger, as that seems to be the most egregious offender in the Facebook empire.

When I told my friends I’d done this, one of them asked, “What have you got to hide?”

The question itself is worrying, as it fails to differentiate between wanting to hide something like criminal activity or an extramarital affair, and having every aspect of your life available to anyone – without your knowledge or consent.

I am willing to share a lot about what I do, who I meet, what I ­believe in and so on, as long as I know who is seeing it and I consent to them seeing it, but I am viscerally against anyone unauthorised seeing it.

I’m not hiding anything, I’m just trying to protect my privacy.

Covert surveillance and the consequences of it are terrifying, particularly given that we’re an “inalienable part” of the country with the world’s biggest state-sponsored surveillance and censorship machine.

If you don’t know who is going to see what you do, say or believe in then, even in subtle ways, it makes you change how you ­behave, what you say, what you write and, ultimately, what you believe in – in effect you self-censor and end up doing the state censor’s job for them.

Lee Faulkner, Lamma

Lamma ferry pier in need of clean-up

A couple of years ago, a bike park was erected next to the Yung Shue Wan ferry pier in Lamma.

On a recent visit, there were bikes tied to all the railings on either side of the ferry pier, as these cyclists want to ride right up to the ferry.

Who is responsible for keeping the pier free of obstructions?

Signs need to be erected banning all obstructions on the pier. Seats could also be erected for waiting ferry passengers.

Also, the female public toilets near the pier are a disgrace. They are always dirty, there is graffiti on the doors and no toilet paper or soap. Visitors to Lamma Island using this “facility” must think it’s a dump, on first impressions of these toilets. Time to clean up.

Gill Wright, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Six ways HKEX can modernise listing rules

I refer to your article on some fund managers seeing dual-class share listings as “a big step backwards”.

As a small investor, I request that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) rules be modernised. There are no rules set by the HKEX on what dividend rate should be paid to public investors when a company is profitable. Many companies would follow the rules but, if there are no rules, they will pay little or no dividend, which hurts the public investor.

I propose that the HKEX ­update its listing rules to include, first, that the remuneration committee declare what dividend policy will be followed.

Every director has to declare support for a dividend payout or be disqualified as director of any listed firm, after serving out their three-year term.

Second, in the annual report, the chairman’s letter should ­include what cash funds are available for dividend payment and the proposed rate.

Third, the five-year financial summary should include the earnings per share, the dividend payment, plus the share price on the first and last days of the year.

Fourth, there should be no issue of new shares at below 90 per cent of the net asset value (NAV), ­including scrip dividends and directors’ options, which should be valid only within their period of service as director.

Fifth, if the share price falls ­below 50 per cent of NAV, the company should be required to buy back shares for cancellation.

Finally, if a company reports losses and no dividend for three consecutive years, public investors should be allowed to vote for its liquidation and for the return of their investment capital.

O. Yun, Yuen Long

Shelter dogs are victims of a lack of empathy

Mr John Gerlach’s letter, about the looming prospect of his friend’s shelter dogs being left without housing, is a sad condemnation of present-day society.

The rote learning style of our public education system leaves little room for encouraging empathy and compassion, and so old laws, which may nowadays be considered unreasonable, can be blindly enforced. Outdated laws continue to allow heartless people to behave in a morally unacceptable way.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin