Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Videos: Introducing "My Eco Diary" YouTube Playlist

Me and my plastic cutlery collection
Image from Locky's English Playground

At a time when "video is king", I guess I too have to ride with the trend.

I have been working on a series of videos with 'Sustainability' as topic, and I think it is time to announce that on my blog. Starting from my discovery of the Tzuchi Recycling Education Centre at Quarry Bay, I talked about the things I have learned about recycling companies, recycling plastics, milk cartons, plastic bags, etc. All the knowledge gained has raised my awareness even further and I am now ever more conscious about reducing waste from source.

If you too like learn with me, please bookmark this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpmeKgu8vwcmdjP309bHIrStgx7eb3MPE and subscribed to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/lx3h1981/

Monday, 12 June 2017

Usage and Website: Hong Kong Observatory Will Consider Issuing... WHAT????

Image from HKO

Imagine your lover tells you,

"I will consider telling you that this 5-star restaurant ABC is the place for our dinner in the next few hours."

What the hell does that really mean?

Haven't they already told you? Why would anyone decide to consider doing something later?

As we see, there are two obvious main verbs in here: 'consider', 'tell / issue', but there are at least two other hidden in the process, and those are 'decide' and  'inform'. The fact that you are hearing this line from your lover is because your lover has already completed these two hidden processes:

  1. has thought over or pondered and finally 'decided' to do 2
  2. has 'decided' to 'inform' you about 3.
And what is 3?

3. is that they will do two more things: 'will consider' and 'tell you' about something. Has 'will consider' semantically, grammatically and automatically mean 'yes' nowadays?

So the whole line should be read as,

"I have decided to inform you that I will consider telling you that this 5-star restaurant ABC is the place for our dinner in the next few hours."

When this is substituted back to the Hong Kong Observatory's official announcement:

"The Observatory have decided to inform you that we will consider telling you about the hoisting of Typhoon Signal No. 8 in the next few hours."

So, HKO, you sound like you have made up your mind, but have you really?

If you will issue, say you 'will issue'!! I hate hedging like yours!

Hong Kong Observatory

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Vocabulary: What is 'Innovation'? A Linguistic Perspective

Word play through word formation, is often very inspiring.

Innovation, is spelled 'in + novation'. Prefix 'in-' means 'not', used to negate the word that follows, 

'novation', a situation that requires everyone to agree in order to make changes.

Innovation is, therefore, a situation that does not require everyone to agree in order to make changes.

If someone claims to be into innovation, but is always bounded by the need to have everyone's agreement, then that is not innovation, that is only in novation.

Innovation is not to be in novation. You can quote me.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Environment, Education: What On Earth is wrong with these companies? Non-recyclable Packaging!

Heinz ketchup at AEON Kornhill
Photo by Locky's English Playground

What On Earth is wrong with these companies? For many many Wednesdays, I saw Heinz tomato ketchup in glass bottles being sold at AEON Kornhill at $5 per bottle. Knowing that there is glass recycling bins at my estate I am more than happy to buy them, but today, instead of recyclable glass bottles of ketchup, I see this horrific-all-new packaging for the same product sold at the same price.

WHAT ON EARTH is wrong with these companies? None of these is recyclable!!! The plastic cap, the plastic outer package and surely a layer of aluminium foil in between another layer of plastic before it gets to the ketchup, all these will eventually end up in our landfills because no recycling companies in Hong Kong will be able to handle these.

Heinz ketchup for fast-food restaurants
Photo by Locky's English Playground
And there is this type, small packets of ketchup for fast food restaurants. Haven't they seen IKEA cafes in Hong Kong or fast-food restaurants like Burger King in Thailand? All ketchup is kept in huge refillable containers with pumps for customers to take what they need. Why must they come in all these horrible non-recyclable forms is completely beyond my understanding. Don't these companies have people with brains or heart for the environment?

Having seen the new package, I was so freaked out that I told myself I will not buy this ketchup again until the glass bottle-version returns. Period.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Charged Hong Kong Members' Stories #012 -- Dr. Philip Kwong

Dr. Phil Kwong

Charged Hong Kong members are talented individuals. It is my honour to have invited one of the most respectable doctors in Hong Kong to tell his Member’s’ Story. Welcome Dr. Philip Kwong Wai Kay -- Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Queen Mary Hospital and President of Hong Kong Society of Uro-Oncology.

Locky Law (LL): Hello Phil, pleasure to have you with us today.

Dr. Philip Kwong (DPK): Hello Locky. Hello guys.
Phil (3rd from the right)
Image from Hong Kong Society of Uro-Oncology
LL: You are the very first doctor to appear in our Members’ Stories series, and I have so many questions to ask you, ranging from medicine to the environment. But since we have time, let’s start off with some personal question about you. In your 營廚駕到 video, the one you did for www.cancerinformation.com.hk, you shared how you have become a doctor, how about why you chose to focus in oncology?

DPK: It’s more by chance than by choice. I was assigned to the Department of Oncology under the late Prof HC Ho, who was regarded as the father of oncology in Hong Kong. He’s the aspiration that got me going in the field of oncology, and I never looked back since.

LL: I see. I am no expert in cancer, so… how is cancer manifested actually?

DPK: It’s multifactorial - genetics; environmental exposures to different types of chemicals and radiations; lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, diet and physical activities; and certain infections.

LL: And is that in any ways related to your EV ownership, and why you choose the EV you now own?

DPK: Yes. Pollution is a major cause of health problems including cancer and owning an EV instead of an ICE car is one of my steps to contribute to environmental protection. I have been watching EV development for quite some time and finally decided to buy the Tesla Model S in 2015 because it’s the real practical EV that met my need.

LL: I have always had this question in my mind -- Do doctors generally believe that EVs are good for the environment? And do you think doctors often consider the “health” factor when they choose to buy their own ride?

DPK: Most of the doctors that I know understand the importance of environmental protection but many still think that EVs are slow, have short range, lack of features and not practical. The good thing is doctors are eager to learn and very adaptive to new technology so once they know the truth about the advancement of EV, they are very enthusiastic about it.

Phil and his Tesla Model S
LL: As we both know that Hong Kong’s clean air has been seriously affected by smog from the north. Like the forest fires that brought smog to Singapore once a year, Hong Kong citizens seem to think there is little they can do. Do you have any suggestions for us (as to what we can do to alleviate the problem)?

DPK: what we can do personally is have a greener life and cut down our damage to environment, and teach our children. As a group, we should advocate different methods of environmental protection and work with other groups and organizations as a force.

LL: Alright, here comes the sharper questions. Ready? Question 1) Some people argue that EV isn’t worth the FRT waiver because the effect of cutting air pollution is hard to be seen. From a doctor’s point of view, what’s your view on this? And by the way, it could end on 31st March this year if it isn’t extended.

DPK: The fact is on the road, EV is zero emission, and it’s quieter and generates less heat when running. So it has less air, sound and temperature pollution on the streets where we live. People always argue that there is still pollution in generating electricity but that is definitely less than the production of petroleum, and the emission is in a controlled environment, unlike ICE car exhausts that pollute the air all over urban areas. And when more renewable energy is used to generate electricity, which is happening in many countries, the total pollution by EV will become lower.

LL: So you are FOR the EV FRT waiver extension for another 1, 2, 3 or more than 3 years?

DPK: Yes, FRT is not a benefit or privilege to EV buyers but a government policy to promote EV. EV is still a minority in HK so the policy should not be changes in the coming few years.

LL: Question 2) Some say offering EV FRT waiver extension simply means the Government has less income, so the Government does not have enough money to spend on healthcare, which is why there aren’t enough hospital beds for patients. Would you agree with this?

DPK: Government does not have less income because of EV. Many people, including myself, will not buy a Tesla if the price is almost doubled. People will either not buying a car or buy a cheaper car so the difference in tax income is more less. The small decrease is not a factor in less budget in healthcare. Moreover, the expense in healthcare in dealing with diseases associated with pollution and the amount of man-hour loss because of these diseases will be huge if more and more ICE vehicles are running on the street.

LL: Question 3) Let say that, if it was so unfortunate that, EV FRT waiver came to an end on 31st March 2017, would kind of impact would you expect to see in the city’s EV development, the air quality and the health of Hong Kong citizens? Disastrous or nothing much?

DPK: It will halt transition from ICE to EV in HK. The effect on health of citizens is not apparent immediately but we are going to see more and more pollution-related diseases.

LL: Thank you, and that was the last of the harsh questions, but I do have one more easy one for you. What would you say to the doctors who are still driving their gas-guzzling ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engines Vehicles) who might be interested in switching to EVs?

DPK: I think as responsible citizens and particularly ones who understand the relationship of environmental pollutions and diseases, we should take the lead and set examples.

LL: Well, that’s all the time we have with Phil today. Phil, thank you so much for your time and it has been my honour to have you here with us today. We hope to have more chances to learn from you in the future. It’s never enough for us to be able to speak to the President of Hong Kong Society of Uro-Oncology.

DPK: Thank you very much.

LL: Thank everyone for tuning in and see you all in our next Charged Hong Kong Members’ Story!


Staff List @ Queen Mary Hospital


營廚駕到 @癌症資訊網


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Environment: Letter to (then) Financial Secretary John Tsang on 29th Dec 2016

Dear Financial Secretary,
Through years of hard work by the EPD, Hong Kong is finally seeing signs of improvement in our city’s overall air quality. According to the Hedley Environmental Index, loss of tangible cost and loss of healthy life values seem to have shown gradual improvement since 2015. Despite the downtrend in the number of premature deaths, hospital bed-days, doctor visits and air pollutants, Hong Kong is absolutely capable of performing even better in all aspects related to improving air quality, healthy quality as well as combating climate change. Effort should not be cut after seeing initial positive results, instead it should be doubled.
Inline image

Inline image

Based on emission blueprint described by the environment secretary Wong Kam-sing to SCMP ahead of COP21, “By "around 2020", Hong Kong will be on track to reduce its carbon intensity - emissions per unit of GDP - by 50 to 60 per cent and energy intensity by up to 40 per cent. By that year, it will have already met its 2010 target of reducing total emissions by 19 to 33 per cent from 2005 level,” but Greenpeace has called for an even more aggressive schemes to cut emission.

European countries and cities are moving away from fossil-fuel cars due to roadside emissions. For example, Germany has passed a resolution to ban fossil fuel vehicles by 2030.

Therefore, I have the following suggestions for your consideration for the coming budget and future budgets to come:
1.           Consider following the above European countries by announcing a total ban for ICEVs in Hong Kong, hopefully before Singapore does.
2.           Extend the FRT waiver for Pure EVs for at least another 3 years till 2020, and preferably for 3 more years till 2023 in anticipation of mass-produced low-cost EVs. Based on my very rough estimate, the FRT waived per new EV purchased is about 1% of the total economic loss due to air pollution per day. Hong Kong is the ‘Beacon City for electric vehicles’ and this is as much a Hong Kong pride as well as our country’s pride. Denmark’s unfortunate end in their EV development is a lesson for any countries or cities to learn.
3.           ‘Fund’ FRT waiver for EVs in the future, especially with total ICEV ban in mind, the Government should consider increasing FRT and license renewal fee for ICEVs and hybrids – eg. Singapore’s tax for general car ownership is at least 3 times that of Hong Kong. This way, Hong Kong can see a lowering of the ICEVs population (currently at 99.25%) and an increasing percentage of EV ownership (currently at 0.75%). The total number of vehicles on the road
4.           Consider offering toll-free tunnels and roads for EVs like Norway while increasing such toll fees for ICEVs as an additional incentive for ICEV owners to switch to owning EVs. Such incentive can be facilitated using existing Autotoll technology plus the submission of a copy of an electric vehicle registration document.
5.           Incentivise power companies to invest in renewable energies, particularly tidal energy. Adding less carbon-intensive natural gas to the fuel mix is good, but as good as Singapore of which natural gas constituted about 95% of fuel mix in 2015they are adding solar (45.8MWac) into their grid.
6.           Make private installation of solar and wind power generating facilities at private homes easier and less susceptible to (Building Department) accusations for changing the external appearance of the building’s structure.
I thank the Government for decades of continuous support for cleaning up the city’s serious air pollution and making our beloved Hong Kong into a ‘beacon city for electric vehicles’. Hong Kong has lost too many Number 1s through the years and hopefully we can still retain this one to make our country proud!
Locky Law
Hong Kong Permanent Resident