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Hongkongers need to accept that no one can hold back the forces of nature

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LettersHong Kong residents need to accept that no one can hold back the forces of nature

Readers discuss criticism of the government’s response to the impact of the recent rainstorm, what can be expected of risk management systems, the proliferation of illegal structures, and efforts to green public spacesHong Kong environmental issuesLettersPublished: 11:30am, 14 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Feel strongly about these letters, or any other aspects of the news? Share your views by emailing us your Letter to the Editor at [email protected] or filling in this Google form. Submissions should not exceed 400 words, and must include your full name and address, plus a phone number for verification.Reading the commentary on the recent apocalyptic rainstorm, one is reminded of the story of King Canute. For those not familiar with the tale, the king set his throne on the beach in front of the sea and as the tide came in, inevitably his feet and royal robes got wet. The good king used this exercise to demonstrate that even the power of kings was worthless against the forces of nature.

From the recent commentary, however, it would appear that many Hong Kong residents, not to mention politicians, hold the misguided belief that somehow their leaders have both the power and the responsibility to hold back the forces of nature, and that somehow we can all exist in a totally risk-free bubble called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Actually, there is a previous example of this when it comes to trees. After somebody was unfortunately killed by a falling tree many years ago, nameless government departments have been dedicated to preventing this from happening again. As a result, tens, even hundreds, of thousands of trees have number tags; no doubt there is some enormous record detailing the condition of the Hong Kong tree population.

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