Q Should the government act to stop the exploitation of maids?
This question triggered an impulse to express my sentiments on our plight as domestic helpers hailing from third-world countries. In general, we view Hong Kong as a promised land. Thus, we swarm here, amid exorbitant placement fees imposed by recruiting agencies and the growing number of maltreatment cases of fellow workers. Yet this has not prevented us from coming here lest we starve in our own country.
Unfortunately, this gives an impression among employers that we are at their mercy. This is true and we have to act according to their whims. We don't resist any more since we have been betrayed by the lack of assistance, knowledge and support from within our own system. It is also intensified by our fear of premature termination of contract, which is a detrimental factor in finding a new employer. Worse, the imposed levy is a burden to bear as we are struggle to juggle our immediate needs.
This scenario stripped us of humane treatment and we now suffer from the cold shoulder and deafened ears of the Hong Kong government. Therefore, we beseech the government to hear our voices and open their eyes to our desperate situation. We plead that you find it in your heart to help us because we are also a contributing factor to your success. And, most importantly, because we are also human.
Name and address supplied
Q Should controls on the prescribing of antibiotics be tightened further?
Yes, they should be. Drugs should be used in a correct way, otherwise they will no longer be helping tools for human.
Lack of education in using antibiotics will lead to serious problems. Bacteria are stronger and not easy to kill nowadays. This condition must not be allowed to continue.
Controls should be set on the prescribing of antibiotics as soon as possible. It is for the good of our health. We are not willing to see bacteria that can't be killed by normal antibiotics.
Au Yeung Siu-tung, Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School
The overuse of antibiotics may cause serious problems. Bacteria will adapt if we use antibiotics too often and carelessly. If things continue this way, antibiotics will become useless when the bacteria have adapted to them.
Therefore, controls should be tightened in order to prevent patients and doctors misusing antibiotics.
Education is needed for citizens to enhance their medical knowledge instead of misapplying drugs.
Kan Chun-fai, Tsz Wan Shan
On other matters...
With reference to the Highways Department's Victor F.Y. Chan's comments of August 29 on the issue of slope failure at Victoria Road, I wish to express my concerns regarding the incident.
I am grateful that Mr Chan explained in detail the present situation. However, I am of the opinion that the incident has proved that there was a lack of professional judgment, particularly in geotechnical aspects of the slope failure.
It is obvious that the slope failure did not relate to any structural matters. It was totally related to the geotechnical issues which are the full responsibility of geotechnical engineers.
As the slope had already been upgraded, stabilised, maintained and inspected, I do not see any reasons why the failure occurred. I do not concur with the excuses of the recent torrential rain because that is still within the design limit.
I sincerely hope that the geotechnical engineers shall exercise their duties in a professional way and not blame the weather and other non-related defects or professions.
Ricky Law, Pokfulam
Last week, I went into the Wellcome superstore in Causeway Bay. At the meat counter, cuts of raw pork were hanging on hooks, neither covered nor refrigerated, an unhygienic practice which remains regrettably common in supermarkets.
I was disturbed to see that a female customer was touching various cuts of pork with her bare hands, while the sales assistant serving her made no attempt to stop her. On the contrary, he appeared to be encouraging her to feel the meat in this way.
It is bad enough that people behave like this in the wet markets. If even major supermarket chains do not train their staff to ensure proper hygiene, it is small wonder that cases of pig disease are occurring here.
It is astonishing to see this lack of responsibility at a time when people are dying of pig disease and the government is warning everyone about the potential dangers of handling raw pork.
As someone who loves Hong Kong, I also regret seeing this in a store frequented by tourists, who will go home with tales of how dirty and disgusting our supermarkets are - not much of a boost to our 'world city' image.
Please can Wellcome let us know whether it is its policy to allow customers to touch raw meat with bare hands and, if not, what steps it intends to take to prevent them doing so in future.
Natasha Rogai, Gold Coast
The brutal chopping of young Shum Ho-yin at Kwai Tsing a few days ago got most people angry. None more so than the new chief executive. As a result, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen came out and spoke against the crime in no uncertain terms. I, for one, am glad to know he is concerned, but there are two points from this incident which might be worthy of note to Mr Tsang.
First, would it not be better to have the commissioner of police or even the secretary for security make the condemnations?
Though the crime is a deplorable and evil one, it is not of a magnitude to merit the chief executive personally condemning it. It seems a bit odd the principal officers on security matters had not much to say.
Then, in his address in Chinese regarding the crime, Mr Tsang used the term 'my society'. I was not sure I heard right but this has been supported by some friends who heard the same. Again, although Mr Tsang might feel strongly towards this society, please allow me to be part of it too! I also detest the act and desire a safe and peaceful Hong Kong. Strong sentiments from our leader are good but it can be too personal [and] so give rise to misinterpretations.
James A. Elms, Mid-Levels
While our society focuses on the police investigation, the motive of two cruel child-attackers, the feelings of the victim Shum Ho-yin, the gifts of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the promise made by the police commissioner, the victim's mother and stepmother and their internal and external relationships, the father's [neglect] of his responsibility to bring up the child and his habit of gambling, his school and personal tutors and his community centre, have we thought of what Shum Ho-yin's grandmother is feeling?
As an elderly woman who has been bringing up the child since birth in a public estate, I think we ought to pay more attention to the grandma and listen to what she says during, I believe, the most difficult time in her life. Not only should the government provide sufficient physical and mental care to Ho-yin, but also to the other victim, the grandma.
Brian Wong, Mid-Levels