• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 1:23am

Cab Chat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2008, 12:00am

Michael Tsin Hon-kwong, 52, agrees with RTHK talkshow host Robert Chow Yung that 'qualification discrimination' prevails in the city

Yes, discrimination against low qualifications exists in Hong Kong and it seems to be getting worse. In my case, the education I received was not that little. I graduated from Form Five in 1975 but I have been discriminated against, with people saying my qualifications are not good enough.

This kind of discrimination is very serious in Hong Kong. I worked as a foreman when the construction of the airport at Chek Lap Kok began. But later they said my English standard was not good enough, that I couldn't talk with foreigners, and I lost the chance to get promoted. Instead they hired foreign labourers from Britain just because they could speak English. They might be just mineworkers there! Their knowledge of construction was not good. They just knew how to speak English. It was the 1990s. I kept working there but lost the opportunity of promotion. It was definitely unreasonable.

I agree that qualifications are a must, but experience is more important. Take my younger brother, for example. I was more experienced in work than him. He entered his career at the same time as me. And he kept studying, and climbing higher, but he didn't have much experience.

He has served in the surveying sector. Now he is a chief survey manager. He went to Tongji University [in Shanghai]. I guess he has got a doctorate. He is two years younger than me.

Qualifications and experience are two different matters. Right after you graduate from university you are given a high rank, right? But that's just on paper. If you ask a new graduate to handle a problem, he may not be able to do it because he's inexperienced.

I think lowering the education qualification requirement for the post of director of broadcasting was a government gift for Robert Chow. Everyone under Chow [at RTHK] would have higher qualifications than him, but I think he could handle the job well because he has the experience. Experience outweighs qualifications. Chow would be capable of managing the post.

Yes, qualifications are important and a degree is important when heading RTHK. But I still hold that experience is more important.

Whether he can win the post depends on whether the government will back him. But he has made such a high-profile announcement [to join the race] that it is embarrassing.

If I were the government, I could see no graceful way to step down and I would not hire him. First of all, the government needs face. Already there are grudging voices, like [lawmaker] Cheung Man-kwong. And, in Hong Kong, we have something called public opinion. I think his chance of winning is only 40 per cent now.

Before he came out and made those statements, Chow would have had a good chance of winning, provided the government backed him.

However, his statements, which might have been a strategy to forestall opponents, turned out to be counterproductive. If he wins the position, his subordinates, and me as well, will not be confident.

I guess there must be someone else who could take the post. [Acting deputy director of broadcasting] Tai Keen-man has applied again for the director's post.

If Chow wins the job, it will be interesting to see whether he will be manipulated by the government. I wonder if he will change himself to fit in. If he doesn't change, there may be no space for him. So I would say he will change himself.

I'm worried about the future of RTHK's freedom of speech. I guess it will be impaired some day. No wonder some people are running underground broadcasters, because they think RTHK will be controlled by the government sooner or later. And I guess that's what [lawmaker] Albert Cheng King-hon thinks too.

In the long run, the government wants to turn down RTHK's loud voice and restrain its nosiness.

Definitely I don't want to see that happen. Sometimes I feel the broadcaster is nagging too much, but that's the voice of the Hong Kong people.

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