Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong


PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of the maid levy suspension?

The suspension of the levy appeared at first to be a good idea for those employers who would benefit from it. However, the planning process was inadequate.

A lot of maids suffered as a result and their contracts were terminated prematurely.

The government called on employers, who would not have the levy suspended straight away, not to cancel contracts, arguing that they would be able to benefit when their maids' contracts expired and it was renewed during the suspension period. However, human nature being what it is, some employers wanted to benefit as soon as possible.

A number of domestic helpers found themselves with no jobs and no place to stay because of this new measure implemented by the government.

Moreover, there is a loophole in the new arrangement and some employers will be able to go without paying the levy for about four years. The victims in this whole affair are the foreign domestic helpers, who have no say. They need protection from the government.

I hope that the government will introduce revisions to the scheme as soon as possible, so that maids are afforded some protection.

Tong Pui-ying, Yau Tong

What do you think of the revised plan for the Mega Tower?

What did William Shakespeare say about a rose by any other name smelling just as sweet?

Hopewell Holding's decision to rename its 1994 Kennedy Road scheme as Hopewell Centre Phase II (Lai See, 'Sleight of height', August 1) does not change the fact that the proposal is grossly excessive.

The name Mega Tower clearly identifies this monstrous 93-storey project in the minds of the public and media and the only persons likely to be fooled by the new name are our bureaucrats, who are always looking for an excuse to kowtow to our major developers.

If this mega developer genuinely wishes to give the public a new perspective on this project, then the bulk should be radically reduced to meet the present-day planning requirements of the location and our public park should be reinstated to its full size. Perhaps then the development could meaningfully be renamed the 'Kennedy Park Hotel' and would gain support in the community.

Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai

Should there be more Form Six places for students?

This year the number of candidates sitting for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination increased dramatically.

Not surprisingly, there was a slight increase in the number of candidates who qualified to be in Form Six. However, the number of available places was not increased. The day after the results were issued I was shocked to see news reports about parents and students queuing in really bad weather to get a Form Six place.

It raised the question of whether there should be more Form Six places made available. My initial response would be no, but I can see advantages and disadvantages to this system.

People who support such a move fail to see the disadvantages of increasing the quota. What would be the quality of some of the Form Six students who previously would not have been admitted? If more Form Six places were provided, teacher numbers would increase, but this would not happen in the long term.

This is because under the New Academic Structure for Senior Secondary Education and Higher Education to be implemented in Hong Kong, some of these additional teachers could find themselves unemployed.

However, there are also advantages to giving more students the chance to study at a higher level in secondary school. There is nothing more important than acquiring knowledge. And it could be argued that if we allow more students to study in Form Six, this will lead to a more successful society, materially and spiritually.

Also, if there were more students in Form Six, competition to get a university place would be fiercer, which could raise the quality of the undergraduates who were chosen.

Kelvin Ngan Wing-kong, Sha Tin

Would a Michelin guide raise restaurant standards?

There are a number of criteria in evaluating restaurants and the most important criterion is food itself. However, food preference is absolutely subjective and varies across the world.

What is a popular food in one country might not be liked in another.

For example, snakes and some wild animals have long been a valued part of Chinese cuisine and yet such dishes would be treated with disgust by westerners. The Michelin guide is the western bible on restaurant evaluation. Its guides tend to cater more to western than to Chinese tastes.

I wonder what restaurants in Hong Kong would be like if they adopted the suggestions that are made in a city version of the guide.

I am sure westerners and Hongkongers would be disappointed if they saw restaurants compromising and adapted the characteristics of Hong Kong food to suit western tastes.

Michael Leung Chung-hong, Sham Shui Po

On other matters...

I had an unpleasant experience on a bus operated by Citybus on the afternoon of August 3.

My family and I took the NoE21 to Tung Chung. We intended getting off at Tung Chung MTR station.

I wanted to check which bus stop to look out for. However, on board the bus there were no display panels or route diagrams to show me which was the right stop.

As a consequence we missed our stop and had to get off at the terminus. We were lost and asked the bus captain for help, but he reacted with impatience to our inquiries.

The E-series of buses mostly carries visitors to Hong Kong International Airport.

As one of the leading transport providers in Hong Kong, the company should ensure that there is sufficient information on board, with information about the airport stops and tourist spots, so that passengers know when to get off.

I hope Citybus will look into this matter and resolve the problems I have described.

Rex Tse, Tseung Kwan O