PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 October, 2010, 12:00am

Society will gain from shorter working week

I refer to the report ('Chief executive has work cut out to resolve 40-hour-week conundrum', October 15).

Looking at long working hours worldwide, Hong Kong would be near the top of any rankings.

This has been the case for some time. Because our citizens have to put in so many hours in the workplace, they are always feeling tense and exhausted.

In fact, any scheme which would limit working hours would bring a number of benefits to our society. It would mean that parents would have more time to spend with their children.

Young people would get more guidance from their mothers and fathers and this could lead to fewer youth-related social problems. A limit on hours would give workers more leisure time. Many of them face a heavy workload every day. They need to be given the time to get out and relax to relieve the pressure that they feel.

At the moment, they suffer from nervous tension and always feel tired.

This can lead to greater feelings of dissatisfaction and conflict. With employees enjoying more free time, we can have a more stable society.

I also think that employers would benefit from a change in the present arrangements.

If members of staff could get enough time to rest properly, they would be able to concentrate on their duties and be more productive instead of having to rush everything to get just a little bit of leisure time. This would lead to a more stable working environment.

The productivity of a company would be enhanced and everyone would gain as a result.

I hope that the government can come up with a policy regulating working hours as soon as possible.

Wong Yiu-cheung, Tsuen Wan

Prudent landfill policy needed

I agree with the views expressed in your editorial ('Landfill manoeuvring leaves a bad smell', October 12) and firmly believe that public co-operation is needed [to better dispose of our rubbish].

If I were in the legislators' shoes, I also would oppose the policy of expanding the Tseung Kwan O landfill, because the expansion is only a temporary solution.

This case shows us the urgent need to formulate a prudent and viable policy to treat domestic waste. It would be a disgrace to Hong Kong if we only bury our rubbish in landfills.

People around the globe are emphasising the significance of being green, yet Hongkongers continue to dump countless amounts of rubbish, which ruins our natural environment.

In recent years, the authorities in Taiwan and South Korea have passed laws to help reduce the amount of domestic waste. If they can successfully implement these policies, we have no excuse for lagging so far behind.

The government should charge residents a fee for dumping rubbish, just as we do for construction waste.

The more rubbish we discard, the more we should have to pay. Or we could learn from the experience of others and have a system where we have incineration and landfills.

In addition, the government could grant 'green company' certificates to firms that discarded the least amount of rubbish. Companies would then take the initiative to produce less rubbish, as the 'green company' label would draw more customers.

Education is also of paramount importance. Advertisements and talks should be held frequently to instil a 'green' sense in the public.

There is no point in just blaming the government. It is we ourselves who contribute so much rubbish. It is important that Hongkongers promise to go green and actually make good on that pledge.

Karen Li Ka-wing, Tsuen Wan

Send warning to drug users

A saliva test has been developed by a company which, it claims, could show whether someone has taken the 'illegal tranquilliser ketamine' (''More trials for ketamine swab test', October 13).

The firm hopes the test could be used on suspected drug-drivers. I would support the test being used in this way if it can lead to successful convictions and we see drug-drivers being sent to prison. We already have a breath test for motorists who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.

Many innocent citizens die or are seriously injured because of drink-drivers. The government must do its best to reduce this accident rate. The penalties for these offences are too low and must be increased for drivers who have been drinking or taking drugs. More people are now taking drugs, and many of them get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

We need to find a quick and simple test that can effectively target these people.

The police should be authorised to implement the saliva test for ketamine as soon as possible. It is important to protect the lives of Hong Kong people. Its introduction would send a strong warning to motorists who are tempted to take drugs.

Kevin Leong Yin-ching, Tsuen Wan

Concentrate on helping families

Discussions about narrowing the gap between rich and poor always come across as mere rhetoric. The rich will always have the necessary knowledge and good social connections.

However, they may find that they are too busy to actually find happiness. Sometimes people on low incomes can find more contentment.

Any help for elderly people and those on low incomes should focus on the family as a unit.

If parents' living conditions are made better then their children will feel less financial pressure.

Education is also very important. There should be greater focus on the education of the next generation.

If poor pupils are given more opportunities in school, they can become knowledgeable and grow up to become confident adults. They can then help to improve living conditions for their family. That is why the emphasis should be on the family rather than the individual.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

Get young people involved

Hong Kong has an ageing population, but not enough has been done to meet the needs of the elderly. There are long waits for old folk to get into a care home.

Also, there are not enough volunteers who can help old people.

I think the government could do more in our secondary schools to get the message across to pupils about the importance of helping the elderly.

With the right kind of training, young people could help out with day-care facilities.

This would give them community hours as part of their other learning experience.

Winnie Tsoi Yuen-ling, Sha Tin

Avoid online obsession

More Hongkongers are becoming short-sighted because of the widespread use of computer games.

It makes me wonder whether the advances in technology do bring some disadvantages. Of course, they do make our lives easier.

Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be if you did not have your mobile phone and you could not search for information on the internet.

While they can enable us to enjoy a higher standard of living, we risk ending up being utterly dependent on these devices.

Some people become obsessed with games and social networking online.

It is common for teenagers to spend six to eight hours a day in the virtual reality world.

This means there is less communication between individuals.

I have mixed feelings about the technological advancements in our society. I think it boils down to how self-disciplined you are.

Koey Young, Tseung Kwan O

Designated area for lanterns

I agree with those correspondents who have raised concerns about sky lanterns.

Hong Kong is a crowded city with a lot of high-rises.

If these lanterns landed on buildings or among trees while still having candles burning, they could cause a fire.

However, I accept they are a traditional part of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The government could designate an area where people would be allowed to release the lanterns, although they would be connected by a thread just like a kite.

This arrangement would ensure that they did not land in an area where they could pose a threat to property or woodland.

Ngai Ka-ying, To Kwa Wan

Games will be good for HK

Many people have expressed opposition to Hong Kong bidding to host the 2023 Asian Games.

I think the bid can help with the long-term development of sport in Hong Kong.

Last year's East Asian Games in the city were very successful. It was such a unique experience for Hong Kong's athletes and for the community as a whole.

There is no doubt that Hong Kong has the ability to host major international events.

The hosting of the 2023 Asian Games would lead to improvement work being undertaken at sporting venues, and athletes and residents would benefit from these enhanced facilities. People would have a better opportunity to participate in their chosen sport.

Hosting such a major event would also be a boost for our tourism industry. The Games would provide more job opportunities.

I cannot think of any reason to oppose the bid for 2023. It is a meaningful and valuable project.

Lee Wu-ching, Tung Chung