Firms must get staff exercising
I refer to your editorial, ('Sport policy is not just about elites', June 12).
I fully agree that we need to create a sports- and fitness-oriented society and that more work should be done to promote sports at the grass-roots level.
Apart from the government, sports associations in conjunction with the commercial sector have an important role to play.
Take table tennis as an example. The Hong Kong Table Tennis Association and Hang Seng Bank set up the Hang Seng Table Tennis Academy (co-organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department) in 2001 not only to train table tennis stars but also encourage youngsters to learn the sport and develop a healthy lifestyle.
In the past 10 years, the academy has conducted about 3,200 activities, benefiting more than 170,000 participants. Our programmes are well received by the community, as evidenced by the growing number of people getting involved and positive feedback from participants.
Tony Yue Kwok-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Table Tennis Association, has commented that the Hang Seng Table Tennis Academy has achieved remarkable results and built greater awareness among the community.
The establishment of this academy came after a table tennis development programme launched in 1991 by Hang Seng Bank and the table tennis association. In the past 20 years, the bank has invested more than HK$31 million in promoting table tennis to the community through a wide range of activities.
Employers should also organise sports activities for their staff. Last year, the bank organised sports classes and competitions with total participation exceeding 11,000 (employees and their family members).
Walter Cheung, head of communications and corporate responsibility, Hang Seng Bank
Closer checks can prevent tragedies
There have been a number of accidents in To Kwa Wan, including the collapse of a building last year. Now we have had the fatal blaze in Ma Tau Wai on Wednesday. It has raised concerns about why there are so many accidents in old buildings in this part of the city. I think the answer is obvious.
Tenants living in old buildings usually pay low rents and there is no incentive for them to save up extra money and spend it on repairing their own buildings.
In many of these old buildings there are no owners' corporations. In some of these places you see junk lying on stairwells, improper fire safety equipment and a general deterioration in the quality of the overall structure.
I do think there is a need for every building to establish its own owners' corporation.
It would be task of this body to deal with the difficulties experienced by residents and the problems I have described with so many of these buildings. This could prevent further accidents.
All residents should recognise they have a responsibility to upgrade the fire safety equipment in their building and ensure it is checked annually.
Eleanor Wong, Hung Hom
Cost not the only factor for expats
I refer to the report ('Hong Kong is now cheaper for expats than Singapore', June 9). The report said that the 'cost of living index' study excluded the cost of housing and education.
I am not 100 per cent sure of the cost of housing and education in Singapore but cannot imagine they are higher than the ridiculous prices we pay in Hong Kong.
Besides, when talking about competitiveness shouldn't we also take into account the living environment?
I know in Hong Kong some people only think in terms of dollar signs, but for many expatriates it takes more than money to have a satisfactory life.
Of course it always helps when you have money in the bank, but having pollution levels which create health problems is a bigger issue.
Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay
One-way traffic system is to blame
Your reader Andy Robinson ('Get tough with selfish drivers', June 7) fails to give thought as to what might be triggering the apparent selfish behaviour of the professional drivers who idle at pavement edges throughout Hong Kong.
The city itself needs to take some responsibility for the congestion so prevalent on our streets.
Hong Kong strives to be a first-world city, a free and easy place to do business, and a honey pot for the financial world.
But with these laudable aims come responsibilities, and efficient infrastructure, communications and clean air to breathe should sit firmly among the top of the governments priorities.
I'm not sure whether our town planners had shares in oil when they imposed the convoluted one-way system that contorts traffic flow in and around Central.
But forcing all vehicular traffic into long detours has a significant cumulative effect not only on pollution levels but also on the number of chauffeur-driven cars loitering kerbside.
These drivers, whose duty it is to provide an efficient service to their employers, have no choice but to lay claim to a spot upstream or directly outside their pick-up point and remain there resolutely.
They simply cannot risk being forced into a lap of the block given the time it will potentially take them to get back to their point of origin.
The city needs to wake up to the fact that more time-hungry and highly-paid executives will continue to be driven around the city regardless of the objections voiced by critics.
Rather than simply issuing parking tickets of an almost inconsequential value, thought should be given to more efficient traffic planning solutions and the provision of sensibly placed holding areas for this increasing armada of vehicles.
Better town planning and traffic management could result in less congestion, increased productivity and, most important of all, cleaner air.
All are factors likely to give Hong Kong a better stab at moving out of the shadow of its regional rival, Singapore.
Mark Cumming, Stanley
New deal a boost for tourism
A new civil aviation deal will see an increase in daily flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Of the 2.16 million visits made by Taiwanese people to Hong Kong last year, 470,000 were for overnight stays at weekends. With the new deal these numbers could increase.
It will help Hong Kong to deal with the increased competition that it now faces from mainland cities.
This was inevitable given that there are now direct cross-strait flights between Taiwan and the mainland.
I would suggest that the Hong Kong Tourism Board launch promotions aimed at family travel during the summer and try to increase the number of Taiwanese visitors enjoying overnight breaks.
This deal can only be good news for the tourism industries of both Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Angel Ng, Tsim Sha Tsui
Teething problems of law neglected
It was clear when the minimum wage law came into force last month that many employers and employees did not understand it. It meant that some workers might lose rights they did not know they had.
They could have money deducted unfairly and might even lose their jobs. The government shied away from these problems with the new legislation.
I am very disappointed with this attitude. Officials should have anticipated and worked to solve the problems connected with the law. If there is not a change of approach then I foresee further problems in the future.
Alice Ma, Kwun Tong
World cup fee may help firm's shares
I for one am delighted that PCCW intends to charge its Now TV customers extra to watch the forthcoming Rugby World Cup matches. I have shares in the company, and I am hoping that the potential revenue spike might lead to an increase in their price.
I propose a resounding three cheers for PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai and his directors. This is one of the few actions I can remember that might actually benefit a large number of the 'great unwashed' who have invested in the company.
Jason Ali, Sheung Wan