PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am


No excuse for improper behaviour

I am appalled by the disproportionate uproar and condemnation of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

While I respect the due process of law, I think that the excessive tarnishing of Tsang's name is unjust and is distracting us from the real, pressing issues that Hong Kong needs to face.

As Elsie Tu aptly notes ('Tsang's contribution to HK has been buried in a cruel effort to destroy him', March 8), many of the policy initiatives launched by Tsang have been vetoed by legislators (often disrespectfully).

Can we be proud of the lack of civility among some of our legislators?

Can we say that they justly deserve their salary by disrupting sessions with improper behaviour?

Jumping on the tongue-lashing bandwagon may not only distract us from the more fundamental problems facing our society. It may also be a smokescreen that others put up to hide their own misdeeds.

Let the one who is without sin be the first to cast a stone - or should that be a banana?

Ma Li-ming, Mid-Levels

How difficult can it be to act decently?

I refer to your leader ('Maids deserve more consideration', March 4).

When I first came out to Hong Kong a few years ago, I could not believe what I found out about the way these women were treated.

Way back in my youth in the 1930s in the north of Scotland many of the maids came from the Hebrides and inner isles of Scotland to the towns on the mainland in search of work.

They were, if you like, the Filipinas and Indonesians of the time and place. Anyone who treated these lasses as virtual slaves would have been regarded in our community with the contempt they would have deserved.

In my parents' home it was the normal thing for my mother and the maid to work together to keep things in the household on an even keel.

The maids had their own room, they had every Sunday off, they rose about the same time as the rest of the household and also had a cup of coffee in the morning for a few minutes' break, as my mother did and anyone else who was in the house at the time. After things were all cleared after lunch, maid and mistress retired to rest for an hour or so before the family started to come home from work and school, about 4 to 6pm.

High tea was served and then cleared up by about 7pm and then it was time for everyone to relax after the day - including the maid.

Of course, I imagine that there were some less than perfect employers but, in the normal course of events, the maids were treated well.

Nobody in their right mind would have put them up in understairs cupboards as I have seen here in Hong Kong. Nobody would have expected then to work a 16 to 18-hour day and no one would have dared lay a finger on them.

What is the matter with people here? Why do they treat others in this way?

Let us all treat people as people and not lesser beings.

Let us give the foreign helpers a break, as you urged in your editorial.

Helen Heron, Sai Kung

Video might help catch Joseph Kony

I support the 'Kony 2012' campaign which has been showing on YouTube ('Viral internet video targets Ugandan war criminal', March 9).

It aims to raise public awareness worldwide about Joseph Kony 'the fugitive head of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army' who is accused of kidnapping, abusing and killing children. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The video has been viewed by millions of people on YouTube. I hope it will draw attention to his atrocities and put more pressure on the government of Uganda to hunt this man down and bring him to justice.

People not just in Hong Kong, but around the world, should be made aware of his crimes. I read so much bad news nowadays, so it is good to learn about some people actually trying to make a difference.

I am just a secondary school pupil with no power, but surely if there is a lot of publicity about what Kony has done this improves the chances of action being taken against him.

Po Po Law, Hung Hom

EU's aircraft carbon tax is unworldly

The European Union's ability to make strange and unworldly decisions is evident in its attempt impose a carbon tax on all aircraft entering its airspace based on the total length of their journey.

To see just how unworldly this is consider two flights - one from the US city of Boston to Shannon in the Irish Republic and one from Tomsk in Russia to the German capital Berlin.

The 4,667-kilometre flight from Boston to Shannon is over international waters for at least 98 per cent of the route - only the final 60 or so kilometres are within EU airspace. More than 3,218 kilometres of the 4,474-kilometre flight from Tomsk to Berlin lies within Russian airspace.

To demand payment from airlines while they are in international airspace, or even more bizarrely while they are within their own national boundaries, suggests that there is truth in the canard that the EU's business is conducted in the short and confused moments between a very long lunch and a siesta.

Gavin Greenwood, Cheung Chau

Simple way to curb speeding

The Transport Department should require all public buses, taxis and private buses to be fitted with a black box that records time, speed location, with a global positioning system.

Officials could then, at least once a month, use a scanner to collect date and charge all the speeding cases recorded.

Pieter Nootenboom, Sai Kung

Mainland SMEs need subsidies

I recently read a newspaper report about the problem of labour shortages which the manufacturing sector in Guangdong is experiencing, especially in the Pearl River Delta.

I was a bit shocked by this news as the province has been dubbed the 'factory of the world'. But it is having problems because of soaring costs and labourers' demands for higher wages.

I come from Guangdong and we always assumed that labour supply would exceed demand because of migrant workers. However, with higher inflation and living when factories are unable to meet the migrant workers' wage demands, they return to their home provinces.

Guangdong's labour department estimates that the province needs an additional one million workers and this could have dangerous repercussions for economy and Chinese society as a whole. Small and medium-sized businesses are hardest hit.

Many operate on narrow profit margins and when there is labour unrest, they might have shut down.

The government must recognise that it is not just the large corporations that are important for our economic development. It must not underestimate the role of the SMEs. They offer a lot of job opportunities.

The government should recognise this and offer the owners of SMEs some help in the form of subsidies so they can deal with the problems they are facing.

Xiao Yang, Tseung Kwan O

Reclamation must not be first choice

The importance of sustainable development has been accepted here and abroad.

Therefore, only after the Hong Kong government has developed idle land, should it opt for reclamation projects.

Sustainable development is all about striking a balance.

Restoring and building on unused land does not necessarily meet the same goals as reclamation, but it avoids the widespread protests that would take place, if reclamation projects were launched.

All aspects - economic, environmental and social - have to be considered and as I said the right balance must be struck.

Redeveloping land sites is more complicated and expensive that reclamation. However, our government has a substantial surplus, some of which it has spent in a reckless manner.

Take, for example, the HK$6,000 handout to permanent residents. It clearly has the resources needed to utilise these sites.

Francis Chan, Tsuen Wan