Letters to the Editor, November 14, 2012

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 3:15am

Train staff to work safely with electricity

Last month, the number of people who died or were seriously injured as a result of working with electricity rose.

So far, fatalities are four times what they were for the whole of 2011, with eight people dead and three seriously injured, all in separate incidents.

The increase in fatalities from working with electrics is alarming and something needs to be done before we see things get out of hand.

As chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health's (IOSH) Hong Kong Branch, I urge construction managers to supply the right training and equipment for employees working with electricity.

In 2011, there were 3,112 industrial accidents in the construction industry in Hong Kong and more than half involved minor and renovation works.

Approximately 40 per cent of the electrical accidents which have taken place this year fall under this category.

While the government has allocated more resources to implement minor works projects and to subsidise the repair of dilapidated buildings, there is still room for improvement and there is much more work to be done.

It is important that people who work with electrics think ahead so that every precaution can be taken.

Resources should be allocated properly to subsidise small and medium-sized enterprises or renovation contractors, to allow them to buy equipment and attend relevant training programmes.

Sammy Wan, chair, IOSH Hong Kong Branch

Citizens hold out hope for fairer society

We are seeing the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China.

Many citizens, including farmers and poverty-stricken members of society, will be hoping for a change of image. The country has grown in wealth in the past few years, but there is still a dark side, with corrupt officials and a wide gap between rich and poor.

Many people feel they exist on the margins of society and that they have been neglected by Beijing.

They hope that, under the new leadership, they might see greater freedom of speech and the prospect of making a transition to a better standard of living. But this is only a hope and they may end up being disappointed.

As a teenager, I expect I will see a number of these leadership changes during my lifetime.

I hope that, eventually, China will become a well-developed and fairer society and that the poor will realise their aspirations.

Daisy Chan Wai-ka, Kowloon Tong

Legco should have allowed consultation

The issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation has led to a heated debate in Hong Kong, most recently in Legco.

A motion calling for public consultation on a law to ensure equal rights for people of all sexual orientations was voted down by lawmakers last week. I found this disappointing.

We live in a tolerant and diverse city and we have laws which, for example, protect the disabled and ethnic minorities from discrimination, but why are there no laws to protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- sexual (LGBT) community?

Some religious groups are opposed to public consultation on this subject.

However, legislation outlawing bias against gay people could help end discrimination and unequal treatment in the workplace, in schools and in society in general.

It would ensure that everyone enjoys equal and basic human rights and equal opportunities.

In such a consultation process, there would be no need to include moral issues like gay marriage.

Promoting equality, human rights and ending discrimination are principles being embraced in more societies worldwide. I do not think any form of discrimination is acceptable.

Citizens from the LGBT community deserve equal protection and equal rights. They have endured enough indignities in this city. We should respect people with different sexual orientations instead of unfairly labelling them.

Katherine Au, To Kwa Wan

Developers will be the only winners

Two so-called development proposals highlight Hong Kong's inability to put its people first.

They would contribute nothing to the quality of life in Hong Kong, would destroy abundant biodiversity but would further enrich property developers.

The proposed beach at Lung Mei is a property development in disguise - it anchors two hotel-spa complexes.

Across in the western New Territories, at Nam Sang Wai, a development application has been lodged that will "enhance" these spectacular wetlands by reducing their area by more than 50 hectares.

These are two areas, both of great ecological value and importance, which may be sacrificed to property development by the government.

I cannot help but reflect on my recent trip to Singapore, where I visited the extra- ordinary Gardens by the Bay.

Singapore manages a vibrant economy while simultaneously creating a host of people-first, family-friendly attractions, maintaining a world-class botanical gardens and preserving its historic buildings.

Don't the people of Hong Kong deserve at least as much? Are Singaporeans smarter than people here? No. Do they work harder? No. Do they deserve a better environment? No.

However, they do have a government that puts its people ahead of the property developers.

Renate Boerner, Yuen Long

Negotiated solution to island dispute

I agree with the comments that were made by US assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell regarding the territorial dispute between China and Japan in the East China Sea ("Step back from the brink, U.S. envoy says", November 3).

Japan's premier, Yoshihiko Noda, appears to want a dialogue with the next Chinese administration over the Diaoyu Islands.

I appreciate that this issue is important to both nations, but it is certainly not worth going to war.

I hope both sides will agree with the American position and recognise the importance of arriving at a peaceful settlement.

Ruby Ng Yeuk-yu, Tsuen Wan

Disappointing business-class experience

The report ("Turkish Air to step up HK-Istanbul flights", November 12) draws comparisons with business-class fares to Europe with Cathay Pacific.

Having recently travelled on Turkish Airlines routes from Istanbul to London and Istanbul to Tel Aviv, prospective passengers might wish to know that its business class seats on my flights were economy seats in a row of three with the centre seat blocked out. The leg room was more limited than Cathay's economy seats. Also, in-flight entertainment on these routes was limited to a small drop-down screen in the ceiling serving several rows, with no choice of what was shown, once again a poor comparison with Cathay, which has a wide selection of in-flight entertainment, even in economy.

Hardly what you expect with business class travel and certainly not like for like with Cathay Pacific.

Christopher Lavender, Mid-Levels