Letters to the Editor, December 16, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 3:35am

Standard hours law is morally right

In the report ("Warning of 'euro mess' over standard working hours", December 3), a deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries said that legislation on standard working hours would jeopardise business competitiveness and such legislation had "caused riots and unrest in some countries".

Why would workers riot if their working hours were the standard, eight hours daily, six days a week?

As one would expect, the richest members of the business chambers have warned against introducing standard hours.

Perhaps they would welcome legislation introducing slave labour, to enable them to leave their billions for their families (or extra wives) to squabble over when they die.

In the report, a member of the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions, expressed support for standard hours legislation.

That makes sense. It also means treating workers as human beings who need to eat and have a reasonable home to live in.

I am reading a book about early times in history, when people lived on the produce of their own land.

Even then, there were some men and women who dressed themselves as witch doctors, shamans and other guises, intending to scare the peaceful majority of people. They loved power and wealth.

Today, they dress as businessmen, but they may in their hearts have the same lust for power and wealth.

All men (and women) are equal.

The sooner this is acknowledged, the sooner the world will be at peace. And the sooner man's equality is acknowledged, the sooner wars will cease, and all mankind will have a home and a decent means of livelihood. But if business alone continues to reign there will be riots.

Why do the wealthiest consider that the world's resources belong to them alone?

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong


PLA should lighten up on military sites

Heritage matters are becoming thorny issues nowadays.

Thorough consideration always has to be given to whether or not to preserve a site and how to grade it.

The grading of a site can afford it legal protection; however, this grading process is being made difficult in the case of some of Hong Kong's historic military structures ("PLA 'security blackout' at historic military sites", December 10). This is causing problems for Antiquities and Monuments Office staff.

It appreciate that these sites fall under the control of the PLA garrison and it may feel that some military information should be kept secret.

However, details and photographs of these structures are already in the realm of public knowledge, so with regard to them surely secrecy should not be seen as a high priority.

In addition, the PLA garrison already hold open days.

Given that much is known about them their military worth has diminished.

I can understand restrictions on information and access being imposed when there is an important military consideration which must take priority.

However, I hope that the PLA will review its policy and that it will provide the information required and open some sites to the public.

W.H. Chan, Kwun Tong 


Festive feasts can avoid shark's fin

Shark Rescue is once again inviting everyone in Hong Kong to work together to protect the health of our oceans.

Although 2012 brought great accomplishments for rescuing sharks from extinction, we still have a long way to go. Just a few months ago, nearly 50 groups united to get Cathay Pacific to ban the transport of shark fin from all its flights.

Hong Kong's flagship airline admirably met the challenge and implemented the ban on its cargo flights.

Last month, the European Parliament called for a definitive halt to shark finning, as Europe is a leading supplier of fins to Hong Kong. So now that the Christmas holiday celebrations are close, this is the perfect moment for every one of us to do our part to protect our oceans.

Whether they are in their own dining room, in a restaurant, or at a government or business function, I urge your readers to do their part and say no to shark's fin soup and yes to a sustainable and healthy future.

Ran Elfassy, director, Shark Rescue


E-books will result in much lighter load

I agree with those who argue that there must be greater use of e-textbooks in Hong Kong's schools.

With all the printed textbooks they have to carry, students here have to carry heavy bags, which puts pressure on their spine, and so having the material on computer would make a major difference.

Also, parents would make savings as they presently have to pay a lot every year for the books their children will need for school.

Some critics argue that reading e-books could strain your eyes, but the important thing is to rest every so often and come away from the screen.

Kasey Lee, Sheung Shui


Decorations can easily be eco-friendly

The display of lights in Victoria Harbour helps to spread the festive atmosphere in Hong Kong. However, it is important to think of environment-friendliness.

My school's civic education group has launched a classroom decorating competition.

Students were required to reuse waste, including empty water bottles, cartons and used paper to adorn the interior of the room instead of ready-made decorations.

Traditional Christmas decorations including lights consume a great deal of electricity.

I believe the concept that has been adopted at my school would be feasible throughout our society.

Christmas trees and shopping malls are usually covered with strings of lights. But local artists could take items that have been discarded and using their creative skills turn into innovative and attractive decorations for the trees and malls.

Apart from being pleasing to the eye they would also be sending an environmentally friendly message to passers-by.

Sakina Ma, Hung Hom


Looking into having mobile library

I refer to the letter by Bob Beadman ("Ma Wan sorely lacking library, post office", December 9).

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department provides a district library for every 200,000 people according to the guidelines for the provision of library facilities as stipulated in the "Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines".

For Tsuen Wan district, which has a population of about 292,000, we currently operate a major library which is built for a population of 400,000 and a small library for the local residents.

The provision of a mobile library facility aims to supplement the static library network to provide a library service to residents living in remote areas where the population has yet to reach the standard qualifying a static library.

In consideration of the unique situation at Ma Wan, we are actively studying the feasibility of providing a mobile library stop there in 2013-14.

C. S. Yung, chief librarian (operations and computerisation), Leisure and Cultural Services Department


Good case for some college mergers

I fully agree with Lam Wai-leung ("Courses at institutions lack diversity", December 2).

The governance of some newly founded private tertiary institutions needs assistance and scrutiny. With operating bodies having limited experience, to fully utilise resources there might be a case for merging some institutions.

It might be a painful process and a single oversight body could prove to be a big help.

Leaving those institutes unchecked would only put students at risk.

Michael H.S. Tsui, Kwun Tong


Swimming a non-starter at fake beach

I am concerned about government proposals for an artificial beach at Lung Mei.

The argument that Tai Po has no natural beach is hardly relevant. Like other Hongkongers, local residents can easily go to one of our beaches at Clear Water Bay and Shek O.

Governments all over the world are trying to protect their environments and our administration will destroy a precious natural resource.

It is a habitat for many animals and if they are moved they may not survive in an unfamiliar place. Also, the sea levels are low, there are jellyfish and given the water quality it is not suitable for swimming.

Keith Chow, Tseung Kwan O