Catholic Church

Letters to the Editor, February 21, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 5:46am

Gay employees face dilemma of 'coming out'

Without a law to protect homosexuals from discrimination, it is believed this minority group will suffer emotionally, especially in the workplace.

The relationship among colleagues is built through mutual understanding, care and trust. Discussing one's personal life in conversation is unavoidable, and this drives homosexuals to ponder the dilemma of whether or not to "come out".

Heterosexism is the major barrier for coming out. This concept incorporates both implicit and explicit forms of discrimination. Implicit events may include questions such as, "Why aren't you married?" Explicit events may include malicious anti-gay jokes.

This arises from a culture prevalent in organisations that considers heterosexuality as the only normal and acceptable sexual orientation.

Gays often experience psychological distress from being virtually in the minority. Coming out happens only when hiding their orientation becomes too emotionally costly.

Yet the outcomes and responses from colleagues and supervisors afterwards can be even harder to overcome.

Here are some solutions for that dilemma.

Organisational support for diversity in sexual orientation should be promoted.

Homosexual workers who disclose more about their sexual orientation have higher job satisfaction, less job anxiety, are more committed to work, perceive management to be more supportive of their rights, and experience less conflict between work and home.

Coworkers' reactions significantly mediate the relationship between disclosure behaviour, job satisfaction and the anxiety of homosexual employees. Training should eliminate negative reactions towards homosexuality.

Having both non-discrimination policies and gay-supportive organisational actions is linked to more cases of "coming out", more positive colleague responses, less perceived job discrimination and fairer treatment from supervisors.

The mere presence of organisational policies does not serve as protective means for homosexuals. Comprehensive proactive efforts are necessary.

Consequently, homosexual employees will be more likely to disclose their orientation and psychologically suffer less at work.

The company can then support positive work attitudes, job satisfaction and encourage commitment to the firm - factors that are closely related to productivity.

Homosexuality is not an illness. It is not a sin. And it is no different from heterosexuality in terms of the nature of love.

All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve this simple respect and human right.

Peann Tam, Tuen Mun


Break the retail monopolies in poor areas

Everything in Hong Kong is becoming more expensive now, from daily necessities to properties.

Life is harder for citizens because the cost of living has risen faster than the rate of increase of our salaries. The grass roots suffer more than others as they cannot earn as much as others

For example, some Tin Shui Wai residents are suffering from the relatively high prices of products.

It is common sense that food prices in a place with many low-income residents should be cheaper than other areas.

However, it is not uncommon to see that food prices in some so-called grass-roots areas are higher, such as in Tung Chung and Tin Shui Wai, where many public housing estates are located.

The main reason for that situation, I believe, is the existence of a retail monopoly. Markets in these areas are operated by public estate management The Link, which has been blamed for raising the rents of shops.

As a result, shop tenants need to increase their prices to offset the cost of rent.

Those tenants, however, cannot simply choose to close down their business, as there are no suitable locations nearby where they could move and continue operating.

The government should really build a few public markets in these areas to break the vicious cycle.

Once the public markets are constructed, it is hoped the retail monopoly can be broken. This, in turn, would provide relief to residents, as the food prices in these areas will be within their reach.

R. Hang, Kowloon Bay


Webb's stunt disregarded security risks

Much as I admire David Webb for his outspokenness and many interesting ideas, I am astonished that he had seen fit to publish online the personal ID numbers of over 1,000 individuals, and called on others to join him in disclosing their ID numbers in social media.

Was he not aware of the increased risk of identity theft, and threat to personal safety and security? [Webb withdrew his post last week.]

In Hong Kong, as in other parts of the world, personal identifiers like ID card and social security numbers are often used as passwords for certain accounts. In the US, leaks of the social security numbers of students by colleges (including Columbia University) led the authorities to not only apologise but also offer payments for fraud prevention.

As for the amendments to the Companies Ordinance, I see no reason why a company director or secretary has to make public his or her full identity card numbers and full residential address. The disclosure of the latter is particularly dangerous, especially if someone uses such data to stalk, harass or harm their family.

Although the public's right to know is important, there is no reason why more information should be collected or disclosed than is necessary for a specific purpose.

The more easily it has become to obtain personal data from public sources and widely disseminate them, the more reason there is for us to ensure their proper use, and that such personal information should not fall into the wrong hands.

Regina Ip, former secretary for security


No need to mask identity number

There is no need whatsoever for the directors of publicly listed companies to conceal their Hong Kong identity numbers.

It is an identifier, nothing else, and reveals no personal information whatsoever.

My Hong Kong identity number is P527197(9).

Any person asking for the their identity number to be concealed should explain in writing to this newspaper, and to the government, why they think this is required. I also ask the minister responsible to explain why this is required.

Jeffrey Gagnon, Central


Bird's-eye view of Fanling's housing woes

I suggest the housing development department take a trip to Fanling, climb to the summit of Tai To Yan and view the area.

It would give anyone a fairly clear idea of what went wrong in the past by allowing small houses to be built, and what could be done in planning housing development.

Peter Ortmann, Clear Water Bay


Taking pride in a church with principles

Pope Benedict was right to say no to contraception and abortion, and to uphold the vow of celibacy among priests and nuns.

I am eternally grateful to him for having the courage all these years in opposing the militant tide of ninny goats who sadly are the vocal majority.

Kevin Rafferty ("Sound in doctrine, Benedict has little to say to those with everyday problems", February 14) would probably categorise me as a traditional believer.

Call me what you will, but I was baptised three years ago at the age of 39, and will openly leave the Catholic Church if it turns its back on its stance on contraception, abortion and celibacy among the clergy.

It is a free church. If people do not agree with its guidance, they are free to leave. The church is not the Taliban - no one will shoot you if you wish to use contraception.

And if someone wishes to become a priest, but believes that priests ought to marry, then he can join the Anglican Church - they are very similar and both are Christian.

Karen So, Discovery Bay


Fancy degree must also teach humility

I was stunned and enraged when I watched the quarrel between Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok and "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung.

Mr Ma stressed that he is a university graduate from Australia and teased Mr Leung, who does not hold such high qualifications. Ma also spoke rudely, with dirty words.

A person who is arrogant because of better qualifications and better English skills is actually more inferior than a person who knows less but is humble.

A person who spoke so much English during an argument and claimed to be Chinese is actually less so than a person who speaks Chinese and works for the benefit of our society.

Mr Ma is insulting many people in Hong Kong who don't have a university degree and who speak poor English.

As a public figure and a Chinese citizen, he deserves my disapproval.

M.L. Fong, Kowloon