Egypt balloon tragedy

Letters to the Editor, March 11, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 3:16am

Integrated Wi-fi network needed in city

I enjoy the convenience of using the mobile internet on my smartphone.

Thanks to Wi-fi networks, you can now browse websites, listen to music, watch films and read and answer e-mails swiftly and with ease.

My Wi-fi device at home has become a standard household fixture, but Wi-fi networks outside are still unsatisfactory. Hot spots pop up in shopping malls, coffee shops, restaurants and the MTR. But complicated log-ins with terms and conditions and procedures are frustrating.

On one recent weekend, I was having dinner in a Japanese restaurant at a prestigious shopping mall in Causeway Bay.

The food was so good I took photos of the dishes and wanted to send them out by WhatsApp.

Unfortunately, the restaurant's Wi-fi was password-protected.

I asked the waitress for the password but she said the Wi-fi was not for customers. So what was the purpose of having it? They did not appear to have any wireless ordering system.

Limited Wi-fi coverage and complicated login procedures hinder the use of wireless internet technology, which is supposed to ease the traffic on service providers' mobile networks as well as provide an infrastructure for customer loyalty and mobile marketing activities.

Wi-fi does not just benefit Hong Kong citizens but also tourists and visiting business travellers. It can help stimulate internal consumption as well as facilitating business activities. In Hong Kong, there are different and discrete Wi-fi networks offered by service providers, venue owners and the government.

The administration should work with network providers for a seamless roaming arrangement by bringing all Wi-fi networks together.

With mobile, smart card and software technologies, all major issues including billing, security and authentication can be resolved. Hong Kong can then become a real Wi-fi city, a knowledge-based metropolis.

York Mok, Kwun Tong


Government should help film industry

I refer to the report ("Taiwan cheers Ang Lee's success with Life of Pi", February 26).

Winner of the best director Oscar Ang Lee said he could not have made the film Life of Pi without the help of Taiwan.

This made me think of films made in Hong Kong. Why doesn't the city government help with the development of our film industry?

Fewer young people here are now choosing to follow careers in this industry.

The government should be offering financial support for initiatives that seek to train talented young Hongkongers in production and post-production skills.

It should also do more to try to promote locally made films.

Winnie Leung, Fanling


Monitor factories to curb pollution

Modernisation on the mainland has seen rapid growth in the industrial sector.

With that has come severe pollution of arable land situated near factories, which damages crops and the health of people who consume these crops.

The pollution comes from various sources, including coal mining, oil, solid waste, irrigation waste, emissions and industrial waste water containing heavy metals.

This is a problem throughout the mainland and it affects the Pearl River Delta.

There is not enough monitoring of factories which generate these different forms of pollution. Heavy metals poured into rivers pollute water sources and nearby crops and the illnesses people contract as a consequence, such as cancer, can prove fatal.

The central government must ensure more stringent monitoring of industrial plants, and managers and owners must be arrested if they contravene pollution control regulations.

It is also vital that teachers raise young people's awareness of this issue so they grow up realising how important it is to try and protect our earth.

Vikki Tai, Tseung Kwan O


Rooftops are great locations for gardens

Elizabeth Wong has wise words to say when she advocates hydroponic gardens for Hong Kong ("A budget for breastfeeding and the Hanging Gardens of HK", February 22).

Indeed, as she says, because food shortages loom around the world, people should think of cultivating gardens everywhere, such as in empty spaces and on rooftops.

Getting started on hydroponics is not so complicated, and the nutrition one derives from vegetables and fruit grown in this manner, as well as in soil, is wonderful.

Ms Wong as well as environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai should start a campaign so we can all follow these admirable women.

Vandana Marino, Lantau


Law on work hours must balance needs

In his policy address in January, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that a committee would be set up to look at the feasibility of legislating for standard working hours.

I am sure employees in any company would welcome such a law.

Many people have to work long hours in this town to earn a living and they are often left with little leisure time to spend with their families. This would hopefully change if a standard-working-hours law was enacted.

Presumably it would include a clause that if they had to work beyond the designated number of hours they would receive overtime payments.

However, employers and the groups representing them argue that this kind of legislation would lead to increased costs in overtime payments, adding to the financial burden companies already face.

Both arguments make sense, and obviously if employees had more time off they would be refreshed when they came back to work and more productive.

The government must give careful thought to the effects of such a law and come up with clear proposals that will be beneficial to bosses and their employees.

Angie Tsang Yeung-tsz, Tai Wai


Ensure balloon pilots are well trained

The tragic balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt, shocked Hong Kong people

It highlighted the importance of thinking very carefully before deciding whether or not to get involved in activities of this kind.

I hope that the companies that organise these balloon flights will look again at their training methods before they take to the air again, and ensure their pilots are suitably qualified and able to deal with these kinds of emergencies.

Bernice Cheung, Kwun Tong


Added tax inevitably raises prices

It seems to me that in the attempt to control property prices, the government has only served to increase prices by increasing a tax on the purchase price.

I would have thought that it is fairly obvious that if you add a tax to the price of something, via a sales tax, value added tax or stamp duty, the price goes up, not down.

There will always be buyers, no matter how expensive a product may be. If the prices are too high, there may be fewer buyers but they will pay and make it profitable for the seller. In this way, they reduce the availability of homes for the less well-off.

Check out the number of designer and luxury goods shops in Hong Kong and count the number of customers in the store at any given time. It would appear that though there are few, there are certainly enough to make the stores profitable.

If you want to curb speculation, you should tax the reason why speculators invest, the profit which they hope to make.

If the government was serious, which I doubt, because the majority of the Legislative Council members own more than one property, it would have a progressive tax on the proceeds of the sale of a property which is not the owner's principal residence.

By eliminating the taxes at the front end, it should reduce prices. It may not necessarily do so, because the market has already accepted the "market price", but it may slow down the rate of price increases.

Michael Jenkins, Central


Bring back Sars-era hygiene habits

With the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome at the end of 2002, citizens became more aware of the importance of maintaining good hygiene.

People were reminded to wash their hands before eating, and if they were ill to wear a mask when they went out or to stay at home.

We got used to taking these precautions because of the threat the epidemic posed and they became a daily habit.

However, with the passage of time, Hong Kong citizens have forgotten the importance of hygiene. I have to admit that I sometimes forget to wash my hands before having dinner.

We have become complacent. About 65 per cent of people questioned in a survey said they had "reduced their efforts to maintain their personal hygiene" ("Hong Kong may be forgetting lessons of Sars", March 5).

Now there is a new coronavirus. I hope it will serve as a wake-up call for Hongkongers and remind us of the need to maintain good personal and public hygiene. We must all remember to wash our hands and wear masks when necessary.

Timothy Wong, Sham Tseng