Letters to the Editor, May 14, 2013
Eco-friendly policies are feasible
Developing countries face the difficulty of striving for economic development while also trying to protect the environment. Many of them, in the process of promoting modernisation practices, compromise environmental protection and steer clear of policies which would help to protect the environment. This leads to them face a more uphill struggle when it comes to dealing with the environment.
It is essential that governments should aim to come up with policies which ensure sustainable development.
Getting the right balance will be of paramount importance for the citizens of any country.
The priority has to be the control of industrial pollution which is the most serious form of pollution that the world faces. Lawmakers and government officials should tighten legislation to ensure factories are cleaner and are part of an overall strategy of sustainable development.
Industries will have to prevent and control industrial pollution throughout the entire process of production.
There should be greater encouragement for companies to use renewable energy, such as solar and tidal power, and wind turbines.
While initial installation costs might be high, this could be offset with the help of tax rebates from the government or subsidies.
Also, individual citizens have a role to play to help protect the environment.
We can, for example, use fewer plastic bags and switch to compact fluorescent bulbs.
We also need to use fewer fossil fuels and be personally responsible for generating less in the way of greenhouse gas emissions.
However, it is not easy for people to change and public education will be crucial. Governments have to launch campaigns to raise levels of awareness on the need to be environmentally friendly.
The role of our government in Hong Kong will be crucial to ensuring that we have a better environment in the city.
It will have to administer environmental reforms. However, it is important, for the sake of future generations, that these reforms are implemented. We all must accept moral responsibility for this.
Kenny Pit Hok-yau, Tseung Kwan O
Inflatable duck has got the people talking
Many people went to Victoria Harbour to see the large rubber duck sculpture.
I think there is a number of reasons for this high level of enthusiasm.
For one thing it brings back childhood memories of playing with ducks in the bath.
Of course this sculpture is a great deal larger and this has made so many Hongkongers curious and keen to see it.
It has also proved to be a conversation topic with friends going to see it together and discussing if after they have had a look at it floating in the harbour.
Winnie Li Yin-wai, Kwai Tsing
Rich citizens should be far less selfish
Joyce Hung writes that we are now seeing too many demonstrations and strikes in Hong Kong ("'Success' for strikers has hurt society", May 10). Could this have anything to do with the growing wealth gap?
Perhaps if the rich and famous showed more awareness of what life is like for ordinary people then discontent would be less widespread.
Andy Statham, Happy Valley
Need for law on collective bargaining
The dock workers' strike dragged on for weeks and until it concluded there appeared to be little consensus between the two parties.
I think the strike helped to raise public awareness about labour rights. People became more knowledgeable about labour issues such as collective bargaining and outsourcing.
It highlighted the plight of the dockers and made more people realise that when it comes to labour rights Hong Kong is backward.
We only recently introduced the statutory minimum wage and have still to discuss standard working hours.
I support those who have called for legislation allowing collective bargaining, including union leaders. It is essential that employees should be able to bargain with their employers over their conditions of employment if they are unhappy with those conditions and want to see an improvement in the workplace.
At the moment an employer can simply refuse to get involved in negotiations and does not have to give any particular reasons for taking this approach.
It is not good for labour rights in Hong Kong if employees are not given any chance to communicate with their bosses.
I am pleased the dockers got a pay increase and I hope that they will eventually enjoy better working conditions.
Maggie Law Wing-yi, Kwai Chung
Education reforms are long overdue
Students in Hong Kong's schools are victims of rote-learning and an oppressive exam system.
These are problems that should be dealt with while language skills in English and Chinese need to be addressed.
The present education system needs to be modified. At the moment success comes for those young people who are good at memorising material and regurgitating it. There should be more emphasis placed on the ability of young people to think for themselves and explain a point in answers that they give. They should be discouraged from just giving model answers which they have learned.
Also, when they are teaching, teachers should try and relate to students' daily lives. For example, when teaching English, they should not just stick to the textbook. They should use other relevant material such as newspapers and films and also, when it is relevant, visit exhibitions.
They should also adopt this flexible approach when they are teaching Chinese language in the classroom.
If students can relate their language studies to their daily lives, they will become more proficient.
They should not just memorise material without thinking about what is actually says.
It is not good enough just to memorise English words. They have to know that the words mean.
With English they should also practise speaking it, especially with native English speakers.
It is clear that language standards are dropping in Hong Kong and this is a problem that has to be dealt with effectively by the government.
Menorah Ng, Tseung Kwan O
Important to help out compatriots
I agree with those who argued that the government should donate to the relief effort following the earthquake in Sichuan.
I don't think anyone would argue that the relief effort following the 2008 quake was badly handled.
It was difficult to ensure that the money that was donated was used to help the victims of this natural disaster.
Many people feared that the money they had donated ended up in the pockets of corrupt officials. Also some buildings that were reconstructed were then torn down. The frustration of some donors turned to mistrust.
Also some people argued that the mainland was not in urgent need of funds and it would have been better to use the millions donated to deal with pressing problems in Hong Kong.
I can understand those feelings. However, it would not have been right to do nothing for our compatriots when they were suffering. As students we are taught the importance of altruism to offer a helping hand to people in need. We are taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Hong Kong has a reputation for its generosity. When something like this earthquake happens, we should not hesitate to give help.
And we should not just be talking about financial donations. We should also be willing to give building materials and medical equipment.
Cheung Yuet-ching, Tseung Kwan O
Taking advantage of customers
I refer to the letter from Michael Sanders regarding the excessive increases being proposed by PCCW ("Calling on PCCW to justify increase", May 10).
I similarly received an unsigned notification from PCCW saying that my current netvigator contract is coming to an end and suggesting I either change to a super-fast 1000M broadband for an undisclosed amount, continue with a new two-year contract increasing from HK$148 to HK$238 (+61 per cent), or, opt for a monthly contract at HK$298 (+101 per cent).
I have emailed PCCW on three occasions over the last two weeks to obtain a more detailed explanation of the cost increases and obtain a quote for the new superfast service (on the basis that their feasibility study proves it is possible in my location) and to date have not received a reply.
I have no complaints with the service and the few minor issues that have cropped up have all been dealt with efficiently but that still doesn't justify such increases.
PCCW is simply taking advantage of a captive audience with limited options rather than trying to maintain customer goodwill.
John Campbell, Discovery Bay