Letters to the Editor, May 22, 2013
Citizens must be allowed to work longer
Hong Kong is currently going through a period of realisation that, because a greater proportion of its inhabitants are in the "senior" category, something needs to be done about the retirement age.
At present, the government forces many of its employees to retire at 60 and companies often follow its example.
The government is thinking of increasing that age in the light of the concern expressed above.
In countries such as Britain and the United States a specified age for compulsory retirement has generally been abolished. In Britain, for example, it is against the law to make a person redundant purely on the basis of their age. Unfortunately, Hong Kong appears to be a long way from that state of utopia.
What may be of interest to your readers is that in the UK, the Institute of Economic Affairs, in conjunction with the Age Endeavour Fellowship, has published the results of a study that has found that retirement has a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.
More details can be found on the BBC website but, basically, the study is suggesting that people should work longer for health as well as economic reasons.
To apply that to Hong Kong, allowing people to work longer will not only be an economic necessity, but will also help people live healthier lives.
Hence, the government should go further to deregulate the labour market, so allowing people to work longer.
Chris Stubbs, Discovery Bay
Jolie has put spotlight on cancer risks
I think the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has shown great courage in admitting that she had a double mastectomy ("Few likely to follow Jolie's lead with mastectomy", May 16).
Although it may affect her career she felt she had to think about here own life. Her story should also raise awareness about breast cancer to women around the world.
It is the most common cancer among Hong Kong women, with more than 3,000 cases a year and it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths for women.
Women from families with a history of breast cancer can be at greater risk.
The risk can also increase as they grow older.
Another factor can be women having their first child late. Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by having regular physical activity, avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption, and having children at an earlier age.
It is important for women to have an annual health check.
This increases the likelihood of a serious illness such as breast cancer being detected as early as possible.
They should also learn more about the condition and be alert to detecting early warning signs that might indicate they have symptoms and may have the condition.
If they suspect this is possible they must get medical advice promptly.
Also, if they are in a high-risk category of developing breast cancer they should consult doctors about the need for a mammography screening.
Michelle Lo Ching-yan, Kwai Chung
Stubbs Road blocked by tour buses
The passing place for traffic on the upper part of Stubbs Road has turned into a major tourist attraction. Because of this in the last week, on three occasions, I have had to wait for several minutes.
Tour buses do not budge when they are waiting for a space, even though they're blocking the entire left lane.
They do not just offload their passengers, but park and wait.
The angry horns of waiting cars behind them have no effect on the bus drivers who apparently live in greater fear of their bosses (like the drivers in Central who fear the scorn of their boss more than traffic wardens).
The road signs say "Passing place" and "No stopping between 4-10pm" while on the road surface it says "Pick-up and drop-off only". However, every day up to 10 buses at a time manage to squeeze in and park there anyway.
On Friday, being a public holiday it was so full that tourists were even walking and standing on the road to take pictures which created a dangerous situation. I wonder why this is tolerated.
On another note I noticed that Falun Gong and I assume anti-Falun Gong banners have miraculously reappeared there again.
Josephine Bersee, Happy Valley
Cabbies have bad attitude over change
I read with interest Alex Lo's column ("Petty claim puts Hong Kong to shame", May 17).
Perhaps it doesn't make sense to prosecute a taxi driver who didn't return 50 cents change to a passenger but Lo seems to overlook the fact that most cabbies are happy to keep the small change, which is supposed to be returned to passengers. It's a matter of principle, not whether it's small change or not.
Most passengers feel uncomfortable seeking a return of such small change due to the unfriendliness of taxi drivers. Whenever I ask for the change back, the driver shows his displeasure.
It is as if I am wrong wanting to get back my money. I feel annoyed because they just take it for granted.
Only when this unpleasant culture is gone will passengers be able to enjoy their taxi trips. Perhaps the taxi industry should look at how drivers can improve their service.
York Cheng, Tseung Kwan O
Harbour duck is proving therapeutic
Thousands of Hong Kong citizens have flocked to the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui to see the large inflatable bright yellow rubber duck, which was created by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman, since it arrived earlier this month. It has brought a new vitality to Hong Kong.
The cute sculpture is therapeutic. For a short while people's anxieties and concerns seem to disappear. They have photos taken with the duck in the background.
Enterprising newspaper vendors nearby are also doing well by earning extra money selling mini rubber ducks and other related products.
However, in their excitement some visitors get carried away and risk damaging the displays. They climb on the mini ducks and leave footprints on them. Some of the displays may end up being damaged beyond repair.
People here need to understand that when art displays are being exhibited in a public area certain rules have to be obeyed and they have to be protected.
I hope the duck sculpture and related exhibits will teach Hongkongers the importance of sharing these art pieces with others in an appropriate manner.
Daniel Hui Yin-hang, Sha Tin
US should be wary of Abe's excesses
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has made it clear that Washington will side with Japan in the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.
However, in taking this stand, the Obama administration is failing to recognise the revival of Japanese militarism promoted by the government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In this respect it is making miscalculations.
We must always learn from the lessons of the past and be aware of the suffering of millions of Koreans, Chinese, other Asian and Allied victims during the second world war thanks to Japanese imperial occupation and aggression.
Any rise in Japanese militarism now must be opposed. In this respect, it is important that the United States should rein in the Abe administration.
K. Y. Tan, North Point