Letters to the editor, August 11, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 August, 2013, 1:57am

Mindset over maid abuse hasn't changed

One gets a sense of déjà vu on reading reports about the abuse of maids which seems to be a fact of life in Hong Kong ("Survey reveals extent of abuse of foreign maids," August 4).

This has been going on since the early 1980s when servants first began to be imported from the Philippines.

Today with Indonesian women making up the majority of domestics, and Bangladeshi women now being shipped in as well, agencies like the Mission for Migrant Workers are needed more than ever to help these vulnerable women cope with the problems involved in working in Hong Kong.

In a densely packed city where living quarters provide scant privacy for the migrant women, it's no surprise that rapes occur.

Those women who choose to remain silent about such abuses do so because complaining would mean having to return to their impoverished lives back home.

For years, various non-governmental organisations have been appealing to the authorities to try to educate local employers and ensure that the migrant workers are treated humanely, and that justice be done when the women's human rights are violated.

Unfortunately the local mindset has been one that says; since Hong Kong is providing employment to so many impoverished women, they should be grateful and accept the conditions imposed on them. Needless to say, such an attitude reflects poorly on a society that purports to be a civilised one.

Isabel Escoda, Lantau


Give grass a chance and it will do its job

I have been watching matches at Hong Kong Stadium since 1962 as a spectator and an official in those early days. In those days, before the renovation, it was played on regularly for first division matches.

The pitch was never a subject for discussion.

It was there; it was played on. Now, since the renovation, the pitch has never been far from discussion despite the employment of consultants and "experts" from around the globe.

The result was the latest fiasco. I have never heard of such extraordinary advice as the dumping of 30 tonnes of sand on a football pitch.

Throughout these 20 or so years the pitch - despite being cosseted and protected like a precious jewel - has never been able to withstand a sliding tackle, with the so-called turf peeling back like an orange leaving the sandy composition it was supposed to be living on laid bare for all to see.

Grass needs earth - soil for its roots to penetrate and feed on - not granules of sand. Any gardener will tell you that. And don't blame it on the grass and look for another type.

Grass needs nourishment, that's all. I strongly support the recommendation of Mark Sutcliffe, the Hong Kong Football Association's chief executive, to employ growing grass as the majority with synthetic fibres injected into it to strengthen and protect it.

We are told Wembley Stadium uses it and half the English Premier League stadiums do, so we should listen to him and go and see them. In addition, banish that sandy mixture. Have sympathy for grass; give it something to feed on, like all our grass roots. They are not called that for nothing.

David Akers-Jones, vice-patron, Hong Kong Football Association


Sacrifices for the good of all will be needed

Apart from the impact of social-economic conditions, problems associated with global warming have become one of the major causes of food insecurity in different countries.

Although some developed countries, like the United States, benefit from the longer agricultural season because of higher temperatures brought about by global warming, the benefits cannot last over the long term.

Many of the developing countries that have been affected by global warming do not possess advanced-technology or have sufficient capital, so their food insecurity problems have become more serious in recent years.

Thus, the destruction brought about by natural disasters, which have been exaggerated by global warming, pose a greater threat to their continued development, leading to higher poverty rates and starvation in their countries. Even for those developed countries that benefit from global warming and make higher profits nowadays, the situation cannot bring sustained prosperity if there is no efficient solution to the global warming problem, nor the provision of sufficient aid to developing countries.

The global warming phenomenon is now predicted to be a long-term problem which will worsen in the future unless solutions are found.

If developed countries do not provide enough assistance to poorer countries - and continue to exploit developing countries in the area of trade - there will be an imbalance in the development of countries in the world.

Developing countries will become poorer and poorer with the result being soaring starvation rates among their population.

By that time, the need for food and resources will be far greater than now, putting a heavy burden on non-governmental organisations and local governments.

Both developed and developing countries should contribute to alleviate the global warming problem to ensure everyone has enough nutritious food to maintain a healthy life.

All of us should not be afraid to make the necessary sacrifices for the benefit of all in order to address the unfairness and alleviate the discontented feelings of people from developed and developing countries.

Hilda Tsang Hiu-ki, Kwai Chung


It's forgive and forget in a man's world

So, it appears that advertisers have forgiven Tiger Woods and are letting him earn some big bucks again.

The Rolex advert on the back of the PostMagazine (August 4) showing him looking humbly at the camera, as though asking people to love him again, strikes me as ironic.

Compared to the irritating arrogance he displayed before his fall from grace, this really seems a transformation.

He is now also making statements on television, with golfers and sports commentators hanging on his every word, so obviously all is forgiven. (I am sure his ex-wife forgives him too, since he has surely coughed up a generous amount of compensation for her and the children.)

Still, it's truly a man's world out there.

Beatriz Taylor, Cheung Chau


Pay more for peace of mind in the air

Last month the front landing gear of a Southwest Airlines flight collapsed right after landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport. The aircraft skidded on the runway before coming to a halt.

I fully agree with the aviation author Patrick Smith ("Jet's nose gear collapses as it lands in New York", July 24) that "landing gear incidents were not high on the list of worries for pilots".

As a private pilot with multi-engine and jet ratings for 39 years I have yet to worry about or experience a gear-up landing.

Like most pilots I only anticipate engine failures.

Dallas-based Southwest is a budget airline.

I have yet to travel with a budget airline because pilot proficiency is a concern to me, as well as maintenance.

I would strongly suggest other travellers follow suit. It is better to spend the extra dollars for a non-budget carrier than take a chance by purchasing a cheap airfare.

Eugene Li, Deep Water Bay