Letters to the Editor, September 1, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 September, 2013, 5:07am


Universities mustn't be too commercial

I refer to the editorial ("Hong Kong must develop partnership between business and universities", August 27) regarding the positive impacts that would be brought by this.

Undoubtedly, putting more effort into developing new technology benefits society. From an economic perspective, as information technology has become a part of our lives and people have become more receptive to breakthroughs, developing innovative products can create trends and generate significant revenue.

These hi-tech products can bring convenience to the general public and further improve their living standards. However, when the universities invest their scope of knowledge for purely commercial purposes, it can backfire.

These days, especially after the release of Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education results, increasing numbers of citizens have expressed concerns that the universities have been commercialised.

Amid all these apprehensions, one of the most controversial topics is whether the research done by the universities should be market-oriented.

For instance, some universities will tend to satisfy market demand and investigate more on the financial front, undermining the importance of other subjects.

In the worst situation, this may lead to a lack of diversification of knowledge. It will also give a hidden message that doing research is purely a lucrative business. I am afraid it may dampen the universities' spirit of being places dedicated to dissemination and application of knowledge.

For me, research is a key that can unlock the secrets of the world. In the process of knowing our past and uncovering the truth of our amazing world, we will develop a future insight and hopefully facilitate civilisation. That should be the root of research and the most inviolable mission of a university.

Kelly Lau, Clear Water Bay


Sex checks on teachers inadequate

I read with apprehension the report regarding the government's seeming reluctance to introduce and impose mandatory checks of convictions for child sex abuse ("Lax teacher sex checks put children at risk, groups say", August 25).

Schools, be they tuition centres, primary or secondary schools, are supposed to be safe havens for children. So it is important to ensure that they are kept from people convicted of sex abuse-related crimes.

There is only a voluntary checking scheme in place and prospective employees can opt out. Surely it is the government's duty to ensure that children have a decent and safe learning environment? The way it is set up at the moment, the scheme might as well not exist.

Again when government policies are flawed, the public has to take the initiative. Through the internet, parents and students can be warned of aspiring teachers with a shabby past and sexual convictions.

Meanwhile, school authorities should be aware of applicants with possible sexual convictions by communicating frequently with other schools.

Agnes Yip, Lam Tin


Blackpool's stars lit up the stadium

Blackpool's visit to Hong Kong in the summer of 1958 must stand as one of the defining moments of the local soccer scene, as was pointed by Tony Yuen in his letter ("Modern soccer stars bypass Hong Kong", August 18).

Blackpool took on the All Hong Kong XI and the Combined Chinese XI in front of a capacity crowd at the old Government Stadium.

The English side won the first game with a hat-trick by Ray Charnley, one of Blackpool's most prolific scorers. The second game was a classic, with the visitors beating the Combined Chinese 10-1.

The wizardry of the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews, then 43, gave Szeto Yiu, the much younger left-back on the local side, a torrid time.

In those days, there was no television coverage of soccer games in Hong Kong.

Those like me who could not get tickets had to stay glued to the radio to experience the drama.

Tsui Kai-yee, Lai Chi Kok


Our workers should be treated better

I refer to the report ("Urgent plea for foreign workers", August 21).

Recently, the business sector has forged an alliance against working hours legislation and for an influx of foreign workers. Labour importation is claimed to be the last resort to ease the labour shortage.

Business tycoons' representatives make a threatening conclusion: working hours regulation would never be possible without labour importation. They urge labour importation across a variety of industries and occupations.

It is disappointing that the business sector bundles working time regulation and labour importation.

What is even worse is that people on the employers' side overemphasise the number of unfilled vacancies while concealing the facts about disincentives to work, such as indecent work, inhumane management and conditions that are not family-friendly.

We agree that trying to fully utilise the potential labour force is the best way to solve the problem of unfilled vacancies, and must pay tribute to all those corporations which allocate a lot of resources to provide apprenticeships for young people. It is well known that youth unemployment has long been the highest among all age groups. While the unemployment rate in the general population is around 3 to 4 per cent, young people face a double- digit rate.

As an employee representative on the Labour Advisory Board, labour importation has become a controversial subject. As a trade unionist, I would never allow approval of an unqualified applicant.

Safeguarding workers' interests is my commitment to our trade union members. There is simply no room for discussion on labour importation beyond the existing Supplementary Labour Scheme.

The unprecedented alliance against labour protection in the business sector is not on the right track. It seems businessmen always make workers suffer the most when the economy experiences a downturn.

May I ask our society to work together so as to treat our workers fairer and better.

Ng Chau-pei, employee member, Labour Advisory Board, chairman, Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions


Criticism of golf club is out of bounds

Tommy F.K. Hui's letter regarding the Hong Kong Golf Club is wholly unfair ("Hong Kong Golf Club has done little to help budding talents", August 25).

While the club may need to improve its outreach to the broader community (I stress I am not a member), Mr Hui's accusations that club members look on "with disapproving eyes" andday guests are restricted from going "here there and everywhere" is incorrect.

I have played at the club, either as a member's guest or with other non-member friends, numerous times over the past decade. I can attest that the welcome from other members and from the club's staff is nothing less than courteous.

Clearly Mr Hui feels the need to be treated as a VIP. Perhaps, then, it is his attitude and not the club's that needs addressing.

Mark Peaker, The Peak