Letters to the Editor, October 9, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 2:50am

Driving test needs to be much tougher

I agree with Paul Orrock's complaint about drivers failing to indicate ("Police and other drivers do not indicate", October 7).

I am appalled that drivers who pass their test in Hong Kong, and have a clean licence for a year, are automatically given a full licence. Therefore, drivers who do not practise their driving in that first year will be given a full licence only because they haven't driven.

The driving test should be part two of a driving test, having passed the written test as part one. Part three should be compulsory lessons on highway and night driving, driving on roads which are not part of the driving test, being familiar with roundabouts and pedestrian crossings and city and courtesy driving within the first year. Most Hong Kong drivers would fail the last part. They forget that we are all pedestrians and should have the right of way.

Chauffeurs and drivers from overseas should also have to pass an advanced driver course in Hong Kong.

They are some of the rudest and most discourteous drivers I experience. Their employers (and other staff passengers in the cars) expect to be driven to the front door of any establishment they wish to enter. I am sure they would take their cars in if they could, so they did not have to walk a metre.

G. Wright, Jardine's Lookout


Backing new vice-chancellor of university

I refer to the report ("Peter Mathieson confirmed as new head of HKU", October 5).

I support the decision to make Peter Mathieson vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

Critics of his appointment say he cannot speak Cantonese and any head of HKU should know a lot about Hong Kong.

When choosing the right candidate, you must look at their accomplishments and ask if they have the ability to be a good vice-chancellor. I think Professor Mathieson meets those requirements.

Chan Ki-mei, Sha Tin


Unfair attacks set a very poor example

I am puzzled by the public dissent regarding the appointment of the new head of the University of Hong Kong and the name-calling by senior academics.

HKU has an open appointments procedure and after a worldwide search, screening and interviews, Professor Peter Mathieson was considered to be the best person for the job. Presumably the appointments procedure allows for reservations about the selection procedure and candidates to be discussed.

The criticism by professors Chan Yuen-ying and Lo Chung-mau (a selection committee member) are unbecoming of these senior academics and reflect very badly on them and the university. Irrespective of the appointee's qualifications, these senior academics have shown disrespect for the university, the appointment process and selection committee's decision. They are setting a very poor example to the students.

I know many people at HKU would like to see a local, homegrown candidate for this prestigious role. However, rather than talking down Professor Mathieson, perhaps we should trust the selection committee's decision and wish him all the best in this important and challenging role.

Helen Cheung, Ho Man Tin


More relevant template from Malaysia

I am the author of IPO: A Global Guide and refer to Enoch Yiu's White Collar column ("Fresh reminder of need to end muddle over HKEx roles", October 1).

She said "London and Singapore have long ago brought in independent regulators to be involved in the listing approval process for companies undergoing IPOs".

It is true that in London, responsibility for the approval of prospectuses and admission of companies to the Official List lies with the UK Listing Authority.

But in Singapore, it is actually the Singapore Exchange that reviews draft prospectuses, provides comments and raises points for clarification by the company and its advisers prior to issuing an eligibility-to-list letter. After the prospectus has been lodged on its website for comment by the public, the Monetary Authority of Singapore then conducts a fairly short review process for compliance with statutory requirements, prior to registering the prospectus.

This in effect is fairly similar to the interaction that exists in Hong Kong between the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission.

While I agree that the de facto duplication between the stock exchange and the SFC in reviewing prospectuses is to some extent counterproductive, and raises potential conflicts of interest, Singapore is not the best example of a UK or US-style regulatory approach to initial public offerings in the region. Malaysia, where prospectuses are reviewed by the Securities Commission Malaysia prior to companies listing on Bursa Malaysia, provides a much more relevant template for Hong Kong to follow.

Philippe Espinasse, Mid-Levels


Helpers play crucial role in our society

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Pricing domestic helpers out of reach good for Hong Kong in the long run", October 2).

He suggests we would be "much better off with 30,000 well-paid and motivated maids - like those sought-after and highly paid butlers".

Here's another viewpoint. Consider: a married couple with 1½ offspring (using government statistics); both working to pay a high rent for a two-bedroom flat; putting their children through school, with four, retired, elderly parents to support. Would they require help?

The "help" comes in the form of expatriates, who are willing to suffer extensive hours of work; relatively low (in Hong Kong terms) pay; possible abusive employers; no enforceable living conditions and rest periods; and, enforceable repatriation without due process of law.

Lo proposes, if he were to be such a helper, he would steal, if not worse, and would not have a problem with others doing the same. Shame.

Hong Kong has an increasingly older and infirm proportion of society. Sons and daughters find it difficult to manage their own lives, not withstanding their dependent parents. Helpers provide some much-needed welcome, and relatively expensive, relief.

Please, do not decry the extensive support that domestic helpers supply to the thousands of families who employ them.

Graham Warburton, Mid-Levels


Visitors flout the etiquette rule book

The national tourism administration issued a 64-page rulebook containing forbidding mainland tourists from behaving in "uncivilised" ways while overseas.

It is important to establish such rules, because when they go abroad, these visitors influence people's view of their nation. However, from what I saw during the "golden week" national holiday, the rules are being largely ignored.

Some mainland visitors were still shouting loudly in places like museums, smoking in malls and discarding rubbish. Tourists must be warned about their behaviour with the threat of tougher punishments.

It is important for the government to get the message across to children so they grow up learning about the correct way to behave when visiting other countries.

Lai Chin-pang, Sha Tin