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Letters to the Editor, November 12, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:23am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:23am

Bus hostage survivors must move on

I have personal experience of a hostage drama, one that lasted some six months before I discovered my son had been killed.

My advice to the families of the dead from the Manila bus hostage drama is, grieve for the victims; and for the survivors, be thankful that you are alive. But, above all, get on with your lives. What has happened cannot be undone, but to dwell on it in the way you are doing is not good for you and you are doing a disservice to the memory of your kin.

Your demands for compensation from the Philippine government are out of order. Life is a risk, and in this case, the additional risk involved in travel was covered by insurance and by the ex-gratia payments that I believe were made.

If you consider the amount you received insufficient, take it up with the insurance company. Do not demean yourselves by making demands for sanctions and banning visa-free entry for all the people of the Philippines. It is an inappropriate and out-of-all-proportion response to what is, I acknowledge and sympathise with, a devastating personal tragedy, but one that is not unusual in this world.

As for the Hong Kong legislators grandstanding on this tragedy, you are being disingenuous, seeking political capital inappropriately. Rethink your priorities; there are more serious problems facing Hong Kong than creating a diplomatic spat with the Philippines.

David Chappell, Lamma

 

Strengthen security at Chek Lap Kok

As a person who uses Hong Kong airport frequently, I strongly believe security in all airports should be strengthened ("Shooting exposes security flaws", November 4).

The airport should have more security when checking in bags, at the immigration area, and especially at the mall, where anything can happen.

There have been many deaths because of gunmen, and we want to make the number of these attacks diminish in the next few years. I know that everyone is in a rush, but it won't hurt to spare 10 more minutes for extra safety.

No matter how costly it is to have extra security, it will be worth it, for passengers will be worry-free and can focus on the joys of travel.

Lynn Lee, Pok Fu Lam

 

HKTV would never have made money

Amid all this Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) brouhaha, it appears that an important point is being missed. Why is the government handing out licences for a dying business model in the first place?

Don't you suppose Jimmy Lai Chee-ying would have wanted one if it was worth it? The fact is that consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to watch their favourite TV shows as well as get their daily news fixes. Try looking around the next time you are on the MTR or waiting for a bus or taxi.

This is not just a hunch. Next Media already generates hundreds of millions of views every month for their news videos online. How could Ricky Wong Wai-kay, HKTV chairman, possibly compete for ad dollars against that? Those current and former staff protesting outside government headquarters should be instead turning their ire inward, against an otherwise smart businessman who seems to have taken on a vanity project by going up against the oligarchs that dominate this city with tired, outdated, monopolistic business models - models that will be destroyed by the internet.

Seriously, Mr Wong, our "entrepreneurial" chief executive did you a favour by rejecting your application. HKTV never would have made money.

Anthony Lawrance, Discovery Bay

 

City's core values are at stake here

Many Hongkongers have expressed concern over the rejection of HKTV's free-to-air TV licence bid.

They were infuriated with the government's decision and joined large-scale protests outside the government's headquarters at Tamar, which shows that they care about social issues in Hong Kong. The rallies also illustrated the lack of communication between the government and citizens.

The issue was made more complicated by the confidentiality on Executive Council decisions and so citizens felt they were not being told the truth.

There is a huge difference between the decision made by the government and the expectations of citizens.

Many people are dissatisfied with the poor quality of programmes that are broadcast by TVB.

They hoped that HKTV would produce good-quality material, but their hopes were dashed.

They feel that their opinions should be respected and the administration should be seeking to preserve the city's core values.

There must be a deeper investigation of this issue and a more thorough explanation must be given.

Lee Po-yan, Kwai Chung

 

Consultation with public is so important

I do not think it was acceptable for the government to grant only two free-to-air television licences.

It is up to viewers to decide which station they want to watch and they should not have been deprived of that right by the administration.

It is no longer respecting its own citizens and their entitlement to choices when it comes to free-to-air licences.

Top officials talked about the rationales without going into sufficient detail to satisfy Hongkongers who really wanted to know.

Again, they found themselves in disagreement with a lot of Hong Kong residents, who have become very suspicious of our government and its motives.

The fairness that has always been respected in this city is now being called into question because of this issue.

Many of those involved in large protests and rallies at the government offices in Tamar believe they must defend our human rights. In future, there must be greater consultation and communication with the public so that our core values are protected and society can remain stable.

To sum up, it is up to the government to take the initiative on this issue and get involved in a meaningful debate with Hong Kong citizens.

Also, it should be willing to grant additional free-television licences. This will ensure it is committed to maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness.

Tom Ma, Tseung Kwan O

 

Let's discuss need to import more labour

There are certain issues in which discussion is always overshadowed by people taking the moral high ground. The importing of labour is one of them.

But is this simply a black-and-white issue and is it all about employers versus employees?

There are more than 300,000 foreign domestic helpers working in Hong Kong, serving people who are employees themselves.

Do those who oppose the importing of labour think that local employers are exploiting the domestic helpers?

Surely some of these opponents of an import scheme hire domestic helpers from abroad. Do we insist that we are not getting local domestic helpers just because we dare not raise the wages high enough and this is depriving the locals of their work opportunities?

Over the past 10 years, when Hong Kong has been plagued by a severe economic downturn, many of our construction workers have earned their living by working in Macau, which was in need of experienced labour to support the expansion of its pillar industry. Should it be argued that this has benefited Macau or do people think these Hong Kong workers stole the job opportunities of Macau workers?

The interest of local workers should of course be protected but we need to strike a balance.

As the chief executive pointed out, we imported labour when we built Chek Lap Kok airport. So let's have a rational discussion and see whether we need to import labour, and if so, how and in which areas.

Susan Chan, secretary general, Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong

 

Citizens pay lip service to priority seats

I did not appreciate how priority seats on public transport should be used until I visited Taiwan. On their public transport systems, Taiwanese citizens leave them empty so that people who need them can sit down on them as soon as they board.

That awareness is lacking in Hong Kong.

The MTR Corporation organises different promotions, for example its smart ticket system. I would like to see all our transport companies emphasising the purpose of these priority seats so that citizens here eventually think the same way as Taiwanese people.

I would also like to see minibuses following the example set by bus firms and the MTR and reserving a small number of seats for needy people.

Caring for others is an integral part of Chinese culture. Companies as well as its citizens need to do more to show that they care for needy residents, to reinforce the message of having a harmonious society.

Isaac Fong, Kwai Chung

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keresearch
Congratulations to David Chappell on a beautifully written and infinitely wise letter. My heartfelt condolences to you and my admiration for your sanity.
wwong888
@ anthony lawrence... wow! thanks for that lesson on the "internet" and how its going to change business models everywhere! gosh i am sure ricky wong hasn't done the math yet! you must be like a senior consultant at mckinsey or some other prestigious corporate think tank? haha... get back to the pub mate... throw down a couple pints... no one cares what you think...
realestate
@ David Chappell, Very well and aptly said !! While I sympathise with your loss I applaud you for your calm and balanced composure on such personal and emotional issues and hope others will take cue from your sound advice.
impala
@ Anthony Lawrance

1. It is not the government's role to decide which parts of the economy are commercially viable and allocate resources accordingly. If you are into that sort of thing, Cuba is the place to go.

2. Before you wrote your nonsensical letter, perhaps you should have had a look at TVB's recent financials. In the first six months of FY2013, it made HK$ 770m in net profit. In FY2012, it made over HK$ 1.7bn in profit. And these are not outliers. TVB's net profits have risen consistently every year by 10~20% every year for the past 5 years at least. Note that is despite the enormous growth in smart phones, tablets and such, and despite Hong Kong having some of the fastest internet speeds (both fixed and mobile) in the world.

Just because delivery channels and end user devices are becoming more diverse, this does not mean that a classic free-to-air TV delivery channel (low fixed costs, large variable revenue) cannot be commercially viable. Free-to-Air TV still lies at the heart of most media companies' business models, in addition to various direct digital and third party delivery channels.
allandyer
Chek Lap Kok already has much higher security than Los Angeles Airport, because of general gun control.
HK-Lover
@David Chappell
Thank you for writing your piece of advise to the victims / survivors as you will be one of the few people in Hong Kong having the authority given by your devastating own experience to give advise to them.
I sympathize whole heartily with the victims and survivors but believe that they have been ill advised by self-centered politicians and activist who have their own political benefits in mind when "supporting" the victims and survivors.
The most important thing for them is to find closure quickly to be able to continue with their lifes in a happier way. President Aquino and money cannot give this kind of closure but only the victims and survivors themselves.

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