A matter of priority: educate travellers on seats for most needy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 3:20am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 3:20am

I refer to the letter by Isaac Fong ("Citizens pay lip service to priority seats", November 12).

As a long-time resident of Taiwan, and a frequent visitor to Hong Kong, I support your correspondent's comment that "Taiwanese citizens leave priority seats empty so that people who need them can sit down on them as soon as they board".

These needy people would include the elderly, parents with young children, pregnant women, the disabled, and anyone who is not feeling well.

Last week, I was quite astonished to see a young man occupying a priority seat on the MTR in Hong Kong, while a mother with a child was standing close by.

At a personal level and in the universities that I have been affiliated with in Hong Kong, I have always felt kindness and compassion from Hong Kong people, regardless of their length of residence.

It would not be difficult for the government to take the lead in a campaign to educate the public to express their kindness and courtesy towards the needy on the MTR.

Also it would not be too costly to have more signs in public spaces, to make occasional announcements on trains, and to advertise on billboards with ingenious creativity as has been done in the mass rapid transit systems in Taipei and Kaoshiung.

Perhaps the MTR Corporation and the Tourism Board in Hong Kong could work together in making such a campaign possible.

Hong Kong is much more cosmopolitan than Taiwan, and is rated much higher than Taipei as a "liveable city". However, it would be even more "liveable" if more kindness was shown to people in need.

On the other hand, Taiwan can borrow the idea of having eye-catching bilingual signs, and add them to school buildings, hospitals, parks and other public spaces.

With its hospitable Chinese culture, Taiwan would open its arms to tourists - including the elderly and families with small children - as they would be guaranteed priority seats, clean public toilets in every MTR stop and spacious rest areas along the major highway.

Nora Chiang, Taipei, Taiwan