Letters to the Editor, February 11, 2014
Group could disrupt city's economy
There is no doubt that most Hong Kong citizens want universal suffrage.
Some of them got together to establish Occupy Central in an effort to allow Hongkongers to elect their chief executive in 2017. I am concerned that this organisation could bring disorder to the SAR.
Although the purpose of the group is to put pressure on politicians, its tactics could undermine the city's economic development as its supporters could remain in Central for a lengthy period of time.
Also, it could disrupt the harmony in our city and this could lead to a lack of unity rather than sides seeking to reach an agreement.
Ultimately, everything in Hong Kong, including policies and constitutional development is in the hands of the central government.
Even if Occupy Central proves influential, the decision on what will be done and what will be acceptable will be made by the central government in Beijing.
If the Hong Kong government followed the advice of the protesters it could cause problems for Hong Kong.
There is still no detailed plan for universal suffrage and it will not be easy to come up with an acceptable blueprint.
It is now time for the SAR administration to enter into detailed discussions and consultations over the kind of universal suffrage we should have.
Citizens should remain calm and rational when dealing with the political problems we will face. And in making suggestions and putting forward their proposals, Hong Kong people should do so in a peaceful manner.
Kristy Ng Sin-ching, Kowloon Bay
No Six Nations and no way to complain
Being a rugby and cricket fan, I pay hefty monthly subscriptions to Now TV to follow my passions on Setanta and The Cricket Channel. The premier rugby tournament currently being played, the Six Nations, is not being shown on Setanta.
Also, currently there are two cricket test match series being played, Sri Lanka v Bangladesh and New Zealand v India.
Likewise these matches are not being broadcast. Australia v South Africa series begins later this week and I can find no evidence of this series being broadcast.
Frustrated with the situation, I attempted to contact Now TV by phone to voice my opinion, to someone, anyone, who would talk to me. My only success in making human contact was with the sales team.
They answered promptly and, not being able to make a sale, transferred me just as promptly back to the maddening computer-generated voice that offered a myriad of choices of numbers to press on my phone.
I was transferred so quickly I didn't have time to explain that I had been down that road for about 30 minutes prior and that was the reason I rang the sales number.
My anger and frustration at not getting what one would expect from my subscriptions is exceeded only by my anger and frustration at not being able to find someone at Now TV to ask how they can take my money and not provide what I pay for.
A simple "customer service" is nowhere to be found at PCCW/Now TV.
Mark L. Donnelly, Wan Chai
Hotline is available to all workers
I refer to the letter from Marcus Langston ("Ensure that helpers have abuse hotline", February 4).
Let me stress that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is fully committed to protecting the labour rights and benefits of the 320,000-plus foreign domestic helpers here.
They form an important and valued part of the local workforce and a make significant contribution to Hong Kong.
Foreign domestic helpers are accorded equal legal protection as local workers.
Apart from enjoying all statutory protection under the employment laws, they are offered additional protection through the Standard Employment Contract prescribed by the Hong Kong SAR government, under which they can enjoy benefits like free medical treatment, which are not usually available to local workers.
We also attach great importance to protecting the well-being of these helpers and do not tolerate any abuse.
Any abuse case will be thoroughly investigated by the authorities concerned and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecution will be promptly taken out.
Through the user-friendly 1823 government hotline and the labour inquiry hotline 2717 1771, we provide a round-the-clock free telephone inquiry service to all workers and citizens in Hong Kong.
The hotlines will also refer complaints to appropriate departments promptly for follow up.
To provide extra support to workers with special language needs, we also arrange a free interpretation and translation service to them if necessary.
Apart from telephone channel, users can approach 1823 through the web or electronic channels, such as through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), mobile application (Tellme@1823), fax (2760 1823), SMS (6163 1823) and electronic form on the website, www.1823.gov.hk
The Labour Department will continue to step up promotional and educational efforts to raise the awareness of foreign domestic helpers of their labour rights and channels for seeking redress, through outreach activities at the helpers' popular gathering venues, and placing advertisements, for example, in the newspapers of the helpers' own languages.
Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, secretary for labour and welfare
Aquino and government must say sorry
I refer to the letter by John Shannon ("HK will be international laughing stock", February 5).
He compared the bus hostage crisis in Manila in 2010 and the recent case of alleged abuse of an Indonesian helper in Hong Kong.
It is unwise to compare the two incidents. While the Hong Kong government might have been at fault to begin with, it is now investigating the allegations.
Manila was not only responsible for the botched rescue of the bus hostages, but continues to refuse to apologise to the victims and their families for what happened. Of course, the gunman is to be blamed for starting the hostage crisis, but the hostage rescue team was incompetent.
In this instance, the Philippine government should stop worrying about possible legal repercussions and do the humane thing by making an apology.
President Benigno Aquino and officials should put themselves in the shoes of the victims and apologise, admitting that they acted wrongly with regard to the incident.
Cindy Cho, Tseung Kwan O
We are all from the same motherland
There are growing conflicts between some Hongkongers and mainland visitors.
There are a number of reasons for this tension.
There are cultural differences between the two societies. After the implementation of the individual visit scheme, many more mainland citizens visited here. Some of them are not aware of the convention that you queue to use public services. When they fail to do this, arguments break out.
Many mainlanders would rather use our medical services and purchase food products here rather than those at home. They are also competing for kindergarten places, especially in North District.
I think there needs to be a change of attitude. We must accept we are both from the motherland and that we should see each other as coming from the same family. We need to try to be more tolerant of each other.
Although there are obvious cultural differences and we come from different political backgrounds, we should learn to treat each other with mutual respect.
Hongkongers have to try and be more broad-minded.
We can use our expertise in the field of medicine, by sending some of our experts to the mainland to help train personnel there and so raise their standards.
Some of our doctors should be encouraged to establish clinics north of the border, in places such as Shenzhen, through an offer of subsidies. This will take some of the pressure off our public hospitals.
We all have a responsibility to create a harmonious society. We can make this possible through our deeds and words and create a happier city with mainlanders and locals getting along with each other.
Shirley Sham Wing-yin, Yau Yat Chuen
Sad to see old banyan tree cut down
Green activists always complain about the government's lack of environmental protection and its focus on infrastructure developments.
A typical example of that was the felling of a large and old banyan wall tree in Wan Chai to make way for a hotel development by Hopewell Holdings.
This new commercial development will boost tourism, but we have to recognise that we are losing more of these trees and green-belt sites.
As more of them disappear, our pollution problems will get worse.
I understand that infrastructure development is essential, but we should not forget the need for environmental protection.
We should be striving to find the right balance between development and environmental protection.
Leanna Lui Yan-yee, Tsing Yi