Letters to the Editor, May 19, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 May, 2015, 5:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 May, 2015, 5:15pm

Working hours law good for families

Some people have called for standard hours legislation, saying citizens should not have to work for longer than eight hours a day.

When you consider the health problems many people have, having such a law would lead to people being put under less pressure.

People from all walks of life and classes now have very busy schedules in the workplace and many work for more than 10 hours.

If people are not given sufficient time to rest, they are at risk of suffering from physical and psychological ailments.

This is something that affects the whole of society and we should be looking to introduce laws which can improve people's health.

Also, if people are working really long hours, this can place a strain on relations at home. Stable family life is more likely if people can have more time to relax at home with other members of the family.

I believe any law would have to cover all walks of life, including, for example, police officers and doctors.

It is well known that some doctors in public hospitals can work very long shifts and they must get exhausted. Surely when they are really tired, there is a greater risk they could make mistakes.

A standard working hours law would make this less likely and therefore offer more protection to patients.

I hope the government will give consideration to a working hours legislation.

Thomas Tang, Tsing Yi

Housing more important than new stadium

I can understand why there is support for the proposed sports hub at the Kai Tak redevelopment site.

It is felt that our reputation has been damaged and this stadium could help to restore our image and attract more tourists.

However, building a huge sports hub with a capacity for 50,000 spectators may not be a practical idea.

We already have Hong Kong Stadium with a capacity of more than 40,000, which is not used that often. If this new stadium was built, I wonder if it would really be put to good use.

We have to accept that housing is still a major problem in Hong Kong.

Building apartment blocks at the Kai Tak site can help to alleviate this problem. Athletics organisations can argue the merits of this new stadium. But if it is erected where houses could have been located, I think there will be complaints from many citizens. They will argue that everyone is entitled to a home.

Moreover, there are other costly infrastructure projects in the pipeline such as the third runway. The Kai Tak multi-purpose sports complex will cost more than HK$20 billion.

It will be funded by taxpayers' money and many citizens will be unhappy about this.

I think this could result in more discontent within society and damage further the relationship between the government and citizens.

For the reasons I have outlined, I do not think the Kai Tak sports hub project should go ahead.

Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Leng

Talking with teens better than snooping

Many parents in South Korea are now using computer apps to check on their children's use of smartphones ("Korean apps monitor children's phone use", May 17).

Opponents of this practice say it infringes personal privacy and freedom and creates disharmony within families.

I can see the short-term benefits of this kind of checking system. However, children who understand computers can find different ways to escape these parental checks and this could have more serious consequences in the future.

If children know they are being monitored, this could undermine the mutual trust that should exist between parents and children.

And I do not think the monitoring system will be that effective.

Monitoring apps are nothing new. Some have been developed in the US and Australia.

They are different in South Korea because they have been funded by the government, which is unusual.

I think the government and parents should look to different methods to encourage the proper use of the internet by children.

Instead of designing these apps, it would be better for the Korean government to do more in the way of education to help young people cope with the pressure they experience growing up in the country. It is a country with a high teenage suicide rate.

The government can coordinate with schools to try and get across an optimistic message to young people. If it can help change attitudes, youngsters are less likely to misuse the internet.

Also, it is far better for parents to communicate more with their children rather than monitoring their e-mail activities.

Building trust is not easy, but any other methods are just papering over the cracks.

Vicky Lui Wai-ki, Yau Yat Chuen

Unhealthy diets can hurt the economy

I refer to the report ("Cancer alert as unhealthy Hongkongers ignore warning signals", April 23).

A survey by the Department of Health has shown that many Hongkongers have really bad lifestyles. Obviously, if they continue with unhealthy habits such as eating fast food for most meals, they are at greater risk of contracting illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

And of course widespread health problems have an adverse impact on the economy.

The problem is that so many Hong Kong citizens just focus on their jobs and try to fit so much into the working day and week in order to earn as much as possible.

Other important things such as having regular exercise are relegated in importance and bad habits become the norm.

For example, cases of colorectal cancer have increased, because people are not following a healthy diet.

The government needs to try harder to explain to people the need to exercise and lower the risk of disease by having a healthier diet.

If so many people are contracting chronic conditions because of unhealthy habits, this can affect the city's competitiveness.

Hongkongers clearly need to change their habits and become much more aware of the importance of looking after themselves and trying to lead healthier lives.

Joshua Leung, Hung Hom

Discuss graft in liberal studies classes

More than 20 per cent of respondents to a recent survey believe that corruption will rise this year compared with 11 per cent in 2011.

There are a number of reasons for this, such as a general lack of confidence in the government and the high-profile corruption trial of Rafael Hui Si-yan and Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong.

The competiveness of an economy will be damaged when there is corruption. In the fight against graft, we can learn from countries which have waged successful battles against it, such as Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has played an important role in the fight against dishonesty since it was founded in 1974.

I think its manpower numbers should be increased to make it even more effective.

I also think education is very important. There should be greater promotion through advertising to raise public awareness.

Also, corruption and the need to address it should be discussed by students in liberal studies classes, so that they recognise the importance of having a corruption-free city.

The message needs to be got across that there is zero tolerance of corruption and that widespread graft poses a threat to all citizens in a society.

There also needs to be a consultation process to discuss different ways of curbing any growth in corruption.

Michelle Wong, Hung Hom

Immigration solution makes perfect sense

The fuss kicked up by the pan-democrats ("Rail link border checks in question", May 12") is all part of the obstruction they are hardwired to place in the way of anything to do with China.

But have they not heard of US immigration pre-clearance, introduced as long ago as when the Basic Law was being written and therefore taken account of in the writing?

I quote from Wikipedia: "The US operates border preclearance facilities at a number of ports and airports in foreign countries. They are staffed and operated by US Customs and Border Protection officers."

As an unnamed top legal adviser to Beijing said, "Article 22 (of the Basic Law) does not appear to be infringed, as the mainland officials will merely be processing applications to enter the mainland. This is not interfering with any affairs which [Hong Kong] administers on its own."

This is the equivalent to the US immigration pre-clearance in those foreign countries.

Here we are not even a foreign country to China.

The pan-democrats should not be so pedantically silly.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan