Letters to the Editor, May 28, 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 5:13pm

Important to conserve shipwrecks

Having been involved in maritime archaeology for more than 40 years in Australia and diving on many shipwrecks around the world, news of the recent discovery of the HMS Tamar shipwreck in Hong Kong was exciting.

Last year, I was privileged to meet members of the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group and join in with their underwater ceramics survey project supported by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

Their dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism in wanting to preserve Hong Kong's underwater cultural heritage was outstanding and a valuable asset ready to assist the city's world-class museums.

Everywhere around the world where historic shipwrecks have been found, conserved and displayed, they become significant records of a nation's effort to acknowledge its heritage.

I urge Hong Kong to seize the opportunity provided by the discovery of the Tamar shipwreck to preserve what it can for the future of the SAR.

With such a rich cultural history, the city can use HMS Tamar to demonstrate that all cultural heritage is important to its community, including what is under water.

Terry Drew, Adelaide,South Australia

Perfect mix of culture and commerce

The Cheung Chau Bun Festival was held on Monday.

Although the scramble up towers to catch buns was called off this year because of heavy rain, it was still attended by thousands of people.

It is a cause for celebration with its grand parade and stalls selling steamed buns, a traditional symbol of well-being.

While it is great that locals and visitors can enjoy all aspects of the festival, we should also think more deeply about it and be grateful that an important cultural event has been preserved. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is part of the collective memory of the inhabitants of Cheung Chau and the rest of Hong Kong.

It gives the younger generation of this outlying island a sense of belonging.

This festival shows that it is possible to strike the right balance between preservation of culture and economic development.

It is supported and promoted by the tourism sector, and is a commercial event, but still keeps true to its own unique features.

It helps boost the economy of Cheung Chau, but also promotes the culture and other features of the island.

It is important in our society to ensure cultural continuity.

Moving forward and encouraging innovation are important. But if we want Hong Kong to be seen globally as a lively and attractive city, we should ensure its traditions are preserved.

Lee Mei-kwan, Yau Yat Chuen

Why Basic Law was so clear on issue

We approach the 11th hour when all legislators are invited to meet with the three top Beijing officials on May 31, Wang Guangya , Li Fei and Zhang Xiaoming , to exchange views before the crunch vote next month on the political reform package for the election of chief executive in 2017. And it is tragic to find the sticking point still being ducked, on why we can't have public nomination.

Students, who will be our administrators and politicians in time, showed genuine indignation about it at the City Forum of May 24.

The principal reason is that we cannot present for appointment a chief executive elect who is politically a Hong Kong version of Taiwan's former president Chen Shui-ban.

To prevent this happening, the nomination committee was written into the Basic Law, early in its drafting.

From a practical viewpoint, say we had 50 permanent residents nominating someone, we would end up with such a huge number of candidates and somebody would still have to whittle it down to two or three for the actual election.

As it stands, however, nobody is denied the right to seek nomination by 120 nominating committee members for whittling down by the committee.

Beijing has said many times no one will be rejected because he is a pan-democrat, unless he/she is a known "Chen Shui-bian" politician.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Natural resources do matter in city

I refer to the letter by Carmen Li("We should build flats in country parks", May 20).

Hong Kong has enjoyed great economic success, but it also has rich natural resources.

We now live in a world where such resources are considered to be precious and worth preserving.

For that reason, I am against the proposal to build housing in our country parks.

We can surely come up with other policies to solve the city's housing problems, for example, redeveloping older tenement buildings and helping citizens to buy their own home.

Eric Tang, Tseung Kwan O 

Very careful thought given to axing course

I refer to press reports, including in your newspaper, on the discontinuance of the self-financing masters in fine arts programme in creative writing at the City University of Hong Kong. We would like to offer clarification of the actual circumstances which led to the department's decision.

Its decision to cease admitting students to the programme from this year was a carefully considered academic one, endorsed by the relevant academic committees of the university, including the university senate.

The proposal to discontinue the programme was initiated by the English department on the basis of its internal assessment and academic planning, supported by the college of liberal arts and social sciences, and approved by the university senate in March.

It is also the decision of the senate that while no new students will be admitted in 2015 and thereafter, the department will ensure that all students currently enrolled in the programme will be able to complete it.

We understand and appreciate that there are divergent views and opinions in our society on this issue.

However, we believe that it is important to uphold our academic decisions and autonomy, and that the discontinuation of the programme is a decision based on a thorough consideration of all relevant factors, following the due process.

Professor Hon Chan, acting head, Department of English, City University of Hong Kong

Eight-hour day will improve mental health

I back those who argue that people should not work for more than eight hours a day.

I believe such a policy, if it was adopted in Hong Kong, would make people more productive.

As a student, I know how we get tired as the day wears on, so it must be difficult for those who have to stay in their offices beyond the eight-hour day.

Many employees will still be in the office beyond an eight-hour shift, even if they are exhausted. If they knew, in advance, they would only be there for eight hours, they would go to work feeling focused and energised.

I am sure their level of efficiency would be enhanced. Knowing they were facing a shorter working week would make them more motivated and give them a greater incentive to work harder while they were in the office.

People deserve to be allowed more time to enjoy life. The spiritual and mental health of individuals is important.

At the moment, with so many employees facing a ridiculously heavy workload, they are not able to spend much time with family members or friends.

In fact, they have little spare time for anything. This makes many people feel stressed, exhausted and sometimes depressed.

If the working day for all employees is limited to eight hours, their mental health will improve.

Max Lo, Lai Chi Kok

Discourteous treatment of helpers wrong

A form of discrimination that is imposed on foreign domestic workers and that gets little publicity happens to them when they are entering Hong Kong.

They are directed to a special segregated queue at immigration, longer and slower than those for other people, and treated less civilly.

Recently, my Filipina helper, returning from leave, had to spend an hour waiting to be readmitted, although she has a Hong Kong smart identity card.

The immigration officer also exhibited the customary local incivility to foreign domestic workers.

In the present demographic climate, the notably well-educated and industrious Filipinas who find it easy to assimilate and who have for so long benefited Hong Kong are increasingly sought by other countries.

It is essential to remove the various forms of discrimination that now exist against foreign domestic workers, including:

 

  • Rules about where they should live;

 

 

  • About leaving Hong Kong within two weeks of ending a job; and

 

 

  • Not being eligible for permanent residence and such matters as immigration queues.

 

Audrey Donnithorne, Mid-Levels