Letters to the Editor, August 14, 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 August, 2015, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 August, 2015, 5:03pm

Using officers to stop Uber is just a waste

I refer to the report "Five arrested in crackdown on Uber" (August 12).

Chief Inspector Bruce Hung Hin-kau "appealed to the public not to use such services". But why should we not?

Uber is a hugely popular car-hailing service.

The reasons are simple: cars come on demand, are new and clean, have friendly, courteous service, and payment is automated by credit card. For this, people vote with their thumbs, willing to pay more than they do for the equivalent taxi trip.

Instead of kowtowing to "pressure from the powerful taxi lobby", the government should tell the taxi owners to start competing.

They could make their own app, accept credit cards and provide thumb-based app hailing. Instead, the taxi owners want to sit on their hands and rake in monopolised profits, using the government to protect them.

What's happened to the government's commitment to more competition in our economy?

The only issue they should be focusing on is to ensure that Uber drivers have proper commercial insurance.

The public should pay no heed to Hung's appeal not to use Uber.

The way forward lies in changing the law if the law is clearly wrong, not in wasting police resources on trying to stem the tide of a service that the public clearly wants.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Taxi drivers must ask who is at fault

Police have been applauded by taxi drivers for their high-profile crackdown on Uber operators in Hong Kong. But have these drivers given any thought to the level of service they give to the public?

How many times have readers been refused a ride by a taxi during rush hour?

How many times have they had the same experience during a downpour? Try getting a taxi on Queen's Road Central at 6pm on a weekday.

Taxi drivers are notorious for "selecting" passengers to their preferred destinations rather than meeting passengers' needs. Yet our police have always refused to address this issue in a fair manner.

The police commissioner should remind himself that when a cabbie refuses a passenger without a valid reason, he commits an offence.

Joseph Lee, Quarry Bay

Police should arrest cabbies who break law

I find it very interesting that the police have now arrested members of Uber.

I do not use Uber because of this very issue of legality. But what I find amazing is that, to my knowledge, no taxi drivers have been arrested for overcharging, refusing to stop or refusing fares - actions that are also illegal.

I live in the New Territories, and every week at the Kowloon taxi stand, they pull up, and then when you tell them your destination, they either drive away or simply refuse to take you and put the "out of service" card on the windscreen.

While waiting for 10 to 30 minutes (depending on time of the evening) for a taxi, there are three to five Uber cars available to transport people.

Rather than taxi drivers continuously complaining about Uber and other car-hire companies that may be unauthorised, why don't they do the job they are supposed to be doing? And, more to the point, why don't the police (or another relevant government department) stop the taxi drivers' illegal actions?

That would then leave no room for allegedly illegal firms to operate.

Brian Mahoney, Ma On Shan

Limiting hours in office good for your health

I do not think any Hong Kong citizen should have to work longer than eight hours a day.

I can understand the argument that a standard working hours law that stipulates eight hours might not be fair to some people and might even lead to unemployment if firms in, for example, the service sector were suffering.

Besides, if people worked fewer hours, they would have less money to take home. However, this kind of legislation is important because it protects the health of workers.

Research has shown that people working fewer hours will suffer from less stress and are less likely to fall ill with heart disease and cancer.

A shorter working week has benefits for a company. It enables an employee to be more focused. They are happier in their jobs because they do not have to face the pressures of a long, tiring day. This makes them of greater use to the company.

You read about serious domestic disputes in Hong Kong. But if people spent less time in the office, they would have more time to be with their families and form stronger relationships with family members.

Domestic disputes would be less likely to occur.

I think the government should consider legislation for standard working hours to apply to all Hong Kong citizens.

Eric Ching Lai-hung, Tseung Kwan O 

Let disabled workers show their abilities

More disabled people in Hong Kong than ever before are enjoying good educational opportunities.

However, they find that even with good qualifications, they still face discrimination in the job market.

Many disabled people find it difficult to get work.

Part of the reason for this discrimination is the perception by some employers that a disabled employee will be less productive than someone with no disability. This attitude in the workplace has to change.

Disabled people can be as productive as the able-bodied as long as their disabilities do not prevent them from doing their work. Employees with mental illness do not pose a risk to colleagues as long as they are getting the right treatment and medication.

Disabled employees are likely to be very loyal to a company. They generally have a very positive attitude towards work and their responsibilities.

Therefore, I am totally in favour of a quota system with some job vacancies allocated to the disabled. They are an asset to a company as they are so hard-working.

They treasure every job opportunity they are given. But the unemployment rate among the disabled is still high, and the government has to do something about this.

It can set up a special unit tasked with finding jobs for these people and offering more help to those who are out of work. Although the Disability Discrimination Ordinance came into force in 1995, many people with disabilities are still treated unfairly. It is up to the government to deal with this problem.

Zoe Chan Kam-ying, Yau Yat Chuen

Challenge to avoid 'sheep' mentality

Hand-held electronic fans have become all the rage in Hong Kong.

The issue is not so much which fads become popular, such as different kinds of electronic gadgets, music, food and fashion. What is worrying, however, is the herd instinct in this city.

You see people blindly following various consumer trends. They rush to buy whatever the latest popular product may be, without asking themselves if they really need them.

Apple brings out new products on a fairly regular basis. Do people really need to purchase the latest gadget every time it appears in an Apple store, given that often devices have similar functions to the one you already have? And it still works.

People who fail to differentiate between what they need and what they desire always waste money.

With local teenagers, Korean pop music and soap operas are very popular. Some youngsters try to copy their idols by getting the same hairstyles, wearing the same clothes and carrying the same handbags.

Adolescence is a crucially important time when teenagers' personalities will be shaped. They need to learn to think for themselves, not blindly follow their idols.

Also, a few months ago a drive for a charity became wildly popular here and abroad - the ice-bucket challenge.

While it was for a good cause, many people forgot that and just got involved because they thought it would be fun. They forgot the original charitable purpose of the challenge.

People need to be able to think independently and critically if they are to make sensible value judgments.

There is nothing wrong with following fashions and trends, but people should not do so blindly. Individuals need to think twice and consider all their options before acting.

Clover Lau, Ma On Shan 

Replace all water pipes in affected estates

I am concerned about the health of citizens affected by the contamination of tap water by lead at some public and private housing estates in the city.

I can understand those who are particularly worried about the more vulnerable groups in our society, such as newborn babies.

I think the government has to agree to replace the pipes in all the estates that have shown high levels of lead in the water.

However, as the problem is growing, officials face manpower problems, and people may have to accept the fact that any replacement programme will take time.

I also believe the government must expand the scope of the blood tests it takes at the various estates in order to allay the fears of residents.

Sandy So, Tseung Kwan O