Letters to the Editor, November 14, 2015

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 November, 2015, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 November, 2015, 4:25pm

MPF needs far greater competition

I refer to Enoch Yiu's column ("MPF whales likely to swallow minnows in changing market", November 10).

Regarding the Mandatory Provident Fund industry, perhaps the exact opposite should be considered to promote competition and innovation in the industry to drive down costs.

In Australia, for example, which is considered one of the most sophisticated when it comes to the retirement savings industry, there are even do-it-yourself superannuation funds, and individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises can create their own retirement fund if they decide the market cannot provide them with a suitable, cost-effective product.

The fact that we have only 19 providers in Hong Kong and some with a 29.3 per cent market share is hardly competitive. With such a concentration, no wonder the operators can get away with, on the whole, such high costs and lousy returns.

The MPF industry's aim should be to help Hong Kong people to retire with a better safety net and living standard, and to promote and facilitate Hong Kong as a superior asset management hub and a more efficient and mature market place. I fail to see either at this stage of the development.

Instead the fund managers and operators are benefiting.

Competition, not concentration, is what is needed, to encourage innovation, drive down real costs and improve performance.

Andy C. Chan, Wan Chai

Street fooda valuable tourist asset

I agree with the comments in your editorial ("Capitalise on our 5-star street food", November 10), regarding the importance of emphasising, and successfully marketing, Hong Kong's impressive street food culture.

When I walk around the Gage Street Market area and enjoy a snack at a dai pai dong I have the feeling that this is one the special characteristics of the city that makes Hong Kong great.

I do think, however, that there should be more street stalls, and that they could be even more appealing to tourists and expats like myself.

Stanley, for example, could have plenty of outdoor seating with stalls selling rice bowls and noodles.

The food writer and TV personality Anthony Bourdain values Asian street food culture so much that he is developing a "simulated" version in New York.

I hope plenty of people were inspired by your editorial to take action toward making progress with this issue.

Denise Ward, Mid-Levels

Data ban is a marine safety issue in HK

Would the Marine Department please explain, through these columns, why it has suddenly refused to allow electronic charts suppliers to use its cartographic data for Hong Kong waters?

With the fiasco of the Lamma ferry disaster in 2012, one would expect the department to be more, not less, focused on safety. Yet that is the effect of its sudden and unexplained decision. It makes it less safe for small boats navigating in Hong Kong waters.

The department's decision may have something to do with the introduction of commercial electronic navigation systems, sometime around 2018. But that's three years away and will be too expensive for many pleasure vessel owners.

These number tens of thousands in Hong Kong, all affected by the department's peremptory decision. Popular electronic charting systems like Navionics, iSailor, Explorer and Garmin have tried to negotiate rights to use the department's data, but have been rebuffed.

How about it, Marine Department? For the sake of marine safety in Hong Kong please allow the use of your data.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Helpers work hard and deserve day off

I refer to the letters by Eunice Li Dan-yue ("Offer courses to helpers on days off", November 7) and Charlotte Chan ("Helpers could try country parks to meet", November 1).

I have no doubt the correspondents are trying to be helpful. However, I find their views extremely condescending and discriminatory.

These foreign helpers work hard and long hours and their Sunday off is a well-earned time for relaxation.

They are adults, not children, so I find the comment about "mixing with wrong company" offensive. Yes, girls just want to have fun, and to state that "mingling with other helpers" is not meaningful is unwarranted.

Many Filipinas are professionally qualified care-givers capable of handling the family members that Eunice Li identifies.

However, most local employers will not recognise their qualifications by giving a higher salary, and only want to pay the bare legal minimum.

Many of those qualified care-givers go to countries such as Canada and Britain where they are more appreciated.

Also many helpers attend church services on Sunday and I am not aware of churches within the country parks.

At church they are taught the value of love and compassion, though after reading the recently reported opinions of Cardinal John Tong Hon and his Auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung I question if Jesus Christ's message of love and meek humility is being properly conveyed.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai

Police must fine-tune Facebook page

I refer to the report ("Police sidestep questions about Facebook page", November 5).

I would like to praise the Hong Kong Police Force for having the courage to launch this official Facebook page. It is a good public relations initiative, providing a communications platform to connect with the public and enhancing transparency.

However, doubts have been expressed about how the site is being managed and that problems relating to the website are not being handled in an appropriate manner.

If negative comments are deleted, then this will not give visitors to the site a balanced view.

It will give the impression that the image people have of the force is generally positive. If there is selective deletion of comments then this is wrong.

The police and government should be seeing this site as a way of trying to resolve problems between the public and the force.

If it is not addressing these problems then the Facebook page is not being properly utilised.

The force should be trying to increase public confidence.

Tiffany Wong, Kowloon Tong

Tutorial classes not always suitable

Earlier this year a study was published which found that quality family time was more important for children than after-school tutoring.

The study showed that the ability to learn alone had the biggest impact on performance in exams, followed by parents' level of education.

Many Hong Kong parents feel that having their children do drilling exercises in tutorial classes is an effective way to get them a place at a prestigious secondary school.

It is normal for parents to worry about their children's studies.

They hope their children can be well equipped so they can have a bright future and enjoy successful careers. But they sometimes neglect the mental health of their sons and daughters. If they are considering enrolling in tutorial classes, they need to ask if their children have sufficient time and energy for these classes.

Youngsters will generally obey their parents. Many will stay silent and do as they are told.

They will endure the tutorial college, even if it is not suitable for them and results in a decrease in their motivation to study and learn and makes them less efficient.

The missing ingredient here is communication. Parents need to talk to their children and find what their needs are and what they feel about going to these extra classes.

They should avoid exerting too much mental pressure and they should try to have more family activities away from studying and tutorial colleges which give their sons and daughters the chance to relax.

Carwyn Lee, Tsuen Wan

Have cut-off time for bright ad lights

Bright lights on high-rise buildings in Hong Kong cause a lot of problems for citizens.

In many urban areas, with so many bright lights, you can no longer see the night sky.

For residents living near buildings with large neon adverts and spotlights it can sometimes be difficult to get a good night's sleep, especially as many of these lights stay on until late at night. People can suffer physical and psychological damage.

The lights are also a waste of energy with more fossil fuels being burned in our coal-fired power plants to ensure these lights stay switched on. And they can disturb the migratory patterns of some birds.

The government needs to recognise these problems and come up with polices to deal with them.

In some countries these kinds of lights on buildings must be turned off after a certain time at night, for example, 11pm. Electricity bill rates could be raised for firms that keep advertising lights on after 10pm.

Monica Wong, Kowloon City