Letters to the Editor, December 07, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 December, 2015, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 December, 2015, 12:16am

Mindset shift needed on crafstmanship

I want to echo what Emily Ho Tsz-ue said in the letter (“Bias ­towards professions the wrong attitude”, November 30).

The Construction Industry Council has been working hard to attract new blood and young people to join the construction industry. We need the right attitude from society to back us and give a positive signal to parents and kids that people are not simply judged by their office suits.

Hong Kong has been named by the World Economic Forum five years in a row as the city with the best infrastructure and we have this top rank, thanks to our construction workers and professionals.

We need to appreciate that people with good craftsmanship contribute greatly to society with their hard work and technical skills, without which our community would not be able to stand tall with other world cities.

Vocational training is just as respectable as academic ­training and we must accept that some people excel in the academic world while others would fare better in the world of crafts. With this spirit and belief, I hope we can convince our younger generation that they have a bright future and great prospects in the construction industry.

Christopher To, executive director, Construction Industry Council

Sad plight of homeless has been ignored

Hongkongers were shocked to read in October about the homeless woman who was found dead in a 24-hour McDonald’s.

She was slumped over a table and for hours none of the diners realised she had passed away.

This highlighted the plight of the many homeless people in our community. I felt shocked and angry. Why do so many ­people have to endure this kind of life in such an affluent city?

Some people are forced onto the streets because of skyrocketing rents. There is clearly a lack of affordable housing in Hong Kong. People with no skills struggle to find a job so they can earn enough to make ends meet. It can take a long time to apply for and be granted Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, and some people find they are not eligible

There is not enough public housing, nor are there enough hostel beds. Some citizens have to live in tiny subdivided units, but even they are not cheap.

The monthly rent for a subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po is around HK$2,000. They are unhygienic with poor ventilation. And those individuals who ­cannot afford this will often end up sleeping on the streets.

The government appears to be ignoring the plight of the homeless. Property developers in their projects never provide any social housing for people on low incomes. Society has turned its back on these people.

The government must ­ensure there are enough shelters where homeless people can sleep.

Wong Ka-pik, Yau Yat Chuen

Department’s policy makes waters less safe

I thank the Marine Department (“Department worried about out-of-date navigational charts”, November 25) for responding to my concerns about safety in Hong Kong’s waters (“Data ban is a marine safety issue in HK”, November 14).

The response only increases those concerns. Thousands of boaters in Hong Kong have relied on navigational chart-plotting services such as Navionics.

Suddenly, and without explanation, the department ­refused these chart-plotting ­services the rights to use hydrographic data to which the department has intellectual rights. Navionics offered to pay ­licence fees but was rebuffed. I said this makes boating in Hong Kong waters less safe.

The department said it owned the intellectual rights and people should buy them as the department’s electronic navigational charts.

I tried to follow its advice. This involved going to its ­website, learning that the zip files won’t open on the Apple desktop, asking the deparment for help and getting no response.

The irony is that as people have found out about the department’s ban, they have ­decided not to update their chart-plotting apps because to do so would remove the data they already have. Therefore, their information is going to be more and more out of date.

As the department noted in its November 25 letter, this is unsafe.

It is selling just one or two of its own charts per month. So, at most, it makes about HK$1,800 per month. If the department ­simply licensed the data to the chart-plotting companies, it would make much more money, and mariners could ­access it much more quickly and easily.

The department would ­increase the safety of boating in Hong Kong and make more money – a win-win situation.

If it really cares about safety in Hong Kong waters, the department must let chart plotting companies license and update their data.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Questioning the validity of street art

I refer to the letter by Allie Yam (“Allow street art in designated areas of HK”, December 1).

You see works of art, such as famous paintings, being sold by auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

However, I have never seen any works of street art, such as graffiti, on their list for auction. Is this because it is not recognised by experts as an art work?

If the government says street art is not allowed in areas of the city then we must obey. Otherwise, we will have anarchy. ­Ensuring order in a society is ­important

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

No need to ban large musical instruments

MTR Corporation bosses eased size restrictions to allow pre-registered cellos to be carried on their trains, but larger musical instruments are still banned due to safety concerns.

I think MTR Corp should ­relax the rule for all musical instruments, including larger ones like a guzheng and double bass.

Many students in Hong Kong are learning a wide range of musical instruments and some are quite bulky.

The MTR is the most convenient and economical way to travel and many of these young people cannot afford to pay for taxis. The MTR ban is very inconvenient for them.

The MTR Corp could solve any safety issues by designating an area of a carriage for these instruments, just as it designates priority seats.

This would lower the risk of accidents.

Wong Kan-hei, Kowloon Tong

China should deal with hygiene issues

I refer to your editorial, “Lift standards to draw tourists” (November 24).

I think there are two major reasons for a downturn in the tourism trade in China, and they relate to hygiene – a lack of food and toilet hygiene.

China is notorious for the poor quality of some of its food. High-profile cases have been covered by the media across the world, for example, the cases of tainted baby milk powder and counterfeit eggs.

Many toilets that tourists encounter are in a filthy state. The floors are wet and slippery and often there are no Western-style toilets with a seat provided. There is a gap between China and some nations in the West about what is acceptable when it comes to cleanliness in toilets.

Also, many citizens have a limited or no command of ­English. Foreign visitors cannot even have a basic conversation with them. Therefore, tourists cannot interact with locals or get information, for example, when they need directions.

The central government should deal promptly with these issues. It needs a more rigorous monitoring system of food production plants. Also, it must ­organise regular cleaning of ­toilets in areas frequented by tourists to ensure they are clean.

It also should offer more English-language classes for ­citizens.

In the long term, the tourism sector in China has a bright ­future, but the government has to recognise the problems that exist and address them.

Michelle Chu, Fo Tan

So many HK citizens are not exercising

Research has shown that some people die at a relatively young age because they did not look after themselves and did not do regular exercise.

This is a real problem in Hong Kong, where so many citizens take little or no exercise. Combined with a poor diet, they often put on weight and are more likely to get a variety of preventable diseases.

People need to realise that regular exercise is so important. It helps you to control your weight, because you are burning calories, especially if you combine it with a healthy diet.

Exercise can also slow the loss of bone density people ­suffer from as they grow older, and it strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. You are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

I realise that young and older Hong Kong citizens often do very little exercise because they have an enormous workload in the office and in school. Many of us lead sedentary lifestyles, sat at computers for hours every day.

I urge the government to do more to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage people to exercise.

Natalie Fong Wing -yin, Tseung Kwan O