Letters to the editor, May 11, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 4:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 4:08pm

Observatory’s slow response unacceptable

The late announcement of the red rainstorm by the Hong Kong Observatory on Tuesday morning created a lot of inconvenience for students and ­parents.

For most schools, the ­morning bell rings at 7.55am. Usually, the students arrive at 7.15am. However, the first red rainstorm was not issued until 7.35am. Shortly afterwards the Education Bureau announced all classes would be suspended. However, it was too late to be making such an announcement as some students were already in school.

Some parents came to school to collect their children, but many of them would have already been at work or on their way to work. The Observatory now has the technology to ­predict rainfall each day. In fact, it provides a nine-day forecast. So surely it could have issued the red rainstorm warning earlier than it did.

Most Education Bureau staff do not start work until 9.30am. However, it needs to deploy more staff to work an earlier shift so that they can coordinate with the Observatory and respond as soon possible to rainstorm warnings than necessitate the closure of schools.

On Tuesday, just as the red rainstorm warning should have come out earlier, so should the announcement closing classes for the day.

Chloe Ng Sin-yee, Tseung Kwan O

Macau citizens right to query donation

Every year, various charitable activities are held in Hong Kong for the needy and no one would query the use of the donations, when they are transparently used and properly allocated to different non-profit organisations.

However, the recent donation of 100 million yuan (HK$119 million) to Jinan University in Guangzhou from the [semi-official] Macau Foundation is a cause for concern.

Many Macau citizens have criticised this donation and ­Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on for allowing this spending of public money (“Macau leader faces backlash over ‘misuse’ of public funds”, May 10).

Although he has publicly clarified the situation and says there was no conflict of interest as the donation was an act of reciprocity between the two ­cities, calls for him to resign will not go away.

Chui is a university board member and chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees. When it comes to transferring funds and making donations, he must ensure there is always complete transparency to allay any public concerns.

Some scholars in Macau have said there are no clear lines of accountability for decisions made by officials in the city.

Accountability in government is very important.

If the chief executive had ­donated his own money to the university or to the needy, all ­Macau citizens would have been proud of his behaviour, but this was not the case.

We really need a leader with integrity, whom we can trust.

Barnaby Leong, Macau

Working hours law will ensure overtime pay

More than 5,000 people took to the streets on Labour Day in Hong Kong, calling for legislation on standard working hours and a universal pension scheme.

It is very difficult to legislate to have uniform working hours in this city without there being serious economic consequences. And yet such a law could offer much-needed protection to those people who work long hours.

Those calling for a law say it would ensure that people ­having to work longer would be paid overtime. Employees are entitled to enjoy a life outside the office and this can help to create a happier and healthier society. This is often overlooked in the pursuit of improved productivity and better profits.

Before implementing any policy, the government must do the necessary research to ensure any new law is satisfactory for all stakeholders.

Alison Yu Tsz-man, Sham Shui Po

No easy way to deal with child abuse problem

I refer to Tom Mulvey’s letter (“Department has no long-term planning to help abused children”, May 9).

There are still insufficient long-term policies to help children in need in Hong Kong. I do not think providing foster care and small-group homes is the solution. We have to deal with the root cause of the problem and look at the families these children come from. Often, their parents are stressed and cannot deal with their emotions

More workshops need to be organised to educate them to cope with the difficulties they will encounter as parents. More NGOs should be set up where parents can go when they feel they need help.

The government cannot solve the problem of child abuse overnight and trying to alleviate this problem requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, including parents and the administration.

Sandy Chan Lap-kiu, Yau Tong

Give minorities level playing field for jobs

I refer to the report, “Language barrier in jobs market” (May 3).

The article emphasised the importance of the Chinese language for most people trying to find a job in Hong Kong.

In most cases, being fluent in written and spoken Chinese is a basic job requirement and this presents a serious barrier for ­citizens from ethnic minorities. I do not see this as discrimination on the part of employers. They cannot be blamed for wanting an employee who can write, read and speak Chinese.

These are basic communication skills that are essential in this city. An employer will not hire someone who cannot understand an order from a ­customer or communicate with colleagues.

Someone without that basic language ability will struggle to find work, whether they are from an ethnic minority or are ­Chinese.

However, I do recognise that citizens from these minorities should be given more help so that they can improve their ­Chinese language skills.

The Chinese-language lessons ethnic minority ­students have received in the ­local secondary schools they attended have been inadequate. They have failed to ­prepare these young people so that they can succeed in what is a very competitive jobs market.

The government must make the necessary improvements in the school syllabus so they can acquire the necessary written and spoken Chinese language skills. I hope that, eventually, this language barrier for ethnic ­minorities in the jobs market will end and they will enjoy a level playing field.

Carmen Li Ka-man, Yau Yat Chuen

Employers’ bigoted views must change

I feel so angry when I read about discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace.

There are still apparently many examples of this kind of discrimination in Hong Kong and it has even been reported that some of these women are fired, because employers think their chances of promotion are reduced because they have ­decided to have children.

Some bosses hold the bigoted view that being pregnant will adversely affect a woman’s ability to do her job properly. They may instead choose someone who has less ability but is not pregnant.

It is unfair that a woman should be deprived of work or a chance of a better position because she has decided to have a child. I hope the government will do more to curb discrimination against these women.

Winky Lai, Sham Shui Po