Letters to the Editor, June 8, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2016, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 June, 2016, 4:57pm

MTR must accept social responsibilities

Passengers have raised concerns about the fare adjustment mechanism of the MTR Corporation, which allows it to raise fares annually. They have called on the mechanism to be adjusted.

The MTR Corp has agreed toan early review of this, a year ahead of schedule. I believe it should be reviewed.

Just compare the fares here with those on the Mass Rapid Transit in Singapore.

The MTR’s fares are far more expensive than those for Singapore’s subway system, even though the two cities are similar in many ways.

Given that the MTR made HK$13 billion in profits last year, which is considered astonishing by the public, a review of the mechanism is justified.

I recognise that the MTR is a listed company and is answerable to its shareholders.

Nevertheless, it exists to serve the travelling public and it should fulfil its corporate social responsibilities.

It is one of the most profitable railway systems in the world. Therefore, it should be catering to the needs of the underprivileged in Hong Kong.

Instead of providing temporary discounts to alleviate the effects of the fare increase, it should instead be reducing the increase of its fares. In this way, all passengers would benefit.

The MTR Corp has to give careful consideration to the fare adjustment mechanism and discuss this with the government.

Dickson Yiu, Mid-Levels

Bad air hurts HK citizens and economy

As a geography student, I know how severe climate change is globally.

The average temperature of the world has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius. This has resulted in rising sea levels, more extreme weather and changes in ecosystems, such as the bleaching of coral. In Hong Kong, car exhaust emissions are a major cause of the city’s air pollution and can result in smog and acid rain. Maritime traffic is another major polluter.

The levels of respirable suspended particulates and nitrogen dioxide at the roadside in Hong Kong have been exceeding the air quality objectives over the years.

This pollution has an adverse effect on our health and is costly in terms of treatment for citizens suffering from its effects and premature deaths, with the total medical bill running into billions of dollars a year. Therefore, our bad air is not just ­affecting our health, but also our economy.

We all need to be more aware that there is a problem. Everyone can help reduce pollution levels. Even the smallest act can make a difference if we all pitch in.

In our homes, we should switch off lights when they are not in use and try to cut back on the use of air conditioners. And ­people with cars should try, where possible, to use public transport.

Yoyo Sin Lok-yiu, Cheung Sha Wan

Setanta keeps showing rugby match reruns

Setanta Sports prides itself on being Asia’s rugby channel.

Yet when I tuned in to watch the final of the UK Rugby Championship during the last weekend in May, it was the third rerun of another game played earlier.

How about Hong Kong versus Japan the same weekend? Nope, you guessed it, there were more re-runs.

Come Sunday night as I thought about watching England play Wales, it was the fifth rerun of the same game.

Surely it is time the advertising was updated to reflect the true state of affairs. Setanta Sports – Asia’s best rugby channel for repeats.

James Griffiths, Pok Fu Lam

Department gave prompt reply to query

I believe we are all aware that the Hong Kong government is often criticised for its response to the public in answering queries or responding to requests.

These criticisms may be ­justified on occasions but I wish to offer my experience to show that the response of government departments is not always so negative.

My experience relates to a particular development in Hong Kong, in which I have an interest. I wished to find out more information on the developer’s proposal, which I understood had been approved by the government.

On the website for the Planning Department, there is an “inquiry e-mail”.

I therefore sent a request by e-mail asking for more available information ­concerning the particular development. I sent the e-mail in the early afternoon, expecting that I might receive a reply in perhaps a week or two, if I was lucky.

My e-mail signature included my mobile phone number, but I anticipated that any response would also be in the form of an e-mail. Much to my surprise, I ­received a phone response later the same evening, at around 7pm.

The member of staff of the department explained that it had received my request and he was able to give me the relevant file numbers which I could use to obtain the documents I ­required from one of the department counters. His response to my request could not have been more ­helpful. He was polite, informative and particularly helpful. I commented that he was ­working quite late, to which he replied that it had just been a busy day.

The Planning Department’s service was prompt, informative and polite. I will, in future, look more critically on complaints of the response of our government departments.

J. Dockerill, Wan Chai

Ladies’ nights not a form of discrimination

In April, the Equal Opportunities Commission secured a court judgment against a club over gender-based discounts offered at its “ladies’ night”.

Despite this decision, I think it is reasonable for nightclubs and bars to hold these ladies’ nights. I do not think they discriminate against male customers.

They are businesses and this is one way they use to promote their venues. The discounts are aimed at attracting more female customers.

These bars operate in a very competitive environment. If they can use promotions that bring in more female customers, then more male customers will also turn up.

Their aim is simply to maximise their profits, not to discriminate against their male customers.

These ladies’ nights promotions are common in many countries. They are accepted as a valid promotional activity.

The MTR provides a fare ­discount for elderly passengers, but nobody would describe that as discrimination against teenagers and younger adults.

I think it is the same with ­ladies’ nights.

Clubs should be allowed to hold these events in Hong Kong.

Kwan Mei-nga, Kowloon Tong

Time for Korea to shut down all dog farms

In April, US activists emptied all the cages in a South Korean dog meat farm and it was reported that these farms are now struggling to survive.

I think all dog farms in any country should be shut down.

They are facing difficulties in South Korea because eating dog meat is declining in popularity among the younger generation.

When demand drops dramatically, the farmers cannot make a profit.

Surely it is now time to give the caged dogs their lives back and close down all these inhumane farms.

Even aside from the economic argument, we should accept that all living things have equal rights.

I hope that with the 2018 Winter Olympics being held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, the government in Seoul will ­impose a full ban on dog farms to avoid criticisms from other countries.

It could offer subsidies to these farmers to help them develop another form of ­farming or find a different line of work.

Aldi Chan, Ngau Chi Wan