Letters to the Editor, August 16, 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 12:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 12:18am

Women need better working conditions

According to the Census and Statistics Department, women account for 48.7 per cent,or 1.88 million, of Hong Kong’s 3.86 million working population.

A 2015 report on women on boards in Hong Kong showed the ratio of women in directorships rose from 9.6 per cent in 2014 to 11.1 per cent in 2015.

At this rate, it would take decades for representation to reach 30 per cent. Also, Asia is projected to have the lowest representation of women in the workplace in 2025, reaching only 28 per cent at professional level and above. Measures must be introduced to improve the working conditions for women and to encourage more females to take on senior roles.

One problem is that women already in senior roles are not supportive of junior colleagues who want to advance. Women in these top jobs have an important role to play as mentors and role models. They should share their knowledge and experiences with junior colleagues. The kind of advice they can give would be invaluable.

There needs to be a change of attitude in Hong Kong. Too many employers are reluctant to promote female employees even if they show ability, ­because they assume that at some point they will leave to start a family and so lack the commitment of male colleagues. ­However, a woman can have children and still be a productive member of the workforce. What is needed is a more adaptable workplace, that, for example, enables working mothers to pump breast milk in a purpose-built area of the ­office.

If a mother feels comfortable in the office by being given such facilities she can be a productive employee and rise through the ranks to ­senior positions.

I hope we will see more public support for improvements in workplaces in Hong Kong.

Melody Wong,Yau Yat Chuen

A few simple steps may help save the planet

We humans are hurting our planet. We should all try to save the planet rather than continue to hurt it as we all have a responsibility to protect the planet we live in. Everyone can do a few simple things within their ­capacity to save the planet.

Of course, we cannot stop global warming. However, we can slow down its rate. For example, we can save electricity in many ways in daily life. We should switch off electrical appliances when they are not in use and not leave them running unnecessarily.

We should also follow the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. We can recycle newspapers, ­reduce use of plastic bottles and choose reusable ones, all simple steps to save our planet.

Yoyo Li Fung-lan, Sham Shui Po

Adopt the 4Rs to ensure a greener future

Sustainable development is a hot issue these days. In order to meet the target of fulfilling our needs while minimising the adverse impact on future generations, Hongkongers should shoulder some responsibilities in this regard as most of us are wasteful.

Shop owners threw away many books when the book fair ended. We buy plastic bottles often, causing excessive waste. Also, the amount of food waste in Hong Kong is huge, with hotels and restaurants throwing away a lot each day.

Public awareness is not strong either. People do not know which materials can be recycled as this is not promoted enough. Most only know that paper, aluminium cans and plastic bottles can be recycled. Promotion of, for example, glass recycling is inadequate.

Hongkongers need to make lifestyle changes to protect the environment. They could join activities organised by groups such as Green Peace. NGOs organise fun fairs and workshops to increase public awareness. Citizens can learn how to transform waste materials into useful items. Teenagers can also be trained to be green leaders.

The government can step up its promotion of environmental protection. It can hold talks and workshops, build more green areas and carry out internet campaigns. Also, the number of recycling bins can be increased.

It is everyone’s business to protect our environment, not only for the sustainable development of Hong Kong, but also to alleviate global warming. Both goals may be reached if citizens learn to adopt the 4Rs principle of reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.

Angel Wong, Kwun Tong

Police inaction on deadly road racing baffling

The police, for some reason, seem unwilling or unable to crack down on road racing and time-trialling activities by motorcylists on Route Twisk in the New Territories. This long road leads from Shek Kong to Tsuen Wan.

In a previous letter I noted a lack of leadership over this issue on the part of the commissioner of police (“Officials and police failing to crack down on illegal activities”, July 12).

I would like him to respond, through these columns, and ­explain why his subordinates in the New Territories have ­tolerated this activity for so long and why an obvious road racing black spot continues to take lives (which happened as ­recently as last month).

David Ollerearnshaw, Yuen Long

Time for digital over traditional in classrooms

I think digital technology should be used to replace traditional textbooks and learning.

A study has shown that teenagers in wealthier northern European countries are more likely to use the internet to get information, rather than playing or socialising. Therefore, it is suggested that digital devices such as computers and iPads be used to replace traditional classroom lessons.

A report also shows that parents might want to encourage computer skills to give children a head start. Using computers in schools is beneficial; students no longer need to buy expensive textbooks as all teaching ­materials can be accessed ­online. Also, they can take down important notes by just saving a file.

It does not need to come down to a choice between ­improving reading or focusing on digital skills, as they are ­mutually beneficial.

When students search for information online, they have to go through the steps of reading, comprehending and analysing, in order to find the most suitable article. Thus both their reading and digital skills are enhanced.

Some may argue that being on the internet too much will cause addiction. I believe if teenagers always use the internet for studying, it is a positive addiction.

However, if they always use the web for fun, time management should be taught and ­parents should play a role. If teenagers learned time management from the start, internet ­addiction would not exist.

Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Tseung Kwan O

Pokemon and MTR seat hogs, find the link

Having been bumped into by – and had more than a few near-misses with – Pokemon Go hunters around Sha Tin, I am reminded of the observation attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Prometheus: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

Still, it is comforting to know that Hong Kong has so few problems in the pipeline that its next generation can afford to spend so much time hunting monsters that don’t actually exist – sorry kids, for all the lame justification for this insanity, they really don’t – rather than tackling those monsters that might – and, in fact, do and will – exist.

Somewhat less reassuring is the fact that elderly people like myself (and a regular visitor to Hong Kong) are still expected to stand for long distances on the MTR while apparently fit youngsters occupy nearby seats, often those specially ­reserved for the elderly and less able.

It might be interesting to speculate on the strength of the connection between these two seemingly unrelated topics.

David Cooke, Kenilworth, England