Letters to the Editor, November 18, 2016
Cleaning rules essential to protect helpers
The new rules governing what employers can ask their domestic helpers to do when cleaning windows in their flats are necessary to guarantee the safety of helpers.
They also serve as a reminder to employers that it is their responsibility to provide a safe working environment for the people they have hired. It is ridiculous that some of them have had to risk their lives just to clean windows.
The deaths of some helpers from work-related accidents alerted the government to the need to introduce some rules.
Helpers [renewing their contracts from January 1] will not have to clean the outside of windows “not on ground level or next to a balcony or corridor, unless the window is fitted with a secured grille” (“New rules on maids cleaning windows”, November 15).
Employers will now be particularly vigilant since they could face criminal liability if there was a lack of supervision. I hope we will now see fewer deaths of helpers.
Lee Mei-han, Yau Yat Chuen
Why so many HK teenagers prefer K-pop
The [top K-pop music award ceremony] Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) will be held in Hong Kong next month (at AsiaWorld-Expo) for its fifth consecutive year.
This clearly reflects the fact that Hong Kong has become a strategic spot for promoting Korean culture. However, what contributes to the surging popularity of K-pop, particularly in Hong Kong?
One factor is that Hongkongers are suffering from an identity crisis. After the handover, youngsters became sceptical about their cultural roots, in a Chinese society strongly influenced by Western ideas. Korean dramas like the Reply series and Descendants of the Sun touch upon the emotional bonds among family and country. This arouses the sense of belonging of youngsters towards the oriental values and traditional cultures which Hong Kong and Korea share as part of the same region.
Another contributing factor has been the decline of Hong Kong’s television industry with only one major channel, offering limited range and low-quality programmes.
By contrast, Korea has three free and more than 10 pay-for channels providing different sorts of programmes, ranging from soap operas to variety talk shows. The keen competition ensures high-quality programmes that appeal to Hong Kong viewers fed up with the limited choices available locally.
Local Canto-pop also lacks diversity. Most of it now comprises romantic karaoke songs. Some of the singers are criticised for having poor-quality voices. K-pop features an array of genres like dance-pop, ballad and R&B, and even American hip-hop and reggae style.
The diversity of K-pop coupled with synchronised choreography and K-pop idols with outstanding singing and dancing skills amaze youngsters in Hong Kong. Some of the songs are well-written and reflect society, such as satirical songs about academic-oriented society. They strike a chord with Hong Kong teenagers.
The government should allocate more resources to support the creative industry, such as offering free venues for indie bands. More young people with talent should be encouraged to enter the entertainment and TV industry so we can rejuvenate local popular culture.
Bonnie Lo, Ma On Shan
Developers’ misuse of land hurts the poor
With a limited supply of available land for housing, flats are becoming more unaffordable.
This is leading the younger generation to worry about their future, while low-income families struggle to pay the rent.
Often, all that some people can afford are tiny units with room for only a single bed.
But, now, some really small private flats are being built and sold by developers for high prices. Why is the government allowing precious land to be used for these micro apartments? It makes no sense that private flats which are tiny and yet still unaffordable for many citizens get built.
This is a misuse of land designated for residential use. The government should be introducing policies which allow correct land use that increases the housing supply for low-income families.
Kristie Ko,Tseung Kwan O
Cleaner air is possible with education
I refer to your editorial (“China must find a holistic approach to clear the air”, November 9).
Air pollution in China has become a serious problem and it has aroused a great deal of concern in society.
The central government has responded with a number of measures, but has found it difficult to deal effectively with the problem.
One obstacle to cleaning up the air relates to the serious corruption in the country.
Monitoring of factories is inadequate and often those plants which breach anti-pollution regulations are not reported, because owners can bribe corrupt officials. These officials then turn a blind eye to toxic emissions from plants.
Also, public awareness of the problem is poor and this is very important. Damage to the environment is a result of human activities, such as cars and large trucks.
If more citizens were aware of the damage they do to the air and their health, they might as individuals take mitigating measures. They could use more environmentally-friendly products and vehicles and try to cut back on their consumption of fossil fuels. However, this will only be possible with more education by the central government on what is causing the serious air pollution and how individuals can play their part to help clean up the bad air.
It also must impose heavier penalties on officials found guilty of corruption.
Susie Yip, Kwai Chung
Frivolous act and wrong T-shirt
I refer to the report, “Court asked to eject 11 more lawmakers” (November 15).
Ricky Chan Ka-wai has submitted a judicial review application to unseat 11 lawmakers-elect because he thinks they “they saw Legco as their playground”. However, I think this is a frivolous act.
If Ricky Chan of the Voice of Loving Hong Kong is so fervently pro-Hong Kong, why is he wearing a football top of the Brazilian national team in his appearance at the High Court (as evident in your photograph) when surely a Hong Kong shirt would have been more appropriate?
Charlie Chan, Mid-Levels
Sorry veteran radical will not take part
With the court decision to disqualify the two localist lawmakers over their oath-taking, there will eventually have to be by-elections.
After he was defeated in the September Legislative Council elections, Wong Yuk-man said he was taking a break from politics. Many people want him to stand, given the work he did in Legco for the benefit of Hongkongers. His decision not to stand will disappoint many citizens who are against the pro-establishment camp.
The pan-democrats are always at a disadvantage in Legco, because of the strength of the pro-establishment groups in the geographical and especially in the functional constituencies.
Wong is a radical, but he also dealt in a mature way with some of the problems faced by Hongkongers. I fear that some day we may find a situation where Legco is full of lawmakers from the pro-establishment camp.
Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Wan