Letters to the Editor, June 15, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 June, 2017, 4:48pm

Employers can take the lead by hiring disabled

In 2012, two disabled Hongkongers founded a job-matching website tailored for people with disabilities (“Face your fears, ­follow your dreams – an inspiring message to Hong Kong’s disabled”, June 10).

To help people with a ­disability secure employment, the Labour Department has introduced a work orientation and placement scheme offering employers monetary incentives to take on disabled people.

It is a step in the right direction, but the scheme’s effectiveness is limited because only up to HK$35,000 can be ­offered to each employer.

The scheme should not be the only tool and, in the long run, employers should take the lead in employing people with ­disabilities, even if there are no financial ­incentives.

One of the major hurdles stopping firms taking on ­disabled people is the lack of barrier-free facilities. To foster a more inclusive working environment, more has to be done.

The job-matching platform mentioned facilitates the search for career opportunities but ­remains limited if the hardware is not in place. As a society, we should be asking how much more we can do ­instead of leaving it to disabled citizens to think about what they can do.

I hope we can see some rapid improvements in the care and ­support offered.

Anina Law, Tai Po

Taxi drivers need to pick up some manners

Over the past few years, the standard of the taxi services offered in Hong Kong has deteriorated.

People often have to deal with taxi drivers who have ­appalling manners.

Frequently, if they do not want to take a fare, and this ­includes tourists wanting to get to a destination, they simply put up the “Out of service” red card and the visitor is left without a ride. And even if you do get a cab, the conditions inside the vehicle are often very unpleasant if it has been poorly maintained and is unhygienic.

The government and the Tourism Board should be ­addressing these problems.

Bringing in a new premium taxi service is a cosmetic measure which will prove to be ineffective unless there is a change of attitude on the part of the taxi drivers, with better manners.

The only new vehicles I want to see would be in the form of taxis that can take disabled ­passengers and their wheelchairs.

M. Ishaque, Chai Wan

Don’t ignore signs of depression

The problem of youth suicide is serious in Hong Kong and needs to be addressed.

In fact, mental health issues affect all age groups. Unfortunately, most citizens tend to focus on their physical health.

I think the rise in cases of ­depression among citizens from different generations and ­student suicides are partly a ­result of a misunderstanding of mental illness.

One of the main reasons that some youngsters suffer from ­depression is because of the ­intense academic pressure they feel, which is caused by the ­structure of the local education ­system.

A lot of adults feel stressed, because of the pressure they feel in their daily lives.

They often face a very heavy workload in their jobs and are trying to juggle that with looking after their families.

The worst thing someone can do if they are suffering from depression is ignore it, ­because this will only exacerbate the ­condition.

Individuals who are suffering from conditions like depression should make an appointment to see a psychologist.

The government should also put out adverts on TV and ­online emphasising the importance of people taking care of their ­mental health.

Wong Sum-yee, Yau Yat Chuen

Put health warning labels on alcohol, too

Health warning labels are prominently displayed on cigarette packets sold in Hong Kong.

There are graphic pictures showing some of the side effects of smoking, which hopefully can act as a deterrent, especially for young people who are thinking of starting. I would like to see similar warnings on bottles and cans of alcohol. You often see teenagers drinking, sometimes heavily, in areas like Lan Kwai Fong.

There have been some surveys claiming that quite young children have tried alcohol and this is a worrying trend. They are too immature to know about the health risks. Warning labels could help to raise awareness.

Damon Wong Kwun-tsung, Tseung Kwan O

Brownfield sites shouldn’t be out of reach

Sir David Akers-Jones’ ­comments on the appearance of brownfield sites in the New Territories brings back ­some memories (“Ex-chief secretary Akers-Jones urges Carrie Lam to get tough on land use”, May 21).

If I remember correctly, this degradation was directly a result of a 1983 court ruling on open storage use of agricultural land in Tuen Mun, when the action taken by the government to ­terminate that use was challenged by the landowner.

It was known as the Melhado case and the result was that the government lost control of all open storage use of old scheduled agricultural lots in the New Territories.

The judge ruled that the then block Crown lease user clause was descriptive only, and not ­prescriptive. This was not challenged by the government.

It would be very interesting to know what Sir David’s ­recollections are of this particular case and the reasons for not challenging such a decision, bearing in mind the impact that it had.

Allan Hay, Tai Po