Letters to the Editor, July 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 5:33pm

Local students often struggle with English

I refer to the letter from Fei Hui (“English offers wider horizons for students”, July 16). What your correspondent should also consider is literacy, which is essential with all three ­languages – Cantonese, Putonghua and English.

Not everyone has sufficient linguistic talent to achieve literacy in more than one language.

If you can achieve literacy in only one language, you should concentrate on that language and look for positions in the ­academic world or other job ­markets where you can get by without literacy in the other two.

By literacy, I mean the ability to be grammatically correct and accurate with pronunciation.

I am sorry to say that most Hong Kong Chinese students are not good enough in these aspects of English.

Legislators, for example, can certainly get by without an ­adequate command of English, but not without an adequate grasp of Chinese.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Uber popular because of dreadful taxis

Many people want Uber to be legalised in Hong Kong, because of their regularly negative ­experiences with taxis.

Many taxi drivers have a bad attitude. They will reject a fare if the destination is a place they do not like. Elderly people and those in wheelchairs often find it very difficult to hail a cab. And most taxi drivers do not understand English.

On days when it is raining heavily, they will refuse to use their meter and can pretty much charge what they like.

Also, the condition of many of the taxis is very poor, with ­interiors that are not clean.

Many cabbies also have poor driving skills and put passengers at risk as they are try to deal with a whole bank of mobile phones on the dashboard.

The car-hailing app Uber ­offers competition and more choices for Hongkongers. It can definitely act as a wake-up call for the taxi sector.

Taxis have been my main form of transportation for many years, and my life has been made easier by the arrival of Uber. I no longer have to worry about the daily struggles with taxi drivers and their inferior service.

Hong Kong is an international city. We should be entitled to different choices as consumers, including from the taxi ­sector. Even on the mainland, they have embraced competition with car-hailing app Didi Chuxing. The people of Hong Kong also want to be able to have choices. The government of Hong Kong just wants to protect the ­interests of the owners of taxi ­licences.

Toby Twaishy, Kwun Tong

Many cabbies will resist CCTV initiative

I think the general services ­provided by taxis in Hong Kong are poor, and I have had first-hand experience of this.

I have had drivers refuse to take me where I want to go when I have been wearing a school uniform and waiting for a taxi with classmates.

On one occasion, I thought I was going to miss an important appointment, but eventually a kind cabbie did stop and take me where I wanted to go.

However, I do feel that many drivers are rude to students, ­because they reckon youngsters will not go far and so they will not make as much in the fare. Drivers may simply refuse to take students to their destination.

Earlier in the year, the taxi sector proposed installing closed-circuit TV cameras and a rating service in an effort to ­improve standards.

However, I am concerned that many drivers will resist this initiative: they will be the main obstacle to making it a success.

I certainly am not convinced that installing CCTV and allowing passengers to rate drivers is going to do away with the many problems connected with the taxi service in Hong Kong.

Koey Chan, Yau Yat Chuen

Self-discipline is far better than cameras

Earlier this year, some taxis were fitted with CCTV and I can see the benefits, but there are also some disadvantages.

It can help resolve a dispute when a passenger has argued with a taxi driver, and determine who is right. But some citizens have said that it infringes upon their privacy. They can be talking in confidence about sensitive business matters, and CCTV could record that conversation. Also, tourists might not be ­comfortable with these cameras being installed.

If cabbies in Hong Kong could be taught to exercise self-discipline and ­behave properly towards ­passengers, then there would be no need for such ­cameras in the first place.

Leo Ho, Tseung Kwan O

Shopping can be therapeutic if within limits

I think the problem of people ­developing unhealthy, and sometimes obsessive, shopping habits is quite common in Hong Kong. Some people think shopping can help ­relieve the pressure they feel ­because of their jobs, but it may make their ­problems worse.

Also, people who shop far too much may buy things they never use, and these will eventually get ­discarded. This is wasteful.

Shopping can be beneficial and may, like other activities, help relieve stress, but only if it is done in moderation.

The key here is for people to practise some self-control, and to set themselves some limits while shopping.

Hazel Book Tsz-yiu, Yau Yat Chuen