Letters to the Editor, May 24, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 May, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 May, 2015, 12:01am

New minimum wage rise bad for economy

The new minimum wage of HK$32.50 (raised from HK$30) came into force at the beginning of the month.

I think it will lead to an increase in unemployment. Because of the hike in the minimum wage, some small and medium-sized enterprises may not able to afford the higher labour costs, so they may lay off workers. Where it is possible to use machinery instead they will do so, or even employ labour from the black market.

This increased rate will also impair the job opportunities of young workers. Employers would rather choose a more experienced person to get more for their money, and younger people will be left out.

Although it's true that the minimum wage can ensure a stable income and can increase the purchasing power of some low-income workers, bear in mind that more unemployed workers' purchasing power will be decreased. So, how can raising the minimum wage benefit Hong Kong's economy?

This is the third rise since the law was introduced, but it won't solve anything. Raising it can solve the problem of low-income workers temporarily but cannot get to the root of the problem.

Instead, perhaps the government should allocate more resources to help them directly and in practical ways, because this law only impairs the future of the city's economy.

Cheng Nga-yan, Yau Yat Chuen

HMS Tamar's recovery can teach history

I refer to the article in PostMagazine ("Making waves", May 10) about the discovery of the wreckage of the HMS Tamar in Wan Chai.

With the latest reports saying it probably is the old warship which was sunk by the British forces during the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941 ("Shipwreck is almost certainly HMS Tamar", May 22), it would excite people who are interested in local history, including me.

As the name of the former British naval base, and now the government headquarters, Tamar is a name familiar to many Hongkongers. However, some have no idea where the name comes from, especially the younger generation, who are mostly uninterested in local history.

As I I have said before, through these columns, local youngsters can have a deeper sense of belonging by learning more about our history. All Hongkongers should learn something about the Battle of Hong Kong.

The government should draw up a plan to preserve the discovered relic to show its respect to history, and let generations to come acknowledge our wartime history.

The shipwreck, as well as other related artefacts, could be exhibited at Tamar Park, so that locals and tourists could learn about the story of HMS Tamar while enjoying some leisure time there.

But more than this, in order to let the public better understand our wartime past, there are wartime relics in other districts, such as Repulse Bay, that should also be preserved and linked together.

Ben L. P. Tsang, Yuen Long 

Slow traffic leads to worse air pollution

I refer to the report ("Legco panel rips transport chief over slow speeds on Hong Kong's streets", May 12).

I believe the problem of slow speeds on Hong Kong's streets is getting more serious. There are too many vehicles on the road.

Traffic congestion happens everywhere during the morning and evening rush hours. Residents are spending more time commuting. We now have to wake up earlier or risk being late for work.

So it doesn't help when vehicles are stuck and time is wasted in stop-and-go traffic, not to mention looking for a parking space. As frustrated and bored as I feel when I am stuck in the bus going to and from work, I imagine that drivers feel the same way.

Last but not least is the problem of emissions when vehicles are stuck on the road. In Beijing, vehicles are a major cause of the overall pollution. So much smog is produced that the city is now unliveable.

As larger numbers of people move to the Tseung Kwan O area, the congestion problems in that part of Hong Kong can only get worse. The government must enact new policies to encourage citizens to use public transport like the MTR and buses. It will need to think outside the box.

Andy Yan, Tseung Kwan O 

We must find the fire to be top city again

Hong Kong has fallen to No2 on the list of competitive cities in China ("Hong Kong no longer China's No1", May 16)

We can sit on our hands and watch it drop further or get our collective act together to regain the top spot. To that end, here are some suggestions.

Size should be no excuse, as Switzerland and Singapore have been consistently ranked first and second respectively in the World Economic Forum's yearly studies. What matters is how we can keep our edge against the competition.

To remain relevant to the world economic system, language is paramount. Hong Kong certainly has an edge in the English language, which is the lingua franca for world trade and commerce.

But Cantonese also has an important role. It allows a way to tap into the Chinese diaspora. The characters we use also make learning Putonghua easier.

If, as has been often reported, this is the century when Asia will truly burgeon, the presence of South Asians here opens up yet another huge dimension. Obviously, Hong Kong should strengthen the teaching of languages in its schools to create a multilingual workforce.

Human capital is the most valuable resource among all economic factors. Wall Street, Silicon Valley and London have all attracted the best talent in their fields to keep them thriving. It is difficult to be all things to all people, but if you have the talent, you are spoilt for choices as to where to go.

We need to identify the niche and implement policies that are family friendly with an array of educational choices and activities outside the workplace. If we can attract the talent, some will sink their roots here, which will benefit Hong Kong in the long run.

At the same time, we need to make the city attractive to our own people who have left. We can win them back by giving them a stake in this land for the future.

Shenzhen has surpassed us on China's list. We should ask ourselves how they did it and learn from them. Perhaps we have rested on our laurels for far too long.

Lee Teck Chuan, Tsim Sha Tsui

Free speech gone awry is cyber-bullying

I am writing in response to a BBC news report titled "The danger of online anonymity" (March 10).

Laws don't seem to have kept up with the advancements in technology. The example cited was a company that received only bad reviews on its website, and they were linked to the same Facebook profile of a staff member of a rival firm.

The internet gives people a feeling of free licence to comment on anything they want without thinking or caring about who might be victimised.

Online anonymity itself is not necessarily a bad thing, as we can express ourselves without fear of recrimination. But it can also take the form of cyber-bullying. So we need to think twice. Online anonymity can be good or immoral, depending on the motive.

Winnie Lau, Tsuen Wan