Letters to the Editor, May 25, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 May, 2015, 12:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 May, 2015, 12:02am

Long hours make workers less efficient

I agree with those who argue that overwork leads to a decrease in productivity.

I do not think anyone should be working for longer than eight hours a day.

Overwork does make an employee less productive.

If people work reasonable hours, you will see the opposite - an increase in productivity.

Legislation already exists in some developed countries with set maximum weekly hours of work.

In Australia, for a full-time employee, it is 38 hours. In France and Spain, it is 35 and 40 hours respectively.

In many countries in the West, an eight-hour day is the maximum allowed period and it has become the norm and is enshrined in laws.

Those opposed to such a law say it is impractical for some professions, for example, teachers. However, if teachers have to work long hours, it causes many of them to suffer from stress. Some of this stress will be alleviated if they have reasonable eight-hour working day.

You read about teachers who have taken their own lives because they could not deal with the stress. It is clear changes are needed.

I do not think any citizen in any line of work should have to do more than eight hours a day.

We should be following the example that has been set by the countries I mentioned.

I really hope that the Hong Kong government will give serious consideration to a standard working hours law.

Tommy Wong Yat-fung, Tsing Yi 

Electric cars can cause pollution

I refer to the letter by Chloe Cheng Hoi-man ("Electric cars can help clean up mainland", May 20).

There is no doubt that air pollution is a serious problem north of the border. It has too many private vehicles using fossil fuel. Obviously electric cars will have no emissions, but I am not convinced this is the solution to the problem of cleaning up the country's bad air.

As more citizens buy e-cars the demand for electricity will increase. And it has to be asked what kind of fuel will be used to generate that additional electricity. Of course, when mainland citizens use more electricity, power plants have to burn more dirty fossil fuel.

One energy-related website has said that electric cars create as much in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as traditional cars, because they require more coal to be burned.

The best way for China to deal with this is through the coal washing process. This must be mandatory for all coal [that can be cleaned] before it is burned in a plant. However, most of the coal being used in power plants and factories is not being washed and so it produces a lot of emissions.

Factories which make no effort at reducing or treating pollution should be shut down. And their owners should not be allowed to simply move to a different site and open another equally polluting plant.

Mainland citizens should be encouraged to ride bicycles around cities instead of driving cars. This is a growing trend in many cities in Europe such as Paris.

The central government has tried hard to address the air pollution problem, but more needs to be done. I hope eventually blue skies will become the norm in Beijing.

Henry Wong, Kennedy Town 

Departments play the blame game over air

The Environmental Protection Department blames the Transport and Housing Bureau for the foul air we breathe and the chief executive excels in silence and inaction.

This administration cannot be surprised that so many people feel let down and are appalled by the track record of the administration of Leung Chun-ying.

H. P. Kerner, Sai Kung 

Drivers just ignore double yellow lines

Mark Peaker ("Police lethargic about illegal parking", May 14) and Bernard Lo ("Paltry fine does not deter illegal parking", May 16) are right: a rise in parking fines will do little if anything to change a total disregard for the law.

I see one example of this every evening as I wait for my minibus in Causeway Bay. The double yellow lines in Sun Wui Road that run from outside the Bentley showroom down to Leighton Road are always occupied by as many as three vehicles. As soon as one moves away a waiting car is guided into the vacated space.

There are too many other examples to quote, but this blatant one should be enough to show how little people care as they know it is highly unlikely a traffic warden or policeman will appear on the scene.

Norman de Brackinghe, Pok Fu Lam

Query about who signed petition

I was interested to read the report ("Million signers of pro-reforms petition a 'wake-up call' for pan-democrats", May 18) about the Alliance for Peace and Democracy's petition backing the government's proposals for political reform.

My experience of it contradicts the claim by alliance spokesman Robert Chow Yung that they "didn't allow those under 18, tourists or [foreign] domestic workers to sign it".

On Sunday, May 17, I saw a petition collection table at the junction of the Aberdeen Reservoir and Aberdeen Main roads, and I asked what it was for.

The attendant replied (in English) that I could sign the petition printed in Chinese. He did not ask if I was a resident or qualified to vote. Apparently, he was happy for me to sign without any checks.

When I asked what the petition said, he said (in English) that he didn't understand English. He also didn't know anyone he could call who could speak English to explain the petition to me, and didn't know if he had a permit to set up a table on the street.

He called the police.

Thankfully, the police were able to confirm that the petition was in favour of the government's reform package and an organisation called the "HK South District Union" had a permit to collect signatures at a table there.

Please can the Alliance for Peace and Democracy and the HK South District Union respond about their methods of collecting signatures?

What briefing or training did they provide to their attendants to ensure that, as Chow claimed, only eligible voters could sign and that those signing understood the purpose?

Allan Dyer, Wong Chuk Hang 

It is never too late for Japan to say sorry

China has said that other nations must be wary of Japan's consistent refusal to accept what it did in the past, including invading other countries in Asia ("Vigilance urged against 'Japan's denial of history'", May 10).

As a Chinese, I think the Japanese government's refusal to admit its nation's war crimes is outrageous. By not issuing an apology, it continues to infuriate millions of people.

The invasion of China by Japan before the outbreak of the second world war and the things that were done by its troops are historical facts.

There are photographs, reports, books and numerous witness testimonies to some of the worst atrocities, including the Nanking Massacre.

Unfortunately there are still right-wing Japanese militarists who are in denial about what so obviously happened.

They seem to be implying that militarism was not a bad thing and would be justified at some point in the future. Therefore, Beijing is right to urge vigilance.

Japan should follow the example set by Germany, which has sought to atone for its Nazi past.

German leaders have always offered sincere apologies for the war crimes committed by the Nazi regime. An apology that is honestly made by a government will be accepted by other nations.

Wars are the outcome of irrational decisions and it is never too late to admit that mistakes were made.

Enoch Kao, Sham Shui Po

How laughter helps people with cancer

I was happy to read the story about laughter yoga ("Hong Kong companies turn to 'laughter yoga' to soothe stressed workers", May 8).

More laugher is needed in the city.

Laughter yoga is one of the popular therapies in the Hong Kong Cancer Fund's Wellness and Holistic Health Care programmes for people touched by cancer.

It also includes deep relaxation and breathing, yoga, and meditation. All these uplift body, mind and spirit and help ease pain, fatigue and stress.

Positive thinking is vital in cultivating inner strength and confidence.

At our Celebration of Life event on Sunday, May 17, at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, which was to celebrate and commend the courage of those touched by cancer, we held a laughter yoga session. Participants included our dedicated volunteers, cancer survivor self-help groups, professional advisers and donors.

Laughter is a positive energy that we all have. Let's spread it and laugh every day.

Sally Lo, founder and chief executive, Hong Kong Cancer Fund