Letters to the Editor, September 06, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 September, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 September, 2015, 12:01am

Helpers' rights should be high priority

The torture suffered by 23-year-old Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has raised the awareness of Hongkongers to defend the rights of helpers.

The government once promised it would address the problems. But the truth is no serious measures have been taken so far. I propose three steps that can prevent a similar incident from recurring.

Firstly there is an urgent need to revoke the live-in rule and the two-week rule. The former requires domestic workers to live with their employers which increases the risk of being abused without the chance to ask for help. The latter forces workers to leave Hong Kong within two weeks of termination of their contracts, which makes it harder for them to escape abusive employers when they are worried about their livelihood.

The rules don't consider the situation of the workers and their plight, so they should be scrapped. Yet, the government continually rejects calls to do so with no adequate reasons.

Secondly, a task force must be set up as soon as possible to curb the abusive behaviour of employers. It would allow helpers to report their cases without feeling threatened and its independence would make its findings more credible than employment centres.

Thirdly, the government should provide temporary shelters for victims, as one way to encourage them to leave abusive environments.

The government should attach high importance to the issue of foreign workers.

Mary Wong Ming-yuet, Ngau Tau Kok

Teens missing out using their mobile devices

I agree with correspondents your commentators who have referred to the problem of people who use their smartphones incessantly and have become addicted to them.

Most teenagers and adults have their own electronic devices and chat with others or surf or play games. Many of them seem only to focus on their phones and are unaware of what is going on around them.

I was one of the "looking-down" generation last year, but came to regret the time lost to do other more important things such as study.

I also noticed that my speaking skills were slipping and decided that enough was enough. I decided to no longer be a member of the looking-down generation. Some teens are so obsessed with looking at their devices that they are glued to the screens and sometimes collide with people while walking in the street.

We should not focus on our smartphones, but instead focus on what we need to do in our daily lives. We must have full control over them rather than letting them control us.

Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O 

Education key to curb phone nuisance

I refer to Jason Wong Kun-tong's letter ("The law won't deter mobile phone zombies", August 21).

He says legislation could not successfully deter people from being hunched over their phones while walking. I agree that outlawing this practice would not be feasible.

People being glued to their handheld devices is a nuisance and may obstruct the path for other passers-by, but laws will not eradicate the problem.

The crux of the matter is that a new law would actually deprive pedestrians of their rights and freedom to do what they like, which would outrage them.

Of course, distracted walking may trigger accidents like tripping over the pavement or stepping into traffic.

However, in most cases, if the phone-user is meticulous enough, they can manage to use their phones while walking, meaning that they are actually doing nothing harmful to others.

We cannot infringe about the right of people to use their phones.

Furthermore, as we all know, smartphones do provide us with multiple functions including Google Maps, bus searcher and camera. What if the person is using the map function to find his destinations?

Or if he would like to take a snap of our city's landscape? If they are charged or prosecuted because of these actions, many would feel furious at the injustice.

Also, such a law would be impractical as it could not be enforced. And it would be a waste of manpower and resources. Police could not catch all distracted walkers and would face an impossible workload. Legislation could not prevent people from being physically attached to their mobile phones.

Of course, this alarming phenomenon cannot be overlooked or it will get worse and bring about more injuries. It is high time the government took the middle course to improve the situation through education.

Schools should make plain the dire consequences of distracted walking to students. Adverts should be broadcast on TV or posted on the internet to alert people of the severity of the problem. People's attitudes would gradually change making our city a safer place.

Melody Seto, Tai Wai

How to stop escalating problem

Recently, there has been a debate over whether people should walk on escalators, which many consider a dangerous practice with a risk of serious injury if they lose their balance.

The MTR has tried to promote "Stand Still and Don't Walk" in stations but Hong Kong people are often in a hurry and many can't resist walking on escalators.

I can think of some other measures to promote safe use.

First of all, the MTR can have staff near escalators to monitor passengers, just like they do on MTR platforms.

The monitors can keep reminding people to stand still on escalators and stop them from walking. It would be an on-the-spot deterrent.

Allotting staff to monitor passengers using escalators would be an effective way of cutting the number of people walking.

Also, the government can chip in with a helping hand and participate in the promotion of safe practices on escalators with a television campaign.

Advertisements can emphasise the dangers of walking on escalators and the benefits of such an education campaign are long-term.

Once people know they are doing the wrong thing, they will think twice about not standing still.

The MTR should act to arrange some escalator monitors and the government can educate the public not to walk. It is important to take action quickly before more escalator accidents happens.

Lam Cheuk-see, Yau Yat Chuen

Extended Avenue of Stars: Why?

In 2011, CNN named the Avenue of Stars as one of the world's 12 worst tourist traps and described it as "underwhelming".

As a Hongkonger, I don't think the Avenue of Stars is worth visiting because it only has handprints of famous movie stars, statues and some shops. I oppose its extension.

The process of extending it will surely generate more pollution in Tsim Sha Tsui, and not only noise and air pollution, but it also will create a more crowded environment and traffic congestion.

Since the extended Avenue of Stars will reach to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, it is going to affect access to it. Bus stops could change, too.

I hope the government can plan the project well before the construction process begins.

Dickens Mok, Tseung Kwan O