Letters to the Editor, October 20, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2015, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 October, 2015, 5:11pm

Law could mean staff got paid overtime

The average working hours of employees in Hong Kong are among the longest in the world.

Many workers put in long hours and do not get paid overtime. I think their rights and interests should be protected and that there should be standard working hours legislation imposed.

This would ensure that if people work beyond the stipulated hours during the week they are paid overtime. Hong Kong has more than three million employees and many of them regularly work overtime. Only a small percentage of them are actually paid for doing it.

After a standard working hours law is enacted, employers would be forced to pay overtime. Bosses who fail to do this would face fines.

Such a law would ensure people are paid for the hours they do in the workplace, which is only right. This law will ensure that citizens have more time to relax and rest.

Some employees work up to 12 hours a day and find they have little time to spend with their families.

As a consequence they report that relations with family members are not that good,

Having this law will be good for the health and well-being of employees.

Research has shown that people who work for more than nine hours a day are more likely to suffer from depression.

If they have more spare time they are more likely to exercise and so they will feel a lot healthier.

I cannot see any drawbacks to having standard working hours legislation.

It would protect the basic rights of workers.

Chan Yue-ching, Yau Yat Chuen 

Think twice before buying latest model

The new Apple iPhones, the 6s and 6S Plus went on sale in Hong Kong in September and sold out quickly when launched. Whenever a new iPhone goes up for sale, it records high sales in Hong Kong. It is good to see people trying to embrace new technology, but there can be a downside to smartphones.

People from the grass roots and middle class, may struggle financially if they want to purchase the latest Apple device. The 6S sells from just under HK$5,600. Many of them are already struggling to have enough money to pay for the daily necessities.

I am also concerned that some people become too attached to their smartphones. They are involved in less face-to-face communication.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to own the latest smartphone, people have to recognise the possible pitfalls and use new technology responsibly.

Chow Lok-yin, Sai Kung

Government must curb the criminals

I refer to the report ("Dirty money cases soar as syndicates recruit non-locals", October 12). The number of serious fraud cases involving money laundering in Hong Kong has soared in the first half of this year with HK$456 million laundered through banks. This is more than all of last year.

Hong Kong is recognised around the world as a major international financial centre.

If there are more of these cases here involving criminals and their syndicates, this could hurt Hong Kong's reputation and therefore its economy.

If this happens then more Hong Kong citizens might decide to migrate, taking their expertise and their money with them.

The Hong Kong government needs to recognise there is a problem and it has to act to deal with it.

It must try harder to crack down on these syndicates, break them up and arrest those who are responsible.

If need be it must allocate more resources so that those involved in money laundering scams are brought to justice and are punished for their crimes.

Kathy Ho, Tseung Kwan O

Against organ donor opt-out rule in HK

There has been a lot of discussion about the lack of organ donors in Hong Kong, following the death of 19-year-old Jamella Lo who waited in vain for a double lung transplant. The tragic news of her death led to renewed calls for an opt-out organ donation system, whereby people would be registered as organ donors unless they chose to opt out.

At the moment, if they want to join the register they have to go online and opt in.

I would prefer the present system to remain in place. You should be able to choose rather than being automatically registered as a donor.

However, I would like to see more donors in Hong Kong. The relevant government departments must do more promotions emphasising the importance of registering as a donor. They should run adverts on prime-time television. Also, children should be taught in schools about the importance of becoming donors.

Also, the registration process has to be simpler. Older people who are not comfortable with computers might have problems registering online. Therefore they should be able to go to any one of the 18 district offices and register there.

It is feasible to get more Hongkongers to register but stick with the opt in system.

Education is the key to persuading more people to put their names forward. I think in Hong Kong education is preferable to legislation and we will eventually see more people adding their names to the donor register.

Polly Lo Ching-in, Yau Yat Chuen

Legislation protects taxi firms

The presence of the car-hailing app Uber in Hong Kong has been welcomed by many people.

Those who have used it say that while the cost is higher than normal taxis, the service is a lot better.

They have objected to a police crackdown on Uber in Hong Kong, arguing that it is a good service and should be given the necessary licences so that it operates legally in Hong Kong. I do not think car-hailing apps should be allowed here. The rule of law is very important in Hong Kong.

If the regulations as they exist today do not allow for these firms to operate then these rules should be respected.

The present legislation offers protection to taxi operators and drivers and that protection should remain in force.

If the law does not allow for car-hailing apps to operate legally here then they should not be here, no matter how much people like the service they provide.

The government has a responsibility to offer protection to legally licensed operators, that is, taxi drivers.

Our laws exist for a reason and they should be respected.

Athena Ng Yi-kwan, Lai Chi Kok

Women deserve equal treatment

I refer to the article written by Shang-Jin Wei ("Help women to help society", October 15).

I agree that ensuring equal opportunities and pay for women can help with the development of a society.

In many societies women have the same rights under the law as men, but that does not always mean they enjoy equal opportunities. This is something that needs to change and they should be shown the same respect as men.

If they are given the right educational opportunities women can make an important contribution to the workplace. And some of them can do outstanding work. But there are still many companies where there is bias and sexual discrimination, putting women at a disadvantage and offering them fewer opportunities.

Many do not get the chance to further their careers and make an important contribution to society.

Some do not even get the chance to work and have to rely on welfare payments.

If they are allowed to work and treated equally with men in the workplace they can make an important contribution to the gross domestic product of an economy.

Women have qualities that they can bring to the workplace.

I believe that a society which recognises women as equal and which provides them with equal opportunities will gain and its economy will develop at a faster rate.

A woman who feels valued in a society and is treated as an equal citizen will make a greater contribution to that society than if she feels she is being looked on as a second-class citizen.

She will work harder, be more productive and pay back to the society for treating her fairly.

All countries must move forward in this way and ensure equality of men and women.

Tsang Sze-wah, Sha Tin 

Open sports centres for homeless

The case of the women who was found dead in a McDonald's 24-hour outlet highlighted the plight of homeless people in Hong Kong.

We have a lot of street sleepers in the city. There are not enough shelters where they can get a decent night's sleep, so they stay on the streets or go to places like McDonald's.

We have a lot of community halls and sports centres in the territory. I think they should be opened and made available to street sleepers so they have somewhere to sleep.

They are conveniently located throughout the city. The Social Welfare Department and NGOs could provide the basic essentials.

This would be a short-term measure while the government built better shelters.

Sarah Leung, Ma On Shan