Letters to the Editor, October 25, 2015
Don't rush working hours legislation
The debate about whether to have a standard working hours law in Hong Kong has raged for years.
Different stakeholders are involved, but the two sides of the debate appear to be no nearer reaching an agreement.
Although there have been calls for legislation to be enacted imposing standard working hours, I do not think it would be good to rush it through Legco.
A law rushed through could be damaging to those affected by it, if the details have not been thought through thoroughly.
For example, there are some jobs for which such a law would not be practical. For example, in the manufacturing sector there are very busy periods, for example before Chinese New Year, when production will be stepped up dramatically and the factory must meet the demands of clients before closing for the holidays.
For some small businesses like restaurants, a standard working hours law could be disastrous.
Therefore, any law which was introduced would have to be flexible. Also, we have to consider the realities of the Hong Kong workplace. Most white collar workers work overtime to meet deadlines. If this law was introduced they would probably be asked to leave the office on time to comply with the law, but take the remaining work they had to do back home with them.
They would still not have the right work-life balance.
The Standard Working Hours Committee should take the time it needs to get the right legislation in place.
Chan Yan-lam, Yau Yat Chuen
China and US will gain from closer links
I refer to the report ("China and US plan regular phone conversations on economic policy between Vice-Premier Wang Yang and US Treasury secretary Jack Lew", September 27).
New technology has made communication much easier for all of us, including the policy-makers in nations. They can acquire and exchange information far faster than in the past. It is important for countries to establish closer relationships with each other in order to expand markets.
In recent years, China has sought to become a political and economic power on the world stage and the government keeps seeking more ways to ensure greater and more efficient economic development.
This is why the visit to the US last month by President Xi Jinping attracted so much attention.
His visit to Seattle where he met entrepreneurs emphasised the importance China attaches to greater economic exchange with the US.
In addition, China is promoting its "One Belt, One Road" policy to build closer business relationships with Asian as well as European countries. The nation wants to develop a better relationship with the rest of the world.
As I said, China is growing in power economically. However, to be a great power, the government must deliver on the promises it has made and the policies it has said it will implement.
Wang Zhiyi, Wong Tai Sin
Restrict use of smartphones for children
In the streets of Hong Kong you see youngsters everywhere with various devices such as smartphones, reading or sending text messages or playing computer games.
The ages when children start using these devices has dropped and I have seen some as young as five using them. I think this is a cause for concern.
Some people have argued that parents should not let children that young use smartphones, as they are too young and there are health issues, but that is probably not a practical suggestion. Sometimes they will allow their young children to play on the iPhone or iPad so they can have a rest.
Even if they banned their children from using smartphones, it would be difficult to enforce as everywhere they go they see other children using them, so they want to as well.
A ban is not practical, but the key is education to prevent overuse.
Teachers and parents need to explain to children about the need to minimise the time they spend on their computers.
Parents should set rules stipulating how long they are allowed on a computer before they have to take a rest. They definitely should not be allowed to use their phones during meal times.
Stephanie Tang Wing-kar, Kowloon Tong
Our Chinese language skills are important
It seems that school students in Hong Kong seem to be focusing now on improving their standard of English.
There are many activities related to practising the language, to help them improve their speaking, writing and reading skills. But, they do not appear to be paying as much attention to the subject of Chinese language, even though it is their mother tongue.
Perhaps because of that they may think they do not need to focus on it as much as English.
However, I do not think they should neglect the language. They should recognise the importance of English and Chinese. When they learn more about the language it deepens their knowledge of Chinese culture.
Mary Ko, Tseung Kwan O
Get public behind opt-out donor system
I refer to the report ("Organ donation opt-out scheme back on agenda", October 9).
While I realise many citizens hold to the traditional belief that organs should not be removed from someone after they have died, I do see a necessity of implementing a scheme where citizens are registered as donors and must opt out if they want their names removed from it.
The shortage of available donors has got worse as the demand for them has increased. This problem can be eased by having a system which presumes consent.
Of course, if the government wants such a scheme it will have to draft its proposals and explain them in detail and there will be a period of public consultation. The government will have to promote any proposed legislation in an effort to ease any public tensions and get citizens on its side.
Hong Kong is a developed city and it is high time the law was changed so that the lives of more seriously ill patients can be saved.
Chan Ka-wing, Sha Tin
Let musicians use first and last carriages
I refer to the report ("Sour notes on a sliding scale", October 12) about some musical instruments not being allowed on MTR trains.
Until I read the news reports I did not know MTR staff were taking this action against people trying to board with large musical instruments.
I realise the MTR wants to avoid any accidents. I think the problem can be solved by allowing the musicians to use the first and last carriages of a train.
I hope the MTR Corp will consider this suggestion as I think it will solve the problems the MTR has described. It has to appreciate that not all musicians can afford to travel with their instruments by taxi.
Louis Fung Lam-lap, Sau Mau Ping