Letters to the Editor, November 01, 2015
Helpers could try country parks to meet
I refer to Ruan Wen's letter ("Give helpers venue where they can meet", October 23).
There is no denying that thousands of foreign domestic helpers assemble in public squares and overpasses on their days off, especially in areas like Central and Causeway Bay, which are usually crowded with pedestrians. Some citizens think they cause a nuisance to passers-by. The problem needs to be tackled quickly.
Your correspondent suggests the government should play the leading role in providing more meeting places for the domestic helpers, but I disagree.
Hong Kong is a densely populated concrete jungle, and everyone in the city is jostling for more living space. In fact, the government can do little to resolve the issue as it is an unshakeable fact that Hong Kong simply lacks space. It is up to the domestic helpers and Hongkongers to be more tolerant of all public space users.
To ease the congestion in city centres, domestic helpers could explore other areas, such as our lovely country parks, to gather on holidays.
Charlotte Chan, Kowloon Bay
Protesters and police need cool heads
Recent protests in Hong Kong have seen police and protesters clash, and we should try to defuse the stand-off.
Protesters should clearly inform the police of their plan in advance, such as the destination and scale of the rally, and how long it will run. They should pledge not to overstep the boundaries set, and in turn receive a pledge from the police that they would not interfere in the protest activity if all goes according to plan.
The government and the police should review the rules for enforcement and prosecution. The administration should ensure that police officers receive training for emotion control, and that the force is committed to the protection of protesters' rights.
The root cure, however, lies in addressing protesters' dissatisfaction. The government must listen and respond to citizens' demands.
Once government credibility is restored, clashes at protests will end.
Elvis Yam Kam-hang, Tiu Keng Leng
Our cultural heritage can lure tourists
There's been talk recently that Hong Kong is losing its appeal for tourists due to the lack of new attractions. However, I don't agree with this view.
The government devotes a lot of resources to building grand infrastructure and shopping malls, but is that a good way to increase Hong Kong's competitiveness?
Probably not. Hong Kong has limited land and it's impossible to keep building new attractions that meet only the needs of tourists.
By contrast, the government ignores the development of our cultural heritage.
If attractions are well developed and promoted, they can attract tourists but apart from museums, there are few that introduce history and culture.
The government should improve its heritage conservation measures, and roll out more comprehensive plans for such sites.
Officials can promote new attractions at overseas exhibitions.
Tse Ka-wing, Yau Yat Chuen
HK taxi space is not too crowded
I refer to the letter from Athena Ng Yi-kwan ("Legislation protects taxi firms", October 20).
Uber is a car-hailing app with many supporters in Hong Kong but questions have been raised about whether it breaches existing regulations. And its opponents arguing that it is threatening local taxi firms.
What should first be noted is Uber will not be a threat but a competitor. Its service comes at a higher cost than local taxis and passengers are free to choose.
Competition between firms will improve the overall service level in order to win more customers. Uber should stay.
Anna Fok Hiu-yi, Shek Mun
Beware the downside of extra study
More students are now attending tutorial classes.
Due to the cut-throat competition in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, many students have no choice but to sign up for these classes so as to have an edge.
They seem to have become the norm. But I wonder how advantageous these classes are?
During the lessons, the tutor will equip students with extra examination skills and exercises, ranging from the drilling to the more challenging ones. Whenever students come across difficulties in some topics, they can turn to the tutors who can deeply delve into the problems with them. Their understanding of different topics can be deepened and they can catch up with their studies more easily.
However, there are catches that should not be overlooked.
Attending tutorial classes is definitely time-consuming, which actually erodes study time.
Many classes usually last for two hours, if not longer. After lessons at school and tutorial centres, students end up with only one or two hours to revise.
I always hear my classmates complaining about not having sufficient time to study, which turns out to be counterproductive.
Moreover, these classes will pile on the pressure. Pinning high hopes on their child, many parents don't mind splashing out on the tutor fees so as to gear their child up well for the exams. Nonetheless, students are already preoccupied with their schoolwork.
Under undue stress, many are overwhelmed by the huge workload and they become depressed. Some also get fed up with their studies and refuse to revise, sparking family conflicts. Tutorial classes can bring more harm than good to some students.
Of course, whether they can benefit from tutorial classes hinges on their time-management and mental control.
Students can definitely ride the wave if they get to manage their time wisely and strike a balance between entertainment and studies.
Also, parents play a pivotal role in encouraging their child and can act as a morale booster. Only by praising their child and allowing a little playtime can they provide their child with the right incentives to strive for excellence.
Seto Ka-yan, Tai Wai
Union reps need to show backbone
How the bosses all laugh when trade union representatives threaten to resign from a negotiating body ("Take action on working hours or we quit talks", October 14).
These representatives [in talks on a standard working hours law] in the never-ending conflict between their 50-hour working-week, long-suffering-membership, and the fat-cat employers display poor leadership skills.
How long would the talking last, if the union leadership called for selective boycotting of specific businesses and threatened a general strike?
Sadly I cannot see the rise of a Hong Kong Arthur Scargill [British trade union leader in the 1980s], and the workers will as ever eat the crumbs from the rich men's table.
John Charleston, Tuen Mun