Letters to the Editor, March 19, 2016
Offices should have area for breastfeeding
I refer to the report (“Office changes lead to happier working mums”, March 8).
Breastfeeding is the best nutritional choice for infants. Breast milk contains many nutrients, protein and antibodies which can protect the baby from diseases like diabetes, obesity and asthma.
Working mothers find it difficult to pump breast milk for their babies at work. One of the contributors is that there is often no specific place for breastfeeding. This can mean that the only option for many is to use a toilet cubicle, which is far from ideal with hygiene issues.
Breastfeeding-friendly policies are not offered in the majority of offices which forces mothers to give up breastfeeding at work. It is clear that there are not enough family-friendly policies in Hong Kong. Mothers want to give the best to their children by breastfeeding.
Companies should provide separate space for breastfeeding mums to have enough privacy to pump their milk.
Working mums just need a room with a lockable door or curtain, an electrical outlet for the milk pump, a chair and a table. Surely, it’s not too hard for companies to make rooms for breastfeeding mums.
And companies do not necessarily have to build a separate room for the mothers.
If the companies do not have enough space to do so, they could allocate a corner in toilets to give rooms for the mums to do what they need.
Yoyo Sin Tak-yiu, Sha Tin
City’s bright lights a curse for many
I (“Science sheds light on sleep disturbances”, March 7).
Studies show that the city’s urban night sky is around 1,000 times brighter than international norms.
Other rural areas in Hong Kong are also badly affected.
The problem of severe light pollution in Hong Kong can be broken down into two main causes: private and public.
The former may include using lights for increased safety and security or switching on your smartphone before getting into bed. The most obvious public cause is large, glaring advertising signs.
The adverse effect of the thousands of bright neon signs in our streets is undeniable. With no escape from the strong light all around, nearby residents are more likely to report fatigue than those with low light exposure.
With impaired functioning from lack of sleep, they are more likely to wake up confused during the night than people with low light exposure.
Unbalanced living habits may develop and the nightly disturbances may result in lower productivity and job performance the next day.
They are simply not able to maintain a healthy lifestyle and as a consequence can fall ill.
The government should take action to curb light pollution.
There should be tighter regulations regarding lighting on advertising billboards in the city, or the problem will just get worse and the health of Hongkongers will suffer.
Felix Leung, Tseung Kwan O
Bank’s video screen offends on many levels
The new Shanghai Commercial Bank (SCB) headquarters on Queen’s Road Central is the latest offender of light pollution in the city.
For some errant reason, the bankers erected a monstrous and annoying video screen on the back of their new 28-storey tower that can only be viewed by residents in the Mid-Levels.
A few years ago, research by a University of Hong Kong physics professor concluded that Hong Kong was the world’s worst city for light pollution, with Tsim Sha Tsui being 1,200 times brighter than the normal dark sky.
The negative impact of light on humans has been documented to include stress, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, sleep disruption, and reduction in melatonin levels.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong has no laws to control external lighting, unlike other major cities.
London even makes such nuisances a statutory offence carrying a fine or imprisonment.
Interestingly, the SCB building is touted as “a Grade A commercial tower with state-of-the-art sustainability elements”, and different environmental and energy-efficient solutions have been incorporated into its design and operations. But how many kilowatts does the video screen throw off during its 14-hour day? SCB claims to be dedicated to “serving the community” so it should shut down its energy-wasting, light-polluting video screen.
Terrence Ma, Mid-Levels
Rise of the robots but then what?
Like it or not, the age of disruptive changes is here – and thank goodness it is.
For far too long, we have organised ourselves around work as we know now.
We commute daily to a workplace staffed with unrelated people taking vows to create value for unfeeling corporations.
We work in silos. While teamwork is stressed, we get paid for individual performance, which is a perverse reward system. We are defined by 3x2 name cards which define who we are, without which we are nothing. We disappear from the scene even before we go grey, as part of corporations’ planned obsolescence.
All this will change.
Through artificial intelligence (AI), we make robots more like us. They can do more of the work we do, mainly the mundane and dreary. It frees us from boredom. We have more time to celebrate our natural being as such.
Ironically, while we make robots more like us, we have become more like them in turn. Truly “one world”.
Countries will no longer need to worry about so many new births to replace people. Couples will have more time for recreation than procreation, perhaps depriving them the last known pleasure to men.
Through analytics, robots could pre-empt what we think. They could foresee the future because they are the future. Then what?
Lee Teck Chuan, Singapore
Pollution in Beijing needs greener action
I am concerned about the severe air pollution in Beijing.
Urgent action is needed and the central government must persuade factories to use alternative energy such as wind and solar.
Residents should also try harder to reduce air pollution levels. They cannot only wait for the government to take action because everyone is responsible for their country. Where possible they should use public transport, not their own cars, which would reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide.
Finally, they can also join some green activities such as planting trees to reduce the problem. We all know leaves help absorb carbon dioxide.
Amanda Chu, Tai Kok Tsui
School bus can help fix traffic chaos
I refer to the report (“Harrow bids to cut school traffic”, March 7) about Harrow International School in Tuen Mun.
The traffic jam issue in Tuen Mun has become serious and not only the government but also the schools there need to step in to solve it before it gets even worse.
I agree that the schools in Tuen Mun should limit the number of car permits and students should take school buses each day.
Taking the bus is a way for students to become more independent and it would free their parents from driving them every morning.
Apart from this, brisk walking to school can strengthen the heart-lung function of students. And besides, those who go to school by bus will become more sociable because they can chat with each other .
Amy Hung, Tseung Kwan O