Letters to the Editor, April 1, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 5:34pm

MTR’s fare rise is unfair and unjustified

I refer to the report (“Lawmakers cry foul as MTR prepares to raise fares by 2.7pc”, March 30).

I disagree with the proposal by the MTR Corporation even though it is entitled to do this under the fare adjustment mechanism.

Firstly, I do not think that this mechanism is fair because the company never adjusts fares so there is a reduction. This is not fair to people with low incomes, as the proportion of their incomes that goes on paying these fares is higher than it is for citizens who are better off.

I have seen no improvement in the service provided so I do not understand how the corporation can justify this increase. There have been delays at busy times and breakdowns of trains, disrupting the network. Therefore people should not have to pay more.

Some people argue that with fewer tourists its profits will have dropped, but it is still making a lot of money.

It should recognise the importance of fulfiling its corporate social responsibilities. It has a monopoly, so passengers ­cannot show their dissatisfaction by choosing another train service.

Cheng Si-wa, Kowloon Tong

Many children in poor nations are exploited

Last month the military in ­Myanamar returned 46 child soldiers to their families.

In many countries children’s rights are often ignored and they are exploited.

While it was good news that some of these young people have been freed by the military, it is still a problem in the ­country. We have no verifiable figures and so do not know exactly how many children are suffering the misery of being forced to be soldiers.

Children in Hong Kong are fortunate. We do not have to worry about having a roof over our heads or where our next meal is coming from. We tend to forget that many children in ­other parts of the world are not so lucky. In countries like Libya, they face the threat of war and on the mainland, in provinces such as Sichuan, many children have to work for a pittance and are deprived of an education.

All children are entitled to get an education and enjoy a ­normal childhood. They should not be forced to work.

It is difficult to imagine the devastating effect on the mental development of a child who is forced to be a soldier. Even adults who volunteered to join an army can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.

Those in enforced child ­labour in developing nations also suffer a lot. Working conditions are appalling, with no ­regard to health and safety. They are often not given protective clothing or gloves even if the work is hazardous.

Governments around the world must do more to ­ensure that children are protected. They must pass laws ­ensuring children’s rights and these laws must be enforced. Children will be the cornerstones of future ­societies. They deserve to be given the best ­possible start in life.

Stella Chan Chi-wah, Yau Yat Chuen

Swire should allow Grappa’s to stay open

Hong Kong is often described as transient, but for someone with family ties dating back to the 1950s and having lived there for nearly 20 years, I consider it a second home.

Certain institutions form the bedrock of Hong Kong allowing it to withstand and thrive in a constantly changing world – the Noonday Gun, Peak Tram, Hong Kong Club, Mandarin ­Oriental, the Sevens, the list goes on. After more than 25 years Grappa’s in Pacific Place was ­becoming an institution for a new generation.

Swire, an institution itself, should know better than most the importance of maintaining such establishments in Hong Kong.

Can Swire not leave Grappa’s and allow this year’s fad restaurant to open and close in short order somewhere else in its vast estate?

Mark Hill, London, UK

Give ferry pass to Cheung Chau residents

I refer to the report (“Cheung Chau an island divided as ­visitors equal resident population over holiday”, March 28).

Some Cheung Chau residents have expressed anger over the huge influx of visitors to the island over the Easter weekend, leading to packed ferries and overcrowded streets.

Other residents, for example, food vendors, were happy with the situation because it was good for business.

On Easter Sunday, First Ferry had to put on extra vessels to and from Cheung Chau.

I agree with People Power lawmaker, Albert Chan Wai-yip, that the ferry company must ­issue a special pass for island residents so they get priority ­boarding. This is essential ­because they have no other transport choices.

If the numbers of visitors keep increasing then the government has to consider if ­quotas need to be imposed ­during the busiest days.

Chung Kei-see, Kowloon Tong

Beijing must crack down on dodgy vaccines

Many mainlanders have come here to get vaccinations for their children with good reason.

There have been revelations on the mainland of “untold numbers of children” who were given vaccines that were not properly stored or managed (“Cavalier attitude on life and death”, March 29).

This puts babies at greater risk of contracting various ­diseases and so parents come to Hong Kong to get a vaccine.

Some mainland hospitals buy these improperly stored ­vaccines and then charge ­patients high prices to administer them.

There is not sufficient monitoring by the government of the dispensing of vaccines. And some corrupt officials collude with those people who are ­selling them.

In the long term, the central government must have tighter regulation of private-sector vaccinations and crack down on unethical hospitals.

Cheng Tsz-tung, Yau Yat Chuen

There can be a downside to e-learning

While many people encourage the expansion of e-learning in schools, we must also recognise the disadvantages.

The light from tablet computers can be harmful to children’s eyes if they spend too long looking at the screen.

Also, young people now spend so much time typing, they do not practise their handwriting and it can suffer because of this, especially when it comes to Chinese characters. Because they do not get the chance to practise writing these characters they might even forget some of them.

While e-learning can be ­useful in the classroom, ­students will still need some textbooks.

Doris Chow, Lam Tin

Athletes in city get very little assistance

I would like to see more initiatives which encourage greater development of sport in Hong Kong.

Young people who show ­talent as athletes face an uphill struggle in the city. They have a tough time getting sponsorship and subsidies and may not be able to earn a decent salary if they go professional, even if they show a great deal of potential.

They will often have to do other jobs to supplement their incomes and this can eat into the time they need to train. Some give up and that is why Hong Kong does not have a very good record when it comes to ­winning medals in international sporting events, ­including the Olympics.

However, it is not just about young athletes. Many citizens do not appreciate the health benefits of getting involved in sporting activities. Too often they consider their priority is to make money and so they say they have no time to exercise.

The government should put more resources into developing sport and getting more citizens involved.

Chan Hei-yin, Tseung Kwan O