Letters to the editor, April 11, 2016
Law needed to ensure more organ donors
According to the source from Hospital Authority, the number of patients waiting for transplantation in Hong Kong is about 2,578, as at December 31, 2015.
This included 1,965 waiting for a kidney donation, 98 for liver donation, 28 for heart donation, 22 for lung donation, 465 for cornea donation and an unknown number waiting for skin and bone donations.
The number of organ donations available is very short of what is needed. With kidney donations, it is 4 per cent of what is needed. Urgent action is needed to encourage citizens to register as organ donors.
The government will discuss legislation making all citizens donors unless they opt out.
In my class in school, our teacher did a survey and found that most students would be willing to be considered as donors. Only two students put their hands up when asked if they would register to opt out if such a law was in place.
I would support legislation which said that all Hong Kong citizens are organ donors unless they explicitly opt out. And in the meantime, there must be an education campaign so that citizens are encouraged to register as donors.
Vanessa Tang, Sai Kung
Police did nothing to curb rogue cabbies
As a concerned and frequent visitor to Hong Kong and in particular the Sevens rugby tournament, I was shocked and dismayed by the fact that the taxis in and around the Wan Chai area were charging exorbitant fixed fares during the Sevens weekend.
After the rugby, inevitably many fans went to Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai.
The taxis in Wan Chai that service the various bars and nightspots frequented by the many thousand of overseas visitors took it upon themselves to charge fixed fares, using the Sevens tournament as their justification. On Saturday evening, I tried to get back from Wan Chai to my hotel in North Point and was quoted by no fewer than three different taxis a fixed fare of HK$250. Normally a metered fare would be less than HK$60.
I argued that this was wrong, but the drivers were rude and refused to allow me into their car.
I even asked policemen in attendance why this practice was being allowed. They told me that “it gets very busy this time of year”.
As a great fan of Hong Kong and the wonderful Hong Kong Sevens, I am really disappointed that this practice has been allowed to become commonplace and has not been challenged by the authorities.
I would encourage all visitors who were told they would have to pay a fixed fare (often four to five times the metered fare) to name and shame those cabs. Next year, if the same thing happens, they should take a photo of the taxi registration and send it to the local newspaper. This practise cannot be allowed to continue.
Mark Tibbenham, Holmfirth, England
ATV made some good programmes
Asia Television, Hong Kong’s oldest station, went off the air earlier this month.
It did so after experiencing years of financial and managerial turmoil as its free-to-air licence came to an end.
While many talked in advance about the shutdown of ATV, when it happened, it was a very low-key affair.
The signal abruptly went blank at the stroke of midnight. The company had been in crisis since the end of 2014. There were periods when staff did not get paid.
I think it was a pity that ATV had to shut down. From my point of view, the plug pulling of ATV is a pity. It had been part of the lives of Hong Kong people for 59 years.
Although it was a somewhat low-key ending, there were highlights for the station, with many impressive productions such as Fatherland and Reincarnated.
However, the station came in for criticism , because it broadcast so many repeat programmes.
It kept repeating its most successful programmes. This left audiences feeling disappointed and so its ratings dropped.
There were fewer good innovative and original programmes and it was unable to compete effectively with TVB.
TVB was able to overcome the obstacles it faced, but ATV could not do this.
Mak Pui-sze, Kowloon Tong
Set up seating areas for maids on days off
I am writing to complain about the number of domestic helpers who gather together in large numbers on their days off.
It is especially bad on Sundays and public holidays They meet and have picnics in areas that are already busy, such as Mong Kok, Mei Foo, Central and Admiralty. They are very noisy, leave food on the ground and disturb pedestrians.
Discarded food can be a health hazard when it is left on the ground. Surely the government could allocate areas where these helpers can congregate with tables, chairs and water. This will be more enjoyable for the helpers and less disruptive for other pedestrians.
Stephanie Ho, Lai King
Better sex education vital in schools
There has been an increase in sex assault cases over the past decade in Hong Kong. Experts say this is because there is a greater willingness for victims to come forward and report they are victims. However, I still feel there is a lack of openness in our society regarding this issue. Some victims are still reluctant to come forward, especially when the attacker is someone they know.
Also, many people are still unwilling to report sexual harassment cases in the workplace. I think reported sex crimes are just the tip of the iceberg.
For those victims who were willing to speak out, they are not always allowed to make a report while accompanied by a trusted individual. It is obvious that there is a need to review sex offence laws.
In traditional Hong Kong society, sex is regarded as a taboo subject. Victim blaming is a prevalent cultural problem, especially when the victim is male. Sex education in Hong Kong schools is rudimentary. With easy access to pornography on the internet, young people are easily misled to think that consent is not necessary in sex. We need proper sex education in primary and secondary schools so vulnerable youngsters have a proper understanding of sexual crimes, and other subjects, such as birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.
The media must also act responsibly and avoid writing any stories which blame victims.
Kathleen Hau, North Point
Important to improve English
As tourism has developed and grown in Hong Kong, more English translation is needed for visitors coming here who do not speak or write Chinese.
However, there are often mistakes in these translations and this tarnishes the city’s reputation.
For instance, you often see a poorly-translated menu in a restaurant.
This problem is not that bad in some cases, but it can become more serious if it is in a restaurant that is frequented by foreign visitors.
These errors are commonly known as Chinglish. It is embarrassing when a local person has to use Chinglish when they are trying to communicate with a foreigner.
We need to try harder to improve overall standards of English in the city when something is being translated from Chinese into English.
The government should be promoting better use of English and should discourage people from communciating in Chinglish.
Shops should be rewarded for signs which use formal English in signs and where staff can converse in English.
We have to recognise the importance of people having a good command of English, given that Hong Kong has to maintain its reputation of being an international city.
Jackson Lau, Tseung Kwan O