Letters to the editor, April 14, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2016, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2016, 4:56pm

CY risks more alienation over airport bag

Questions have been raised about whether security protocols at Hong Kong International Airport were breached, when a bag was delivered to the daughter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, from a non-restricted to a restricted area.

If protocol was breached, then I do not agree that staff should have taken this action, because the person concerned was the chief executive’s daughter.

Young Hong Kong activists are already dissatisfied with the chief executive’s administration and this will only exacerbate tension.

I appreciate that in terms of protocol, this is a grey area, but the chief executive should have recognised that his actions could lead to further attacks by his critics.

Mr Leung has to be seen to be a model citizen. If his daughter was given special treatment ­because of his position, then other citizens will feel it is unjust, as they would not be accorded the same rights.

If someone uses his social status to get privileges, it is only natural that it would make other people angry.

Some individuals claim radical politicians who have criticised Mr Leung over this incident are just envious, but I don’t think that is the case.

They feel that his family has been given preferential treatment and that is unfair.

I am disappointed by Mr Leung’s actions and I think we are entitled to ask if it represents an abuse of power.

Walter Chong, Tseung Kwan O

Why should workers pay for Virgin cuts?

I refer to the report, “Virgin Atlantic makes further staff cuts” (April 7).

It says: “The airline will use Mandatory Provident Fund contributions to offset staff redundancy pay.”

So let me get this clear: if you are employed by a company in Hong Kong, you are obliged to contribute to the Mandatory Provident Fund some 5 per cent or thereabouts of your salary in the expectation that, when it comes to retirement, you will have funds to live out your old age in some degree of security and comfort.

It’s just a pity that the banks and others administering these schemes gobble up much of the money earned in the form of ­annual “service charges”. And it is an even greater pity then, if you happen to be made redundant several times – a distinct possibility given the economic changes that occur over most peoples’ working lives – there will be such a paltry amount ­remaining in your MPF kitty you will have to go out and start ­collecting cardboard boxes – not the most encouraging career move at the age of 60-plus.

Why should employees be obliged to bear part of the cost of their redundancies at the ­expense of their retirement funds?

It would seem that, given the huge profit Virgin’s founder Richard Branson has made ­selling off his shares in Virgin America, as mentioned at the end of the article, that employers or the government should shoulder all or at least a greater part of these costs, not the unfortunate employee.

Angus Hardern, Mong Kok

MTR wrong to continually raise fares

I refer to the letter by Cheng Si-wa (“MTR’s fare rise is unfair and unjustified”, April 2). Like your correspondent, I am not happy with the way the MTR Corporation makes its fare adjustments.

It is not fair, because over the last seven years, the MTR Corp has annually adjusted fares ­upwards.

Its network carries 40 per cent of all public transport passengers.

This high figure is hardly ­surprising as it is a very convenient mode of transport, especially for people who have to travel long distances to the workplace or to school every day.

As the fare, year on year, gets more expensive, transport costs for regular travellers keep going up.

Under the fare adjustment mechanism, prices can go up or down, but they have only ­increased. This has provoked fierce criticism from many citizens who argue that though fares keep rising, the service has not ­improved.

There has been a number of incidents, including service breakdowns, and when they happened during the rush hour, they caused long delays. Passengers needed to wait a long time for alternative transport, such as shuttle buses.

Given these incidents and the high level of dissatisfaction, the MTR Corp’s proposed fare rise is wrong. People should not have to pay more this year.

The MTR Corp has made a large profit, but has not taken ­account of the economic burden felt by citizens when faced with a fare rise every year.

I hope we will see a fairer fare adjustment mechanism in the future.

Dicky Pun, Kwun Tong

Exiting EU may make Brits happier

I refer to the article by N. Balakrishnan (“Go forth and prosper”, April 4).

Your correspondent says, “In everything from computer games and movies to medical services, Britain is the leader in Europe.”

Unfortunately this is not matched by a top position in the world happiness index, where Britain takes up 23rd place, ­trailing 12 European countries.

It is to be hoped that leaving the European Union will fix that.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels

ATV’s demise another blow to heritage

Asia Television Limited ended broadcasting at the end of last month.

Many Hongkongers, especially the older generation, will have fond memories of watching some good programmes during their childhood. We seem to be losing much of what makes up the collective memory of Hong Kong.

So many people want change and innovation, but they do not see the downside of things from our past disappearing for good. In fact, we now seem to be brainwashed into demanding innovation without thinking about how it changes the city and our relationships with each other.

You see people on their mobile phones all the time. They message each other now instead of meeting face to face and ­talking. This can adversely affect interpersonal relationships.

If all we have in the city is constant change and innovation, then we lose our precious collective memory.

We should cherish the city’s history and keep it alive so that the next generation can learn about the past.

Sharon Ho, Lam Tin

Underground city would ease housing issue

I share the concern of other citizens about the shortage of land in Hong Kong.

The chief executive and his senior officials spend a lot of time fighting opposition parties. Meanwhile, the waiting list for public housing units grows and the city’s overall housing shortage remains a serious problem.

I see this housing shortage as an alarming time bomb in our society. Hong Kong is a densely populated city. We cannot see building more public flats alone as a long-term measure that will solve all our housing problems. We should look into the potential of constructing an underground city. This would increase capacity and make for more efficient land use above ground.

An underground city was constructed in Montreal, ­Canada, where the government has connected shopping malls, hotels, cinemas, restaurants and the city’s rail system.

The only downside with such a development is that it is a ­massive infrastructure project and will take a long time. ­However, it is worthy of consideration by the government and it should look closely at whether it would be suitable for Hong Kong.

Joey Chan Yuen-yi, Tseung Kwan O