Letters to the editor, May 6, 2016

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 5:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 5:17pm

More must be done to help at-risk children

I am concerned that Hong Kong is running out of places at shelters for children who face abuse and neglect (“Homes for abused children at capacity”, May 2).

The problem was highlighted by the case of a mentally disabled child who died from taking an illegal drug that his mother used. A placement away from the family home could not be found for him.

The government must set up more shelters as soon as possible so there are enough places for these at-risk children.

It must also look at how the courts handle adults found guilty of child abuse and consider imposing tougher ­penalties where appropriate.

Education is also important. NGOs can hold workshops for parents and their children. The workshops would help families work through their problems.

In addition, they could set up training courses for teachers, giving them some professional insight, so that the teachers are better equipped to notice the signs when one of their students may be a victim of domestic abuse or neglect.

This could help the authorities to act swiftly and get the child out of the home as soon as possible. If schools are able to employ more social workers, that will also improve the chances of early detection of a child who may be at risk in the family home and who requires a placement at a shelter.

All stakeholders need to get involved and work together so they are able to help children in need before it is too late.

Natalie Siu Hoi-tung, Yau Yat Chuen

Autotoll for all cars can ease congestion

There have been a number of ­articles and letters about traffic problems and how they can be dealt with, including a crackdown on illegal parking and introducing electronic road pricing. I have a few suggestions.

Autotoll should be made mandatory for all new cars and introduced for existing cars in phases. In Singapore, tollbooths are automated and no cash ­payments are allowed, and this includes parking. This arrangement would alleviate congestion at our tunnels.

The Transport Department should have a forum and invite suggestions from the public to improve traffic flow.

I can give one example of how to improve a really congested part of Central between HSBC and Pedder Street/ Queen’s Road Central.

The taxi stop at HSBC should be a parking bay. At Landmark, the stretch near New World Tower is a drop-off point which often turns two lanes into one (cars trying to get to Landmark or taxis turning into ­Pedder Street block a lane). If the drop-off point is removed, it will free up a lane.

Rahil Ahuja, Repulse Bay

HK has more freedom than Singapore

Singapore and Hong Kong are often described as being very similar, socially, culturally and economically. But, I think there are major social and political ­differences.

Singapore has comprehensive policies on education, housing and environmental protection. It does better in these areas than Hong Kong, where many citizens struggle to achieve their dream of owning a flat.

However, I do not want to give the impression that there is nothing to be proud of in Hong Kong, because there is.

The two cities have different core values. In Singapore, there is a very clear path for citizens to follow. By contrast, in Hong Kong, when policies and issues are discussed, you hear many different voices.

Although our society has its imperfections, I still treasure the freedom we have. In Hong Kong, the media can still keep a check on the government. We can still speak out if we think a government policy is bad.

Ensuring a good standard of living for citizens is important. But complete freedom of expression is crucial. Young Hongkongers enjoy that freedom and it encourages them to get involved in society.

Krista Lau Kit-hung, Tsuen Wan

Gay Games sends wrong message

Mark Peaker (“LGBT equality must be a priority”, May 1), though probably with the best of intentions, has surely got it wrong. A Gay Games ­promotes the idea that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are different: I thought that they wanted to convey the idea that they are normal.

They should certainly not be barred from participating in any sporting event because of their sexual orientation, but neither should the heterosexual members of society, whom, by implication, will be barred from the Gay Games.

What a feast of delight for the Equal Opportunities Commission, if it can cope with both this and the ladies’ nights issue.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Why scrapping Octopus would be a bad idea

I refer to the letter by Simon Wang (“Hong Kong should phase out Octopus cards to make way for truly competitive e-payment apps”, April 27).

Mr Wang advocates the phasing out of Octopus cards to make way for the development of e-payment apps.

I doubt if this would be appropriate for Hong Kong, especially when there are still unresolved problems with these apps, including the potential risks of using them.

Some people have security concerns when it comes to new technology. They still feel that making payments over the internet can be risky. They are worried that their personal information such as credit card number and password of e-payment accounts could be stolen during the transmission process.

Therefore, they do not think it is worth the risk even though e-payment methods are convenient. They feel that, by comparison, the Octopus card is a safer choice and it takes no more than a second to tap it on the censor. And for many of us, when we use it, our personal information is not recorded online. For these reasons, I find this “20th-century technology” more reliable.

Octopus cards are used for different kinds of payments by citizens from different backgrounds and age groups, including the elderly. The HK$2 transport fare concession for those over 65 is only valid by using an Octopus card. How would elderly citizens without smartphones cope if these cards were phased out in Hong Kong?

Many pensioners could not afford to purchase a smartphone and therefore could not make e-payments.

Without Octopus, they would have to pay everything by cash. So scrapping the card would not transform us into a “true cashless city”.

Judy Lam, Sha Tin

Red rainstorm warning is still necessary

I refer the letter by Lee Kwok-lun, of the Hong Kong Observatory, about heavy rainfall on April 13 (“Red rainstorm warning was not necessary”, April 25). I think the red rainstorm warning was still needed.

Primary students still had to go to school when the amber rainstorm warning was raised. If there was no red level, and the rain was heavy, but not heavy enough to merit the black signal, they still had to go to school.

With the red rainstorm warning, they could have stayed at home.

Young children are vulnerable when they have to be out in a downpour. They could easily fall and hurt themselves.

I think the Observatory needs to consider fine-tuning the system and have a new range of rainstorm warning levels. This is especially important with predictions that with climate change, Hong Kong will experience more rainfall.

Dennis Fan Ho-kwan, Tseung Kwan O

Big thank you to HK Airport Authority

Contrary to public opinion, I ­applaud the Hong Kong Airport Authority’s recent decision that there was no wrongdoing with regard to the handling of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s daughter’s bags.

To that end, I wonder when the authority will ­announce the hotline number members of the public can call when they need their bags brought to the departure gate in a hurry.

Like C. Y.’s daughter, I am forgetful on occasion and find it to be a most welcome development that airport staff will hand deliver my bags past ­security and to my destination of choice.

Since there appears to be no charge for baggage handling either, I am left wondering why regular flyers aren’t ecstatic over this new service.

Scott Murphy, Central