Letters to the Editor, June 22, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 3:52pm

Taxi drivers need serious competition

As a frequent taxi user, I ­really hope that the government goes ahead with the premium taxi franchises and is not swayed by threats from the present taxi fleet.

The present taxi service is ­becoming unacceptable, with passengers having to put up with ­radios blasting, drivers checking their messages on phones stacked on their windscreens, and their decision on whether they want to pick up a passenger or slip the “no ­service” card over the hire sign.

Local taxi drivers have still not accepted that it is dangerous to read their messages from the phone on the dashboard, and unfortunately the government does not crack down on this practice.

It is time local taxi drivers got some serious competition and learned that they are a service ­industry and to show ­respect to passengers.

I once requested the driver to slow down as he was driving too fast and he had the audacity to tell me next time to take a bus.

We as passengers are paying for a safe ride and a quiet one and should not have to listen to their gossip on the phone.

Beth Narain, Sai Ying Pun

For years we have endured rude cabbies

For years, the public has lamented the state of the taxi service in Hong Kong.

They have had to put up with rude drivers refusing fares, filthy, uncomfortable taxis, ridiculous rules on the red/green/blue taxi turf and the fact that they all change shifts at exactly the same time (which makes getting a taxi between 4pm to 5pm impossible everywhere).

The market has spoken with the rise of Uber and now we will have a premium service to look forward to.

This begs the question why in Hong Kong there is a “premium” for a service – clean new taxis with pleasant drivers who will take you where you want to go when you want to go there – that is considered a ­normal service elsewhere in the developed world.

On this point, I agree with the drivers that premium service is just a scam to benefit big business. It is a pity the drivers didn’t wake up and smell the gas sooner.

Catherine LaJeunesse, Sai Kung

Captivity in aquariums must be ended

Many marine animals are still kept in captivity in aquariums around the world. They are used to attract ­tourists, often to theme parks, and usually the priority is to maximise profit. This can mean that the physical and mental health of these animals is neglected.

A documentary was made revealing the truth about how captive killer whales are treated. The space allocated to them in a tank in an aquarium is tiny compared to the distances a whale travels in the ocean. This causes psychasthenia. A trainer was killed by an orca whale at an aquarium and yet there is no record of such a whale killing a human in the wild. Therefore, it is clear that marine animals should not be kept in captivity, as it damages their mental health.

They are forced to perform in front of an audience, in return for food. This is against their nature.

Sadly, many of these marine animals, after a long period in captivity, lose their natural instincts and they cannot be freed into the ocean as they would not survive. They have lost the ability to find food. This means that they have to stay in some kind of protective environment.

We need to stop capturing these marine animals and leave them alone in the wild where they belong.

Law Ying-lo, Yau Yat Chuen

Get tough with rogue medical firms’ adverts

I agree with those who argue that adverts for medical services on the mainland must be regulated.

It is common for these adverts to make misleading claims and the problem has got worse, as more people use the internet and see these ads.

Of course, some of the treatment is bogus and so people pay for procedures that make them worse.

The central government has to work with major pharmaceutical and other medical companies to ensure that advertising about procedures is honest and is realistically priced.

With tighter regulation, people can be sure that they are going to get the medical treatment they paid for.

If more ­people fall ill ­because of bogus treatment, this could affect the economy.

Ng Wai-nam, Tseung Kwan O

Term from civil war was really inappropriate

I watched a programme on TV produced by RTHK in which a student leader from the University of Hong Kong repeatedly ­referred to China as a “communist bandit”.

I wonder if she understood the historical significance of that dubious term she used.

It was used by the nationalists in a propaganda warfare to demonise their enemy during the civil war in China.

The communists also used derogatory terms.

That war tore China apart and cost millions of innocent lives.

The antagonism between the two warring sides was evident and the use of abusive language was common as they were in conflict.

Fortunately, the civil war is now part of history. It has been more than 30 years since the nationalists and communists traded insults in this way. They are not terms considered appropriate by politicians on either side of the Taiwan Strait.

The government of China is a legitimate administration and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, so I was appalled to hear this student leader use this abusive term.

Is she so blind to political ­reality that she has lost touch with historical facts? No matter how distasteful she finds China, its government should certainly not be compared to bandits.

I find it hard to understand why people who were born during a period of detente and who have never suffered from the agony of war or at the hands of a ruthless regime should have developed such a deep ­hatred towards China.

I would also ask why RTHK would allow someone to make such comments. After all, it is funded by the Hong Kong government.

People used to say that our university students were our ­future.

Unfortunately, from the way they think and act in public, I do not see it that way any longer in Hong Kong.

T. P. Cheng, Tiu Keng Leng

It is okay for bars to hold ladies’ nights

I have no objection to bars organising ladies’ nights, even though one male customer in Hong Kong felt they were unfair.

I see it as a simple business decision taken by these bars when they organise these ­special nights.

They are clearly popular, and attract more customers, both male and female. This creates a great atmosphere in the bar or nightclub and more drinks are sold, so profits go up.

I don’t see it as gender discrimination.

You have companies which offer discounts for different sections of society, such as fare reductions on the MTR and buses for the elderly, and no one objects to those.

I think it is OK for these bars to organise ladies’ nights.

Cheng Tsz -tung, Kowloon Tong