Letters to the Editor, July 13, 2016
Puzzled by long wait for helpers’ visas
I refer to the report (“Calls to add specialised visa category for caregivers coming to Hong Kong”, June 27).
It is a complete mystery as to why it takes 21/2 months to process a foreign domestic worker’s visa in Hong Kong. Even more surprising is that it can sometimes take about this amount of time to renew a visa as well.
This is shameful for a city that prides itself on efficiency and technological advancement. This waiting time denies many desperate families immediate help at home, and it also prevents these workers, desperate for an income, from working for several weeks.
There is an even more dangerous consequence to this waiting time.
I spoke on behalf of the Lion Rock Institute at the Legco consultation on the UN Convention against Torture recently, and I called for the government to speed up this process.
The waiting time puts off a lot of helpers from quitting their jobs, even in circumstances of abuse from their employers, because they can’t afford to wait for so long to get a new contract signed and have their documents processed again.
The 2016 Global Slavery Index claimed that Hong Kong had 29,500 slaves, and I suspect helpers in such situations make up a large part of this number.
The government really should speed up the process to protect two of the most vulnerable groups in Hong Kong: the elderly in need of urgent care as well as foreign domestic helpers subject to abusive treatment.
Katherine Pemberton, research assistant, Lion Rock Institute
Taiwan shows us we need fewer bins
The world we live in works in many unexpected ways. One example is the correlation of the number of rubbish bins and the amount of street pollution. We would expect more bins to result in a cleaner area, but the opposite is often more true. A city like Hong Kong has more rubbish bins than 7-Eleven stores, yet the streets are often filled with litter. On the other hand, cities in Taiwan and Japan make it frustrating for anyone to hold on to any piece of trash, as there are never any bins in sight. Yet, these places are much cleaner than Hong Kong.
While this pattern may seem illogical, actually it makes a lot of sense.
In Hong Kong, we are so spoiled with the number of rubbish bins that it becomes a habit to carry trash with us anywhere. When we can’t find any rubbish bins, our frustration easily leads us to litter our own streets. Seeing litter on the streets only encourages others to do the same.
Whereas in Taiwan and Japan, a lack of rubbish bins discourages people from carrying any sort of trash.
With a lack of litter on the streets, people would feel more guilty being the first ones to litter and disrespect the location’s cleanliness.
Hence, the culture of cleanliness is thus reinforced in these places, making any sort of littering something that is frowned upon.
Therefore, Hong Kong could benefit from fewer rubbish bins (and perhaps more recycling bins instead).
Ryan Lee, Yuen Long
No-parking rules violated in Aberdeen
Ignorant are those who believe the only parking violators are wealthy people’s drivers parked along Queen’s Road Central during business hours on weekdays.
Most weekdays and every Sunday, one can see such violations in front of Aberdeen’s Nam Ning Street ParknShop and neighbouring stores.
On Sunday July 3 I asked one such violator: “Do you know you are parked in front of a fire hydrant and on a double yellow line ?”
His reply was, “Sure, so what?” So much for responsible citizenship.
One seldom sees any traffic warden or police officer along that street.
Are we to presume the police are so busy catching alleged thieves and other violators of the law that they have no time to enforce parking regulations on Aberdeen’s usually overcrowded streets?
I am tempted to let the air out of a tyre of one such violator and see what happens.
I would probably be charged and fined for some petty offence while the parking violator would at most get a proverbial slap on the wrist. The temptation is growing.
Reverend Ewing W. [Bud] Carroll, Lamma
More must be done to help at-risk children
It has been claimed that the Social Welfare Department has no long-term planning to help abused children in Hong Kong.
When we look at this issue we first have to ask why parents abuse their children. Some parents are struggling to cope with bringing up children. Maybe this is exacerbated because they are under a lot of pressure at work. They are not able to deal with these problems and take it out on their children physically.
Against Child Abuse is one of the organisations that has to deal with this problem, with some of the victims as young as two.
It does not appear as if the department has a long-term planning strategy and often cases of child abuse are dealt with by NGOs like Against Child Abuse.
It provides a hotline and services like counselling to help these children and try to ensure they have better lives. However, NGOs do not have sufficient resources. The government needs to do more to help these children and the NGOs which seek to protect them.
There should be more special homes which can act as a refuge for these at-risk children and the department must deal with cases as quickly as possible, so that children are put into a safe environment.
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O
Overprotective parents created by HK schools
Those parents known as “monster parents” in Hong Kong force their children to sign up for a variety of activities without asking them what they really want to do.
Rather than putting too much pressure on their children they should show them love. Instead they just focus on their children getting into a good school. They are overprotective, so their sons and daughters grow up unable to look after themselves and will become arrogant and self-centred.
These parents exist because of the high-pressure nature of the education system in Hong Kong. There needs to be a change of attitude in schools.
Jojo Wong, Tseung Kwan O
Allow older employees to keep working
I do not think there should be any limit on when people retire.
There are many adults who are 65 or above who are in good health and have no desire to retire. They enjoy their jobs and do not feel the need to retire at a set age.
First of all, a person’s ability to work and serve the nation cannot be judged by his age. Indeed, people in their sixties have more experience in the workplace than their younger colleagues.
Someone who is older has more highly-developed problem-solving skills, based on their practical experience over a number of years.
They set good examples that young people can follow.
Some people argue that these older people stop younger employees from getting promotion, but it is up to these younger colleagues to be competitive.
Ivy Li Ka-yu, Ho Man Tin