Letters to the Editor, August 25, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 August, 2016, 5:26pm

Working hours law must heed adverse effects

I refer to the letter by Borromeo Li Ka-kit (“Boycott of standard hours talks in Hong Kong will hurt low-income groups”, ­August 13).

The debate on whether Hong Kong needs a standard working hours law has proved to be controversial.

There is no doubt that such legislation would improve ­employees’ working conditions. Many would have a shorter working week if employers were not willing to pay overtime. This would give them more time to relax. Where overtime was paid, employees would find they were earning more than when they worked additional hours with no extra pay.

However, critics have expressed concerns about such a law, such as a higher unemployment rate. They claim some ­employers will lay off staff to cut labour costs and the worst hit will be the low-skilled poorly educated workers who did not earn much in the first place.

Also, they argue that there can be no specific definition of standard working hours and such a law cannot apply to all jobs, for example, a doctor or a teacher. And what about those who work from home? How can their working hours be calculated?

I think there should be a standard working hours law, but the government should ensure that measures are included which provide suitable assistance to those groups and ­people who are negatively ­affected by the legislation.

Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O

Indomitable Lee is the spirit of Hong Kong

I think cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze exemplifies the spirit of Hong Kong.

She won bronze at the London Olympics in 2012 in the keirin and was world champion in the 500m time trial after winning in Belarus in 2013.

In the Olympics in Rio, she had a fall on the cycling track. However, although she was in pain and had difficulty ­sleeping, she would not give up and tried her best to get a better placing. Although she failed to get a ­medal, she showed sportsmanship and the perseverance that we associate with the ­people of Hong Kong.

Lee is a good role model for Hong Kong teenagers. She has shown the importance of refusing to give up easily and aiming for your dream despite all the difficulties you face.

Cherrie Kong, Yau Yat Chuen

US swimmer’s tall tale a lesson for others

The four main sponsors of US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte have dropped him after he lied about being robbed at gunpoint while on a night out in Rio.

Speedo said it could not “condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for”. Its decision was justified, because Lochte’s behaviour was inappropriate.

His behaviour was immature and he has been widely pilloried in the US media.

Top athletes like Lochte and other celebrities must always think about the consequences of their actions.

I am glad that he said that he has learned from this.

Angel Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Tackling illegal road racers is police priority

I refer to David Ollerearnshaw’s letter (“Police inaction on ­deadly road racing baffling”, ­August 14), which expressed ­concern over illegal road racing activities on Route Twisk.

Tackling illegal road racing, dangerous driving and speeding is a priority for traffic policing under the commissioner of ­police’s operational priorities and selected traffic enforcement policy.

In enhancing and ­ensuring road safety, police adopt a three-pronged ­approach – engineering, engagement (of the public) and enforcement, that is, “The Three Es”.

On engineering, plastic cones have been erected in the centre of the road on the lower stretches of Route Twisk. More cones will be erected shortly. We also place emphasis on public engagement, education and publicity. On enforcement, ­police officers are stationed on static post duty along Route Twisk.

Over the last six months, ­police conducted 198 high-profile patrols, 41 speeding checks and 300 random breath tests along Route Twisk.

Unmarked police cars, equipped with video cameras on board, were also ­deployed. As a result, eight ­drivers were ­arrested for dangerous driving and over 20 vehicles were ­required to undergo ­further ­examination.

Recent court convictions for dangerous driving on Route Twisk in July and August ­resulted in one person being ­imprisoned for two weeks and ­another sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment.

Let me assure readers that police will continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate action if it is warranted.

Joseph Au Chin-chau, chief superintendent, Police Public Relations Branch

Action needed on negatives of volunteering

I refer to the report, “Why Hong Kong students’ volunteering may do more harm then good” (August 11).

I agree that there can be negative outcomes when some local students go abroad to do voluntary work.

First of all, Hong Kong youngsters will often not be familiar with local customs and lifestyles when they go to a developing country to do this voluntary work.

It can take them time to adapt to the new environment and that may be difficult over a short period.

They can also struggle if the resources available for them to work with are limited.

Many also face ­serious ­language barriers, which make it ­difficult for them to interact with locals and gain their acceptance and trust.

I would also ask if all the ­students from Hong Kong are motivated by genuinely good ­intentions and whether they may neglect the needs of local people.

Also, some of them may see an overseas trip doing voluntary work as a way to improve their personal profiles and therefore their future prospects.

Some may be forced into volunteering by their school and might do more harm than good. And e ven if their intentions are good, ­because of the problems they encounter, they may have only limited ­success.

Until we see changes in the way this kind of work is organised and the way ­youngsters approach it, I do not believe volunteer work in ­developing countries by young Hongkongers should be ­encouraged.

Caroline Wong, Tsing Yi

Cultural divide could be plain selfish attitude

There has been criticism of the bad behaviour of some tourists from the mainland when they visit Hong Kong, such as discarding rubbish on the pavement and smoking in no-smoking areas.

Some people just put it down to differences in culture, but I do not accept this argument.

I was recently in Taipei and noticed that at the platforms at Taipei Metro stations, there were orderly queues.

People waited patiently for all the passengers to disembark before ­boarding. It was all very orderly.

In contrast, at MTR stations, it is really a mess with people pushing to get on board. Is this really a difference in culture?

I think there are just some people who, whatever their ­culture, will be selfish and lazy and behave badly in public.

Kevin Lee, Tseung Kwan O