Letters to the Editor, September 25, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 12:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2016, 12:18am

Existing laws not protecting at-risk children

Many citizens do not seem to be aware of the need to have comprehensive policies in Hong Kong that offer greater protection to children from abuse.

The case of a five-year-old child who died from ingesting the drug crystal methamphetamine, while in the care of a drug-addicted mother, showed that the city’s child protection system is seriously flawed.

Children in vulnerable domestic situations face ­violence, illegal drugs and other threats. These destructive environments are obstacles to their healthy physical and ­mental development.

Of course neighbours and friends who see signs of abuse in a domestic situation should report it. However, many stick to Chinese traditions and the belief that you should never interfere in the affairs of another family.

Also, I believe that social workers lack the resources they need to deal with all their cases of suspected child abuse. And the government has not allocated sufficient funds to train enough social workers.

Most of us lead secure lives. But we need to understand that there are many children who do not enjoy that security. It is hard to imagine this is the case in a modern city like Hong Kong.

All children are entitled to be protected against mental and physical abuse.

The government needs to look at the legislation designed to protect at-risk children and see how it can be improved.

If more laws are needed, they should be drafted and enacted without delay. Children are future pillars of society and should be allowed to grow up in an environment free from violence.

Stella Chan Chi-wah, Yau Yat Chuen

Designated areas can work for hawkers

I agree with those who say that the government is not doing enough to help hawkers seeking licences (“Organiser of Hong Kong hawker bazaar calls for streamlined procedures for holding street markets”, September 17).

The hawker trade is an integral part of Hong Kong’s tradition and culture. Hygiene problems led to the government imposing restrictions on the issue of hawker licences. However, officials should be encouraging the hawker sector rather than trying to eradicate it.

Also, it provides a source of income for people who do not have the skills to get other jobs. Yet, often, people who try to set up stalls are hounded by officers from the relevant government department.

The government can solve the hygiene issue by having designated hawker areas that are monitored. And it should set up a scheme so elderly hawkers can train younger people, which is what happens in Singapore.

Trisha Tobar, Tseung Kwan O

Singapore Airlines to buy more A380s

I refer to the article by Stephen Vines (“Flying into the unknown”, September 22).

We would like to clarify that it is not correct that Singapore ­Airlines “will also drop its other A380s”.

In fact, we have five new A380s on order with Airbus for delivery from the second half of 2017.

Harry Chu, public relations manager Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines

We should be responsible passengers

I refer to the letter by Rico Leung (“Put staff on MTR trains to ­enforce rules”, September 19).

I agree with your correspondents that there are passengers who ignore some of the MTR Corporation’s by-laws and that they do so because they think they will not face any consequences for their actions. ­However, I have some reservations about his call for more staff on trains.

The punishment, for example, for eating and drinking on a train is not that severe. ­People caught eating on board would probably not be that bothered about ­paying the fine so the presence of staff on board would be unlikely to act as much of a deterrent.

Also, if passengers feel they are being monitored all the time by MTR staff, they might feel uncomfortable and even resent it. And for the MTR Corp, it would mean deploying more employees on trains, which could lead to manpower shortages in other parts of the network. If it had to hire more people, it would probably increase fares.

I think it comes down to self-discipline. It is up to all of us to be cooperative passengers and obey the MTR’s regulations. Then everyone can enjoy a clean and comfortable journey.

Cheng Ka-Man, Tsuen Wan

Why French take hard line over burqinis

I refer to Chiu Ka Lam’s letter (“Nothing wrong with wearing a burqini” , September 19).

The burqini is ­obviously just a piece of cloth that some ­women decide to wear in certain Muslim countries. But the issue is not the cloth itself, it is what it symbolises and this is precisely why the French authorities are concerned.

It is an obvious sign that the person does not wish to accept the customs and habits of the country where she has decided to live.

Combined with other facts, such as the demand for female doctors to handle Muslim ­female patients, the request that special meals for Muslims are served in school canteens, and halal meat in supermarkets, all this exacerbates the feeling that foreigners want to impose their culture.

All this explains the reaction of more and more French people.

Just imagine your reaction, Mr Chiu, if some immigrants from New Guinea were to sit next to you, on an MTR train in Hong Kong, wearing their traditional attire (nothing or next to nothing for females and just a koteka for men )?

Francois Moirez, Stanley

Affordable rents will help start-ups

I can understand why so many young citizens do not set up businesses in Hong Kong.

They face serious obstacles, and will find it more difficult to launch a start-up here than they would, say, in the US or some developed parts of the mainland.

Costs are high and graduates are already in debt from university loans. The government must offer more financial assistance to these entrepreneurs and provide offices where they are charged affordable rents.

Vicky Chung, Sheung Shui

Donald Trump presidency an awful prospect

Niall Ferguson (“Chasing change”, September 21) suggests the worst aspect of a Trump presidency is a derailment. It will be a massive train wreck.

The changes he proposes will have to wait four years, as the risks are too great and the consequences too large both within the US and abroad.

When even the elder GOP [Republican Party] statesman, former president George Bush Senior declares his support for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, perhaps the electorate should sit up and take notice.

The US Republican Party has done its citizens a disservice by nominating a candidate whose values represent attitudes of “sound bites”, greed, scare tactics and xenophobia, and who is incapable of offering any serious debate on the issues.

Unfortunately for independent voters and serious-minded Republicans alike, the prospects are not good.

Rather than just a “snafu”, the situation appears “deplorable” and warrants soul-searching by the GOP for a leadership worthy of its roots.

R. Cooper, Hung Hom