Letters to the Editor, November 8, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 5:04pm

Both sides in protests must share blame

On Sunday night, there were clashes outside the central ­government’s liaison office in ­Western following a peaceful march to protest over Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law (“Police use pepper spray on crowds in oaths row”, ­November 7).

Some masked demonstrators charged police barricades and eventually officers used pepper spray several times.

It seems that we are going to see renewed hostilities between police officers and some demonstrators.

Many people have been ­critical of the police in the past over their responses to ­protesters and claim their ­response was excessive.

Other people defend them and blame the activists. I think these two stakeholders should share the blame for some of these conflicts, which appear to be getting worse.

I urge protesters to make their views known in a peaceful manner.

Also police officers have to exercise better judgment and look carefully at an incident ­before deciding that it is ­necessary to use force.

Oscar Chan, Tseung Kwan O

MTR could make network even better

Earlier this month, a woman fell onto the tracks in the gap ­between the train and the platform at Lo Wu station (“Platform safety questioned as woman falls onto MTR track”, ­November 2).

She was helped by two MTR employees, but it should be a cause for concern that it was so easy for them to jump into the space and help the woman get back on the platform.

I appreciate that the MTR Corporation has done a lot for passengers, such as offering fare discounts to the elderly and ­having priority seats for people in need, but there are clearly areas of the network where there is room for improvement. For example, it needs to look at this accident and ask what could be done to offer better protection to people on these platforms.

I also think some stations do not have enough lifts and this can be very inconvenient for people in wheelchairs. It also needs to provide more breast-feeding rooms for mothers at its ­stations and in the malls that it manages.

We always think of Hong Kong as a caring society, but there are always areas where the government and private ­companies could do better.

Yoyo Li Tsz-kwan,Yau Yat Chuen

Same-sex couples still not treated equally

I am glad that society is more ­accepting of the lesbian and gay community (“The fight to lift the barrier to same-sex equality in Hong Kong”, November 5). However, there is more that the government could be doing to help these people.

There are many areas of the law where same-sex couples do not enjoy the same protection as heterosexual couples, such as not being allowed to fill in joint tax returns and not being ­covered by the work insurance policies of their partners.

I believe they should have the same legal rights in all respects as straight couples.

I think calls are growing in society for equal treatment for the lesbian and gay community. The calls for such equal treatment before the law should not be ignored.

Jessica Tsui Kit-lam, Kwai Chung

Firms can gain from shorter working week

Compared with people in similar societies around the world, Hong Kong citizens work ­relatively long hours.

So many companies are ­trying to maximise their profits and have employees spending a lot of time in the office. This has a number of negative effects, with people having less time to spend with their families.

This can be counterproductive for them and for their ­employers.

Without sufficient rest, they often become increasingly tired, and this can make them less ­efficient and so the ­company can also suffer.

In some Western countries, people have relatively short average working weeks. Yet these countries continue to be productive, with many ­successful and profitable ­companies.

The Hong Kong government should be forcing companies to establish ­maximum working hours per week.

Edward Wong, Hang Hau

Glad organic food markets are doing well

It is good that more Hongkongers are trying to lead healthier lives (“Hong Kong’s organic food start-ups turn to weekend open markets ”, November 8).

Many are now choosing to purchase organic produce and some have even decided to ­become vegetarians. Markets selling organic food help to send a message that we should eat healthy food.

I hope we will see a lot more of these markets being established in the city. They charge low rents to organic farmers to set up their stalls and this helps cuts their costs. That means they do not have to charge so much, ­because organic vegetables tend to be more expensive than ordinary vegetables. This will ­encourage more people to try this healthier food.

I also think the government should be doing more encourage the growth of the organic produce sector in Hong Kong and help more markets get ­started.

Cathy Chou Yuen-ying, Tsuen Wan

Government must listen to citizens

A survey showing that seven out of 10 Hongkongers think the city has become a worse place to live in shows that many citizens are keen to leave.

They cite the city’s housing, environmental, education and poverty problems, and the poor quality of the government, as reasons for wanting to move somewhere else.

We have been talking about these problems for years, but they have not been solved and some of them have become even worse. This makes some citizens feel that the government just does not care and is not capable of dealing effectively with these vital issues.

The government should be listening more to the people’s voices and responding to their concerns. It should certainly not be turning a deaf ear to what ­citizens have to say.

It should be finding ways to build more public housing. Also, it needs to use education to raise the awareness of citizens about the importance of environmental protection and do more to cut levels of air pollution. And it needs to implement education reforms so there is less pressure on students.

Without changes we could see more people leaving the city.

Alice Chin Wing-sze, Lai Chi Kok

Find global solution for refugee crisis

I have to wonder if it is really ­necessary for the Australian government to impose a lifetime ban on all boatpeople who have attempted to get to the country.

I understand the argument of the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, that they have come to the country illegally, but we need to consider what motivated them to risk their lives in a boat.

Many are escaping a homeland ravaged by war. Some of them are political refugees who faced death unless they fled and sought a better life.

Many refugees come to the US, for example, some illegally, in search of a better life. They are not all sent back to their country of origin.

The refugee problem is an international one and there should be a meeting of nations to come up with a global policy to deal with it.

Toby Tsoi Hong-to, Sai Kung