Letters to the Editor, November 23, 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 4:59pm

Overworked staff need law to limit hours

Labour unionists have offered the chief executive a compromise for working hours legislation, of a standardised 44 hours a week.

The government has said it needs more time to consider this proposal and the Standard Working Hours Committee will be given another two months to study the unionists’ proposal.

I support standardising working hours. Many people in Hong Kong are now working long hours without getting any overtime pay, but they do not complain to their employer as they are afraid of losing their jobs. Their only hope of having a shorter working week is for the government to enact legislation.

However, we also have to accept reality, that the problem cannot be solved overnight and it may be necessary to amend the law over a ­period of time.

For example, according to official data, staff in Chinese restaurants work 60 hours a week. It would not be possible to suddenly cut that to 44 hours. The reduction would have to take place gradually.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying promised to deal with this issue when he was standing for election.

I hope he will recognise that this compromise proposed by the unionists is the best solution and that he will support it.

Lovelyn Wong, Tsing Yi

Market has now lost its charisma

My first visit to Hong Kong was in 1977 and I have been living here since 2003.

While I have always enjoyed visiting Stanley Market, I am now writing to register my ­sadness to see the ­market today becoming something totally different from what it used to be.

Rather than being a paradise for bargain hunters and buyers of souvenirs from Hong Kong, it is now more and more looking like a fake deluxe shopping area, ­without charisma or personality, because of the greed of the landlords. It is this greed which makes it so difficult to live in Hong Kong and I think this is really sad.

Sylvio F. Bertoli, Mid-Levels

Asking Trump for help the wrong tactic

The two disqualified legislative councillors are hoping the US will support what they see as their struggle for human rights in Hong Kong (“Disqualified localist lawmaker tells Trump administration to ‘keep eyes on Hong Kong’”, November 19).

Since the implementation of the open-door policy and subsequent reforms, the mainland economy has grown at a dramatic rate. Yet, human rights and democratic development have lagged behind economic progress. While there is an urgent need to provide more freedom for Chinese citizens and to protect their rights, it is not rational to ask for other countries’ intervention.

Although Hong Kong is facing unprecedented pressure from the central government, trying to get other countries involved will only damage the reputations of Hong Kong and the mainland and will not solve the problem.

It will take time to make the necessary changes.

I do not think Donald Trump would have anything to gain by getting involved. He would face enormous opposition and it could lead to relations between Beijing and Washington getting worse. Trump is a businessman and I do not believe he would undermine America’s relationship with the world’s biggest market just to defend human rights in Hong Kong.

I think the claim that the central government has suppressed Hongkongers’ freedoms is a misconception that has been promoted by the pan-democrats ever since the Umbrella Revolution.

Over the past decade, we have seen the city becoming ­divided into two opposing camps. Blind support for or ­opposition to government policies, without a thorough understanding of the issues, does not help.

Citizens in Hong Kong still enjoy freedom of speech and assembly, but we have to exercise these rights responsibly and not damage social stability.

It takes a long time and a lot of commitment to build something constructive, but it can be destroyed in seconds.

We take pride in the city’s solid judicial foundations and now they are being undermined because of the actions of the two disqualified lawmakers.

We cannot keep looking back to the past. Hong Kong must move forward if it is to ­remain competitive and maintain its position as a leading financial centre in Asia.

Jack Wu, Tai Wai

Is democracy all it’s cracked up to be?

I refer to Shirley Lee’s letter (“Trump, Brexit raise doubts on voting system”, November 18).

Ms Lee is seemingly confused when she states that “virtually everyone had been predicting a win for Hillary ­Clinton”.

Had she spoken to Donald Trump supporters, they most ­assuredly were not “taken by ­surprise”. The same can be said of the 52 per cent of Britons who voted for Brexit in the EU ­referendum.

The entire foundation of democracy is that we elect a ­person the people vote for (albeit Clinton won the popular vote but was not elected, that is a flaw of the American system).

There is no requirement for previous experience, no requirement for suitability and no requirement to implement the policy ideals that may get a ­person elected.

The shocked reaction to Trump and Brexit is simply ­because Ms Lee and millions of others are on the losing side – too bad, that’s democracy.

Her argument for Hong Kong is pointless, we are not a ­democracy and based upon her own argument, perhaps democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

We should focus on what really matters

There is no doubt that because of the insincere way in which they took their oath in the Legislative Council last month, disqualified lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching let down the people who had voted for them.

However, I think what we should be focusing on is that the Standing Committee of the ­National People’s Congress chose to rule on the oath-taking before the High Court in Hong Kong could rule on the judicial review.

Hong Kong’s judicial ­independence is a fundamental core value in the city.

That it is being slowly sabotaged is something I find both terrifying and infuriating.

Harry Ng, Tseung Kwan O

MTR Corp will fix problems at new stations

Some correspondents have complained about the new MTR stations – Ho Man Tin and Whampoa – on the Kwun Tong Line Extension, saying improvements are needed.

There were a number of complaints about aspects of both stations, including one that the designs will cause inconvenience to users, but I remain ­optimistic.

There will always be technical issues to sort out and other teething problems when a new rail station opens. However, I think we should have faith in the MTR Corporation, given its track record in Hong Kong over the years.

The MTR Corp will be closely monitoring the new stations to identify any problems that exist and I am sure we will see improvement works being implemented over the next few months.

Athena Yip, Kowloon Tong