Letters to the Editor, May 26, 2017
Education is better than plastic bag levy
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing is likely to be reappointed for another term, serving in Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s administration [pending Beijing’s approval of the new cabinet]. I have no objection to this, but do have strong reservations about the plastic bag levy which was fully implemented in 2015 [following the first phase launched in 2009].
I am sure many citizens have, like me, witnessed the confusion and angry exchanges that have resulted from the 50-cent levy at, for example, fashion boutiques, cake shops, shoe shops, snack shops and department stores. Let me make it clear that it is not the 50 cents that matters, which no one really minds paying. But what makes shoppers mad is the huge inconvenience caused by the policy. I have found that some large fashion chains no longer give out plastic bags, and give customers paper bags instead. Often the bags are sizeable, meaning if I buy a belt, I have to put it in the large bag and fit it into my tiny handbag.
Not all women carry suitcases or shopping bags when they are out. Not everyone takes an eco-friendly bag when they go to the shops. Also, if you buy something new, you like to put it in a brand new bag, not an eco-bag. I once saw a woman having a row at a snack shop, after the cashier told her she could either pay for a plastic bag or put her snacks in her handbag.
What infuriated the shopper was why “she had to bother with” paying just to get her snacks properly put in a bag – a basic service for any customer. There have also been reports in the Chinese press about customers venting their frustrations against sales persons.
Let me stress it is not that they don’t want to pay 50 cents, but that they are deprived of the choice of a plastic bag, which is lighter and takes up much less space. Many, including myself, do take paper bags sometimes or just put stuff in our handbag – depending on what we buy. Having a choice is always key to a happy shopping experience.
I urge the new administration to scrap the ridiculous policy which is nothing but a nuisance. Public education, not a levy, is the best way to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour.
Macy Yeung, Mid-Levels
United front vital in fight against terror
The terrorist attack at Manchester Arena, which caused the deaths of innocent citizens, was a shameful and evil act. Going for these soft targets in European countries is a familiar tactic of supporters of Islamic State (IS).
Terrorism and religion are inextricably linked because these fundamentalist terror groups have brainwashed young people in the name of religion. The situation has been exacerbated by the involvement of Western nations in countries in the Middle East like Syria where they are fighting IS and so IS sees attacking soft targets as an act of revenge.
These Western countries have so far failed to win the war on terror and there seems to be no end in sight.
Peace-loving nations must show unity in their battle to end this global menace.
D. Kishan Prasad Rao, Thimmapur Mandal, Telangana State, India
Sex education for teenagers still inadequate
I am concerned about the number of adolescents contracting HIV/Aids, teenage girls becoming unmarried mothers and the rise in the number of youngsters having sex while they are still minors.
The main problem is that these young people are experimenting with sex while they are still emotionally immature.
It needs to be explained to them that having sexual experiences at such an early age can have serious consequences for them.
However, they are not getting the help and advice they need, because sex education in schools is inadequate.
This state of affairs has existed for decades and there has been no significant improvement.
So, often, curious teenagers go to the media and the internet to learn more about sex. This leads to them being misinformed and reading material that is inappropriate. They may even come into contact with pornographic material. As a consequence, they do not learn to adopt a responsible attitude towards sex.
Also, Western cultural influences can sometimes be negative. Some youngsters may erroneously think that engaging in sex is a sign of maturity and individualism. And, because they are immature, they have misconceptions about sex. Sex education for youngsters must be improved.
Teachers and parents must have open and frank discussions with teenagers about topics such as premarital sex and teen pregnancy.
By having such open discussions and comprehensive sex education, misconceptions and misunderstandings about sex can be eliminated.
Given that Hong Kong is such a traditional society, sex is often seen as a taboo subject.
As long as this attitude remains prevalent, more curious teenagers will be led astray and make bad decisions regarding sexual relations, which could lead to long-term problems for them.
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O
Great flying experience second to none
Cathay Pacific is striving to offer what you call for in your editorial (“Cathay needs to focus on delivering that ‘great flight experience’ ”, May 23).
I was recently transferred to a British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong as my Cathay flight was cancelled. Having horrid memories of BA, I had some trepidation but thought it would be the new A380 with the all new first-class product. It was an equally new 777/300 and it was horrendous. Cathay has six suites for first class where BA has 20 semiprivate seats that are inferior to Cathay’s new A350 business-class seat. The cabin floor was littered with debris, and the service, while pleasant, was not a patch on Cathay.
Cathay is Hong Kong’s airline and those who keep knocking it should be reminded how lucky we are to have one that sits at the forefront of safety and service. The present restructuring is a result of past errors. Job losses are unfortunate but, at times, necessary to ensure a brand that defines the excellence of Hong Kong survives.
Cathay offers outstanding service and its continual service improvements create a flying experience that is second to none across all classes.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
Saddened by Cathay’s falling standards
Hongkongers, including me, see Cathay Pacific as our home-town airline, but we have been disappointed by the problems it has been experiencing.
When it came to the service provided, Cathay was once seen as the world’s best airline, but there has been a significant drop in service quality, even though its fares remain expensive.
Now it is to shed almost 600 jobs, partly because it failed “to anticipate a collapse in the price of oil” (“Cathay Pacific to axe 600 staff as shake-up bites”, May 22).
This shows a lack of corporate social responsibility. These employees had nothing to do with the airline’s losses. As it still charges quite high fares, it must provide a great in-flight experience for passengers.
Beatrice Chan, Kwai Chung