Online Letters, August 29, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 3:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 3:14pm

Typhoons should remind us of the need to take sensible precautions

In Hong Kong some people were glad about getting a day off because of Typhoon Hato, but is was a very different situation in Macau (“Grieving Macau residents recount horror of Typhoon Hato”, August 26).

There were fatalities and many people’s homes were damaged by high winds and flooding. The Macau government (and especially the observatory) was heavily criticised for its response to the storm, in particular, for not taking the necessary preventive measures, such as raising higher typhoon signals earlier.

Governments in cities like Macau and Hong Kong should always have comprehensive preventive measures in place. Timely warnings should be issued to citizens explaining what they should do to stay safe when the storm hits. These cities do not get as many severe storms as other parts of the region, but they do happen and we must be ready for them.

We can learn from the preventive measures that have been put in place in Japan to deal with earthquakes. Of course the devastation from an earthquake can be far greater than a typhoon, but officials should still be prepared and be ready to act quickly. They also need to be able to help citizens when power is cut and supplies of essential items like fresh water are in short supply.

I hope Macau will recover as soon as possible and that the government will learn lessons from what happened last week.

Sandy Chan, Tseung Kwan O

A tough time for Hong Kong and Macau battered by strong winds and rain

Typhoon Hato caused a lot of damage to Hong Kong and Macau and disrupted transport including flights and it will take time for them to fully recover.

What concerned me was seeing news reports about some citizens acting irresponsibly and ignoring safety advice from the authorities. I saw one report where an elderly person was swimming in the sea when the typhoon signal No 10 had already been hoisted. He got out of the water safely and when interviewed said he was not scared of the typhoon. But if he had got into trouble rescue workers would have had to save him.

Swimming when a typhoon signal is up is a life-threatening act. What if someone gets into trouble and a rescue worker dies trying to save him?

I also saw some employees going to work on the day of the storm. I assume they were instructed to do so and I think this is irresponsible on the part of employers. They are putting their desire to make profits over the safety of their employees and this is wrong.

Some people were still making deliveries and it can be dangerous to drive a vehicle, especially on open roads when there are strong crosswinds. People should have accepted that all deliveries would be suspended until after the typhoon had passed.

These attitudes taken by some Hongkongers are selfish and show a lack of consideration for the safety of other citizens. In future people need to be more considerate.

If need be the government should introduce legislation which stipulates that when the No 8 typhoon signal is hoisted employees do not have to go to work. Also, the government needs to raise levels of public safety awareness in Hong Kong.

Marco Chan Hei-yin, Lohas Park

Recent storms causing a lot of damage here and in the US

One of the worst consequences of the typhoons here on Wednesday and Sunday and Hurricane Harvey in the US, is the amount of flooding and the damage that it causes.

Buildings are damaged and the contents of people’s homes may be destroyed. Vehicles get trapped on waterlogged roads.

Buildings which have not been reinforced in low-lying areas are particularly vulnerable. Governments need to decide if the precautions they have taken against flooding are sufficient. For example, do they need to build more sea walls to protect low-lying areas? Of course some storms are so severe that flooding is inevitable, but governments should try to beef up preventive measures so they limit the damage caused by the downpour.

The Hong Kong administration certainly has to look at implementing additional measures.

Marco Ip Tsz-chun, Sau Mau Ping

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in this day and age

Although we have the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and there is legislation in place, there must be more widespread education to raise levels of awareness about the need to curb sexual harassment.

Despite legislation, sexual harassment is still a problem in some workplaces in Hong Kong and more must be done to curb it.

Companies should organise training sessions so their employees have higher levels of awareness about the problem. People joining a firm may not be aware of its policy towards sexual harassment and there may be a lack of a reporting mechanism for victims.

If sexual harassment reporting procedures are not working in a particular company then they are pointless, especially if valid claims do not lead to suitable disciplinary action. If perpetrators are acting with impunity then this weakens the legislation and the authority of the EOC.

The government needs to look into strengthening the law so that staff awareness workshops are compulsory in all companies and the reporting mechanism is made clear to all new employees. The administration should also promote the importance of working against sexual harassment through education and adverts.

I am also concerned about age discrimination in the workplace and there is no legislation outlawing this in Hong Kong. This is an important issue as there are employees who are discriminated against because they are aged 50 or above, for example, they are paid lower salaries, denied promotion or even made redundant.

Like sexual harassment, ageism is a result of not being able to change dyed-in-the-wool traditional mindsets that someone of a particular gender or age cannot do a job. And if an anti-age-discrimination law is introduced, the government must ensure it is effective.

Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O

Government should monitor busking activities in city

I agree with Chloe Ng Sin-yee that the government should lay down the ground rules so that street artists can give performances in the city without causing a nuisance to pedestrians and nearby residents (“With sensible regulations busking can flourish in Hong Kong”, August 8).

Busking is becoming more popular in Hong Kong and you see more of these performers on our streets. It gives them a chance to showcase their talent, and this is important given the limited number of venues in the city for live performances.

The buskers benefit as does the audience and it gives Hongkongers a chance to see a live performance when they probably get most of their entertainment now from TV programmes and social networking sites.

Performing in front of an audience can help build up the self-confidence of young street artists. It can make them more resilient especially if they get some very negative comments from passers-by.

However, I do appreciate than in a densely-populated city like Hong Kong busking can create a noise nuisance and exacerbate congestion. We have few designated venues for buskers, and often they set themselves up anywhere and this can cause problems in crowded urban areas like Causeway Bay, especially if it leads to blocked roads and pavements.

So, the government needs to monitor busking activities and determine designated venues where the street artists can legally perform and at stipulated times. This will minimise the nuisance caused to others.

Yuki Tsoi Ka-yee, Tseung Kwan O