Online Letters, September 12, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 September, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 September, 2017, 4:35pm

Fathers in Hong Kong deserve a better paternity leave deal

I agree with correspondents who have argued that working mothers need more help to find the right work-life balance. Poor workplace flexibility and benefits are the major factors stopping workers from finding that balance.

Ironically, they are also the reasons behind Hong Kong’s economic success story. So many workers in Hong Kong, women and men, have devoted much of their time and energy to their jobs, in order to get a better life for their families. Some would argue that if they get that balance they will work fewer hours and this could impact on the city’s prosperity.

What we have to try to do citywide is find the right mix that enables citizens and the city to benefit. This has worked in other developed societies such as Australia, where there is far greater flexibility in the workplace than you find here.

One area in particular where we are falling short is paternity leave. The government has legislated to allow the father three days off. The purpose of such leave is to allow him to help the mother take care of the newborn baby, but that is hardly enough time. His wife will be exhausted and possibly stressed and she needs as much help as possible. Three days is not enough time off for a new father.

I believe the law needs to be amended so that paternity leave is extended to one month. This enables the father to bond with his child. If he is really essential to the running of the company that employs him then it should arrange ways for him to work from home. That way he can help his firm and his wife.

What is important is to find a compromise, so that society benefits from a productive citizen and the new family benefits from a father who is there for his wife and child.

Tom Poon, Tseung Kwan O

Don’t let smartphone control your life

We all love our smartphones and enjoy using the many features that are on offer. They are so convenient and you can download so many apps in the shop, use them to pay for things, order a taxi and play a computer game.

However, some people can spend too long on their phones and it is always important to remember that you should be in control of your smartphone rather than the other way around.

Unfortunately, some young people spend an inordinate amount of time on these devices until it has developed into a problem. They find they do not have time to do their homework and other important school assignments and they may even lose sleep.

What young people have to do is plan in advance. They should agree with themselves how much time they will spend on the smartphone and how much they will allocate for other things such as homework. If they feel they need some help with this they should consult their parents. It is worth cooperating with them, because if there are serious disagreements they could find their smartphones being confiscated.

Sonny Chan Hei-lun, Fanling

VPN crackdown on mainland is bad for business

I refer to the report (“Business and academics at risk of losing out as China tightens online censorship”, September 10). I do not use a virtual private network (VPN), but I oppose the decision of the Chinese government to ban the setting up and usage of VPNs as this shows it is tightening up on online censorship.

In this way it is stopping its citizens reaching sites from outside the country. A lot of my friends from the mainland use Facebook and Instagram through VPNs and share aspects of their daily lives. It is also a way for them to keep in touch with friends they met overseas. According to the article, 14 per cent of internet users on the mainland use VPN daily. Once they are blocked, millions of these users will be affected. And it will also hurt businesses. Tightening censorship in this way will be disappointing for a lot of overseas companies.

Many of them, especially small firms, rely on social media sites, like Facebook, to promote their products and services and communicate with customers. If they find it difficult to continue to do business on the mainland this could hurt China’s economy.

The central government might come to regret this decision.

Kristie Ko, Tseung Kwan O

Sleepless nights can cause mental health problems

It is important to get enough sleep, but I think some students and adults are experiencing more sleepless nights.

Busy people who cut back on the amount of sleep they get might think it is a waste of time, but they are mistaken. It is important for health reasons to get enough sleep. At night we are tired and so sleep helps to restore the energy we need for the working day.

Students who are not getting enough sleep will find that their studies suffer. And adults will also be less productive. If they are tired at work they may take very short naps and this could lead to accidents if, for example, they are controlling machinery. Deprived of sleep their memory is not as sharp and they may have poor judgment.

Lack of sleep can also cause mental problems, such as stress. Therefore, people need to appreciate the importance of sleep and the benefits it brings and make sure they get a good night’s rest.

Daniel Hui, Hang Hau

Uber can force taxi operators to raise their standards

I agree with Michelle J. Tao on the benefits to the city of having Uber (“How Uber can spur improvements in Hong Kong’s taxi service”, August 31).

I am sure most readers agree that everyone has been poorly served by our taxi service. When taxi drivers are all about to change shifts or eating, they will refuse a fare, even though it is illegal to do so. There have also been cases of them trying to rip off passengers. So I think that the car-hailing app Uber can make a difference.

Taxi operators complain about Uber’s presence in the city saying it has hurt their profits. They should not blame Uber for this. Their profits have been hit because they are providing a poor service. Now that they face real competition they go to the government to complain and ask it to intervene.

The government gives reasons for why it cannot legalise Uber, but I do not accept its arguments. There are so many cities and countries where Uber has been made legal and has proved to be very popular with residents. Uber is happy to get involved in discussions with governments and reach an agreement.

We need competition in Hong Kong so that we can see an improvement in the local taxi industry.

Leo Yuen Chun-yu, Tiu Keng Leng