Online Letters, October 3, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 4:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 4:16pm

Passengers should be able to make e-payments in taxis

I think it would be good if taxis allowed passengers to make e-payments instead of the present arrangement where they must hand over cash (“Hongkongers want e-payment in cabs, even if they have to pay the fees, study finds”, September 30).

Being able to pay your fare in this way will be very fast and convenient and the taxi sector should do whatever is needed to allow e-payments to go ahead.

Use of Alipay or WeChat to make such payments is possible on the mainland. It is very fast as passengers do not have to count out the money they will hand over and then wait to be given their change. It can be quite tedious, especially with older drivers who take some time to count out the change.

I believe that having an e-payment system in cabs in Hong Kong will be helpful to passengers and to drivers as they will be able to accept more fares during their shifts and so will see an increase in their incomes.

The taxi sector in the city has come in for a lot of criticism. Making travelling by cabs more convenient might make passengers take a more positive approach. Being able to use e-payments in all areas of commerce, including taxis and shops, will be welcomed by customers.

Tony Tsoi Chun-wai, Tseung Kwan O

Shipping containers can ease housing woes

There is no doubt that housing is a major concern for Hong Kong citizens. Most cannot afford to purchase a flat, because prices are now so high. And the government is unable to meet the demand for public housing.

Now, it has been suggested that shipping containers could be converted into temporary homes charging cheaper rents and offering better living conditions than subdivided flats or cage homes. I appreciate they do not compare to good quality private flats, but they do offer a viable, temporary option for some citizens.

There could be drawbacks such as adapting them to be suitable for living comfortably during the hot and humid summer months. I would also be worried about how they could withstand the strong winds from a typhoon which either made a direct hit or came close to the city.

It will up to the government in partnership with NGOs to see if it is possible to get around these problems. If the safety and summer issues can be dealt with, then these could be attractive homes for some people.

Heidi Chu Hoi-ying, Kwai Chung

Bus drivers should have their working hours reduced

Following a recent accident, transport unions have expressed concerns about the long hours worked by the city’s bus drivers and have demanded that they should be reduced.

What has become clear is that many drivers are working long hours, because of the overtime they do. This is because their starting salaries are so low, so they need the overtime to supplement their incomes. However, if they are doing 12 hours or even more per shift, this must leave them very tired. I am concerned that if they do a lot of these long shifts together, they are not getting enough time to rest. It is dangerous if they are already tired when they start a shift, because they are behind the wheel of a large vehicle which is often full of passengers. The government should stipulate maximum hours for drivers and the minimum wage they should be paid.

Bus companies have a shortage of drivers, especially younger people and they should be asking themselves why this is the case. Potential younger recruits are put off by the low wages and long hours and would rather choose a different job. These firms must start offering an attractive package so that more young adults are willing to take it up as a career as the older employees will eventually retire and will not be replaced. Therefore, it is up to the government and the bus companies to take the necessary action as soon as possible.

They must accept that the present state of affairs cannot continue and that improvements to drivers’ working conditions are long overdue.

Joyce Lee Cheuk-sin, Yau Yat Chuen

Government must talk openly to teens about stress

Most young people have little interest in the Hong Kong government’s plans to involve them in policymaking, according to the initial findings of a youth policy consultation.

During the chief executive election campaign, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had said her administration would recruit young people into the Central Policy Unit and advisory bodies. However, the initial participation rate is very low.

When looking at the problems faced by her administration, high property prices and a lack of economic diversity are the most pressing issues she faces. The younger generation faces difficulties trying to find a decent job and place to live. Many feel that their quality of life is not good.

Officials need to talk openly to young people about the stress they feel, especially at secondary school. Some students continue to take their own lives, because they cannot deal with the stress and depression.

While it may be too simplistic to blame the education system for all the problems experienced by our youngsters, we do need to look closely at it, especially the exam-oriented set-up which causes young people a great deal of stress.

The government has to recognise there are problems and do something about them. It should be working hand in hand with youngsters to make the necessary changes.

Chan Sum-kiu, Tseung Kwan O

Exam-oriented education system not preparing students for workplaces of the future

I can understand why some people are not optimistic about the future prospects of many of our youngsters (“HK Students ‘not prepared for future’ ”, September 20). Recent research claims that they are less prepared for workplaces than their peers in countries such as Singapore and South Korea. I will soon have to sit the Diploma of Secondary Education exam and feel it is a factor in creating this problem for youngsters.

The highly competitive exam-based education system in local schools, equips pupils to do well in tests and exams, but that is not enough. They are so used to repeating what has been rote-learned from textbooks, but this is not preparing them for the real world. They need to acquire interdisciplinary and analytical skills and be able to function in a society where making use of globalisation is crucial. Students in Hong Kong lack that global awareness.

The government has to reform this outdated education system so that youngsters can get the skills they will need in the adult world. The focus must not just be on academic achievements. The curriculum should also include classes that help pupils get to grips with diverse skills so that they can succeed and Hong Kong can remain competitive. These are lifelong skills that they will need throughout their chosen careers.

There must also be more activities outside school, such as camps, so youngsters learn how to work effectively as team players and eventually as leaders. They can experience what they cannot get from a textbook and so improve their communication skills. This will be essential if they are to be future pillars of society.

The government needs to implement the necessary changes as soon as possible.

Ingrid Woo, Sha Tin