Letters to the Editor, October 18, 2017

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 5:11pm

Stressed-out workers bad for business

As you point out in the article (“Worked into a frenzy”, October 14) many Hongkongers suffer from long hours at work and overbearing bosses and this ­adversely affects their mental health.

There is no standard working hours legislation and so, according to a 2015 survey, 20 per cent of people do four to six hours of overtime each week and some do even more.

This is a ridiculous state of ­affairs. It puts individuals under a lot of pressure and can lead to mental illness. If they have to take extended sick leave, this hurts productivity in Hong Kong. Employees who are tired all the time will be less efficient. The government must try to ­persuade companies to adopt flexible-hours policies.

Problems often arise because of a lack of communication between employees and their bosses. They need to sit down and talk, and staff who are under too much pressure must be given help so they can find a better work-life balance.

The government, employees and employers should cooperate to create a better environment in workplaces throughout the city.

Anson Ng, Tseung Kwan O

Easier to buy a first home in Singapore

Young couples in the middle-income bracket struggle to find affordable housing in Hong Kong. They are not eligible for public housing, but also cannot afford the extremely high cost of a mortgage.

This is one of the reasons the government plans to build “starter homes” for them, initially at a site in east Kowloon. I can see the upside to this scheme. It will ease the financial burden of these young couples and ­enable them to own a property.

But, only 1,000 flats will be ­provided, and if they are too small, some people will be put off.

The government has to come up with other long-term measures to help young people own their flats.

It can learn from Singapore, where a young couple can withdraw a substantial amount of the down payment for an apartment from their Central Provident Fund, which is a man­datory savings scheme. They can also get subsidies from the government. This makes it ­easier for young Singaporeans to get a foothold on the property ladder.

If an increasing number of couples can get a mortgage, they are more likely to want to start a family, which will lead to a higher birth rate.

That is important in Hong Kong, where we have to deal with an ageing population and face serious workforce shortages in the future.

Tse Ka-lam, Yau Yat Chuen

Xi has been a brave and wise leader

I believe that President Xi ­Jinping should serve at least two 10-year terms as the nation’s leader.

He has shown vision and courage, tempered with wisdom and sound judgment. His stand against corruption has been courageous. It has helped him get rid of rivals and cure China of a pervasive flaw that tarnishes its society and hinders economic progress.

Mr Xi has risen to the challenge of governing this huge country and setting goals to continue economic development to raise the standard of living of people below the poverty line. He is also tackling tough economic issues such as easy credit, and bloated and unproductive state-owned enterprises.

He has also been astute when handling global issues, staying out of conflicts involving Western nations. In the South China Sea and East China Sea, he has exercised restraint, seeking negotiations with countries involved in the various territorial disputes. Mr Xi is a tremendous asset to China and the world.

Paul Chiu, Discovery Bay

Far less waste if we change mindsets

I agree with correspondents that a system should be adopted where used textbooks are handed down to pupils rather than being discarded in landfills.

This system, where textbooks are sold cheaply or given to pupils from low-income families, works well in a number of countries, but with our mindsets, it is not feasible here.

In those other countries, there is a far higher level of awareness about the need for sustainable development. Most Hongkongers still do not think in this way. The importance of protecting the environment must be instilled in children from a young age.

Correspondents blame greedy publishers for bringing out new editions too often, but the government is partly to blame for this as the Diploma of Secondary Education syllabus is constantly changing. The Education Bureau must only change the syllabus when it is absolutely necessary to do so.

Amelie Yeung, Sha Tin

Eco-friendly message is not getting through

There can be no doubt that record temperatures being recorded by the Observatory are a result of global warming (“Hong Kong’s September scorcher: month one of the hottest since records began”, October 5). With climate change, the city’s environmental problems are getting much more serious.

People who live in developed, prosperous cities squander natural resources. The government is not doing enough to get citizens to do their bit to reduce levels of pollution and be less wasteful.

Local schools must invite members of green groups to give talks to pupils.

This can be seen as supplementing the government’s ongoing campaign to encourage us all to be more environmentally friendly.

We can make lifestyle changes in our homes, which can make a difference. We need to get out of the habit of switching on our air conditioners on summer days as soon as temperatures rise and keeping them running four hours.

Harmoni Wong Tsz-ching, Kwai Chung