Letters to the Editor, November 19, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 9:01am

Offer helpers permanent residency

The Labour and Welfare minister has said that Hong Kong will need a large number of domestic helpers to deal with the city’s ageing population, many of them acting as carers for elderly citizens.

However, as the mainland grows more prosperous, it will become more popular with helpers from the Philippines. So we will have to compete with employers from over the border and in other countries.

We will not get the numbers we need unless these workers are offered good employment packages. This must include ­allowing them right of abode when they have been here for seven years. Having worked as helpers for that period, as permanent residents they would then be free to apply for any job.

Also, the law must be changed so that helpers no longer have to live in their employers’ home. Flats in Hong Kong are ­often so cramped that there is nowhere decent for the helper to sleep. Prospective employees are more likely to come here if they can choose their own ­accommodation.

Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O

Butterflies a signal of bigger change to come

I refer to the letter from Tong Hang-wai, of the Hong Kong Observatory (“Climate change is a global-scale phenomenon”, November 13).

Aside from its data on the significant change of weather in Hong Kong caused by global warming, we have also found that the ecological world is changing.

The tropical butterfly, Deudorix smilis, was spotted at Lantau Island on October 28. It was the first sighting of this particular type of butterfly in Hong Kong. It is normally found in areas deep within tropical ­regions like India and Indonesia.

This discovery sends a strong signal, indicating that global warming is moving ecological species northwards, as isotherms (a line of average annual temperature) simultaneously move north.

Scientific studies have ­revealed that for every ­degree that the world gets warmer by, the isotherm will move by more than 160km. In Europe, it is ­reported that isotherms are moving 15km north annually.

While some may suspect it is a one-off finding, another tropical butterfly, the Prosotas nora, first spotted in Hong Kong in November 2015, has now made the city a permanent home.

We also found that these tropical butterflies are going through a baby boom this year.

Although much climate change evidence is derived from complex mathematical models and data, it is beginning to affect the ecological world on a much wider, quicker and bigger scale than ever before. This is a clear, strong message and warning that we all act together to combat global warming and climate change, before it is too late and irreversible.

Dr Yau Wing-kwong, chief secretary, Environmental Association

Hospital fee hike has hurt the grass roots

The Hospital Authority has ­reported an 18 per cent drop in the number of non-critical ­patients at public hospital emergency units, after charges were increased in June from HK$100 to HK$180.

While this may ease overcrowding, my concern is that many of those who visit these units are from low-income families and so may not be able to ­afford the ­increased fee. This is worrying if they are seriously ill and need urgent medical help.

I also think overcrowding will continue. Many people who do not have a medical emergency but can afford the HK$180 will still visit emergency departments when they should go to an ­outpatient clinic instead. So I am not convinced that the fee hike has achieved its objective.

Sandy Chan, Yau Tong

Trump, Kim need to show more maturity

There is an ongoing war of words between the leaders of America and North Korea.

US President Donald Trump has called President Kim Jong-un a “madman” and “rocket man”. Kim has branded Trump a “mentally deranged dotard”. Trump has also said he will, if necessary, use the full range of his nation’s weaponry to defend his country and its allies.

If a conflict did break out, even one with only conventional weapons, the death toll would be high. I hope we will see greater maturity from both ­leaders and that they will step back from any military option.

Edna Lau Wing-lam, Tseung Kwan O

Beijing should use soft power in Hong Kong

China’s attempt to force patriotism on Hong Kong people with its law criminalising abuse of the national flag is the wrong move.

On November 4, the ­National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved a law making abuse of the flag ­potentially punishable with jail, and included it in the Basic Law.

This is not the way to win the hearts and minds of Hong Kong people, and will only weaken China’s soft power. Instead, it should exert soft power by wooing Hongkongers with values that mainland ­Chinese and Hong Kong people share.

One example is a History Museum exhibition that ended in October. “Birthday Celebrations of the Qing Emperors and Emperor Dowagers” was very well attended by many locals.

A likely reason for such high attendance is the Confucian ­value of filial piety and the ­reverence for long life which are shared by mainland and Hong Kong Chinese alike.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the central ­government.

Therefore, it should make greater use of such soft power measures to woo the hearts of Hong Kong people, not resort to draconian punitive laws.

Only then can the patriotism of Hong Kong people be won.

Toh Han Shih, Happy Valley