Letters to the Editor, March 18, 2018

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2018, 10:31am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2018, 10:30am

Social policy and economy must be in tune

I am writing in response to the ­article on the call for improved welfare benefits for migrant ­labour on the mainland (“China can ease labour shortage by giving migrant workers better access to welfare, adviser says”, March 7).

We all know about China’s economic miracle and its significance in the global economy.

My question is, would it be possible for Beijing or Shanghai to ­become a global city like New York or London in the future?

How much is China willing to change its national system to keep growing? The article gave me a chance to think about the link ­between the global economy and national politics.

A global city like Beijing or Shanghai features not only centralised finance but also low-profit services that help the centralised sector work smoothly. We should not forget that these high-end sectors can continue growing thanks to the work of low-wage migrants.

We often think of inequality of migrant workers from the welfare point of view, but a national policy on protecting migrants makes sense from the perspective of the economy as well. Resistance to modifying national policy can prevent Chinese cities from growing to command a global scale.

Another interesting thing is that the Chinese labour market is suffering itself, from the phenomenon of trans-nationalised ­labour. For instance, many Chinese workers relocate to Southeast Asia to work for foreign-funded companies. What irony. Labour shortage drives labour costs even higher, blocking the growth of the Chinese economy.

Another irony, mentioned in the article, is the impact that the past national policy of family planning has on today’s ­labour concerns. It is important to contextualise national social policy with the economy.

Yuko Binder, Hung Hom

Checks balance out chaos of democracy

I believe ­Michael Chugani got it wrong (“Xi’s world or Trump’s? Prosperous authoritarianism or chaotic freedom?”, March 7).

The “paths to wealth” – which Mr Chugani refers to – have very little to do with the Communist Party and much to be attributed to Deng Xiaoping’s opening of China to capitalism and freedom for enterprising Chinese to create their own paths to wealth.

President Xi Jinping has achieved very little that isn’t tributary to these changes dating back over 30 years. Quite the contrary, as he is now reversing rules and policies which may well result in more chaos, as the Chinese middle-class demand more accountability which the Communist Party will increasingly deny.

History definitely does not support Chugani’s assertion on the “chaos of democracy”, whose built-in checks and balances have produced much more stable governments than dictatorships have. Let’s call it “authoritarian with Chinese characteristics”.

J.C. Clement, Jordan

Grass roots and elderly left disappointed

I feel the latest Hong Kong budget mainly helps the wealthy and middle-class, but turns a blind eye to the poor and elderly.

Increasing subsidies for lower-income families and building more nursing homes, given our ageing population, would make for socially responsible policy.

Jacky Sze, Tseung Kwan O

Cathay never stops in quest for the best

I refer to the article on Cathay by Peter Guy (“Cathay Pacific is a case study in how most companies fail in the long run, if they don’t change”, March 11).

To opine that Cathay Pacific does not evolve reflects ignorance of the steps Cathay Pacific continually undertakes to ensure that its aircraft, the technology on board and on the ground continue to ­deliver a customer experience that remains among the best.

It cannot be assumed that all passengers desire are cheap seats, claiming that “new competitive dynamics have sucked in all airlines whether they like it or not”.

One only has to look at the decline of British Airways to see how an airline that lets go of its brand integrity and service is destined for failure.

Cathay Pacific pursues a course of not becoming a budget airline because a vast number of clients enjoy full service providers with an assurance of quality and safety that others fail to invest in.

Swire retains long-term ­employees because of the excellence of the company and a proven commitment to reward merit with promotion. Loyalty may be old fashioned but remains superior to the “ruthless innovation and decision making” that short- term opportunistic business decisions offer. Cathay Pacific is here for the long haul and shall continue to offer excellence of product across all its travel classes.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

E-blessings lack warmth of the real article

Octopus recently gave out lobsters for just HK$8 to draw users to its e-wallet platform, amid the ­mobile payment war.

E-payment is becoming ever more popular in Hong Kong, and is even used in the traditional wet markets, as most customers find it convenient. But Octopus no longer has a monopoly, with rivals – both local and from mainland China – vying for a share of the pie.

But what I am concerned about is whether paper money will one day be totally replaced.

Technology definitely ­enhances our quality of life, but can an electronic red packet really convey the same warmth as a real lai see full of new bank notes? It is not just about the money, the packets represent the blessings of elders, best conveyed in person.

Ivy Fung, Yau Yat Chuen