Letters to the Editor, March 20, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 4:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2018, 4:55pm

Repeat of Li Ka-shing story unlikely

Billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing has retired, handing over control of his corporate empire to his son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi.

Indeed, I think Li is a great example of what was great about Hong Kong in the old days, as everyone had a chance to succeed through hard work, good connections and smart decisions.

Also, he is a good role model for entrepreneurs.

But reality would suggest that the opportunities today for Hong Kong to give rise to a rags-to-riches self-made billionaire such as Li are rare, ­because vested interests have choked off many avenues for ­innovation through collusion, ­crony capitalism, monopolies and power in the government.

It is obvious that a rags-to-riches story such as Li’s is next to ­impossible today. Therefore, I think the public and media should focus on the relevant capital and innovation reforms to give more of a chance to the younger generation and common people to rise and realise their dreams.

Xu Huihao, Kowloon

More perks not the right tonic for hospitals

I refer to the recent 10 per cent rise in overtime allowance for health care workers in Hong Kong’s public hospitals. I am not sure how raising the overtime pay for nurses and doctors would solve the problem of understaffing in the health care industry.

During the recent winter flu surge, many people needed hospitalisation, leading to much heavier pressure on the public health service. Monetary incentives may inspire existing health care staff to work longer hours, but the public health care system would remain short-handed, and lead to staff being even more overworked and stressed.

In fact, what health care workers want is not higher salaries, as they are usually paid well.

Their real concerns are leisure time and working pressure, with doctors sometimes working for up to 80 hours per week instead of the usual 44, and nurses stretched to the limit.

Besides, health care staff have to work in shifts and if they don’t get enough rest, it leaves them ­exhausted and stressed, unable to strike a work-life balance. I wonder how many health care workers would really be willing to work extra hours, even for higher pay.

Poor working conditions for medical practitioners can lead to errors from a lack of concentration. The government should try to ease the staff shortage first, by inviting overseas medical practitioners for a speedy remedy and improved public health care until more local staff can be trained.

Lau Lok Yiu, Tsuen Wan

Try phone-free days to boost productivity

The smartphone must be the most indispensable object in our lives today, simultaneously aiding and hindering productivity. It is distressing to see people walking, chatting, eating out – always looking at their phone. There’s even a name for it: nomophobia – the fear of being separated from or being unable to use your mobile phone.

Yes, a phone can replace your computer, camera, books or even wallet, and keep you connected. But it also ­obstructs efficiency. How often do we needlessly check our phone? How many hours do we waste in passive browsing, denting our creativity? I suggest that companies set aside a phone-free day each week, to give staff a taste of finishing tasks without any technological aid.

Kwok Hiu Ching, Yau Yat Chuen

Migrant worker rights deserve due oversight

I refer to your report on Premier Li Keqiang’s speech to the National People’s Congress (“China reaffirms goals to rebalance economy, reduce poverty and improve the environment”, March 5).

Beijing has increased the ­emphasis on public welfare and the environment, and has already shifted from a high-speed to a high-quality growth model.

However, a matter of concern is the treatment of migrant workers. Tens of thousands were asked to vacate their rented homes covering a sprawling area in Daxing district outside Beijing last ­November 18 after a fire caused 19 deaths. The spate of evictions and demolitions aimed to “remedy safety hazards”, but also meant the ­migrants became homeless amid the bitter northern winter.

A regional government has the power to manage the population to ensure safety and urban order. However, whether this move was the most appropriate is still worth discussing. The market demand for workers did not change, but there was a supply shortage.

In addition, there are few civil society organisations to support migrant workers’ interests, and their bargaining power is usually weaker than people with more social resources and networks.

If the regional government wants to lift people out of poverty, it should engage in not only “mitigation” but also “adaptation” for its “low-end population”. It should improve the provision of services to migrants and the protection of their rights, because the economic development of a city also depends on their efforts.

Han Xu, Mong Kok

Rural pupils need help ­to spread wings

I read with interest your article on the teacher who gave up her city job to help the “left-behind” children of migrant workers in rural Shaanxi.

While Ma Jun deserves praise for her decision, it highlights how rural children often don’t get the same opportunities as those in the city. It is clear that rural schools need more government funds to upgrade their facilities and pay salaries, as low pay means few teachers want to work in villages.

The same educational opportunities for all children would help to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in rural areas.

Jojo Wong, Tseung Kwan O