Letters to the Editor, March 22, 2018

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 5:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 5:41pm

Lowering the bar is just an easy way out

I am writing in response to your article on the Hong Kong civil service lowering language requirements in some job categories, to give ethnic minority applicants a better chance of qualifying.

With Chinese language ­requirements for another 22 types of government jobs lowered, this brings to 53 the number of categories of civil service positions now more accessible to non-Chinese permanent residents. The eased requirements apply to jobs like that of an analyst, programmer or treasury accountant, or those involving technical or ­operational duties, such as a lab attendant.

However, while this will definitely open up more doors, it does not address the problem of the language barrier, the main reason ethnic minorities are overlooked for many jobs, whether in the public or the private sector.

Many of them may actually speak Cantonese fluently, but cannot read or write traditional characters, which affects their ability to go to university and get a better job.

Greater emphasis on teaching Cantonese as a second language to the city’s non-Chinese-speaking population from an early stage is needed to solve this problem.

Continuing with the simplified curriculum for ethnic minorities in local schools will not help them to ever be able to match the standards of their Chinese peers.

Dennis Fan, Tseung Kwan O

Let passengers choose between Uber and taxis

As a Hongkonger, I am disheartened at the continued stand-off ­between Uber and our taxi drivers and operators, who recently launched yet another protest against the ride-hailing service.

The entry of Uber into the local market is a natural development of technology in the modern age. It should be accepted as moving with the times.

Passengers who travel long distances and want to book a ­return journey find the ride-hailing service very helpful.

Those who need passenger service late at night benefit also from its easy availability.

On the other hand, the majority of Hong Kong taxis have ­remained in non e-mode and can be hailed on the roads. They are cheaper and also accessible in ­almost every corner of the city.

These two services can complement each other; they do not have to clash. It is a matter of passenger choice. Having both Uber and the iconic Hong Kong taxis on the road would be best for both residents and tourists.

Jacqueline Kwan, Mid-Levels

Facebook took your data? But you posted it

The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco should warn common citizens about the dangers of posting every facet of their lives on social media (“User ­beware: why Facebook’s data problems go much deeper than Cambridge Analytica”, March 20).

The question of what data Facebook permitted to be used by third parties, and how everyday users of the site understood those permissions, is once again under the spotlight.

It’s clear that our private lives are being made public by social networking sites. But why blame Facebook, Tinder, and the rest? It is we who seek instant ­recognition by posting our personal lives and data on social media.

Rajendra Aneja, Mumbai

Trade pact may fail without US or China

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January last year. And now he has taken trade protectionism a step further, by increasing tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, standing on the brink of breaking the present rules-based World Trade Organisation system.

Meanwhile, the TPP without the United States is being reborn under the leadership of Japan and Australia as the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership) instead, a grouping of 11 Asia-Pacific countries. But I don’t think this fragile relationship will last long.

Firstly, China and the US are not in the CPTPP. Bloc members will need to be cautious when they aim to act in self-interest by lowering tariffs, as they will still need to balance relations with China and the US.

The second reason for its failure may be due to its weaker influence and worldwide impact than the WTO and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Lastly, Japan’s international credibility has been weakened by a cronyism scandal surrounding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which could affect his ruling party’s grip on power and jeopardise the future of the CPTPP, which Abe went all out to promote.

Jiang Mengyu, Kowloon

Trump tariffs could come home to roost

I believe analysts predicting a trade war between America and China, after the US imposed stiff import tariffs to ­reduce its trade deficit, are not being rational.

In 2016, US-China bilateral trade reached nearly US$580 billion. This volume could not have been reached without cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking after the National People’s Congress, Premier Li ­Keqiang also disagreed with those who want a trade fight with America. He said there can be no winners in a trade war and called for a rational, not emotional approach.

In fact, US steel tariffs will not impact China directly as much they might the European Union, South Korea and Brazil. The move may also see a lot of American workers lose their jobs.

Remember that the last American trade war only deepened the Great Depression.

Tong Wei, Kowloon Tong