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Typhoon Mangkhut

Hong Kong workers had no case for a day off after Typhoon Mangkhut, and Carrie Lam reacted with humility

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 September, 2018, 12:42am

I refer to Alex Lo’s comments (“Travel after typhoon a work in progress”, September 19) regarding the public reaction to the Hong Kong government’s – in particular the chief executive’s – response and action on work arrangements after Typhoon Mangkhut ripped through Hong Kong.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr Lo’s views about those who grumble about being unfairly treated by bosses insisting they return to work under chaotic travel conditions. Aspiring homebuyers “rushed to Sham Shui Po to snap up flats” the same day.

I think the government has done an outstanding job to prepare for the unprecedented disaster and has tried its best to restore normality after the departure of the typhoon. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s defence of her decision not to give workers a day off, despite heavily disrupted public transport services, was admirable.

While many interpreted her remarks – which basically meant “by all means blame me, but I am not prepared to make a decision which is not legally supported and is likely to be more controversial” – as being made in frustration, I look at it as a show of humility, which one would expect from a true Catholic.

If she were to agree with those arguing that the government should have ordered employers to call Monday a holiday, she could next be slammed for not instructing employers to give staff a pay rise to cope with ever-rising property prices. Prudent decisions are what help the public. Cheer up Chief Executive Lam, you know your job is not just to please everyone.

Thomas Ho, Kowloon Tong