No day off after Hong Kong typhoon? Don’t blame Carrie Lam, blame your boss
I am writing in response to your report on how “Hong Kong faces days of uncertainty as it struggles to recover from monster storm” (September 18).
Your reporters outlined the difficulties Hongkongers faced in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, and the appeals by officials and utility companies for public understanding, as they raced to repair train tracks, ferry piers and power lines. The typhoon damaged 170 sets of traffic lights and toppled at least 1,500 trees. Some residents had to contend with power blackouts and outages, and many shop owners lost inventory in the flooding.
The Observatory confirmed that Typhoon Mangkhut was a monster storm packing winds more intense than any recorded since 1946. Moreover, this Signal 10 typhoon did something that Hong Kong citizens had never faced before – it made tall buildings sway. This was terrifying and many feared for the safety of their homes.
The city will take a long time to recover. On the first working day after the typhoon hit, transport links in many parts of Hong Kong were jammed, with trees blocking roads and train tracks, and even damaging overhead cables. Many residents hoped that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor would give them a day off, and she was criticised for not seeming to care about workers in Hong Kong.
However, I believe the chief executive was not at fault, because she does not have the legal power to declare such a public holiday. If employers were really caring and conscientious, they would give workers a day off, or let them work from home, as actor Louis Koo Tin-lok did. Funnyman Chapman To Man-chak even said he would fire staff if they tried to go to work.
Although the typhoon devastated Hong Kong, it did not destroy the team spirit of its citizens. Many volunteered to help in the clean-up and repairs, and it made me proud to be a Hongkonger.
Michael Cheung, Tseung Kwan O