Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The MTR Corp has set up new plans and procedures for staff to deal with animals found on the tracks, the management said yesterday.
However, the plans aimed at soothing public anger over the death of a dog at Fan Ling station last week did not work, especially after a railway union leader accused protesters of treating the MTR staff worse than dogs.
MTR operations director Jacob Kam Chak-pui, at a press briefing to announce the company’s interim results, said the new procedures included training and tools.
But union vice chairman Ho Chun-pong ignited a new row in cyberspace by suggesting that the recent responses by bloggers against the railway staff indicated that people are getting worse treatment than dogs.
“Some comments are extreme,” he said. “Such abuse does not solve the problem and puts frontline staff under big pressure, even those who were not involved in the incident.”
Ho said some of the criticism not only targeted staff at the scene of the dog’s death but also their family members, which for many employees goes off the rails.
“It’s good that everyone cares about the dog. But citizens should also care about each other.”
The “worse than a dog” quip triggered heated discussions on Facebook.
Saying that all lives are equal, Lilian Lai wrote: “Why do some people think that humans are always superior to animals?”
Sam Kwok added: “The problem is that a life was lost. It’s not about humans or dogs.”
Henry Chan said: “Whoever doesn’t respect life doesn’t deserve the respect of the living.”
But Esther Wan Ho-lam pointed out: “The protesters have gone to the extreme. Their protests are absolutely unreasonable and unfair to the entire MTR staff. The whole saga should have come to an end after the MTR’s apology.”
Mark Mak Chi-ho, executive chairman of the nonprofit-making Veterinary Service Society, said: “The death of the dog was irreparable thus the apology was inevitable, no matter what.”
Mak said the explanations by the MTR management were “messed up, confused and incoherent.”
He said the biggest problem was that the MTR was not being honest.