|Swimmers enjoying the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool|
Alex Kwok Siu-kit, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Lifeguards' Union says he has seen more mainlanders come to swim in the city in recent years, while the government has cut the number of lifeguards at pools and beaches by 30 percent in 2004.
|No one in the water yet at the Morrison Hill Swimming Pool...|
"They were holding a flag that said, 'Hong Kong swimming one-day tour'. They came at around 1pm and swam for about three hours. There were 40 of them," Kwok said.
He adds that people aren't interested in entering the profession because of the heavy workload and it's a dead-end career. But who is a lifeguard for the long term anyway? In the west many young people see it as a summer job or a temporary one to earn money for tertiary education.
The average salary of a lifeguard is HK$15,000 a month.
In any event, the union is calling for the number of lifeguards to be increased by 20 percent.
This is not the first time lifeguards have gone on strike, and it certainly won't be the last.
While it's understandable lifeguards may feel they have more work to do, so do the rest of us. But at the same time, if the Hong Kong government is encouraging people to get fit, there should be a few more lifeguards watching over swimmers too...