Plight of the elderly played down for too long

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 1997, 12:00am

I would like to express my concern about the old people in Hong Kong, as problems have existed for a long time but the Government has not done much about them. I do hope that they can do something more about old people's benefits, rather than just paying lip service to the problem.

Whenever I have walked in Yau Ma Tei or in Temple Street, some forlorn old women have been rummaging through litter bins for soft drink cans or picking up scraps of paper in the chilly morning wind.

They sell these things in exchange for meagre amounts of money to make a living. One rainy day I saw a frail woman, wearing worn-out shoes, pushing a cart full of scraps of paper in a hurry.

Can we really say that we do enough for these people? I felt very upset and helpless. At the same time, I am furious with the Government for not doing enough for them.

Instead, the Government has spent enormous sums on Vietnamese refugees, who create troubles and disturbances and impair the overall social orderliness of the community. The British Government are the major culprits on this matter.

Governor Chris Patten is famous for breaking promises. 'Promises are like pie crust - made to be broken' is the best way to describe him.

Take a look at his 1995 policy speech. Many of the things he promised then have not been fulfilled. Hong Kongers are famous for their magnanimity towards unfortunate people all over the world, like China flood victims and the Rwandans. However, we neglect the elderly.

It is pathetic to see such scenes in a modern city.

As the handover is just around the corner, I implore democratic parties, the Governor and others to stop criticising China overseas over the provisional legislature or for not implementing democracy. Economic growth and improvements to the livelihood of our people are more important.

We want prosperity and stability. We want more food, more public housing, more social benefits.

ERIC WONG Happy Valley