Scant coverage of Paralympics reflects badly on Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am

The lack of public attention and enthusiasm for the 2008 Paralympic Games speaks volumes for Hong Kong's attitude towards the disabled.

Following the closing of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the Paralympics was no longer the talk of the town, promotional activities dwindled and more importantly media coverage plunged.

Meanwhile, mainland television stations have continued to give coverage of the Paralympics as they did for the Olympics; newspapers have reported on the feats of disabled athletes, and there has been a good atmosphere at the events.

The opening ceremony on September 6 should be commended not only for the remarkable resources and hi-tech effects employed, but also for the ingenuous design that brought out the Paralympic theme.

The young ballerina with one leg powerfully portrayed the Paralympic spirit.

The Paralympic Games is a platform to show how the disabled struggle in the field of sport.

We have seen a table tennis contestant with one arm; blind swimmers guided by track markers edge their way to a win, and an equestrian rider without arms use her mouth and legs to steer the horse. In this regard, the strength and effort made by Paralympic athletes has surpassed their able-bodied counterparts.

They have demonstrated their insurmountable courage to challenge themselves, to overcome adversities and to prove their worth.

In Hong Kong, where personal success is the norm, people have adopted an apathetic attitude towards the disabled. Few people appreciate the value of the disabled or accept them as 'one of us'.

This negative attitude has made the Paralympic Games unpopular among local people and led to the cutback in media coverage.

While the government has not done enough to integrate the disabled into our community, the mass media has also missed out on a great opportunity to promote the potential of the disabled and the true spirit of the Paralympics - 'transcendence, integrity and equality'.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels