A day in the life of the disabled
I did some volunteer work for the Hong Kong PHAB Association in Sham Shui Po recently. Our job was to learn about the difficulties faced by disabled people in everyday life by going out onto the streets in a wheelchair. We were asked to use this experience to report back to the government on how they could improve the city for the disabled.
We found that many streets had equipment to help wheelchair users, but usually not enough. Our research took us mainly around the area near Lai Kok Estate.
First, there was a slope coming out of the market near Lai Kok Estate that we felt was too steep for wheelchair users. We suggested the government make it longer and flatter. We also advised an extra handrail be added.
The pavement outside the association's building also needed widening, largely because the trees growing along the roadside are getting in the way of the pavement. Wheelchair users would find it difficult to pass through. Some of the paving was also uneven and in need of repair.
We noticed there was a risk of wheelchair users getting stuck on the road after crossing it because some of the curbs were too high and cracks in the road prevented wheelchairs getting back on to the pavement easily. This was very dangerous. The government could do more to help the disabled, but everyone should be responsible and pay attention to those in need.
Cheng Chi-man, Our Lady of the Rosary College
Material gain has no place in marriage
It has been reported that some Hong Kong residents have agreed to marry mainlanders in return for material rewards.
These fake marriages reveal how greedy people can be. These people do not respect marriage and do not understand its true meaning. Marriage is a promise between two people in which they agree to love each other and share their joy and sadness. It is not related to any material benefits.
Thanks should go to all the immigration officers who work hard to identify these bogus marriages. I sincerely hope Hongkongers won't take part in fake marriages.
Jessie Kwok, Leung Shek Chee College
Resume the HOS to bring down prices
The Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) should be brought back because prices for private flats are too high. It is impossible for those in the low-income group to own a flat.
The government should resume building subsidised flats to counter rising property prices.
Experts have predicted that if the government were to build more HOS flats, they would be oversubscribed. This shows the acute demand in the housing market.
It is understandable that property developers may be afraid subsidised housing would drag down private property values and lower their profits.
But the target market of HOS flats would be very different to that in other segments of the property market. The HOS targets public housing tenants, a segment left behind by the rest of the market.
The government should consider the situation further.
Tse Ngai-chung, Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Tuen Mun)
Looking forward to a smoke-free society
The government has put a great deal of effort into regulating the tobacco industry in recent years and the outcome has been inspiring. It is now looking for further ways to put pressure on the industry to discourage smoking.
One measure proposed is to impose 'plain-packaging' legislation for cigarettes.
Under this proposal, cigarette manufacturers would be required to do away with the elaborate designs on the packaging.
Plain packets would only carry small logos, health messages and a plain colour. I believe such an initiative might discourage would-be smokers from picking up the habit.
Plain packaging would take away the industry's last remaining advertisement and would make cigarettes less eye-catching. Larger warnings on packaging would remind consumers of the health risks of smoking.
The government would face challenges implementing this policy, but I believe it would be as successful as the indoor smoke-free policy. I am looking forward to a smoke-free society.
Mak Shu-ting, CCC Heep Woh College