PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 December, 2011, 12:00am


We need to care for the elderly

Taking care of the elderly has become a serious social problem in our city. There are just not enough facilities and public services for older people.

There is also a shortage of recreational facilities available for them in residential areas, such as walking paths and parks.

To make matters worse, often homes and public buildings are not well-designed. Many lack features such as handrails in toilets.

Another common problem is that the elderly do not receive enough medical care from the government.

You often see old people waiting in long queues outside public hospitals. They need to go to public hospitals because they cannot afford private care.

A solution would be for the government to subsidise medical care for the elderly so that they can go to private hospitals.

The public also has to bear a big responsibility for ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of older people. Many of them live alone and are unhappy.

It would be a good idea for volunteers to visit them at least once a week.

Community groups should also organise more activities for them such as parties and get-togethers, especially during festivals.

We should all work together to improve the lives of our elderly population.

After a long life of hard work, they deserve no less.

Nikki Law, CUHKFAA Chan Chun Ha Secondary School

'Tis the season for Christmas joy

Christmas comes from 'Christ's mass'. The festival commemorates the birth of Jesus, who Christians believe to be their Saviour.

Christmas incorporates a feast which is central to the religious beliefs of all Christians.

The festival is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations. It is also celebrated by many non-Christians, including people in Hong Kong.

Even if you aren't a Christian, you can appreciate the festival's spirit.

Jessica Chung Yuen-lam, Leung Shek Chee College

Closer look at low-cost housing sites

Affordable housing is a topic that greatly concerns Hong Kong people.

Owing to the rapid increase in flat prices, both low-income and middle-class people are struggling to buy their own property.

To address this problem, five rent-to-buy projects were proposed a year ago. Since the location for this low-cost housing has not yet been picked, the government should consider two important points before making a decision.

First, sites should not be too far away from the city centre. The best way out of poverty for people is to find a job. However, jobs available in new towns are both limited and poorly paid.

If people want to get better-paid jobs, they will have to commute long distances to work.

That will be both inconvenient and costly for residents living in low-cost housing units.

Second, the population density of the districts where the housing will be located should not be too high.

If low-cost housing units are built in crowded districts, like Kwun Tong, people may not get enough access to essential resources and facilities.

Their presence could also anger long-time residents in such crowded areas. That could lead to a breakdown in social harmony.

In short, the location of low-cost housing can have a profound effect on the lives of residents.

Therefore, it is important for the government to think twice before making a decision.

Pang Pei-yan, Pooi To Middle School

Let's have a Merry Green Christmas

Christmas is a festival of love. However, we often forget to extend that love to Planet Earth.

We keep using up our planet's precious resources, such as fossil fuels and timber from forests.

In some places, we can buy real 'Christmas trees' - pine trees that have been shipped and flown to Hong Kong from abroad.

We may enjoy having our own real pine tree at home to celebrate the festival, but the practice can harm the Earth. Trees belong in forests, not in living rooms.

Let's stop wasting our planet's resources for our personal entertainment.

Among other things, we can use recycled paper or newspaper to wrap our Christmas gifts. We can also buy gifts with less packaging.

Jack Lau Hoi-kim, Carmel Secondary School