Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 12:01am

Let's help the elderly stay more active

I think the issue of access leisure facilities for the elderly is often overlooked in Hong Kong.

In a fast-paced city such as Hong Kong, the elderly are often ignored and priority is given to those who are of working age.

But we have to recognise that is that the city's population is ageing rapidly; by 2041, the ratio of the working-age population to elderly residents will become 1.8:1, according to one report. The city will soon have to learn to accommodate the increasing ageing population, including the decreasing labour force and how this relates to fiscal sustainability.

With this issue becoming more relevant in Hong Kong, it is therefore important to take notice of elderly people's access to leisure in Hong Kong and understand how it affects the quality of their life and mental health.

After researching the topic and speaking with two experts in the field, I became more aware of the importance of family encouragement in a range of leisure-time activities. I also learned that active leisure participation (social and cognitive activities) is not as popular, but is very important for the elderly.

I think all citizens need to try and communicate more with elderly people.

We need to talk to them, and encourage them to get more involved in leisure-time activities.

Mabel Lui, Happy Valley 

Biodiversity diminishingin HK waters

The waters around Hong Kong were once known for their marine biodiversity at a time when the world's oceans were far more abundant with marine life than they are now.

Despite its size, Hong Kong had more than 1,000 fish species and about 80 different kinds of hard coral species. But in the past few decades, that biodiversity has diminished markedly. Hong Kong citizens have allowed the sea to become badly polluted.

There are multiple marine biodiversity organisations in Hong Kong, but they aren't all doing the best they can to protect the water.

Adults need to be willing to work closely with students. My experience is that this is not always the case. Organisations should focus on educating people more on the issue so that the entire community can work together to help preserve the environment of Hong Kong.

It is important to get people more passionate about marine biodiversity as it is crucial for humans. Each ecosystem was constructed with its own unique purpose that is crucial to the survival of living organisms.

One very important role of marine ecosystems is the mass creation of plant biomass from sunlight nutrients. They are the basic necessity and food source for all the living organisms in the ocean and humans.

With the increasing rate of pollution, a lot of the marine ecosystems are being destroyed. The extinction of several marine species can lead to the extinction on land malls dependent on marine life as a food source. Obviously such extinctions have an effect on humans.

Ariel Lam, North Point

Art should becreative time for everyone

A few years ago, Hong Kong was thought to have no creative industry at all and no future in the arts.

Recent developments have made it clear that Hong Kong does indeed have a chance to develop an arts industry.

Following the financial secretary's call in his budget for the introduction of food trucks, came the announcement by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for an "arts truck".

The main idea is to bring museums to residents (sometimes in remote areas) rather than the other way around.

This mobile museum will look like one of Hong Kong's mobile public libraries.

It will actually be a bus rather than a truck and target schools first and then target the wider community to promote art appreciation.

I welcome this initiative. It shows that the government is trying to launch some schemes to promote art to the public.

Art should not be limited to buying tickets for arts fairs or exhibitions.

It should be accessible to everyone and for all of us. It is important that it should be part of the fabric of Hong Kong's urban environment.

This was best illustrated by the wall at the Admiralty site of Occupy Central which had notes and drawings supporting the protesters.

We should all realise that art is something that can be created at any time by anyone.

Chantel Cheung, Tseung Kwan O 

Singapore has better ethnic mix in Asia

I refer to Philip Bowring's column ("Hong Kong can forge stronger ties within Asia, starting with better treatment of its foreign workers", June 13). Bowring has admitted before that he is no fan of Singapore.

The vast majority of Singaporeans uphold multicultural and inter-religious harmony as a basic core value of our national pledge; not because ethnic minorities form about 25 per cent of the population as he has cynically asserted as if he were an expert.

We take racial and religious bigotry so seriously that it is an offence under the Sedition Act of our constitution.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most other cities and countries across the world, including many in Asia with a greater ethnic mix.

Majoritarian tendencies preside in Hong Kong's oppressive deculturalisation and neo-colonisation of these entities are often the norm, as an old Asian hand like Bowring ought to know.

Separately, he may also wish to know that transient workers in the republic do have access to welfare benefits such as heavily subsidised basic health care like all Singaporeans and other residents.

Some even attend personal enrichment courses sponsored by their employers, while their peers partake in other forms of recreation, including activities that are organised by various volunteer groups, on their off-days.

As proof race is not an issue India and the many Indians from Tamil Nadu working in the Lion City, for example, mourned the recent passing of Lee Kuan Yew, a Chinese-Singaporean.

It's a shame that he has conveniently ignored the ongoing restructuring of the Singaporean economy, which seeks to raise productivity via various means, including the smart application of technology and the skills upgrading of its human capital.

John Chan, Singapore

Wage hike better than nothing

I agree with the decision by the government to raise the hourly rate of the statutory minimum wage in May from HK$30 to HK$32.50.

To be frank, this not that big an increase, but it is better than if the government ignored completely the problem of income disparity in Hong Kong.

There are lots of people who work hard, literally from dawn to dusk, but cannot improve their standard of living.

So many of them have to endure terrible living conditions, such as the subdivided units.

People who have to make do with this type of housing do not enough to provide for their basic needs. While the new minimum wage rate will not change that dramatically, at least they can be sure their circumstances will not get worse.

Law Wing-shan, Kowloon Tong