Letters to the Editor, August 02, 2015
End 'blame the victim' mentality
I refer to the report ("Aged pedestrian accidents rise as overall rate falls", July 19).
I read with dismay the comments of Lilian Chan Lui Ling-yee, an educator. And I was especially concerned because she is also a member of the government advisory body the Elderly Commission.
She said, "My office is in Cheung Sha Wan and there we have a lot of older people crossing the road recklessly.
"They just cross whenever they like and I think that they were never educated or taught how to cross the road. The government really needs to do something."
We need to get out of this "blame the victim" mentality.
I have yet to find an elderly person who is deliberately trying to get involved in a road traffic accident.
One has to respect the fact that with age, once-sound sensory faculties start to degenerate.
The mental and physical abilities of an elderly person may not be same as what a person behind the wheel of a vehicle may expect them to be.
Instead of calling the elderly reckless and emphasising the need to educate or teach them, our society needs to create infrastructure and facilities which cater to the needs of elderly and infirm.
We cannot bury the fact that we are an ageing society. According to the Census and Statistics Department in 2015, the population of elderly is expected to increase by close to 5 per cent over 2014.
Unfortunately the number of private cars is also expected to increase with the same rate if one looks at the trends of licensed vehicles.
This obviously has created more competition and conflicts for the transport space which until recently was shared congenially between the users.
With more cars, the road aggression is increasing and with more older people the ability to quickly react is receding.
The government should perhaps initiate a study on transport needs of the future with a special emphasis to creating infrastructure for the non-drivers.
Alok Jain, Sha Tin
Tuck shops in schools could sell fruit
I have observed that the number of overweight children in Hong Kong has been on the rise over the past few years.
Being overweight may lead to health problems such as diabetes mellitus.
The most effective way to lose weight is to have a healthy diet.
Tuck shops in schools sell a lot of junk food such as crisps and fries. Students may find it hard to withstand the temptation of these snacks.
The best way to deal with this is for the tuck shops to work out a quota with the school about the quantity of junk food they will stock.
In addition the shops should have a supply of healthy food such as salads and fruit.
The government could provide subsides so that the tuck shops could sell fruit and salad at lower prices. This can hopefully get students interested in nutritious diets and help them recognise the benefits of healthier food.
Last but not least, there are still some Chinese parents who have a misperception regarding obesity. Some mistakenly believe that "fat means adorable".
They need to appreciate the health risks their children face from being overweight or obese.
They must clear up this misconception and help their children follow a healthy diet and lose weight.
The government could do more to educate these parents through adverts on TV and the internet.
Zoe Chan Kam-ying, Kowloon Tong
'Tiger' parents take wrong approach
I refer to the article by Kevin Martin ("Asia's tiger parents must save up for their child's education", July 22).
The article said that parents in Asia have clear ideas about what career paths are best for their child, while Western parents primarily want their child to choose a path that suits their own preferences and skills.
I agree with the Western parents, that choosing a career should be the responsibility of children. They need to think about what their interests are and what abilities they possess before making their career choices. Many parents in Asia would prefer their children to train for the business, management and finance sectors, as this would lead to them earning good salaries. But often they do not ask themselves if this would be a suitable career.
They will sometimes have to come up with a long-term savings plan to pay for their sons and daughters to study abroad, because it is so expensive, thinking this can give them the best possible start in their adult lives.
However, it is more important to give these young people more independence to make their own decisions.
They may not want to study abroad and so the money would be wasted.
Asia's parents should learn from their Western counterparts.
They should recognise the importance of independence and not try to choose the career path.
The "tiger" parents in this part of the world need to talk with their children and find out what interests them when they are considering what to do with the rest of their lives.
Yuen Tsz-wai, Tseung Kwan O
Downside to mothers who join workforce
I am concerned about the problem of mothers who leave their children at home during the day so they can go to work.
Women play an important role as an integral part of the workforce in Hong Kong. Also, more of them are going to work nowadays, rather than staying at home as housewives. In so doing they are contributing to the economy. But there is no excuse for a woman leaving her child at home alone during the day so she can work.
Obviously the greatest concern must be one of safety. It is easy for children who are left alone to have an accident. There have even been cases where they climbed out of a window and fell to their death.
There is never any excuse for a woman leaving her child, no matter how much she needs to work. Help is available. For example, community centres offer day-care services.
It do appreciate it can be tough for working mothers to strike the right balance between their jobs and looking after their children.
Nicole Wong Yuen-shan, Tseung Kwan O
Minimum wage not achieving aims
I do not think the government's statutory minimum wage or upward revisions of the rate help to solve the problem of poverty in our society.
Some businesses, faced with an increased wages bill, will have laid off some staff. This will have created problems for unskilled workers who struggle to find a stable job with fair wages.
Also, they will not necessarily be better off. When they get the higher minimum wage rate the employer will often cut other benefits, such as transport subsidies and on-the-job training.
The increase in the hourly minimum wage rate in May, from HK$30 to HK$32.50, will also mean some firms will take on more part-time employees and workers' benefits will therefore be cut.
Tsui Wing-ki, Yau Yat Chuen