Letters to the Editor, October 02, 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 October, 2015, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 October, 2015, 5:08pm

Ageing trend needs policy action now

A study estimates that Hong Kong's population will begin to decline after reaching a peak in 2043.

We are already experiencing an ageing population and this will bring shortages to the workforce and may create serious social problems, such as putting pressure on health care services. The government has to come up with policies to deal with this ageing trend as soon as possible.

We have to understand why we are in this situation. Life expectancy has risen in developed societies. Also, more young people have degrees. They are focusing on their careers and are more reluctant to start a family, so there has been a decline in the birth rate.

When looking at the cost implications of an ageing population in the future, the largest area of expenditure will be health care and this will be a heavy financial burden for the government.

In the short term, it can bring in more skilled people under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, to relieve shortages of skilled staff in the labour market and ensure Hong Kong remains competitive. Raising the retirement age can have a negative impact. But it must also focus on long-term policies and these should take priority.

With the projection that the city's population will drop to 7.8 million in 2064, it must try to raise the birth rate.

It can do this by offering tax concessions to couples willing to start a family and having a better paternity leave programme. The law just introduced gives new fathers three days off, which is not enough.

There would also have to be comprehensive child day-care facilities. Officials must start working on these policies as soon as possible.

Sam Tang, Sha Tin 

Colonialist sympathisers hard to fathom

The anti-mainlander, so-called nativist protesters are a pathetic lot.

For an ethnic Chinese to be waving a colonial flag today is akin to an African American waving the Confederate flag, which no self-respecting African American would do. Why would you wave the flag of your previous rulers when they didn't treat you as equals? For a time, Chinese were not permitted to live in certain areas or join certain institutions because of their race.

People in many parts of the world are either embracing their ethnic heritage or proud of their countries' freedom from years of colonial rule (South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Malaysia, to name a few). Idolising the West is all too prevalent in Hong Kong. But it is not nearly as bad as harassing and berating your fellow countrymen.

These anti-mainlander protesters should back up their talk with an emphatic walk.

They should divest themselves of all aspects of being Chinese. Stop buying Chinese goods. Never set foot in China again to visit tourist attractions that Westerners are flocking in droves to see.

Don't ever watch any Chinese basketball or athletics superstar on TV. Disown their relatives in their ancestral villages. Don't even speak the Chinese language since they hate their own kind so much. And if they love the colonial flags so much, they should try moving to England or, even better, the US, and see if they will be treated as equals. They will be in for a very rude awakening.

They can wave the colonial flag all they want, but at the end of the day they should take a long hard look in the mirror and realise what race they are.

African Americans in the US are raising awareness with their "Black Lives Matter" campaigns, standing up for their civil rights and celebrating their African heritage, while these anti-mainlander groups stomp on their own kind.

It wouldn't surprise me if these were the same people who hurled racist abuse at Filipino fans during Hong Kong's football match with the Philippines two years ago.

Ryan Lee, Sheung Wan

And why not help for the Rohingya?

Many European states, the US and other countries have pledged their support for efforts to help the Syrian refugees who have fled their country. They have provided humanitarian aid and, where possible, will try to resettle them.

But for a number of years, the Rohingya boat people problem has persisted. However, these same nations, including America, which are welcoming the Syrian refugees have ignored the plight of the Rohingya refugees coming from Myanmar.

They are human beings, just like people escaping from the Syrian civil war.

They should be treated like refugees in other parts of the world in accordance with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels 

Too much pressure on preschoolers

I am deeply concerned about our next generation in Hong Kong.

So much emphasis is placed on preschool education.

Some parents are organising extracurricular activities for their preschool children to get a place at one of Hong Kong's top primary schools ("Mainland parents push hard for top school places", September 22 ).

Compare that to Germany, where young children learn from playing games and having fun with their family. In contrast, parents here place too much emphasis on doing well academically, which puts too much pressure on children.

We need to recognise that there is a problem. Parents need to be encouraged to allow their young sons and daughters to have an enjoyable and relaxing childhood.

The government should offer parenting classes.

Carol Kwong, Sai Kung

China military parade not just muscle-flexing

I refer to the letter by John Hung ("Parade wrong way to honour the dead", September 29).

The aim of the military parade, organised on September 3 in Beijing, was to honour the sacrifices made by those who died during the conflict with Japan before and during the second world war.

I do not think showing off its military might was the sole purpose.

China wants other countries in Asia to show unity in the face of Japan's latest decision to introduce laws allowing its troops to be stationed abroad. China wants to avoid regional disputes through diplomacy, but just displaying diplomatic strength is not always enough.

There may be people who feel the parade sent the wrong message, but, it is clear that China wants to maintain good relations with other countries.

Victor Chan, Sha Tin

Pan-dems should bend on reform

One year after the start of Occupy Central, and different opinions are still being expressed on electoral reform in Hong Kong.

I do not think the Occupy Central protesters adopted the right tactics in its efforts to get the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to change its method of electing the chief executive in 2017.

The protests adversely affected Hong Kong, and the Standing Committee did not compromise in any way. Hong Kong is part of China and the Basic Law states we must abide by the decisions made by the Standing Committee.

The pan-democrats have stubbornly stuck to their model for universal suffrage, but it is not feasible as it will not be accepted by the central government. Adhering to this model led to the failure to get universal suffrage in 2017, which was disappointing for Hong Kong people.

I believe most citizens wanted to have the right to choose the next chief executive, but the pan-democrats ensured that the resolution put to Legco was defeated.

Nothing is perfect, and we need to strike a balance and try to find an acceptable political solution that is feasible.

We lost the chance for universal suffrage in 2017. I hope we will not lose it again if we are given a second chance. Movements like Occupy Central cause divisions in society. People in the same city should live in harmony.

I hope the pan-democrats will think rationally in the future and make decisions that will benefit Hong Kong.

Pascal Wong, Tsz Wan Shan

Welfare of elderly must be a priority

There is a lack of awareness about elderly welfare.

The government has been trying to deal with a number of serious issues, such as skyrocketing property prices, pollution and democratic development.

However, the needs of the elderly should not be neglected and many of them are suffering. When you see them roaming the streets to collect recyclable material they can sell, it is clear the problem of elderly poor is serious.

The government should act proactively and provide them with more subsidies, apart from the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and the Old Age Living Allowance, so that they are raised above subsistence level.

Young people need to appreciate the contribution elderly people made to society.

The government can improve their quality of life in other ways. It should introduce more parks designed specifically for the elderly so they can gather and enjoy activities such as tai chi. Their mental well-being is as important as their physical health.

Yody Go, Sha Tin