Letters to the Editor, October 14, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2015, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2015, 5:16pm

New law will increase organ donor rate

I refer to the report about the government deciding to discuss the possibility of making all Hongkongers potential organ donors if they don't opt out ("Organ donation opt-out scheme back on agenda", October 9).

I would support the implementation of such a scheme, which would make all Hongkongers who did not opt out "potential organ donors".

There is no doubt that this kind of legislation can save lives. The local organ donation rate is 5.4 patients per million population, which is low when compared with developed countries like the UK and the US.

I believe that if this scheme is implemented, then the number of organ donors will increase significantly. As a consequence, more lives will be saved.

However, it is not just about saving lives. More donated organs will also be able to be used for medical research, which can lead to advances in treatment for various diseases. Research is the key to making such advances.

I think it is a good time to enact a law as the beliefs of Hongkongers, especially the younger generation, are changing. They are recognising the importance of giving people a helping hand in various ways, including donating their organs when they die.

We can follow the example set by Singapore which has implemented a similar opt-out scheme. This should be combined with more education.

Tsang Chun-man, Yau Yat Chuen 

Homeless people need more help

I refer to the report ("Call for help after tragedy in McDonald's", October 5) about the homeless woman who passed away in a 24-hour McDonald's outlet.

Because of housing shortages, the problem of homeless people is becoming serious. The government should be taking the initiative and trying to tackle this problem.

As one community organiser pointed out, a 30 sq ft subdivided unit in Sham Shui Po can cost HK$2,000 a month.

Some people just cannot afford even a subdivided apartment and choose instead to sleep in the streets.

As a teenager, the homeless problem does not affect me directly. But I think as a society, we should care about the plight of these people and ensure they can have better lives.

Since 2004, the Social Welfare Department has allocated funds for three non-governmental organisations to provide help to the homeless. Providing much-needed funds is important, but it cannot solve the problem in the long term. The homeless need to be given the help needed to change their lives.

We as a society need to show that we care for the homeless and do what we can to improve their lives.

May Chong, Tseung Kwan O 

Some visitors from mainland are disruptive

I refer to the letter by Chow Cheuk-ying ("We should try to get on with mainlanders", October 7).

Your correspondent pointed out that we should not ignore the contribution mainland visitors have made to Hong Kong and that they are very important to our economy.

However, I see things in a different way. I think our priority should be to maintain harmony in our society.

In parts of Hong Kong near the border, the demand for some daily necessities by mainlanders has led to steep rises in prices and supply running out.

For example, heavy demand for milk powder has led to shortages and this has resulted in tensions between some locals and visitors.

The government imposed a quota, but some people have found ways round this and the smuggling continues. Also, property prices and rents have also risen.

Local citizens have also expressed concern about the behaviour of some of the tourists.

They behave in ways that are deemed unacceptable in Hong Kong, for example, spitting on floors, ignoring queues and lighting up in no-smoking areas.

A friend of mine who lives in Sheung Shui says mainland visitors often bump into her with bulky luggage because the pavement is too narrow and packed with people.

Although they have definitely brought benefits to our economy, we must also be aware of the disadvantages to the city from such large numbers of citizens from north of the border.

Angel Ng, Kwai Chung 

Recognise the downside to taking selfies

Taking selfies with a smartphone is becoming a phenomenon all over the world.

People take the pictures and then upload them on social media websites.

Selfies can increase the self-esteem of people if they get a lot of "likes".

It can be good to get positive feedback, especially if you lack self-confidence.

However, people have no control over the responses of netizens and they might easily get some very negative comments.

There have been cases of very bad cyberbullying, which can have a serious detrimental affect on a sensitive young person. Extreme cases of cyberbullying have led to some youngsters taking their own lives.

I am also concerned about the number of accidents involving people while they take selfies, for example, when they are participating in an extreme sport. People need to be more careful before taking a selfie, check their surroundings and ensure they are safe and are not putting themselves and others at risk.

Chloe Tong Ka-ling, Tai Po 

Education won't curb illegal parking

I refer to the letter by Liz Chan Wing ("Teach about the virtues of legal parking", October 6).

Your correspondent suggested that the government needs to educate drivers to park legally. However, I do not think education can help to change attitudes. With a thriving economy, more citizens can afford to drive their own car.

As has often been pointed out, there is a shortage of available land in Hong Kong. This means that finding a legal place to park in some parts of the city can be difficult.

Every Saturday, my father drives us to our grandparents' home in Lam Tin, and it normally takes us half an hour to get into the nearest car park. The metered parking spaces on the street are always occupied. It is hardly surprising therefore that some motorists resort to parking illegally.

In the short term, the government should impose a quota on imported private cars or raise the first registration fee to discourage the public from buying cars. It can also increase the number of on-street parking spaces, which charge HK$2 per 15 minutes.

In the long term, what the government can do is to encourage the use of public transport.

This would reduce congestion caused by illegally parked cars and lower air pollution levels.

Minnie Mou, Ma On Shan

Exemptions make sense on MTR network

I am surprised that MTR staff have decided not to allow students with bulky musical instruments onto trains.

Youngsters should be encouraged to learn to play a musical instrument.

It is beneficial in so many ways for young people.

They learn to read music and if they are part of a musical ensemble also learn communication and problem-solving skills and being part of a team.

I understand the MTR Corporation has its regulations, with restrictions on the size of baggage allowed, but it should be willing to make exceptions to its rules.

It needs to take a more pragmatic approach when applying these rules.

Gabriel Lew, Tai Po