Down in the dumps: why Legco must act
I felt extremely sad and stunned to read the report that Hong Kong is barely ahead of Somalia in a happiness ranking among 156 countries and territories surveyed this year by the United Nations (“Why so glum? HK falls to 75th in happiness rankings”, March 18).
We seem to take for granted our intelligent and sophisticated population, our abundant and rich economy with huge reserves, our advanced administration, our high standard of education facilities, our good public health system and our modern and efficient power, transport and communication infrastructures. With all this, we seem unable to appreciate how lucky we are.
Admittedly there is a substantial discrepancy between the rich and poor within our society. However, this is not uncommon in many other advanced nations, including the US, which ranked 13th, and the UK, at 23rd.
We are fortunate in not being plagued with the continuous threat of war and terrorism, such as Israel, among many other nations, and it, surprisingly, ranked 11th in the World Happiness Report.
Among the major factors contributing to our unfortunate low ranking are :
● The deteriorating air quality in our city that adversely affects our public health and general well-being, with no effective solution in sight, in the foreseeable future;
● The unaffordable housing, affecting a large percentage of our citizens, and the excessively high commercial rent, that forces many viable businesses into premature closure; and,
● Last but certainly not least, the partly unjustified concern about the future stability of our city, particularly in the minds of our young generation.
This last point was promoted and exacerbated by some of our academics through the Occupy Central movement, which split our city into polarised political groups and wrecked the harmony that existed in the past. It acquired Hong Kong a label of instability in the international arena which we could ill-afford as a commercial city.
Regrettably, some of our legislators appear to be forcing our Legislative Council and decision-making system towards a self-destruct mode, through filibustering tactics and unacceptable aggressive behaviour. These paralyse our democratic system, impede our progress and acquire us, undeservedly, a very bad reputation internationally.
Shalom Levy, Tsim Sha Tsui