Letters to the Editor, October 09, 2016
Patients with cancer benefit from exercise
I refer to the article (“Is exercise the magic bullet for cancer? Studies link it to drop in patient deaths”, September 20).
The international oncology community is fast building an evidence base for the positive impact of exercise on cancer patients both during and after treatment.
During treatment or recovery, a time when patients’ bodies are feeling weak and fatigued, the thought of undertaking exercise can seem incomprehensible to most people. This is understandable and yet, increasingly, studies show that even mild exercise can have a profound impact on patient outcomes.
Hong Kong Cancer Fund is adding to the growing literature that supports the integration of exercise programmes in cancer recovery.
We fund local research studies through the University of Hong Kong that are guiding our free services and holistic approach to survivorship. For example our clients with lung cancer are currently seeing the benefits of physical activity in coping with symptoms and side effects, and in rebuilding health and strength through participation in exercise-based studies.
Our free professionally tailored exercise programmes are as varied as the different cancer types and side effects people may encounter. Over 20,000 attendees to our wellness programmes in the last year alone show people touched by cancer in Hong Kong want to be proactive in their healing.
With cancer rates constantly on the rise, it is important that all men and women can easily identify the most appropriate therapies and services for their condition available to them outside the hospital setting to ensure the best possible patient outcomes and overall well-being.
Sally Lo, founder and chief executive, Hong Kong Cancer Fund
No more legal buck passing by hospitals
The reported agreement that Hong Kong’s private hospitals will start providing patients with bill estimates in advance of common surgical procedures is welcome, but long overdue.
What also needs to be changed is the legal liability of private hospitals for surgical procedures and treatment generally, as carried out on their premises.
When something goes wrong, far too often private hospitals argue that they are simply “facilitators” for doctors to undertake surgery, meaning that the injured patient has to seek to identify everybody involved in his or her allegedly negligent surgery or treatment, ascertain their responsibility for each aspect thereof, and sue. What should be the position is that private hospitals are responsible for everything undertaken on their premises (as is the Hospital Authority).
If the private hospitals wish to seek to recover from doctors then let that be a fight between the hospital and the doctor, and not have to involve the injured patient, whose life is invariably difficult enough.
N. Millar, Mong Kok
Impose rules to deal with light pollution
There is a great deal of public concern over light pollution in Hong Kong.
It is ironic that the city is famed for its gorgeous night views and yet they are the chief cause of this pollution. We read about complaints and proposals to resolve the problem and yet there never appears to be any progress.
There are no legal restrictions on the size of signs with bright neon lights nor on when they must be switched off. So shops will keep them on till late at night to attract more customers. This is especially the case in busy and densely populated areas like Mong Kok.
There is an external lighting charter, but it has not led to a reduction in the levels of pollution, because it comprises guidelines, rather than imposing mandatory regulations.
This form of pollution has an enormous negative impact on Hong Kong citizens. Advertising signs can make it difficult for some nearby residents to get a decent night’s sleep, leaving them tired and stressed.
The government and retail groups must make a concerted effort to cut light pollution levels. If need be, restrictions should be imposed, limiting the time these lights are on, such as introducing a rule that they must all be switched off after midnight.
Chung Hoi-yin, Kowloon Tong
Associate degrees can be very useful
Many students fail to get a university place after disappointing Diploma of Secondary Education results.
Therefore some people choose to study associate degrees, but they have come under fire. Critics say they are not worth the high cost, but I disagree.
I think some of these associate degrees can be very useful.
They focus on practice and experience and can help students acquire more knowledge as well as broaden their horizons.
Because they are so practical, students can develop a deeper understanding of the way society works.
However, it is important that young people choose an associate degree that will interest them.
Nicole Cheung Wing-sze, Kwai Chung
Think carefully before joining tutorial classes
More secondary school students are signing up for tutorial colleges. You see adverts for some of these colleges showcasing their most famous tutors all over Hong Kong.
Youngsters join up so they can perform better in Hong Kong’s exam-oriented education system. They hope it will give them an edge and increase their chances of getting a place at a university.
They can also be influenced by peer pressure if school friends are signing up for these classes. They are scared they might lag behind and this is regarded as so important in such a competitive academic environment.
They may even feel that they cannot progress because they are not getting as much help as they feel they should expect from their regular teachers.
While these tutorial classes can help, teenagers need to think carefully before enrolling. The teaching methods and way these colleges are run may not be suitable for all students.
They may have to try different colleges until they find the one that meets their needs.
It very important that they treat these adverts, and the claims that are sometimes made, with a pinch of salt.
They should not rush into it, because they do not want to waste money and the fees these colleges charge can be quite high.
Sometimes，it is best to rely on yourself rather than these tutors and just commit to working harder and revising more.
Chan Pui-yiu, Yau Yat Chuen
Surcharge out of order with oil price drop
I wish to ask HK Electric and the government why I have to pay 30 per cent more in my electricity bill because of the fuel clause adjustment (FCA) when fuel costs have fallen by 70 per cent since 2014?
In my bill for September, this utility company was charging 0.279 cents extra cost (FCA) on top of the basic cost of 0.922 cents per unit.
Its argument is that this is towards the fuel surcharge which has the government’s approval. In reality, the fuel cost in 2014 was around US$100 a barrel and in 2016 it fell to as low as US$29 a barrel, but the cost of fuel in Hong Kong instead of falling has remained the same or gone up due to this surcharge.
Both HK Electric and the government are ripping off the public by demanding a 30 per cent surcharge especially as we have no choice but to pay up.
Why should Hong Kong residents have to put up with this and not be refunded the extra fuel cost that they have been charging us, given that prices have fallen in the last two years?
Simon Datta, Pok Fu Lam