Letters to the Editor, March 21, 2017
Opt-out system leads to more organ donors
For many Hongkongers, the issue of organ donation is controversial.
There have been calls for an opt-out organ donor scheme in the city (where you are considered a donor unless you opt out).
In 2015, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the government would discuss this. However, such a measure is no nearer becoming a law and the organ donor register in Hong Kong remains voluntary.
Spain has an opt-out organ donation scheme and has a very high donation rate. Researchers from the University of Nottingham, Northumbria University and University of Stirling in the UK undertook studies over 13 years of 48 countries, 25 of which have opt-out systems. They found these schemes have given a lot of hope to many patients and a new chance at life.
Singapore has an opt-out scheme and it has been effective.
I think it is time for the Legislative Council of Hong Kong to map out a timetable for legislation. It is heartbreaking to read about patients who die before an organ becomes available.
Many Hongkongers choose not to join the register because of a traditional mindset. Even when someone has joined the register, family members might object to organs being harvested after that person has passed away.
Cecilia Chan, Quarry Bay
Battle obesity problem with sugar levy
I support the decision of the British government to introduce a sugar tax. This can help in the fight against obesity and also raise revenue which can be used to encourage young people to exercise.
The Hong Kong government has not indicated that it intends to impose such a levy, but it has introduced campaigns encouraging people to cut back on their consumption of food and drink containing excessive quantities of sugar. I don’t think these campaigns go far enough.
Statistics show that the problem of children in Hong Kong becoming overweight or obese is getting worse, and one factor is that they have too much sugar in their diet. Therefore, I think we do need a sugar tax.
I would like to see much fewer adverts for products that contain a lot of sugar, salt or oil. Also, the government needs to do more to encourage citizens to do regular exercise. There should be more initiatives where citizens can have access to free sports facilities. The key is for the government to raise the awareness of citizens.
Isa Chu Hiu-ying, Tsuen Wan
Expatriates essential part of economy
A new survey indicates Hong Kong is becoming less popular with expatriate women (“Overworked expat women just can’t get no satisfaction”, March 11). Many complain about laborious jobs and the high cost of living.
If the survey reflects the feelings of many expatriates, then this is a cause for concern. Our economy depends upon having a supply of skilled and experienced people from abroad, and businessmen and women who are willing to invest here. However, if they have had enough of the long working hours, many will leave for jobs in other cities.
It is a shame that when it comes to the work-life balance, Hong Kong does not live up to the expectations of expat women. The skyrocketing cost of living and long working hours do not just upset expats; locals are also concerned about these issues. The government should recognise there is a problem.
Standard working hours legislation is now needed and officials should be trying to do more to tackle inflation.
It cannot eradicate these problems overnight, but it should be trying to come up with new policies that improve the situation for local and expatriate employees.
Chan Yin-pui, Kowloon Tong
Schools need to have enough counsellors
There have been more student suicides because of the stress many of them feel, caused by family problems, and academic and peer pressure.
The role of parents is crucial in this regard. They can put less pressure on their children by not having unrealistic expectations regarding how they will perform in exams. Instead of blaming them when they do badly, the parents should offer support.
Schools and the government should also do more for youngsters, such as ensuring that there are enough social workers and psychologists so that it is easy for students to get help.
The education system has to be reformed, with less emphasis on academic results. Also, children good at sports and art need more encouragement.
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong
Tso shows it is always worth persevering
I appreciate that the most recent victory of local boxer Rex Tso Sing-yu, on March 11, did not come easily.
He had to work very hard to achieve his 21st win in a row. To get to this level he had to be persistent and do a lot of training. Tso embodies the kind of spirit that we need in Hong Kong.
He showed the importance of continuing to struggle to achieve your dreams, and not giving up even when the going gets tough.
Too often citizens worry about having a job that will earn them enough money even if it does not really interest them.
Despite all the obstacles, Tso has refused to give up and is now regarded as a top-class boxer and a world title contender.
I urge young people, like Tso, to always chase their dreams.
Steven Ng, Tsuen Wan