Letters to the Editor, October 26, 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 October, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 October, 2017, 5:08pm

Why isn’t cheap drug for bowel disease offered?

I read with interest Naomi Ng’s article on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Hong Kong (“Hong Kong ranks third for new cases of bowel disease, behind South Korea and Guangzhou, say CUHK researchers”, October 17).

Before this article, I thought I was the only person in the city with Crohn’s disease.

I thought this because the Hong Kong government hospitals, as well as our private hospitals, do not make available to ­patients the intramuscular (IM) injection of prednisone which provides the main relief to Crohn’s sufferers.

I have had Crohn’s disease for 50 years and I am alive today because of self-treatment of prednisone IM injections during attacks of this very immobilising and life-threatening disease.

I was recently admitted to hospital in Hong Kong during one attack and, while the medical staff there could diagnose the disease, their only solution was surgery – which I refused.

After leaving the hospital, I went to my GP who stocks prednisone IM for me. About an hour after being administered the ­injection, I was recovering.

Prednisone IM is very cheap, costing about HK$100 per 40mg injection.

Given the number of cases reported to exist in Hong Kong, it is surprising that this drug is not available to IBD ­sufferers in the city.

The only remedy offered here involves some non-effective tablets and surgery.

This is the situation when, for about HK$100, patients can ­obtain remedy or relief of the condition by a simple IM injection, which I have to purchase overseas.

I suggest that the Hospital Authority change its policy ­towards this cheap life-saving drug – it has kept me alive and well under IBD for 50 years. And please note this disease was around before fast foods ­became available.

Rod Buckell, North Point

Visitors need understanding, not insults

Visitors from mainland China are often discriminated against by Hong Kong people because of their nouveau riche attitudes.

Although what is seen as bad manners can be annoying, we shouldn’t insult visitors or act with prejudice.

On the MTR, mainlanders speaking loudly or blocking the way will irritate Hongkongers because it seems the visitors don’t think of others.

However, I believe that these are cultural differences and mainlanders don’t realise they have upset us. We should try to understand, and urge them to be more considerate.

Mainlanders buy many daily necessities in Hong Kong, ­including milk powder and health drinks, because they think the quality of products back home is not to be trusted. Hongkongers, especially those in Sheung Shui, might feel angry when faced with visitors lugging packed suitcases, but have you ever travelled to the mainland? Have you carried luggage for travelling? Were the people not welcoming?

I think Hong Kong is the only city that seriously discriminates against mainlanders. Our reputation will be ruined by our attitude if we keep this up.

As the saying goes, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. There are educational and cultural differences ­between Hong Kong people and mainlanders; we should empathise, not argue.

Michael Kwok Pui-hin, Yuen Long

Travel subsidy may draw parallel traders

I am writing to express my views on the public transport subsidy scheme unveiled in the chief executive’s policy address.

People whose monthly transport expenditure exceeds HK$400 would benefit from a 25 per cent government subsidy, capped at HK$300.

About two million commuters are expected to benefit, ­including students and office workers, for whom transport costs can be a big burden.

The public transport subsidy scheme can help enhance our quality of life as people will have more to spend on food or entertainment. However, fears have been raised that it can also ­encourage parallel trading.

The scheme may be abused by parallel traders as they often travel on the MTR to and from Lo Wu. If more are encouraged to arrive, this will cause overcrowding and chaos that will lower the quality of life for people living near the boundary, such as in Sheung Shui.

North District residents have voiced these concerns to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng ­Yuet-ngor on RTHK.

Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O

Devices are no substitute for healthy play

I am writing in response to Raymond Yeung’s article (“Forget iPads and video games – how about kung fu for Hong Kong children?”, October 19).

The article said parents who signed up their children for martial arts are impressed at how the classes have made them more disciplined, and ­improved their physical well-being.

Nowadays, the lives of young children and teenagers appear to be completely technology-based. In earlier decades, children liked to play with toys, robots, and so on; now it seems they only want to play on their tablets or gaming consoles.

Given the amount of schoolwork they have to do and the number of hobby classes they attend, making sure children get enough time for physical exercise can be a challenge.

I agree that technology is really improving our lives. It has raised our living standards and brought convenience, and has transformed education.

But if children focus too much on their tablets or mobile devices from a very young age, they may become addicted to them and their eyesight may be affected. With a government survey in August showing toddlers are being given electronic devices even before turning one, parents must guard against the adverse effects.

Ruby Ho Sum Yu, Kwai Chung