Letters to the Editor, January 16, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 5:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 5:18pm

Uphill struggle escaping the poverty trap

The wealth gap between rich and poor is wide in Hong Kong and the government is failing to narrow it with policies that could help citizens caught in the poverty trap.

The help it offers these people, in the form of subsidies, only enables them to pay for daily necessities. It does not provide enough financial aid to enable citizens to raise their educational level or do more training so they can learn additional job skills. For younger people faced with little chance to improve their lot, they are condemned to intergenerational poverty.

It is very important for people on low incomes to be able to learn new skills. This is more likely to happen with more ­resources for education and ­vocational training.

However, the wealth disparity does not just affect the poorest in society. Even middle- income citizens can struggle, because of high property prices and rents. Officials promise to build more public housing estates, but the waiting lists for a public flat are still long.

Many of those in the queue have no choice but to rent subdivided flats, where they have to endure inferior living ­conditions. The government needs to address this problem of a ­widening rich-poor gap.

Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O

Impossible maze faced by HKU chief

Alex Lo is too harsh on the outgoing vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, Peter Mathieson (“Let’s bid good riddance to Peter Mathieson”, ­January 12).

Hong Kong is a hornet’s nest, with the university at its epicentre. It was only a matter of time ­before one of the many hurdles set up for Mr Mathieson would trip him up.

Hong Kong’s bewildering polarisation makes it increasingly hard to decide what is right or wrong. Mr Mathieson’s reactions to accusations from ­various quarters clearly ­illustrate this.

Trying to navigate this impossible maze must have been overwhelming and frustrating for a person coming from a calmer academic environment. Good luck to HKU’s next vice chancellor, he will need ­superhuman qualities.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels

Getting organ donor message across to pupils

I am glad that some local secondary schools are using organ donation teaching material.

It is mainly being presented to students in liberal studies classes, which I think is ­appropriate.

I understand that since this material was introduced it has had a great response and has helped to raise levels of awareness among young people about the importance of citizens ­joining the organ donor register.

They are able to appreciate that there are a lot of patients in Hong Kong who are on long waiting lists for an organ ­donation that could save their lives.

For some of them an organ can come too late and they die before a suitable organ becomes available for harvesting.

There is certainly a need for more education of citizens as the organ donor rate in Hong Kong is very low compared with many other developed societies. Resistance continues, especially among older citizens who are influenced by traditional Chinese thinking which says the body should remain intact after death.

The message has to get through that if you join the organ donor register you can save a number of lives and what you are doing is really meaningful.

School pupils are too young to become donors, but with raised levels of awareness they can hopefully sign up when they are 18 and really make a ­difference.

Christy Chung Chi-ching, Yau Yat Chuen

More civic education is needed in city

There has been a growth in the sharing culture, here and on the mainland, with bike and car sharing. There is even charger sharing for smartphones.

While there are positive aspects to this sharing trend, some citizens have been slow to embrace it responsibly. So when a bike-share operator opened in the New Territories, some users discarded bikes in streets and even in rivers.

There is a need for more civic education in Hong Kong and this should start with schools. It is important as the sharing ­culture will keep expanding.

Kwok Ching-sing, Tseung Kwan O

Study hours cap will not be feasible

I agree with people who have said that the Education Bureau has to address the issue of pupils having to work long hours in school and then in the evening at home. However, I do not support those who called for a study cap of seven hours a day.

The purpose of this idea is to relieve some of the pressure youngsters feel, but it would have the opposite effect. They would have to complete the same syllabus in a shorter period of time and so for many of them this would put them under even greater pressure.

Many just could not complete their daily workload in ­seven hours.

Samuel Cheng, Sai Kung