Party like it's 2007 again? Don't hold your breath

Our bleak future

Five years after the global financial crash, it is perhaps not surprising that so many regional bosses (and economists, who should know better) are clawing for evidence that recovery is close at hand.

Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 11:57pm

Future fund could create 'white elephants', lawmaker warns Tsang

Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, left, has warned the Finance Minister against building "too many infrastructure projects". Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Lawmakers have questioned the use of a “future fund” for infrastructure projects – as outlined in John Tsang Chun-wah’s budget speech yesterday – with one fearing it could be used to create “white elephants”.

27 Feb 2014 - 5:13pm 1 comment

The old-age crisis facing China

An old woman with her grandson in Beijing. No nation is ageing as quickly as China. Photo: Simon Song

A country's population is its fate, 19th century philosopher Auguste Comte observed. He was referring to his post-revolutionary France, but he could well have been offering sage advice to Chinese authorities. By focusing on the economy, they have transformed the nation, pulling hundreds of millions out of poverty and creating spectacular growth and wealth. All that could be in danger, though, unless greater attention is paid to its fast-rising numbers of old people.

9 Jun 2013 - 2:40am 1 comment

Underdiagnosis of hypertension reveals bigger health system gap in China, experts say

Many older people on mainland suffer from hypertension without realising it

Xiao Mingying, 64, a retired worker in Shanghai, is among the 100 million old people on the mainland who have high blood pressure.

2 Jun 2013 - 1:25pm 1 comment

Husband dies after mentally ill wife fails to get help

The man, who slipped in the bathroom and hit his head, died from blood loss, officers believe. His 77-year-old wife had not drunk or eaten anything for the two days when police found her.

3 Apr 2013 - 4:22am

Give elderly offenders a chance

The merciful treatment of elderly offenders is not a sign of weakness, but a recognition that a more humane approach is in the wider interests of criminal justice. Photo: Sam Tsang

The Civic Exchange think tank reported last month that far more elderly people are getting into trouble with the police. Between 1991 and 2011, there was a sixfold increase in arrests of women over the age of 60, and a threefold increase in arrests of men of that age. This situation is alarming, and the criminal justice system must decide how best to respond.

31 Mar 2013 - 2:08am

Glitch delays old-age allowance payments to elderly

Glitch delays money to elderly

A problem in government computer records may mean some elderly residents eligible for the new old-age allowance will not receive the money next week as promised. Meanwhile, thousands of people who received letters saying they could get the HK$2,200 handout have replied that they are no longer eligible.

30 Mar 2013 - 4:34am

Letters to the Editor, March 29, 2013

An electric bike on a road in Hangzhou. Photo: NYT

How sad that police chief superintendent Eddie Wong Kwok-wai, of the police public relations branch, should think it a fruitful use of police time to chase otherwise law-abiding citizens who ride electric bicycles ("Police cracking down on illegal bikes, tricycles", March 23).

29 Mar 2013 - 5:02am 2 comments

Elderly need more protection

Elder Ring, a hotline service operated by the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association for elderly people on public assistance. Photo: Edmond So

Like financial hardship, abuse of the elderly is a serious problem that needs to be tackled.

20 Mar 2013 - 3:11am

Elderly forced to queue at 2am for dental care, concern group claims

Elderly forced to queue at 2am for dental care, concern group claims

It's a long and painful wait and they don't get much sleep, but elderly people still queue up in the early hours of the morning at one of the few government dental clinics in the city.

10 Mar 2013 - 5:52am 6 comments

An age-old problem and the sums that just don't add up

The civil service pension obligations cited by John Tsang, with a net present value of HK$600 billion, can be used for old age benefits. Photo: Bloomberg

If two different forecasts made by our statisticians over the space of just two years can barely get within half a million people of each other for the year 2039 and entirely ignore an external forecast of an actual population decline, how can John Whiskers know that we will have exactly 2.56 million elderly in 2041?

3 Mar 2013 - 3:32am 6 comments

Poverty in old age a future we must avert

Poverty in old age a future we must avert

A new report by HSBC estimates that most people will spend 18 years in retirement, but says they have enough savings to fund only 10 of those years in comfort. It paints a grim picture of elderly retirees starting to run out of money just as their medical bills and care costs start to mount in earnest.

27 Feb 2013 - 4:55am

Coming clean on growing number of lonely deaths in South Korea

As more South Koreans are dying in solitude, the business to clean up after the deceased is experiencing rapid growth. Photo: Reuters

In a country where the unravelling of Confucian traditions means that many elderly people are no longer cared for by family, more South Koreans are dying in solitude, after either taking their own lives or wasting away from neglect. Small companies provide services such as cleaning and sterilising a room where someone died and decomposed before they were detected. They can also dispose and incinerate the deceased's possessions.

6 Feb 2013 - 5:22am

Over 60pc of workers in elderly care facilities attacked by patients

Over 60 per cent of workers in elderly care facilities have been attacked by elderly residents during the course of their duties, according to a recent survey.

4 Feb 2013 - 7:01pm

Getting facts on poverty is crucial first step

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung recently announced that a poverty line would be defined by the end of the year. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Governments need facts and figures to do the job of governing properly. Hong Kong's lack of an officially recognised poverty line has meant that the poor are prone to fall through cracks in our welfare system. One of our most respected NGOs, the Council of Social Service, contends that one in three elderly people are now needy, putting the number for the first time over 300,000. The figures are shocking for a city so wealthy, but in the absence of official recognition, they are little more than a disturbing statistic.

4 Feb 2013 - 3:02am