Letters to the Editor, November 24, 2015
Behaviour of some fans not acceptable
I was disappointed by the behaviour of some fans at the World Cup qualifying match last week between China and Hong Kong at Mong Kok stadium.
I am a student and I know that local schools teach young people to be self-motivated, but also to be polite and show respect for others. Some of the fans at the stadium seemed to forget these lessons. They booed and hissed loudly when the national anthem was played. Some of them even turned their back towards the pitch to show their discontent.
There is nothing wrong with expressing your discontent about something, but not in that way.
I understand that many Hongkongers are upset with the central government, not only because of corruption on the mainland, but because of the way it has thrown its weight around in recent years. But that does not justify booing and hissing. Hong Kong needs to maintain a good image on the international stage and its citizens should show respect for people who have different views to their own.
Surely parents do not want their children behaving in this way. Adults who were so rude at the match set a bad example for the next generation.
Joyce Lau, Sha Tin
Helpers should do what they want on day off
A number of recent letters have been published in these columns suggesting alternatives to helpers mingling in Hong Kong public areas on their days off.
Being regular weekend visitors to Hong Kong my wife and I watch with pleasure how helpers come together in their small community groups to enjoy each other’s company, and share food and laughter.
Hong Kong is a multicultural city and as such Hongkongers must be accepting of cultural and social diversity. While it’s not the case in every household, prior reports have highlighted the plight of helpers having a tough time cleaning, cooking, pet walking and parenting the children of their employers while their employers enjoy the finer things in life.
The last thing helpers need are any restrictions placed on their one day of freedom or the suggestion of courses to get them off the streets of Hong Kong.
Let’s be more accepting and take the view that every Sunday is a time for family and friends to come together in harmony, and that includes helpers.
Kevin Clayton, Macau
Allowance for elderly must be HK$5,000
Just 237,103 people were claiming government welfare at the end of September, the lowest level in 13 years (“Welfare claims at lowest in 13 years”, November 9).
It was also reported that more than 1.3 million citizens out of 7.2 million still lived in poverty, with the situation most acute among the elderly. I find this statistic appalling. The secretary for labour and welfare indicated that the Old Age Living Allowance could be increased by 4.2 per cent next year taking into account inflation. At present it is HK$2,390 per month.
Taking into account the cost of living this is a pittance. It is not enough for elderly people, singles or couples, to lead a decent life. Most elderly people have no other income except this allowance. This is why they often have to do menial work to support their meagre income.
The suggested increase of 4.2 per cent suggested by the secretary has no relevance. The Old Age Living Allowance base is too low. The percentage increase over basic salary granted to bureaucrats and public sector doctors makes sense because their basic salary is high.
The increase in government allowances being paid today to elderly people should not be linked to the present amount of the old age allowance, but should be readjusted to the present day cost of living in Hong Kong. If that happened then the allowance would be increased to at least HK$5,000 per month. This would certainly give a boost to the government’s poverty elimination programme.
I hope the administration will consider this suggestion sympathetically and provide much-needed relief to the most deserving elderly population. Since the number of claimants is not large, it should be able to absorb this additional cost.
Dr B. K. Avasthi, Discovery Bay
Overuse of internet bad for memories
Many people, including young adults, suffer from what is known as digital dementia.
This means that they spend far too much time on their smartphones.
Teenagers certainly rely too much on these devices. They see the smartphones as being indispensable. If they are using sites like Facebook and WhatsApp, and are in contact with a lot of friends, they will probably be checking these sites every five minutes.
As one academic pointed out, their search ability increases, but their ability to remember decreases.
This is a problem that cannot be ignored in society. People have to try and use their mobile phones less frequently and have more face-to-face conversations with people.
Cathy Yuen, Tseung Kwan O
Ma failed to take a stand on missiles
Following the meeting between Republic of China [Taiwan] President Ma Ying-jeou and President Xi Jinping (習近平), both leaders said that the summit could help ensure peace for both sides.
If I were Ma, I would not have agreed to meet Xi so close to Taiwan’s presidential election in 2016. I think it has harmed him, his party the Kuomintang and the ROC.
I see it as an endorsement of Beijing and its efforts to achieve reunification without respecting the wishes of the Taiwanese.
I have seen mainland mouthpieces claiming that most of the people of Taiwan support reunification with the PRC.
That is not the case and I think after this meeting, more Taiwanese will be opposed to any reunification.
I think Ma as president has failed to get the message across to Xi about the concerns of democrats from Taiwan. Because of that, his popularity rating is low.
At the meeting he failed to defend the interests of the ROC.
Some optimistic Taiwanese expected him to call for the removal of missiles on the mainland aimed at the island. However, he just agreed to the one-China principle and got no promise on the missiles. I think the meeting has left the KMT in a more unfavourable position in the coming elections.
Recent opinion polls showed that Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen is ahead of the KMT chairman, because of the KMT’s position on China reunification. This meeting will make everything worse.
Henry Wong, Kennedy Town
Education can help generate more donors
The government is considering the possibility of legislation which will make all Hongkongers organ donors unless they choose to opt out.
Citizens will be considered donors by default even if they disagree with it, but do not ask for their name to be removed from the register.
There is no point in keeping our organs after we have died and yet according to traditional Chinese beliefs the body should remain intact as this shows respect for the deceased. I am against this traditional belief.
Hongkongers need to realise that their organs can save people’s lives. It is wrong that people should keep alive an outdated tradition.
Hong Kong has a very low donation rate which creates a dilemma for the government.
There are those who agree that traditional views are outdated but are against forcing people to donate.
The biggest obstacle to changing the minds of people is their mindset and education is crucial. The government needs to promote a positive message about organ donations to the public, especially schoolchildren.
They need to understand that they can make a difference after they have died. The government should also train medical staff to make them more eloquent while talking people into donations.
Also, the government must ensure that the donor and transplant system is completely transparent.
Nikita Chan, Fanling
Vet refugees to weed out IS supporters
There is no doubt that Western nations must strengthen their security measures in their efforts to protect citizens from terror attacks such as those in Paris.
What happened in the French capital has certainly strengthened the determination of the these countries to destroy Islamic State (IS).
I also believe they need to take greater care with regard to refugees coming from Syria and seeking to get into Europe.
Any of those seeking asylum who are suspected of being sympathetic to IS should not be allowed to resettle in the West.
This terrorist group brainwashes young and impressionable people. Therefore a lot of young people from Europe are fighting for IS.
Parents need to be more vigilant and note any changes in the behaviour and thinking of their children.
They need to ensure that the lines of communication are kept open and pay attention to the kinds of people their sons and daughters associate with.
Most importantly people in the West need to try and stay calm even though this is now a serious conflict.
Zoe Chung Ka-man, Tseung Kwan O