Letters to the Editor, May 13, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2015, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2015, 4:38pm

Scheme will help teens and elderly citizens

I am glad the government has offered a new career path to school leavers with its Navigation Scheme for Young Persons in Care Services. This was announced in the chief executive's policy address to "encourage young people to join the workforce of elderly and rehabilitation care services".

It can help to tackle the shortage of caregivers for the elderly and offers youngsters with modest academic results a solid career path.

Young people may have looked down in the past on such jobs, having preconceptions about long working hours and unskilled labour. But, under the scheme, they will study at the Open University to obtain a diploma in health studies.

They can then further their studies if they wish by getting a professional qualification in occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

As well as helping more youngsters have rewarding careers, the scheme is also of benefit to the elderly.

It will mean that more people who are retired will be able to stay in their own homes.

This is important because the waiting list for places at subsidised homes for the elderly is long, with an average of 33 months before applicants get accepted.

Therefore, the scheme can ease the pressure on these waiting lists and help deal with the problem of a shortage of caregivers.

Gigi Ng, Lam Tin 

Once-vibrant canals being destroyed

It was with some astonishment that we read the favourable view in Mathew Scott's article ("Going with the flow", April 26), which accompanied photos of the Chao Phraya River and nearby canals in Bangkok, describing the canals as the lifeblood of the city.

Would that this were still true, but as owners of a home in Ramintra, Bangkok, the only evidence that we have is that the authorities there are hell-bent on the destruction of the canals.

Over the last dozen or so years, most of the old arched bridges, to permit water traffic, have been flattened so that the canals can no longer be used as a city-wide waterway.

The excellent old network of footpaths along the canals are being allowed to fall into a state of disrepair, rendering them more or less impassable.

Increasingly, the canals are being lined with concrete walls of housing estates that are being constructed without taking the opportunity to develop an environmentally-friendly waterfront.

Whereas before there was flowing water, supporting an active river community and even plentiful fish for the locals to fish, now we see dead waters being smothered in vegetation.

Tranquil spots adjacent to canal-side temples and old wooden homes can still be found, but they are being suffocated by monstrous new road systems, which bring excessive traffic to all of the surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, tax incentives are being provided to encourage car ownership and public transport is largely provided by dirty old diesel buses, as the overhead BTS [mass transit system] only covers a small section of the city.

One of these days, a new generation of enlightened Bangkok citizens will wake up to the enormity of the destruction that has been wrought by the clueless city administration in charge today.

The canal system, built with foresight over a century ago throughout the greater city, should have continued to be an integral part of its transport system and its life.

Cherdchai and Antony Wood, Quarry Bay 

Exercise and good diet can save lives

I refer to the report ("Cancer alert as unhealthy Hongkongers ignore warning signs", April 23).

I agree with the Department of Health that many Hongkongers have really bad lifestyles, too often resorting to fast food, such as cup noodles, for their meals.

The reason for this is that most citizens are in a rush. They try to fit so much into a day to earn as much as possible.

We live in a society where the economy is the priority. Other concerns, such as good health, are relegated in importance.

The government has already tried to raise the awareness of citizens to the need to have healthier lifestyles, but it must try harder to get the message across.

People need to realise that making money is not all that matters.

They must be encouraged to recognise the importance of doing more exercise.

Accumulating a lot of money is not much good if it kills you.

They will find that, if they make the effort to have a healthier lifestyle which includes regular exercise, they will have a lot more energy and will be less likely to fall ill.

Tiffany Wong, Kowloon Tong 

Abe must own up to wartime atrocities

I refer to the article by Simon Tay ("The value of sorry", May 8).

I agree that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should make an apology to those Asian countries it invaded, such as China and Korea, before and during the second world war.

These invasions happened and yet Abe seems to want history to disappear. That is certainly the approach taken by the authors of some history textbooks in Japan and I think this is ridiculous.

How can a leader of a country refuse to accept the facts of history or even try to erase it? There are comprehensive accounts which have been verified about what the Japanese imperial army did during the war. There are photos, some film footage and eyewitness accounts recorded in, for example, diaries, which testify to the atrocities which were committed.

Recognising what happened and what was done by a country will be better for future generations.

When he was German chancellor, the late Willy Brandt knelt at the memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

I am not suggesting that Abe kneels as an act of penance, but he should admit what was done by the Japanese army.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made this point when she visited Japan in March.

Newspapers in the US were critical of Abe's reluctance to do this when he visited the country to address Congress.

China and South Korea have also made countless objections to the attitude taken by Japan's premier.

If Abe cannot see that he is wrong, it will not help Japan's relationship with the rest of the world.

I hope he will reflect on this matter and that we will see a change of heart on his part.

Jacky Chow, Tseung Kwan O

Why traders still proving popular

Many arguments have been put forward about how to deal with the problem of parallel traders.

Questions have been raised about the new visa arrangement and whether it offers a practical solution, given that it is estimated that more than half of all of these traders are Hong Kong residents.

Parallel traders bring benefits to a lot of people so, even with the new visa rule, there are still thousands of them from both sides of the border.

The main reason they do a brisk business is because the quality of many products manufactured on the mainland is so poor.

If the central government wants to boost consumer confidence in these products, it must get to the root of the problem and deal effectively with quality control.

For its part, the Hong Kong government can set out detailed regulations on the weight and number of goods allowed over the border.

Yuki Wong, Tseung Kwan O