Letters to the Editor, July 02, 2015
Build more affordable housing units
If nothing can be done to solve Hong Kong's housing problem, it will only get worse.
Some of our citizens, especially the elderly and people on low incomes, have no choice but to live in subdivided units, with sometimes barely enough room for themselves and a bed.
These places are unhygienic and do not meet fire and other safety regulations and so they pose a risk to the occupants. Some people do not even have a place to live and sleep in the streets.
The problems related to housing have been caused by a number of factors, including soaring land prices and rents, and the imbalance in demand and supply.
The government should not watch the situation with folded arms. It must try harder to find ways to combat the crisis.
At key locations where land is available for residential developments, the administration must stipulate that a larger percentage of projects must be allocated for affordable housing. I see this as key to settling this problem.
The government can and must also change its mindset when it comes to land supply.
While political, environmental and education issues matter, housing must be given priority.
If the administration has to make compromises in other policy areas, then so be it.
Yip Man-wai, Ngau Tau Kok
Balanced diet is what really matters
People often equate organic food with healthy food, but as far as I am concerned, that is certainly not the case.
In a developed and prosperous city like Hong Kong, most citizens have a long life expectancy.
They seek to follow a healthy diet and are bombarded with adverts for organic food.
These ads claim it is much safer than ordinary food, that it contains more nutrients. All food sold in Hong Kong, conventional and organic, comes under the supervision of the Centre for Food Safety, which ensures that it meets the required safety standards.
Also, health experts are still debating whether organic food is more nutritious than ordinary produce. I do not assume that purchasing organic food guarantees healthier eating.
It is more important to ensure you eat a balanced diet. People who attach too much importance to organic food may forget that.
Having a balanced diet means you eat the right kinds and quantities of food to stay healthy and ensure you are not lacking in the necessary nutrients.
I think as long as you follow the food pyramid, you stand a good chance of staying healthy, and it does not matter whether you eat organic or ordinary food.
Instead of going straight out to the organic store, it is more important to draw up a comprehensive food list that ensures the right balance.
Chan Yik-tat, Tseung Kwan O
Far too many citizens eat a lot of fast food
Because Hong Kong is such a busy city, workers often have very little time for lunch or dinner. They might not even have breakfast.
Therefore they often opt for junk food and eat it quickly. The food itself is bad for them as is the way they eat it.
It is the same with students who also face heavy workloads with a long school day followed by a lot of homework.
You see a lot of them in fast-food restaurants like KFC and pizza eateries and they buy unhealthy snacks for lunch.
The price people pay for these unhealthy diets is high. Hongkongers must try and find time to eat properly and relax.
Lee Chun-tung, Kowloon Tong
Same-sex marriage not right for HK
According to tradition in China, a country with a long history, it would be against the yin/yang principle not to observe the "one man, one woman" marriage system, as is the case today with other civilised countries.
Therefore, it was surprising that US President Barack Obama supported a Supreme Court decision last week which made same-sex marriage legal in all of the nation's 50 states. It will have taken by surprise not only those observing the yin/yang principle, but those Christians who believe in the biblical teaching that homosexuals would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Unfortunately, this decision has encouraged pro-West politicians to lobby the Hong Kong government to allow same-sex marriage.
The harms caused by same-sex marriage are too many to enumerate.
Peter Wei, Kwun Tong
Children put under too much pressure
With more parents putting increasing pressure on their offspring to study harder, children in Hong Kong have little spare time.
There has been a lot of debate about whether this harms their quality of life and society in general.
I think it definitely does have a negative effect on children and on society.
Having to study all day is bad for kids, physically and psychologically. For instance, students who are forced to do so much studying have sedentary lifestyles.
They are unlikely to get involved in regular exercise, such as jogging or swimming and so they are at higher risk of becoming overweight, which brings with it various health issues.
Psychologically, with such a heavy workload, they feel under a lot of pressure and this can leave them feeling stressed and bad-tempered. There are extreme cases where children have committed suicide.
These children may only meet with a small social circle and seldom communicate with others while studying and so they do not develop interpersonal relationships.
If they lack essential life skills, they will find it difficult to cope as adults, especially in the workplace.
Hong Kong needs a diverse and adaptable workforce in the future if it is to remain competitive.
There will be a skills imbalance if youngsters have been pushed to focus on certain professions and there will be a shortage of young people in the arts, sports and music.
Many young people with training in similar fields will be fighting for a limited number of jobs.
Parents must try to understand how damaging it is to force their sons and daughters to study 24/7 and how they will not be securing for them a good future in their careers.
Carman Li, Sai Kung
Helicopter parents have got it all wrong
I have concerns about parenting styles nowadays in Hong Kong.
The terms monster and helicopter parents have been used to characterise different styles of parenting here. They are seen as being overprotective, hovering over every aspect of their children's lives. As a result, a lot of pressure is put on the children and they are deprived of what should be a carefree and even magical childhood.
Parents should give their children every chance to explore and discover the world on their own without constant interference. Monster parents are turning out a generation of spoilt brats, also called "Kong kids", who have low EQ (emotional quotients) and low tolerance of adversity.
They need to go out and do things on their own and with friends, and without their parents, like visiting country parks. Not only are they in a natural setting, but they can discover things for themselves. These kinds of experiences will certainly aid their all-round development.
Mothers and fathers should be aiming for a balanced development of their children. Because of the success-driven culture in society, even at an early age, children are usually compelled to stay at home to complete a number of written assignments. With long hours of study they are deprived of time to relax.
Parents should be aware of the importance of leisure time for children. It can boost their creativity and help them realise their potential.
Mary Wong, Ngau Tau Kok
Fine-tune measure to fight graft
Hong Kong used to have a reputation for being a society which had zero tolerance when it came to corruption.
That reputation was shaken by the trial of former top civil servant Rafael Hui Si-yan, who was jailed for taking bribes. Public concern has been expressed about a possible increase of corruption in society.
Some fear that the corruption that has been highlighted is the tip of the iceberg. When it is exposed and someone is convicted and jailed, it not only ruins their reputation, but it also has wider implications, because it damages the image of Hong Kong as a place where corruption will not be tolerated.
I do think the city's efforts to fight graft compare favourably with other cities and jurisdictions, and the Independent Commission Against Corruption works hard to crack down on dishonest citizens. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement.
Any collusion between government officials and businessmen cannot be justified. Both parties must be made aware that, if found guilty, they will face serious punishment.
Nicole Ng, Lai Chi Kok