Letters to the Editor, August 16, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 August, 2015, 12:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 August, 2015, 12:02am

Obsession with work not really living

Most Hongkongers are too focused on work so that achieving a good work-life balance is furthest from their thoughts.

Many stay on in the office after the official end of the working day. Some see it as a way of proving their diligence. I realised how serious a problem this is when I overheard a Hongkonger saying that because of the hours he was working he hadn't seen his daughter in two months.

When I was a student, I wished for a simple life. I hoped for frugality and happiness. Being frugal does not necessarily mean a poor quality of life as happiness has nothing to do with how much money you have. It is important to have the time to do the things that matter, like going for walks with your children along a seafront promenade on a weekend.

Unfortunately most Hongkongers sacrifice that work-life balance and instead work too hard. But it is a lopsided approach if you are spending so much time in the office.

If you are working long hours to earn more, you will have to abandon achieving a good quality of life and this makes no sense. People should try to get the right balance before it is too late.

Winfred Wong, Kwai Chung

Tourists failing to take simple precautions

Every year, thousands of Chinese tourists when visiting the US, go to Yellowstone National Park.

However, most tourists arrive unprepared and put their lives in danger. In 2011, there were two fatal grizzly bear attacks in Yellowstone and neither victim carried bear spray, the last line of defence against a bear attack. (Bear spray is 95 per cent effective whereas firearms are 55 per cent effective.)

We rent bear spray in Yellowstone and are shocked by how unprepared and uninformed the tourists are. Grizzly bears are extremely dangerous - they weigh up to 750 pounds and can run 100 yards in six seconds.

Yellowstone has one of the highest concentrations of grizzlies in the world. Yet, we are constantly asked "Are there bears here?" and "Do we need bear spray if we are walking on short trails?" Carrying bear spray is like buckling your seat belt or wearing a hardhat on a construction site.

Although it can save their lives, thousands of tourists hike without it, placing themselves and their family in peril. And if they get attacked by a bear, the bear may be put down as well. How can this be? They are visiting Yellowstone, not Disneyland.

Attacks are rare, but they happen every year. How many more bear maulings must there be before tourists protect themselves and their families while touring bear country?

Sally Vering, founder, Bear Aware, Bozeman, Montana, US

Punishment by court was too severe

I think it was wrong for a woman to be given a custodial sentence after being convicted of assaulting a police officer with her breast during a protest in circumstances where the location was very crowded.

There were a lot of people at this protest against parallel traders and I am sure things were confusing. It was probably difficult to be sure who was responsible for alleged actions, including assaults.

I cannot agree with the decision of the magistrate to impose a prison sentence.

Many citizens were very disappointed by this jail term. I do not see how a breast can be considered a weapon.

Surely the laws of Hong Kong should exist to protect the rights of women.

Rainbow Leung Wai-yu, Tseung Kwan O

Plight of poor is getting worse in city

I am concerned about the problem of poverty in Hong Kong.

While the city has enjoyed prosperity through continued economic development and growth, the conditions of the poorest in society have shown no improvement.

In fact, the opposite has happened with the gap between rich and poor becoming wider. This large wealth disparity has caused a lot of problems.

It means that people on very low incomes do not have enough money for essentials. And they have few opportunities to learn new skills.

This makes it difficult for them to improve their lot by getting a better job.

They are obviously going to be less competitive on the job market.

If they are not given the chance to get a higher wage they are caught in a vicious circle from which there is no escape.

They will suffer from stress and feelings of low self-esteem, feeling they are a burden to society.

Some will be tempted to resort to criminal activities and when crime figures rise this creates social disharmony.

In 2013 the government established a poverty line, but since doing that, it has not progressed to actually dealing with the problem. It has to recognise that with so many people being classed as poor it has to take measures to alleviate their plight.

The consequences, if it fails to implement the necessary measures, could be serious.

Mandy Ng Ka-man, Yau Yat Chuen

Cancer risk raised by ignorance

A survey has found that Hongkongers are becoming less aware of the importance of healthy living and the risks posed by cancer.

At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable through leading a healthy lifestyle, and yet there has been a rise in cancer cases.

Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, many citizens have done little to cut the risk of contracting cancer.

A lot of people are now classified as being overweight and most of us do not eat enough fruit and vegetables or get enough exercise.

We should all be trying to lead healthy lifestyles and I do not think it is all that difficult. People should try and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and do about 150 minutes of moderate exercise. Doing this can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

I think one of the problems is ignorance. The government needs to promote the importance of healthy lifestyles to raise citizens' levels of awareness.

Rachel Lam Ching-yin, Kowloon Tong

We can all make effort to eat better diets

I am concerned about the eating habits of Hong Kong citizens nowadays.

They are made aware of the need to have a healthy diet, but they do not apply this principle of nutrition to their daily lives, simple things, such as ensuring you have two portions of fruit and three of vegetables every day.

I read about one survey which claimed that nearly 10 per cent of citizens only eat one piece of fruit a day.

Many would say their diet is not balanced, because they are so busy.

Because they spend so much time in the workplace many tend to eat in fast food restaurants. The food is served quickly, but it is not nutritious.

People can have a swift, but healthy snack, for example, eating a yam with a glass of milk.

John Hung, Po Lam