Letters to the Editor, September 28, 2015
Long waiting lists at public hospitals
The Hong Kong government must allocate more money to the public medical sector.
I had the misfortune of having an 11am appointment at an outpatient clinic at Queen Mary Hospital, and was eventually seen after 2pm. An elderly couple had been waiting since 10am and had still not been seen when I left the clinic. There were many people complaining to the frontline staff about the length of time they had been waiting.
The queue for prescriptions was another 90 minutes. I eventually left the hospital at 4pm, luckily it was the same day. I fear that, next time, I may have to camp there overnight.
We must invest more in our doctors and public hospitals. Billions are being spent on road and rail links which will not be utilised as much as the outpatient clinics at our hospitals.
The waiting lists in public hospitals are horrendous. I know from my own experience and that of other people that you have to wait for more than a year for an MRI scan. Specialist clinics have similarly long waiting lists. In the public sector, we do not have enough trained staff to cope with the ever-increasing workload.
The UK's National Health Service gets a lot of bad press about its waiting lists, but they are a fraction of Hong Kong's.
Here, many people have private health care. Imagine if all seven million plus of us needed to utilise the public health sector. It does not bear thinking about.
Elizabeth Wright, Quarry Bay
Walking on escalators is not dangerous
Thank you Mitchell Stoker for injecting some sanity into this debate ("No-walk plea on escalators irrational", September 21).
Where is the evidence that it is much more dangerous to walk rather than stand on a moving escalator? It seems the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and the MTR Corporation see this as being self-evident. Not all of us agree.
As long as you concentrate on the task at hand, it is not dangerous to walk. If an escalator breaks down during operation, it is meant to sound an alarm and come to a halt gradually.
If it suddenly comes to a halt without warning and without slowing, it will be because of some catastrophic mechanical failure. This should be so rare that it would be ludicrous to ask millions of people to change their habits to prepare for it.
But in either case of an escalator stopping, is it any more dangerous to have been walking than to have been stationary?
Some people might say the forward momentum and the possibility of having one foot off the ground might contribute to instability. But on the other hand, having your muscles flexed and being more alert to your surroundings might make you better prepared to save yourself from taking a fall. It is not an open and shut case at all.
Passengers like me, who commute every day, are well accustomed to the "stand on the right, walk on the left" convention. On the escalators and travelators, for example, between Central and Hong Kong station, we are disciplined and oblige other people by standing aside if we are not in a hurry.
By trying to break up this well-established practice, the MTR will cause unnecessary aggravation to the travelling public and will contribute nothing significant to passenger safety.
It will merely be aping Japan's rail operators and caving in, as usual, to the nanny-state mentality so ably promoted by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
Colin Bosher, Discovery Bay
Why Tony Abbott had to be replaced
Most Australians must have been shocked by the swift leadership contest which saw Malcolm Turnbull replace Tony Abbott as prime minister of Australia.
I think it was obvious that Abbott had to go.
As premier, he had simply failed to deliver. He promised more pro-business policies and economic reforms, yet Australia's economy remains stagnant. The Australian dollar has been depreciating over the past 12 months.
He was very unpopular with most Australians, as was reflected in the low approval ratings. His social policies and views were based more on personal, religious beliefs rather than logic and the majority view and this was unacceptable.
He was anti-immigration and also alienated people with his strong opposition to gay marriage.
He was taking the Liberal Party too far to the right and, rather than improving its reputation, made it a prime target for the political satirists. Former premier Paul Keating said in 2010 that if Abbott was elected as prime minister, then "God help us".
The party's MPs made the right decision to replace him and, fortunately, it was done in a civilised manner.
Malcolm Turnbull must now repair the party's damaged image and prove to the Australian people that he can lead the country.
Andres Chau Ho-yin, Kowloon Tong
Recalling five days at Anzio beachhead
The full-page article ("In defence of our wartime heritage", September 19), was interesting and something different.
It took my mind back to the spring of 1944 when I was on the Anzio beachhead in Italy. Three of us young soldiers spent five days in a forward observation post without taking our army boots off. Excreta was thrown over the edge of our slit trench. Our job was to keep an eye on German foot patrols coming through. It was a different world.
War was war whether it was in western Europe or in a Hong Kong pillbox.
Dan Waters, Mid-Levels
Too many workers eat junk food
Many Hongkongers work long hours and they often have to eat out. This can lead to them having an unhealthy diet.
Also, after a long day in the office, few of them have time for any sports activities. And even if they do have spare time, they will probably spend it with friends and families.
I appreciate they are probably under a lot of stress.
However, the government has to try and encourage more citizens to lead healthier lives. It should create an advertising campaign and put up posters encouraging promoting the importance of sport.
Being overweight is a problem with many teenagers.
Parents must try to ensure their children are getting a balanced diet and some exercise.
Tutti Sung, Tseung Kwan O
Teens need guidance from parents
I refer to the letter by Katie Sze ("Vulnerable teens must get more help", September 8).
I agree that more help and support should be given to vulnerable teenagers and that teachers and parents should always stay alert.
Hong Kong is a city where the education system is very competitive. How you do academically, especially in public exams, is very important. This leads to teenagers having high stress levels. Often, parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations. Sometimes this leads to tragedy with teenagers taking their own lives.
Adults need to ensure teens get the protection they need. Also, the government has to offer more vocational training. Youngsters who have not done well enough in their exams to get a place in university should be offered career guidance.
They should be told there are other options and, with the right training, they can find good jobs.
Teachers need to be able to listen to their students and help them if they are having emotional problems. And, of course, strong parental support is very important.
Parents must try to communicate as much as they can with their sons and daughters and always try to maintain a good relationship.
The most important thing is to give teenagers all the help they need as they are in the process of trying to determine their future lives.
Wai Hei-yan, Tsuen Wan
Slow link to internet can be rectified
I refer to the report on poor broadband connection speeds on the outlying islands ("Islands stuck in online dark ages", September 14).
We call Hong Kong a world- class city but even living in an urban area, in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, my connectivity is less than eight megabits per second.
I stay in Ocean View Court, which has seven buildings on Mody Road and Chatham Road. I know that other residents have very slow connectivity speeds while other buildings elsewhere pay less but enjoy much higher speeds.
I have been in touch with the providers, PCCW and Hong Kong Broadband, and I was told that since all of our buildings have no fibre optics networks, then our choice is limited to 8Mb, and we also have to pay higher charges.
I am sure if either PCCW or Hong Kong Broadband undertook to lay the networks for fibre optics, many of the households in the seven buildings will subscribe to their services to have much faster speed and with lower charges.
I urge either of these companies to follow up on this to our mutual benefit. It is a win-win situation. I am available to further discuss this, if need be.
Mohan Panjabi, Tsim Sha Tsui