Letters to the Editor, June 5, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 June, 2016, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 June, 2016, 12:15am

Puzzled by delay in giving Tamiflu to son

A recent incident where a child died of flu in a public ­hospital, and it took “more than two hours for him to ­receive Tamiflu” (“Grieving ­parents meet doctors in flu death case”, May 21), raises questions about the medical profession’s current policy on the treatment of flu in Hong Kong.

A few years ago, my son was ­suspected of having the H1N1 strain of flu and a doctor advised that he should go to a private hospital for observation and treatment. He was admitted to one a day after the symptoms first appeared.

Despite a strong suspicion that my son had H1N1, the doctor ­insisted on a laboratory test to ­confirm the strain of the flu ­before administering the drug Tamiflu. The test result was not available until the afternoon of the following day. It confirmed H1N1, but the doctor said there was no use taking Tamiflu 48 hours after the symptoms first appeared.

Why does the medical profession insist on a laboratory test before deciding to administer Tamiflu if there is a strong suspicion from the symptoms that it is H1N1? Also, there is the risk of serious consequences from delayed treatment. I do not know why Tamiflu is not adminstered straight away if the drug has no significant side-effect. And why should doctors insist on conducting a test (at the patient’s expense) knowing in advance that by the time the test result is ready, it will be too late to administer Tamiflu?

Surely there is an absence of simple logic in this kind of decision by medics. Or is it a case of private hospitals wanting to charge additional expenses for unnecessary tests?

Joe Lee, Kwun Tong

Shooting gorilla was the wrong decision

I refer to the report, “Ohio zoo kills gorilla to protect small child” (May 30).

The internet was filled with reports and blogs on the gorilla at Cincinnati Zoo which was shot on May 28 after it grabbed and dragged a three-year-old boy who fell into its enclosure.

Many people expressing their opinions online did not appreciate that the gorilla had to be sacrificed. The zoo came in for heavy criticism, but what about the parents? How did he fall into the moat in the first place? They have to take responsibility for what happened.

I am not convinced the zoo considered all the options before deciding to kill the gorilla and I strongly disagree with what it did.

Theodore Tam, Tseung Kwan O

No need to use tonnes of earth for green roofs

A green rooftop can work, but it has to be the right kind.

Dumping tonnes of heavy soil on a rooftop will create lots of problems, such as huge loads on the structure and tonnes of water to keep the vegetation green.

At the Sha Tin seafront pumping station and the Tai Po pumping station, they have been bold enough to try out a new type of green roof (called Midori-chan) that weighs a fraction of normal green roofs, and that hardly needs any watering. Why is this not even mentioned in all the ­articles about the green roofs?

Could someone who is ­involved in this please come ­forward and tell us more about it? Why isn’t it being used in more places?

Sven Topp, Mui Wo

Traditional characters are part of history

I refer to the letter by Dickson Yiu (“Traditional characters are much better”, May 31). Simplified Chinese characters are easier than traditional ,ones, but not better.

Traditional Chinese has historical value, as it dates back 2,000 years. It is a part of Chinese culture and therefore it is important people can still read and write traditional characters.

Simplified Chinese is not that difficult to learn. Some of my classmates will use it when they need it, for example, with some Chinese writing and in liberal studies. And they may buy books from the mainland using these characters.

If we need to use simplified characters, we can learn on our own and there is no need for it to be made a subject.

Victor Cheung, Sheung Shui

Russia does not pose threat to Europe

Ramon Collado writes from New York (“Western allies must show unity when dealing with Russia”, May 28) warning West and Central Europeans to prepare for Russia to attack Poland.

His perspective on Europe is distorted by his American perspective. Russia has an extremely long land border with China, peaceful and friendly now. It has in the Kurile Islands, four of which are claimed by Japan, an unresolved border issue; and Japan will likely develop nuclear weapons when Donald Trump becomes president.

Russia also has a Muslim community of some 25 to 30 per cent. It is peaceful yet if the Kremlin were daft enough to be diverted by foreign military adventures in Europe, a handful of jihadi troublemakers could wreck the country. Russia has many Muslim states to its south, most of which are unstable and potentially very hostile to Christian Russia.

From this geopolitical perspective, it is not in Russia’s interest to make war against Poland or any other European state. It has too much else to cope with and nothing to gain. Diversion into such an unnecessary adventure would dangerously distract Russia from dealing with its real problems.

Why do Americans so often bang on about this unreal ­“Russian threat”? Because they need a “military threat” to maintain “their” Nato and their control of Europe. That is why the US at the end of the cold war ­refused to make peace with ­Russia and eventually in 2014 provoked the disintegration of the neutral Ukraine, as explained in two essays in the US Journal Foreign Affairs (“Why the Ukraine crisis is the West’s fault” and “A Broken Promise: what the West really told ­Moscow about Nato expansion”).

The US uses Russia as a bogeyman to scare Europe into accepting its control of Nato and so Europe. In reality, there is no Russian threat in Europe. Mr Collado’s “Russian threat” is like the philosopher Voltaire’s concept of god: “If it does not exist, it must be invented.”

Maurice Peter Tracy, Central

Nuclear plants have now become safer

I agree with correspondents who support increased use of nuclear energy in Hong Kong.

Most countries still rely on using fossil fuels such as coal to generate energy, but we will run out of these resources. Many ­nations are relying on more ­nuclear power. It does not ­release pollutants and generates a lot of energy.

I also think it has become ­safer. After accidents like the one at Fukushima, many countries have spent more improving technology and upgrading safety at nuclear plants.

Michelle Leong, Kowloon Tong

Build more flats, but keep green fields

Many Hongkongers are forced to live in cheap public rental units or some form of subsidised housing.

Because of substandard living conditions for some people, we have seen the growth of social problems such as the stunted development of children and domestic violence. There has also been a negative social ­impact on the elderly and traditional family values.

I think Hong Kong people have had a really raw deal, thanks to greedy landlords, unscrupulous property developers and gutless governance. In Hong Kong, it is difficult to have enough to buy a flat. There is no doubt that a lack of land sales under the administration of chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen resulted in a housing shortage.

It is important to provide a continuous supply of new housing, both public and ­private, but there is no need to recklessly reduce the sustainability of our city by rezoning sports fields, community and social support sites, and our green belts for housing.

This will only create more significant problems in the future ­regarding the quality of life Hongkongers strive for.

Alison Yu Tsz-man, Sham Shui Po