Letters to the Editor, August 11, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 4:37pm

Track records of care homes must be public

I agree with correspondents who have argued that the government should expose the ­details of poorly performing care homes for the elderly and disabled.

This can strengthen the monitoring process for these homes and help the public choose the right facilities for elderly and ­disabled relatives.

Care home operators who know they can be publicly exposed will hopefully do better, knowing that if they do not, their reputation will be damaged. We would hopefully then see a marked drop in the number of homes which perform badly.

If details about the homes’ track record remain confidential, this puts citizens at a disadvantage and makes it more difficult for them to make the right choice. Therefore, exposing the details of poorly performing care homes for the elderly and disabled can give people a better understanding of the quality of the care homes they are choosing.

It is very important to have good-quality homes for the elderly and disabled and so it is important for the supervision of these homes by the government to be comprehensive.

Any measures which improve the quality of these facilities should be welcomed.

Yoyo Sin Tak-yiu, Sha Tin

Rehoming zoo animals is the humane choice

I applaud Jason Baker for his ­article (“Hong Kong zoo must be shut down for the world city to live up to its name”, August 7).

This is exactly what all ­animal lovers in Hong Kong need to read to understand that zoos are nothing more than ­animal prisons.

The only thing that zoos teach people is that it is acceptable to capture wild animals, separate them from their families and homes, and confine them to cramped enclosures.

It is impossible to replicate animals’ natural habitats, given zoos’ space limitations and the artificiality that is inherent in ­exhibits that are designed with the visitor experience in mind.

With today’s technology, there are so many humane and exciting alternatives to zoos that can educate and inspire people. Cameras live-streaming animals in the wild, computer-generated technology and, now, virtual reality, will make zoos ­obsolete in the future.

Everyone knows zoos don’t foster respect for animals.

Hong Kong needs to re-evaluate its values. It should make the compassionate move by ­allowing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to rehome all of the animals from the Hong Kong zoo to animal sanctuaries where they are not used as moneymaking objects for ­human entertainment, but are free to live in peace which is what they deserve.

Brione Sargent, Causeway Bay

Rio protests a political lesson for any society

Even before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio, there were problems, such as health concerns over the ­effect of the Zika virus and ­security.

There were also demonstrations outside the Maracana ­stadium, with people protesting about the cost of the Games while so many citizens lived in poverty. They said the Brazilian government only cared about the Games being successful, but ­ignored important livelihood issues such as the plight of the poor living in the city’s slums.

There is no doubt that the building and infrastructure programmes for the Olympics have proved costly. And there was clearly a lack of consultation with Rio residents to get their ­input about how to prepare for the Games.

What happened in Rio serves as a political lesson that applies to any society. When a city is ­chosen to host the Olympics, from that point to the start of the Games, the government should have the support of the people. Public support and input are so important.

Without it, you get the kind of dissent we have seen in Rio and other parts of Brazil, highlighting serious social problems that the government is neglecting. If that continues, people lose confidence in their government.

All governments should ­involve their citizens in decision-making processes on important issues, and that ­includes Hong Kong.

If administrations listen to the people, then they are more likely to ensure a harmonious society.

Jordan Chan Wai-tsun, Tseung Kwan O

Pokemon Go can help bridge generation gap

I enjoy playing the computer game Pokemon Go as it gives a sense of achievement when I catch a special character, especially one who is proving to be so elusive.

You also visit a lot of interesting places in your hunt for these characters. And even when I fail to snare one, I know that I will get another chance.

My generation has played games like this since we were very young, but I can understand older people who are not familiar with these games and who do not understand the appeal.

However, I think that as more parents and children play Pokemon Go together, it can help to bridge the generation gap and promote mutual understanding. It can bring friends closer ­together and help people to make new friends.

You will see people going over to other game players and talking to them even though they have never met. So I do not agree with those critics who say that Pokemon Go is ­having a bad influence on young people.

I believe the craze will last for four months. Most Hongkongers like new fads, but get easily bored. If the game creators want to extend its lifespan, they should come up with new characters in different destinations.

Vanessa Lau, Wan Chai

New textbooks a serious drain on finances

Although student life at university is generally enjoyable, one downside is the astronomical cost of textbooks.

Undergraduates can expect to spend thousands of dollars during the course of their degree on the recommended textbooks. This is a serious financial burden for those from low-income families.

One problem is that during each new college year, professors recommend the newest edition of a textbook and this is far more expensive for ­students than purchasing a second-hand edition. And it is difficult to get these books from libraries.

I feel sorry for young people who face rising costs while the authors and publishers make large profits. However, it is unlikely to change as most ­students want to be well-prepared for their courses so they buy the new edition.

Wong Ka-lam, Kwun Tong

Allow banned candidates to run for office

I refer to the report, “Disqualifying localist Legco candidates lets politics ‘eat into’ legal system, former Bar Association chair says” (August 5).

Some prospective candidates in next month’s Legislative Council election, including Edward Leung Tin-kei, have been disqualified from standing by the Electoral Affairs Commission because, it is argued, they are not following the Basic Law.

I can understand why Leung feels upset over not being allowed to stand. He had already signed an agreement saying he accepted the Basic Law, but ­because of previous comments he had made about independence, the returning officer did not believe he would uphold it.

He and other banned candidates should be allowed to stand. I fear that if these things keep happening, Hong Kong will become more like the rest of China and will lose its unique characteristics and freedom.

Ian Wan, Tseung Kwan O