Letters to the Editor, October 10, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2016, 5:01pm

Good mental health vital for elderly citizens

I refer to the report, “Psychological health rates low for elderly” (October 6).

I agree that the government has to pay attention to the psychological health of the elderly. It is not enough just to focus on their physical well-being, civic freedom and access to public transport. Everybody has the right to contribute to society, regardless of age, and psychological health is very ­important.

After retirement, elderly people are literally thrown out of the job market. With the increasing life expectancy, they could end up with 30 years without anything to do. They can get bored and feel that they are worthless.

They deserve to feel valued after working hard for many years. There is a difference between staying alive and having a decent quality of life.

Our psychological health is essential to our overall well-being. We should live a life full of passion and zeal. There are countless cases where cancer patients live their life with great enthusiasm till the end.

Conversely, living a life with no goals and purpose at all and at the same time doing nothing is bad for a person.

It doesn’t matter if you have excellent physical health, or a HK$2 discount for all forms of public transport. Losing purpose in life leads to people feeling miserable.

Some people might claim it is generous of the government to provide health-care services for the elderly and transport discounts. I am young now and appreciate my good health. But physical well-being will not be the only thing that matters to me when I am old.

There is a lot the government can do for the elderly to ensure their psychological well-being, such as ensuring they do not have to retire at an early age if they do not want to. I strongly believe that elderly people want to continue to contribute to society and ease any financial burden their children may have to bear to look after them.

If they are able and want to, they should be allowed to continue working. Even if a universal pension is introduced, some older people will still want to work.

Also, when it comes to maintaining the good psychological health of the elderly, prevention is always better than a cure.

Rachel Fu, Sha Tin

Questioning road link to Lantau

In my letter (“Sceptical about East Lantau Metropolis”, September 9), I inquired of the development minister what had changed to make a transportation link from Hong Kong Island to the East Lantau Metropolis possible when a government study 25 years ago determined that it was not ­feasible.

The response (“East Lantau transport links open to studies”, September 30) by Chan Chi-ming, the deputy secretary for development (works), noted such a rail link had not been ­carried forward in the study and that there was no conclusion on its feasibility.

He will no doubt be aware of another study about 20 years ago which concluded that a road link from Hong Kong Island to the area of the East Lantau Metropolis was not practical.

Could he please explain why such a road link is now considered to be feasible and has not the Reclamation in the Harbour Ordinance now made such a link even more difficult?

Ronald Taylor, Pok Fu Lam

Young people must get more exercise

I refer to the report, “No child’s play for Hong Kong kindergartens to fit in sufficient exercise time” (October 8).

Many parents in Hong Kong see sports and exercise in general as a waste of time for their children. In our education system, there is too much concentration on trying to do well academically.

Many of my friends are forced to go to tutorial lessons, and learn to play musical instruments and different foreign languages. Hardly any of them are encouraged to take part in sports activities. Their parents think the extracurricular activities they sign them up for will make a good impression with schools, while sports will not.

When I compare the kids today with my childhood, I think this ­problem has got worse. Even kindergarten students do not get enough exercise. They will grow up thinking getting involved in sports is not that important, but it is. Students need healthy minds and bodies; exercise is important.

They are under a lot of pressure at school and so being able to exercise is important as it can help them to relax.

I am not denying the importance of doing well in exams, but it also important to be healthy and happy and that requires ­ensuring that you get enough exercise.

Anrou Yuan, Quarry Bay

Parents should ask children for their views

On the first day of applications for school places, you see a lot of parents joining long queues ­outside top primary schools.

They see the placement of their children in a top local ­primary school as a kind of ­lottery, which they desperately feel they have to win.

I actually think that they place too much emphasis on getting into these primary schools, when they should be thinking about what their children really need.

They aim for schools where there will be good-quality ­Chinese- and English-langauge education and that have a good academic reputation, without thinking if this would be the best option for their child.

Different children have differing academic needs. In some of these top schools, ­students might get a lot of homework. Some young people may not be able to deal with such a heavy workload and they may not adapt to the competitive atmosphere that exists at these schools.

Parents should talk to their children first and find out what they think and what they need. They should bring them along to the school’s information day and then the children will have a ­better idea if they will be happy.

Also, there is no guarantee that getting into one of these schools ensures the young ­person will have a good future. They can also learn a lot outside of school.

For example, they can learn from reading at home and from signing up to extracurricular activities. Good literacy development is very ­important for children.

The ­fixation with getting into a good primary school and winning at the starting line is not always ­relevant. Winning at the finishing line is more important.

I think the points ­system for primary schools nowadays is imperfect. For example, in some cases, entry can come down to your religious affiliation.

The government should surely look again at these entry requirements.

Joanne Kwong Chung-ki, Yau Yat Chuen

Laws can help curb alcohol use by teens

The problem of youth drinking has become severe in Hong Kong. Many teenagers are drinking alcohol and I think a major reason for this is because there is insufficient education about the effects of alcohol abuse.

There are not specific lessons on what I would call growth ­education in either local primary or secondary schools.

Many teens might not know that alcohol can affect brain development and also affect other aspects of a young person’s health.

I also think that peer pressure plays an important role, with youngsters being encouraged to drink by friends.

We need a tighter regulation that is strictly enforced so that retail outlets are not allowed to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. This regulation must apply to local stores and supermarkets.

Store owners should not be allowed to encourage teenagers to purchase alcohol.

One law that could be introduced and enforced would be to force everyone to show their identity card when buying ­alcohol.

Rebecca Ho, Shek Kip Mei