Letters to the Editor, November 01, 2016
Gay Games would boost city’s image
I think the debate on whether Hong Kong should be the first Asian city to host the Gay Games in 2022 could be heated (“City’s gay games bid gathers steam”, October 30).
We pride ourselves on being an international city.
The Gay Games are open to all, regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origins, or HIV status. Hosting the games would show that Hong Kong is not just international in terms of finance, but also with regard to human rights. It would enhance the city’s reputation.
We will be competing with eight other cities, but we can show we have a lot to offer, with our accessibility and superior public transport system.
I disagree with critics who fear that the bid represents too much promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights and sends the wrong message to young people. I think hosting the Gay Games will raise social awareness about LGBT rights.
It can help to strengthen the argument for legislation to be passed to protect sexual minorities from discrimination. This can send the right message to youngsters that we should all be treated equally, irrespective of who we are. So I do not see any negative impact from hosting this major international sporting event.
I do hope that Hong Kong succeeds in this bid to be the first city in Asia to host the Gay Games.
Julianna Ma Ka-lam, Yau Yat Chuen
Proper training best way to stop accidents
The new measures to ensure domestic helpers get sufficient protection when cleaning windows in their employers’ flats have loopholes (“Window cleaning rules ‘apply to all flats above ground floor’”, October 31).
Grilles will have to be installed and an adult will have to be present to supervise the helpers’ work.
The whole point of employing domestic helpers is that they can do the housework that the employer does not have time to do. Many Hongkongers have very demanding jobs and have to spend long hours in their offices. How are they going to find the time to supervise the work of domestic helpers?
Government officials and the consulates they consulted (representing the nations of most of the foreign helpers in the city) should ask themselves why accidents happen in the first place. I think it can come down to a lack of proper training.
I am sure there are organisations which could give the helpers the necessary training so that they do the window cleaning job without putting themselves at risk.
Stefani Wong, Kowloon Tong
Important to promote sport in schools
Some young people have expressed concerns about efforts by schools to try and get them to do more sport by having more physical education lessons in local schools.
They argue that students are already under pressure with a heavy academic workload and do not have the energy for more sporting activities.
However, research has found that moderate exercise actually helps to refresh the mind. It is not good to spend day after day just sitting in a classroom without some kind of activity.
Because of their sedentary lifestyles, many teenagers are overweight and some are obese. They need to be helped to develop the lifelong habit of getting involved in sport so that they can avoid the health problems associated with being overweight.
The government should be trying harder to encourage more Hongkongers to exercise and the best place to nurture a sporting culture is in school.
Ethan Law Tsz-chun, Tai Po
Bureau must fix seriously flawed system
Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen has called for the controversial Primary Three Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) to be scrapped.
Over the past few years, the education system in Hong Kong has become more exam-oriented.
This is in contrast to schools in countries such as England, Australia and the US, where students are given much more free time and have a varied and interesting curriculum.
The TSA in particular, is a test that has attracted a lot of negative comments from different quarters, including students who are forced to sit it.
When they are struggling to cope with so many tests and exams, it is difficult for students to enjoy their time at school. This is a burden not just for them, but also for their parents.
The way local schools are being run is actually harmful to students.
They have to spend most of their spare time after school on homework, different extracurricular activities and revising for exams.
This means that many of them do not have enough time to relax and get sufficient rest, which is not good for their physical or mental health.
The Education Bureau has to take responsibility for this state of affairs and should be taking swift action.
It should be drafting policies which shorten the school day and reduce the number of tests children have to sit to alleviate the pressure they are under.
With the right kind of reforms hopefully more students could enjoy their school lives.
Sandy Chan Lap-kiu, Yau Tong
Offer subsidies to substandard care homes
I strongly believe the complaints about alleged abuse at a care home for people with special needs is the tip of the iceberg.
There may be other care homes where alleged abuse cases still have to come to the surface. I think some of these homes do not have sufficient resources, with cramped rooms and walls that need repainting.
The inmates, whether special needs or elderly, often come from low-income families and the low fees are all they can afford. With so little money coming in, these institutions are unable to upgrade their facilities and they also suffer from staff shortages.
If the government does not monitor these homes, we will see more tragedies.
There must be more regular checks of all institutions. Homes with substandard facilities should be eligible for subsidies to reach the required standards. There should be a minimum size of room to prevent overcrowding.
Family members also have a responsibility to remain vigilant, particularly if the family member is mentally disabled and cannot speak out if they are being abused.
Helen Lau Hei-lam, Yau Yat Chuen
Monitoring by government is very important
I refer to the report (“Hong Kong government urged to take control over notorious nursing home’’, October 29).
When there are problems with the quality of care in a nursing home – the government has a responsibility to intervene.
Nobody wants to leave their parents in a home for the elderly. However, we live fast-paced lives in a modern city like Hong Kong and most citizens work long hours. They do not have enough time to look after elderly parents if they require full-time care.
They often have no choice but to send them to a care home.
It is difficult for them to tell if they are being properly looked after and it comes down to trust. It is upsetting when that trust is betrayed.
The role of the government in effectively monitoring these homes is crucial.
Vanessa Wong Jing-sum, Tsuen Wan