Letters to the Editor, November 6, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:15am

We must help elderly feel part of society

The poor psychological state of some elderly citizens in Hong Kong is a cause for concern.

There are a number of reasons for this, such as an inadequate pension, a lack of a sense of belonging in a community and loneliness after retirement.

I think the financial aspect is the main cause of depression. Many old folk have to depend on a meagre pension and some discounts on public transport and have to endure a poor ­standard of living.

Their sense of isolation can be caused by a number of factors, including the generation gap and the feeling they cannot assimilate into this modern, fast-paced society. Once they are retired, they may feel that their lives are empty.

The government should ensure they get more financial help. And it should provide more subsidies to NGOs which help improve the quality of life for elderly citizens.

It also has to ensure that there are job opportunities available if the elderly want to keep on working, either for a wage or as volunteers. ­Doing voluntary work can help them feel useful and more ­connected with the community.

Taking care of their psychological health should be part of the government’s efforts to ensure we have a harmonious society. It seems to be neglecting what was described as one of Hong Kong’s core values in a survey, that is, peace and ­benevolence.

It is crucial we maintain these core values in order to make sure we continue to have a stable society.

Hailey Ng Pak-yan, Yau Yat Chuen

Talented teen athletes need more subsidies

A local 13-year-old windsurfer, Mak Cheuk-wing, has won a title in an international youth-class race on Lake Garda in Italy.

Her success proves that we have some very talented athletes in Hong Kong, but they are not getting enough support from the government.

Often they have to use their own money to travel to a competition and they really need more in the way of subsidies.

They also face academic pressure at school and it is difficult for them to strike the right balance between their studies and achieving their athletic ­ambitions.

The government needs to ­allocate more resources to ­nurture talented young athletes, especially when they are preparing for an upcoming competition. If they had to miss out on some classes to take part in an important event, the government should pay for them to attend tutorial classes to help them catch up.

It is important for schools and the government not just to focus on the academic development of young people. They must also recognise the importance of sports.

Sandy Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Coal-free area may be tough to implement

The central government plans to establish a no-coal zone in areas around Beijing next year.

I have doubts about whether this plan is feasible.

Subsidies are to be made available to try and persuade residents of villages near the capital to switch from coal-fuelled heating units to natural gas and electricity.

However, these villagers lack environmental awareness. It will be very difficult to change old habits, especially since the coal they use is plentiful and cheap.

There has to be an education campaign if this policy is to have any chance of success and ­subsidies must be sufficient for them to make the switch to ­electricity or natural gas.

Also, as the programme in villages will be overseen by local authorities, I am concerned about corruption within provincial administrations.

The central government must assign officials to monitor the scheme and the flow of subsidies in villages. They must also supervise factories to ensure they are not burning coal.

There is certainly an urgent need to solve the problem of hazardous smog in the capital before it gets worse, as it is ­putting residents of all ages at risk.

It also damages ­China’s image and could harm its competitiveness. It might also put off investors from abroad who where ­thinking of moving an office to Beijing, but are concerned about the serious levels of air pollution.

Mable Shing Yuet-wing, Tsuen Wan

World’s best airline tag no longer applies

Two correspondents expressed differing views about Cathay Pacific – Henry Ng (“Cathay needs to think less about savings and more about customers”, October 13) and Mark Peaker (“Criticism of Cathay Pacific is very unfair”, October 17).

Cathay Pacific had been the pride of our city, and this sentiment is quite widely shared within the community.

Now, when I see one of its aircraft above Victoria Harbour, I cannot help feeling a sense of loss. I miss the sensation you had of experiencing luxury whereas now it is about ­enduring the journey.

I mourn the decline of what we could proudly claim was the “world’s best airline”.

Mark Peaker says the staff are always “professional, polite and courteous”. Try asking for a cup of noodles in the middle of the night and see if his claim holds true.

You do sometimes experience great service on board, but you then have to ask yourself if this experience is the norm or the exception.

I also think standards have dropped when it comes to the quality of the food that is served. For example, I often find that the rolls are tough.

Then there is the issue raised by Mr Ng about the airline’s decision to get more seats on its Boeing aircraft, which will mean that the width of each seat will be reduced. I wonder if Mr Peaker can ­argue this will lead to a better travelling experience for passengers. It reminds me of those seats they installed that could not ­recline and that were heavily criticised by many passengers. I have ­similar concerns over these new seats.

There is no doubt that ­Cathay Pacific is a business that needs to generate a profit.

All businesses at different times are forced to cut costs. However, judging from its recent financial performance, one has to question the success of the cost-cutting efforts it has made. Will they bring any ­genuine long-term ­benefits to the company?

I think Mr Ng is justified in asking whether the management team is indeed working ­effectively and ensuring that the airline remains one of the best in the industry.

Whether Cathay is the pride of [its parent company] the Swire Group is beside the point, but speaking as a fan, I hope that it can once again become the pride of Hong Kong.

Jason Hui, Sha Tin

Cathay cabin crew came to the rescue

Last month, I travelled from Melbourne back to Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific flight (CX104).

Halfway through the flight, I collapsed in an aisle. I came to and found myself being helped by I don’t know how many cabin crew. They were caring, concerned and courteous. At all stages they explained what they were doing and why.

They made use of the assistance of a passenger who was a paramedic who offered his help. When I said that I was travelling alone and that I would be going home from the airport by ­myself, they arranged for one of my friends to be contacted by ground staff so that there was someone to meet me.

They arranged for me to have two seats to lie on. They kept checking on me for the rest of the flight without making me feel like a nuisance.They arranged for a wheelchair at the end of the flight, and helped me off.

The attention of the cabin crew made me feel that they genuinely cared about my well-being and I was very grateful for their help.

Julie Moffat, Ma On Shan