Letters to the Editor, January 22, 2017
More doctors better than A&E fee hike
Critics of the proposed fee increase at accident and emergency departments of public hospitals have said that it will not be effective.
The Hospital Authority proposes to raise the fee from HK$100 to HK$220.
The aim is to alleviate the severe overcrowding problem in these units, but I have doubts about that happening.
Many elderly people and citizens from the grass roots in society who are on low incomes use the services provided by A&E units.
Even if the fee hike goes ahead, HK$220 is still less than what a patient visiting a private clinic will be charged. Therefore, these people will continue to come to public hospitals and so the overcrowding problem will persist.
There may be a reduction of middle-class patients who prefer seeing a private doctor as they face a shorter waiting time.
The best way for the government to deal with the overcrowding problem is to hire more doctors and nurses as these departments are clearly understaffed.
It also needs to build more public hospitals, which means there will be additional A&E departments.
Education is also crucial. The Hospital Authority has to get the message across to the public that patients should only visit A&E departments if they have a medical emergency. And the fee policy should change, so that if medical staff determine that the patient did not have a medical emergency, that person should have to pay a higher fee.
The manpower shortage is the main issue the government has to deal with.
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O
Make Chinese history an elective subject
There have been calls for Chinese history to become a compulsory course in local schools.
As a Chinese, I think it is important to study Chinese history. Young Hongkongers can learn about the past and the nation’s development and it can give us a greater sense of our identity.
But if it was made compulsory, this would be an additional subject and would put students under greater pressure with an increased workload.
Students already have a lot to do and not enough time to relax. Some have been unable to cope with the stress.
There is a lot of material that has to be memorised in a subject like Chinese history and some people might struggle. They already have to cope with at least six subjects.
Chinese history should not be made compulsory, but should be included in the list of elective subjects.
Susanne Ma Suet-sin, Yau Yat Chuen
It is important to learn about nation’s past
By studying Chinese history, young people can deepen their sense of belonging to their community, culture and country.
They can have a better understanding of how the nation developed, and the major changes that took place.
Studying history in schools also helps them develop certain skills, such as how to deal with historical sources. These skills can be applied to other subjects.
As has been pointed out before, it is important to study history so that we can avoid repeating the mistakes made in the past.
Li Sheung -yi, Yau Yat Chuen
Dubai is a city full of culture and soul
In the Post Magazine article looking at the “good”, “bad” and “ugly” sides of Dubai (January 8), Tim Pile says the city has ended up “top (or bottom) of travel publisher Rough Guide’s Most Overrated Travel Destinations on the Planet, with critics labelling it soulless, artificial and lacking in culture”.
Foreign travel writers never bother to dig beneath the surface of the place.
Having lived in Dubai for four years, before moving to Hong Kong, I can confidently say that it was a city full of culture, real people and plenty of soul. But, until travel writers start to properly explore the emirate, rather than just reviewing the obvious major tourist attractions, we will keep seeing this largely unfair narrative about Dubai prevail, which is a shame.
Sam Turvey, Central
Take care with disposal of smartphones
Public awareness must be raised about the threat posed to marine life in the region.
With the economic advances, people are now better off and have a higher disposable income. In the past, they might have held on to their mobile phone for a while, but now they rush to buy the latest model and more smartphones are being discarded than ever before.
People need to be aware of the importance of disposing of smartphones in a responsible manner. This kind of e-waste is often just thrown away and can pollute the environment, including the sea.
We should all be trying to reduce the volume of waste that we generate. Schools should use more e-books and give out e-homework.
When we go to a restaurant, we should only order as much as we know we can eat.
Ben Guan, Sha Tin
We must tackle serious plastic waste problem
I am worried about the city’s serious plastic waste problem. Green groups have called on the government to take more concrete measures to deal with it.
There is so much plastic waste in the city; it saturates our landfills and some of it ends up in the sea and threatens marine ecosystems.
You see this plastic waste everywhere – on the streets, in restaurants and in shopping malls. Statistics from 2014 show that of the daily average of 9,782 tonnes of municipal solid waste ending up in landfills, about 20.6 per cent was plastic.
Therefore, the government must do more to try and reduce this volume. It has a plastic bag charge, but the levy must be widened. Residents have to share the cost of collecting, recycling, treating and disposing of plastic products. If people face more charges, they will not waste as much plastic and hopefully get into the habit of using recycling bins.
All Hong Kong citizens have a responsibility to help tackle our plastic waste problem and reduce the volumes of rubbish we generate.
Carmen Lam, Cheung Sha Wan
New Year fair ban for groups makes sense
I agree with the government’s decision to bar Youngspiration and the Hong Kong National Party from operating stalls at the Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park.
Firstly, it is because they are promoting the independence of Hong Kong.
They claim their freedom of speech is protected by the Basic Law. However, Article 1 of the Basic Law states that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. People who call for independence are violating that law.
I also think it is wrong for some of these groups to ask US President Donald Trump for help, given that Hong Kong is part of China, not the US.
I hope the government will succeed in its efforts to stop the spread of the independence movement in Hong Kong.
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O