Letters to the Editor, January 23, 2017
Encourage more mothers to breastfeed
Various organisations, including the American Academy of Paediatrics, American Medical Association, and the World Health Organisation recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies.
Breast milk not only contains all the vitamins and basic nutrients babies need, but also contains disease-fighting substances that protect them from illness.
Breastfeeding can also alleviate the financial pressure for people on low incomes.
Purchasing milk formula can prove expensive. It is estimated it can be as high as HK$6,000 a year. Breastfeeding mothers only need to buy some equipment, for example a pump, so they have to spend far less than a mother depending on milk formula.
More must be done to try and encourage mothers to breastfeed if they can.
Sometimes it can be difficult for them to breastfeed when they return to work.
Employers should ensure that an appropriate private space is available to staff to breastfeed or express milk, so they are not embarrassed.
Employers should also allow mothers to have flexible hours. Where possible they should be allowed to bring their babies to work, or child-care services should be made available near the workplace.
There should also be a separate refrigerator where mothers can store expressed milk.
Hospitals should also try to get the message across to mothers about the advantages of breastfeeding.
They should have specially trained staff who can talk young, inexperienced mothers through the process of breastfeeding, so that they are put at ease.
They need to be given as much encouragement as possible so that breastfeeding becomes more common in Hong Kong.
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O
Education can help counter discrimination
The police have launched a translation service in an effort to break down language barriers between the force and people from the ethnic minorities.
It will provide a translation service in seven languages, and this should enable better communication between police and non-Chinese citizens.
This policy is in line with the principle that all people should be considered as equal before the law and obviously that should include citizens from minority groups.
It will make it easier for these citizens to report incidents, and voice any concerns they might have that require them to talk to police officers. It will help with social integration and hopefully make them feel that they actually belong to society.
I do not think the Hong Kong government is doing enough to help ethnic minorities to integrate into society. They often face discrimination at work or at school, because of their skin colour or a lack of understanding, because of language differences.
I believe education is the best way to reduce that level of discrimination and enable citizens from ethnic minorities to have a better sense of belonging.
Yoyo Li Tsz-kwan, Yau Yat Chuen
Young people must not give up hope
In her final speech as US first lady, Michelle Obama had a very special message for teenagers.
She urged them to be proud of themselves, because nowadays they often look down on themselves and feel they lack the confidence to achieve their ambitions.
She urged young people not to give up too easily when it came to their studies and their planned career path.
I think it is true that some youngsters do give up too easily and some lose so much hope that they end up taking their own lives.
Obama talked of her own childhood and youth, coming from a family that was not rich. But she was determined to achieve her goals, which of course resulted in her going to Harvard Law School. She is proof that even if you do not have a well-off upbringing, you can still achieve your goals.
What she has achieved shows the importance of education and acquiring knowledge. By working hard she was able to have a successful career.
I found her speech very inspiring and touching.
Marco Chan Hei-yin, Lohas Park
Government should address housing crisis
Hong Kong is a heavily congested city and many people are forced to live in subdivided flats. But rents have risen severalfold even for these tiny units.
So it appears to me that rents have risen while the actual living space in these flats has become smaller.
With higher rents, these tenants are under extreme financial pressure. So people are paying a lot of money for substandard living conditions.
The government should recognise that there is a problem and it should try and deal with it.
It should provide some sort of transitional housing for the people who are on the long waiting list for public housing.
There are vacant flats in the city that could be used for this purpose, and this arrangement could be overseen by the Urban Renewal Authority and other relevant government departments. But the government must also accelerate its public house building programme in urban areas. Also, temporary housing could be provided in empty schools.
This could help house tenants who have been evicted by any government crackdown on subdivided flats that are deemed to be unsafe.
The problem of subdivided flats and the poor living conditions people have to endure in these should be addressed before things get worse.
Maggie Chan Hiu-suet, Yau Yat Chuen
We are all wasting too much food
I think we can often be quite cruel to animals, especially when they are killed for food.
Thinking about that cruelty made me also consider the problem of food waste in our society. As the world’s population rises, the demand for food keeps increasing. But in some societies, such as Hong Kong, a lot of food is wasted.
We should think about that and try not to waste food.
We should only prepare or order food in restaurants that we will be able to eat. If we do order too much food, then we should take it home to eat later.
And in supermarkets, when we are buying a product we should look at the sell-by date and ensure that we will consume it all by that date, rather than having to throw it away and therefore wasting it.
Tsang Kai-yuet, Tseung Kwan O
Make sure old stores in city can survive
I read the article about an independent store in Star Street (“One Wan Chai general store helping its community to remember the ‘simpler times’ ”, December 17). Such stores represent collective and valuable memories.
The Leekeestore is only one of a few independently run general stores left in the area. Its owner said similar shops on Star Street had all shut down. Chain stores are taking over in streets throughout the city.
The owner said his store was special, because of the human touch. Unlike in a supermarket, he could have a conversation with his customers and so he was connected to the neighbourhood.
I hope the remaining independent stores can survive. They might have to adapt, such as offering greater variety, but the government should also be willing to help. It should provide subsidies to independent store owners so that they can survive despite rent rises.
They need protection so that they do not disappear.
Bonnie He, Tsuen Wan