Letters to the Editor, February 16, 2017
Prevent injury or worse at future races
A number of people were injured at this year’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon and sadly there was a fatality (“Woman dies after collapsing near the finishing line”, February 14).
It is important that the government takes more precautions before future races get under way. I would like to see more first-aid stations en route.
Also, those planning to take part in the race must recognise that their health is of paramount importance.
They must undergo a detailed medical check-up and ensure that the doctor is satisfied that they have reached the required level of fitness to take part in what is after all a gruelling race.
They may have a condition which has not been diagnosed, such as heart problems, which is why a complete pre-marathon check-up is crucial.
Also, at this time of the year, the air pollution may be bad on certain days. People wanting to run, especially those with existing respiratory conditions, should check the forecast and the air pollution index on the morning of the marathon.
The organisers need to look back on this marathon and ask themselves if all that the runners required (such as water) was readily available at all points on the route.
Hongkongers can be justly proud of what is a memorable event, but organisers as well as the government should always review the race and think about improvements that can be made for next year.
And if participants take a few sensible precautions before starting, they should be fine.
Mary Ko, Hang Hau
Awareness of sport safety must be raised
The case of the 52-year-old woman who died after the 10km event of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon highlights the importance of ensuring safety in sports. In the past, few Hongkongers had time for any form of serious exercise. Fortunately, the huge numbers at this year’s marathon show that this is changing.
Campaigns by the government have encouraged more people to get involved in events such as the marathon. But awareness of sports safety needs to be raised.
Before participating in any form of sport, people need to do warm-up exercises.
This does not just apply to long races like marathons, but to swimming, jogging or even basketball. It helps your muscles relax and prepares you for a concentrated period of exercise.
People must also be realistic and recognise their limitations. They should not overestimate what they can do, or they could risk injury. They should be clear about what they can do without getting hurt.
The government should also promote greater awareness about the need for people to take all the necessary precautions before exercising.
Sandy Chan, Yau Tong
Sevens tickets public ballot sparks disgust
Disgust is not a word I would normally use, but, on receiving the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s (HKRU) email on the night of February 8, advising me that I had not been successful in the Hong Kong Sevens public ticket ballot, that was the first word that came to mind.
Apparently, the public ballot is for Hong Kong residents and has quite strict rules and regulations regarding participation. Hong Kong identity card numbers are required and therefore it is a ballot for Hong Kong residents (I have been one for over 23 years).
The Sevens is a Hong Kong event, yet, when the public ballot is oversubscribed, the HKRU does not extend the amount of tickets available to those requesting them through the ballot – it offloads them to an officially sanctioned marketplace (ticket agent) called viagogo.
Viagogo then offers to sell them to residents who were not successful in the public ballot – for three times the ballot value.
How can this be fair or right? The HKRU is making profits at the expense of local residents.
The union said in its email that although I was not successful, it could guarantee me a ticket by using viagogo, but what it did not tell me was that I would have to pay over the public ballot value for the privilege.
One point of interest is that some people are actually allocated tickets because they play netball for a section of a local rugby club. How does that work? Does the HKRU really want the support of local residents or does the “old boys’ network” just want money in the bank?
Nigel R. Merritt, Pok Fu Lam
Underground spaces would be good for city
The government is seeking the views of the public about its proposal to develop underground spaces and ease overcrowding in urban areas, such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.
There could be a lot of advantages to developing such areas. They would free up more space at ground level for community-use facilities.
Also, if congestion was eased, this would improve the quality of life for the residents of these urban areas.
Critics have questioned the viability of such projects, including constructing large underground shopping malls. However, I believe that we can see how countries like Japan have done this very successfully and follow their example.
These malls are very popular with shoppers in the Japanese cities that have them.
Samuel Yu, Tseung Kwan O
Homeless need extra help in colder months
Hong Kong is a densely populated city, with sky-high rents. Consequently, there has been a rapid increase in the number of street sleepers.
You see them under footbridges and in subways, in addition to on the street. Some have even taken to resting in public columbariums.
I do believe there is a direct link between the skyrocketing rents and the large number of homeless people.
Many of them have a poor level of education and struggle to find work, and therefore to pay even the cheapest rent.
The government should provide more emergency shelters for them, especially during the colder months. I also believe it should come up with a comprehensive plan to help homeless people.
The government’s programme to build public housing must also be accelerated.
Hongkongers can help as well, by making contributions to organisations which seek to help the homeless.
These groups provide them with daily necessities, such as food and also blankets during the cooler months.
Cherry Yeung Chin-wai, Hang Hau
Liberal studies should remain a core subject
There has been an ongoing debate over the last few years about whether liberal studies should remain a core subject or become an elective one in the secondary school curriculum.
I believe liberal studies is an important subject, because it enables students to look at each issue from different angles and they are then able to have a discussion in the classroom.
When questions are raised, they learn not to look to the teacher for answers, but to come up with answers themselves. Thus, liberal studies encourages independent and analytical thinking, especially about current affairs.
By learning to care about the news and to analyse, youngsters learn to care about the events taking place in Hong Kong. Therefore, it is important that the Education Bureau keeps it as a core subject.
Oscar Au Yeung, Po Lam