Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2017

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 July, 2017, 4:54pm

Helpers not all trained to care for the elderly

I could not agree more with ­Peter Kammerer’s article ­(“Having a helper makes HK youth lazy and spoilt”, July 4).

Also, having a helper makes the children of elderly parents in Hong Kong irresponsible.

Many working-class ­citizens, because of their long working hours, hire helpers to take care of their ageing parents if they can afford the cost.

This is all done in good intention. However, helpers are ­usually not trained to be carers of elderly people.

They are not aware of the possible risks their wards face, as many old people can easily fall and sustain a ­fracture.

Also, they may have specific dietary requirements, because of a medical condition.

Statistics show one in five ­citizens in Hong Kong over 65 may suffer a fall in Hong Kong.

I started learning more about the risks of falling and sustaining fractures when my 81-year-old mother slipped outside the toilet and required surgery.

My parents’ helper and I started learning more about safety measures and the skills needed to take care of elderly people on a daily basis. It was an enlightening experience.

Unfortunately, many of those who hire helpers to take care of elderly parents pass all of the responsibility of care-giving to these helpers, assuming they have the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job. But the fact is that most of these employees have no clue about how to take care of old persons, and the problem is compounded by a likely language barrier.

Employers might then ­unfairly say the helper is not ­caring enough – this is an irresponsible attitude. People should think carefully about what they are doing and commit to training the helpers before they are hired.

People should not automatically assume the helper has the knowledge and skills required to take care of elderly relatives.

Samuel Mak, North Point

Tougher steps needed for cleaner air

I am worried about the problem of air pollution in Hong Kong and the fact that it is getting worse, as this puts the health of Hongkongers at risk.

On hazy days it can be worse in some areas than others. In May, there were high readings at Tung Chung and Tuen Mun which will have affected local residents.

Part of this problem is caused by pollution from mainland ­factories in the Pearl River Delta, with the wind spreading the ­emissions here.

The government must do more to deal with this problem. The authorities here and across the border see their priority to be economic development.

While I understand this, they must also strike a balance and come up with effective policies to bring down the levels of pollution. Environmental protection ­cannot be ignored.

Yumi So, Yau Yat Chuen

Self-discipline important with smartphones

The age when children are given a smartphone by their parents seems to be getting younger.

As a teenager I have my own phone, but I restrict use to half an hour a day.

If parents are wondering at what age they should allow their children to have their own ­mobile, I would say Secondary One, as they may need it for their studies. And yet you can see children as young as four playing with their iPad.

This is not just happening in Hong Kong, but around the world. Some parents may be ­doing this to keep the child quiet. However, this can have a negative ­impact on such a young child, as they may find it difficult to learn ­to communicate with ­other children.

Overuse of computer screens can even lead to eye strain at such a young age and they may have to wear glasses.

When parents give their children a smartphone, they must sit down with them and discuss how long they will be allowed to spend on it. If they learn self-discipline and restrict use, children can gain a lot from using their ­smartphones.

Ng Tsz-wing, Hang Hau

Stay and help rather than flee Hong Kong

Recent news reports have shown more citizens are choosing to leave Hong Kong and ­migrate to countries like the US, Canada and Australia. I am sure there was spike in ­migration after Occupy Central, because people were unhappy with ­developments in the city. But why do individuals feel the need to leave?

Each country and city is unique, including Hong Kong. Wherever you go there will be social problems of one kind or another.

Citizens should recognise Hong Kong as their home town. Instead of escaping from the city, they should face the ­challenges and work to help solve the problems, not take the easy way out and flee.

Yoyo Li Tsz-kwan, Yau Yat Chuen

Risks posed by cyberbullying are very real

Cyberbullying continues to be a problem in Hong Kong and, as you have reported in the past, many youngsters suffer in ­silence. Some of them, unable to cope with what is happening, have taken their own lives, both here and abroad.

When looking at the pressure felt by local students, people point to the stress caused by their studies, but we should not neglect the terrible effect of ­cyberbullying.

Left unchecked, it causes a domino effect, with more young people becoming victims. We all need to be more aware of the extent of the problem. And we must recognise that even young children can be victims.

Parents should spend as much time as possible talking to their children so they can recognise the signs of bullying. And students must always be ­encouraged to talk to teachers if they are being bullied online, so that action can be taken.

I hope more will be done in our society to curb this kind of online bullying.

Don Wong, Hang Hau