Letters to the Editor, February 20, 2018
Look beyond short-term fixes amid flu surge
I refer to the report about desperate nurses stretched to the limit by the winter flu outbreak (“Hong Kong nurses pushed to breaking point”, February 3). Even the Hospital Authority chief has warned of a “protracted war” against the disease, with the flu season expected to last until the end of May.
The government should think of long-term solutions to tackle the shortage of nurses and the crisis sparked by each flu season.
The report said some nurses were unable to finish their daily work even if they skipped “eating, resting, or going to the toilet”, with night shifts even worse. It is clear that this is a manpower problem. With situations where two nurses could be asked to tend to as many as 50 patients, what quality of care could be expected?
The crisis prompted Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to inject HK$500 million into public hospitals, as support for short-term or immediate measures, including hiring new clerical staff – to reduce nurses’ administrative burden – and part-time medical professionals.
But with our rapidly ageing city facing a chronic shortage of nurses and frontline medical staff, it is clear that both training and recruiting will have to be stepped up in the long term, so that hospitals don’t reach crisis point with every seasonal flu surge.
Jade Ling, Kwai Chung
Why Taiwan model appeals for ‘one China’
As Hong Kong struggles with the burden of having too much money, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from Taiwan about how to spend it.
I’ve just been there for three weeks learning Mandarin. Note there is no blocking of your social media in Taiwan, nor will you find any unelected official telling you what a “correct” understanding of “self-determination” is.
And, of course, you learn proper Chinese characters.
I kept the following scorecard while there:
Number of old ladies doing back-breaking work pushing carts of recyclable cardboard: zero. Number of homeless people seen on the streets: zero. Number of people living in cages: zero.
Number of litter bins on the streets: virtually none. Amount of rubbish seen on the streets: none. Amount of recyclable rubbish collected from homes: 100 per cent.
High-speed internet coverage, even in rural areas, rather than just high-density urban housing blocks: 100 per cent. I could go on.
If we really must have “one China”, I’d much rather have the Taiwanese version.
Lee Faulkner, Lamma
High time city warmed up to ice sports
I refer to Nicolas Atkin’s article on the need for Hong Kong to rethink its approach to the Winter Olympics (“Get your skates on, Hong Kong”, February 16).
Of course snow sports are impractical in Hong Kong, but ice sports are eminently possible, and rinks would be attractive throughout the year, particularly in the summer. Hong Kong’s lack of success and lack of interest in ice sports is entirely due to the lack of facilities and, as with most sports here, the government is to blame.
Hong Kong has only one full-sized ice rink for its 7 million people, while Switzerland’s 8 million have 111 rinks. Germany has one rink for every 380,000 people; if Hong Kong did the same, we would have close to 20 rinks.
Robert Wilson, Discovery Bay
Mandarin test an injustice to HK students
Recent protests at Baptist University have sparked heated debate on the significance of learning Mandarin, as well as over the way some students expressed themselves. I stand with the students.
First, while it is morally clear that swearing at teachers is always improper, we ought to note that the Cantonese foul language they used was not offensive, but merely meant to vent their anger. Courtesy is one thing but, when it comes to protesting against injustice, some aggression is necessary to make your point.
As for the Mandarin test, I see it as an injustice. First, it discriminates against local students. It is absurd that the test is compulsory for locals, and not for foreign or mainland students. I cannot help but feel that the university wants to promote Mandarin among our future pillars of Hong Kong, until they give up Cantonese.
The test is also unreasonable. According to a student leader, one must have good pronunciation and accent, as well as an appropriate tone, in order to pass. In this way, it is more of a reading test rather than a language evaluation. It is almost impossible for a non-native speaker to pass, since the threshold is impossibly high.
Hongkongers have overvalued Mandarin for far too long. I hope we will start focusing more on world languages such as English and Spanish, so as to become more internationally competitive.
Marco Au Yong, Sha Tin
Here’s why library stations may not work
The Hong Kong government has been promoting its new self-service library stations, claiming they will promote a reading culture.
However, the root of the problem is not the availability of books, but the lack of interest in reading.
No matter how many library stations are built, those not interested are not going to borrow books. Also, with just three stations for the whole of Hong Kong, how effective will the initiative be?
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O