Letters Online: Hong Kong must read water signs, life as a frog, and doctors beyond borders
Will Hong Kong heed global warning signs on water?
I read with interest your article on the High Island Reservoir (“How Hong Kong built reservoir to double its water storage”, February 2).
Faced with a rising population and demand for water, the Hong Kong government planned to build a reservoir to double its water storage in 1969, and the High Island Reservoir was opened in 1978.
Today, most of us in Hong Kong take a plentiful supply of clean water for granted; however, the signs of a shortage are already beginning to show.
Indisputably, the growing population is a factor leading to a rising demand for water. But the most significant reason for this increasing demand is that our lifestyles have changed drastically over the past few decades. As technology advances, people have gained easy access to clean water. As a result, water is often wasted.
However, many people in the world are still living without access to clean water. In some of the less developed countries, people are not able to get clean, drinkable water from the taps like we do. In Afghanistan, for instance, only about 40 per cent have access to clean drinking water. Consuming unclean water can cause many types of diarrhoeal diseases, including cholera.
Even Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city and a top international tourist draw, may turn off the taps by mid-April, and introduce rationing until the rains come.
International organisations are seeking ways to solve these problems. As a member of the global community, we should also take action to stop these problems from getting worse. It is hoped that everyone will remember that water is a valuable resource and access to it is a privilege.
Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O
Frugal Japanese travel frog teaches life lessons
I agree with Kristy Lee’s opinion on Travel Frog, the new smartphone game created in Japan (“New frog with wanderlust hits close to home”, February 12).
Ms Lee said the frog may remind parents of children who leave home for study or work, and urged teenagers waiting for their virtual frog to return from its travels to empathise a little more with their parents.
Actually, I feel Travel Frog also reflects the reality of life for young adults. Lots of youngsters want to leave their hometown in pursuit of their dreams, and must – like the frog – collect “clover”, the resources that enable them to strike out on their own. Many are also drawn to the minimalist lifestyle of the frog in our consumerist world.
Further, I believe the gentle pace of the game satisfies our wish for a more relaxed lifestyle. Our busy lives leave us little time to stop and observe. The frog shows us the beauty of nature and, when it meets friends, we are made happy as well, as we put ourselves into this imaginary world. It inspires us to connect better with the people around us.
Hopefully, the game can remind people that, no matter how badly the world may treat them, there is always someone back home looking forward to their return.
Lydia Lai, Kwai Chung
Hong Kong needs foreign doctors, for the sake of its own
I am writing in response to the article on the winter flu surge in Hong Kong (“A&E units see rise in number of severe patients as winter flu season continues”, February 23).
Firstly, the government should discuss ways to reduce overcrowding in public hospitals. Last year’s decision to raise fees seem to have had little effect.
Charges for accident and emergency (A&E) services were revised from HK$100 to HK$180, while those at general outpatient clinics went up marginally, from HK$45 to HK$50, “to encourage diversion of less urgent A&E patients”.
But the number of patients coming to A&E has not been reduced. The stresses of medical personnel have not been reduced either.
The government could think about providing more subsidies to grass-root citizens for using private hospital services. Many such patients are unable to afford private care and therefore have to wait for eight to 10 hours at a public hospital. The scenes are very different in waiting rooms for the public and private sectors.
Moreover, the government has to seriously consider hiring qualified medical personnel from overseas. If they meet local standards and clear the relevant tests, they can help relieve Hong Kong’s shortage of hospital workers, thus benefiting both patients and the medical fraternity.
Sandy Chan, Tseung Kwan O