Why must Hong Kong elderly be taken out of service when they have so much to offer still?
I am writing in response to your article, “Forced retirement is ‘age discrimination’, Hong Kong cabinet member says”, October 7). The rapidly ageing society of Hong Kong has caused a labour and skills shortage, and it is indeed misguided of businesses to make retirement mandatory even for those capable of excellent work.
Some analysts have suggested that the working lives of older people be extended through appropriate retirement, retention and recruitment policies. I am all for such policies, not only to avoid age discrimination but also to further promote active ageing. In fact, many elderly people in Hong Kong are discriminated against in the workplace: job insecurity, low status and poor pay are difficulties they have to face, which affects their health and well-being.
Many assume the elderly have less physical and intellectual ability, and many companies refuse to employ or retain old people due to their low efficiency, real or perceive. However, I think the elderly can still be valuable and productive.
Publicity and education will go a long way towards eliminating misconceptions about the elderly. Also, besides making relevant policies, the government can consider backing training sessions for elderly workers in different sectors to help them upskill and strengthen their appeal in the job market.
Cannis Chow, Lam Tin
Don’t let the wisdom of senior citizens go to waste
We should appreciate the wisdom of society’s “silver assets”, no doubt about that. Our government should convert the wisdom into actual contributions to society, by extending the retirement age or recruiting the elderly for volunteer activities – let them lend a helping hand to those in need, and take pride in their ability.
That said, the elderly themselves have a big role to play if they truly wish to gain the respect of society. It is not uncommon to see some elderly people play the age card to enjoy different privileges. Sometimes, in the name of ensuring filial piety, they treat the younger generation unfairly and demean younger people publicly, for example, on online platforms. One should bear in mind that respect is earned.
John Yau, Kwun Tong