Hong Kong poverty line, or a wall that just sets the poor apart?

  • The poor can receive those subsidies every month but still cannot climb the social ladder
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 1:01pm

I am writing in response to the article “New thinking needed to level playing field for those in poverty” (December 10). I agree that new thinking is needed on defining the poverty line.

Firstly, the poverty line is there to help the poor, not to set them apart in a negative way from the rest of society. Recently, the government has introduced a lot of subsidies for families below the poverty line. But can those subsidies really help them in the long run?

The latest Hong Kong Poverty Situation report shows that, even after cash handouts, nearly one in five children in this hugely wealthy city live in poverty. The poor can receive those subsidies every month but still cannot climb the social ladder. They need to rely on those subsidies instead of having the chance to move up the ladder. The poverty line now is little more than a wall between the poor and the wealthy.

When will Hong Kong show the courage to tackle its real problems?

Secondly, attempts to equalise job and social opportunities are not effective. In Hong Kong, we are equalising the opportunity to study in university. However, according to the demand-supply theory, more university graduates will only lower the value of being a graduate – as is revealed in reports that half of our public housing applicants are below 30 and have university degrees. This goes to show a degree does not ensure a better job. The excessive supply of university graduates is becoming a social issue.

We know what the problems are, but how to solve them is the question.

Oscar Au Yeung, Po Lam