According to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong in 2016, over 80% of Hong Kong people expressed a desire to have control over their end-of-life care arrangements, rather than having doctors, family members, or others make decisions on their behalf. However, how can end-of-life care be properly addressed? Many elderly individuals have dedicated their entire lives to their families and society. What are their thoughts on end-of-life arrangements?

    The majority of terminally ill patients in Hong Kong pass away in hospitals without being aware of the option to receive palliative care at home. What are the necessary conditions for providing palliative care at home, and what are the challenges involved in its implementation? How can society and the government allocate resources to help the elder feel more at ease during their final stages of life?


    • The New Era of AI

      The New Era of AI

      ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chat robot developed by OpenAI, has swept the world, triggering a debate on whether AI will replace humans. While some schools have banned its use, many others have chosen to embrace technology and continue developing AI teaching platforms to encourage student usage. The business sector, on the other hand, welcome this trend in general. However, will this lead to a substantial number of job losses? What impact will AI have on human employment? Could AI eventually surpass human control as depicted in science fiction?

    • Burning Issue

      Burning Issue

      In the sweltering summer heat, prolonged exposure to the sun can easily lead to heatstroke. The Labour Department recently released new Guidance Notes on Prevention of Heat Stroke at Work, based on the Observatory's Hong Kong Heat Index. These include amber, red, and black-level warnings, outlining rest arrangements for outdoor workers under each warning level. For outdoor workers, the critical question is whether these new guidance notes can ensure their health. The guidelines also categorize labour intensity into light, moderate, heavy, and very heavy physical workload, but do workers know which category they fall into? Meanwhile, what challenges do employers face in implementing these guidelines, and are there criminal liabilities for employers who fail to provide rest periods as stipulated? The increasingly common high temperatures and heatwaves are linked to climate change. Facing extreme heat, we must adopt strategies to adapt and also try to mitigate climate change from various angles.

    • Green Goodbye

      Green Goodbye

      In recent years, the government has actively promoted green burials, encouraging citizens to handle their ancestors' ashes in more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways, including scattering in gardens of remembrance and at sea. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department states that green burials can help save land resources needed for constructing columbaria in the long run. While the number of green burials has increased over the past decade, traditional beliefs still influence their prevalence, preventing them from becoming widespread. Funeral industry representatives emphasize the importance of understanding and preparing both pre- and post-mortem plans to increase the adoption of green burials, also urging citizens to plan their final affairs in advance.

    • Let Them Shine

      Let Them Shine

      The lives of autistic individuals are filled with challenges at various stages of their development. Especially after they leave school and enter the workplace, even more challenges await them. In December 2021, the Census and Statistics Department released a territory-wide survey on persons with disabilities and chronic diseases. The survey revealed that, in Hong Kong, there are 22,400 people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), of which 10,500 are aged over 15 and only 2,500 are employed. Local support services for autistic people have focused on in-school training. It wasn’t until 2018, that the government set up support centres for teenagers with high functioning autism. Currently, there is a half-year waiting period for services at the center, reflecting the high demand for these services. How can we improve the employment prospects of people with autism? What can be done to help autism persons to integrating into the workforce?

    • Urban Greening

      Urban Greening

      The Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong recently published the world's first study on the greenspace exposure levels, revealing disparities in greenspace coverage and exposure levels across over a thousand cities worldwide. The study scientifically measures the opportunities for residents in different regions to interact with greenspaces. Despite Hong Kong and Singapore having greenspace coverage rates of 70% and 84% respectively, the exposure levels are only 35% and 55%. According to data from the Planning Department, around 65% of Hong Kong's land is covered by forests, shrubs, and grasslands, including parts of country parks or nature reserves. The government has been promoting urban greening for many years to develop a greener environment in Hong Kong. In 2010, the Greening, Landscape, and Tree Management Section was established under the Works Branch of Development Bureau to coordinate various departments in establishing multi-level greening, landscaping, and tree management strategies. How effective have these efforts been?

    • How Many is Enough?

      How Many is Enough?

      Hong Kong has a serious population aging problem, and its fertility rate has decreased over the past three decades. A survey reveals that Hongkongers' lack of fertility intentions is mainly due to financial pressure, long working hours, and housing problems. A low fertility rate will have a profound impact on the overall social structure and economic development of a country. In what ways should the government formulate a long-term population policy? And what can be done to encourage the younger generation to have children?

    • Silver Linings: The Elderly Force of the Job Market

      Silver Linings: The Elderly Force of the Job Market

      With an aging population and declining birth rates, Hong Kong's workforce is expected to continue shrinking. In recent years, the government has actively encouraged the elderly to remain in the workforce and delay retirement to alleviate the economic costs of an aging population. The Financial Secretary has also proposed tax deductions for employers who voluntarily contribute to the provident fund for employees aged 65 or above in the 2023-24 budget. The Labour Department enhanced the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged to the Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged in 2020. So, what's the current employment situation for the elderly? How can the effectiveness of their employment be enhanced? And what industries are available for older individuals?

    • Rethinking Residential Child Care

      Rethinking Residential Child Care

      Residential child care services have always been the safety net for children experiencing family crises. Based on statistics from the Social Welfare Department (SWD), there are approximately 4,000 service quotes annually, roughly half of which are residential services, providing residential care to those aged between 0 and 21. Industry insiders point out that child care services have gradually developed into different models over the past few decades. These models include Residential Creches, Residential Nursery, Children's Reception Centre, Boys' Home/ Girls' Home, and Boys' Hostel/ Girls' Hostel. Although the operation model varies, these residential services face shortage of places, resulting in a prolonged waiting period for children in need. Since the government has strengthened its supervision of residential child care services in recent years, how will service providers respond to the changing social environment? What are the challenges faced by the frontline staff?

    • Stop the Emission

      Stop the Emission

      The climate crisis is imminent. The Hong Kong government has set a target to halve carbon emissions by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, implementing a series of strategies. In addition to promoting ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), the government will also re-organise The Council for Sustainable Development into the new Carbon Neutrality and Sustainable Development Committee to provide advice on carbon reduction strategies and promote collaboration across sectors.
      The primary source of carbon emissions in Hong Kong comes from power generation, accounting for about 70% of the total. Replacing fossil fuel power generation is the most direct solution, but conserving energy and reducing carbon at the source is even more crucial. Buildings consume significant amounts of electricity. New commercial buildings use glass curtain walls and centralized air conditioning, which are major contributors to energy wastage. The Airport Authority Hong Kong has also announced its strategy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions at the Hong Kong International Airport by the end of 2050, aiming to reduce actual emissions by half by 2035. What plans do they have in place to achieve zero carbon?
      Carbon emissions are causing global warming and the intensification of extreme weather events. To achieve the 2050 carbon neutrality target, collaboration is essential not just between the government and businesses but also every citizen. Everyone should play a part in alleviating the climate crisis by reducing their carbon footprint. Let's work together to cut carbon!

    • Two-Wheeler Parking Woes

      Two-Wheeler Parking Woes

      According to statistics from the Transport Department as of October 2022, there are a total of 74,734 licensed motorcycles in Hong Kong, while there are only about 38,000 motorcycle parking spaces, including 11,520 on-street motorcycle spaces (commonly known as “rib spots”). Hourly rental parking for motorcycles is even rarer. The issue of insufficient motorcycle parking has persisted for years, exacerbated by the serious problem of abandoned motorcycles improperly occupying these “rib spots”. Private motorcycle parking rents in Hong Kong are roughly between several hundred and a thousand dollars, while the government's on-street “rib spots” are free of charge. Many motorcycle drivers openly express their willingness to pay for parking, but the main problem is the lack of spaces. With the development of the food delivery and courier industries, Hong Kong has seen an increasing number of professional motorcycle drivers, and the demand for motorcycle parking spaces is trending upwards. What solutions might there be to the issue of insufficient motorcycle parking?