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給長者和青年人的信

2020/10/25 — 9:30

讚美手握權力的人很容易,厚待有價值和支持自己的人更是人之常情;只有觀察一個政府怎樣對待弱小、批評和不順從他們的人,才可知道那是否一個真正文明、道德高尚的國度。今天我想説説,我怎樣看長者和青年人在香港的境況。

香港安老服務的水平相距一般已發展國家甚遠;規管安老院舍的實務守則於八十年代訂立,當時為了讓私營安老院舍(下稱私院)快速發展,要求比較寛鬆。多年來投入服務的政府津助安老院舍(下稱津院)宿位遠遠追不上需求,大部分長者只能入住質素欠佳的私院。雖然事故頻頻,但家屬大都敢怒不敢言,因為入住津院遙遙無期,社署亦甚少嚴厲懲處、取替違規院舍。面對輪候津院的時間長達三十多個月,政府於 2017 年積極推行長者院舍服務卷計劃,希望部分長者放棄輪候津院宿位,入住私人營運的甲一院舍政府買位。與最低水準,所謂綜緩價的私院相比,甲一院舍的環境看起來已不錯,但服務仍有缺失,有些更良莠不齊。近日傳媒揭露,一位安老院舍院友因懷疑在院舍誤服降血糖藥物,造成身體傷害,該院舍更有鼠患問題,涉事的正是一所甲一私院。

安老院實務守則沒有明確要求院舍的空氣質素和感染控制措施,每年都有流感或其他傳染病在安老院舍爆發,而第三波新型冠狀病毒肺炎也在多間院舍蔓延。我認為長者是這次疫情中最無辜的一群;他們沒有參加多姿多采的社交聚會,沒有出外旅遊,沒有從經濟活動中得益,但卻最多人染病,甚至死亡。就算沒有被感染,住在爆發疫情院舍的長者也可能在深宵從安老院舍被帶到隔離中心。以防疫為由,大部分院舍已禁止外來人士到訪,長者院友數月沒有家人探望;很多社區支援和復康服務亦在疫情中暫停,令使用服務的居家長者生活質素也大受影響。我們的政府官員有什麼回應?他們沒有道歉,沒有慰問,檢討安老院舍和社區安老服務的承諾也沒有。

廣告

由反對修定逃犯條例引起的社會運動發生至今一年多,青年人受到很大的傷害:他們的學業受阻、身體受傷、心靈受創、失去自由、受盡牢獄之苦、流亡海外,甚至有些人(無論是家傳戶䁱或無名無姓的)在運動中喪失了性命。上年有兩位在學的年青示威者遭警察用實彈射擊,他們幸運地從死神手上活過來,但身體有不少後遺症,現在還要接受漫長的審訊。雖然青年人要為某些破壞社會秩序的行為負上法律責任,但警察也應該公平和專業地對待他們,然而我們看到現實的情況並非如此。部分人因失落和恐懼,決定離開家人朋友,遠走他鄉;12 位香港人因非法入境而被中國公安關押在深圳鹽田,當中更有未成年人士。他們雖然在港被控告及棄保潛逃,但港府也應該關注他們在深圳的情況,給予家屬適當的援助。

執政的人不單對青年人沒憐憫之心,更對幫助青年人,為社會公義發聲,批評政府的專業人士十分不滿:醫護人員、記者、社工、宗教和法律界人士無一不被攻擊。手握權力者從不反省自己施政的缺失,反而歸咎老師煽動青年人;他們用力打壓老師,確保再沒有老師會教導學生獨立思考。

廣告

各位親愛的長者和青年人,生活在今天的香港真是步步為艱,你們現在可能十分沮喪。我們暫未看到遠處的曙光,有良知的香港人只能團結,和你們一起走過這段崎嶇的路。

A Letter to the Elderly and Young people of Hong Kong Arisina Ma, Vivian Ko

It is easy to reverence those with power. It is even easier to treat generously those who are valuable and supportive, since it is only human nature. The only thing that tells one about the civilisation and morality of a nation is how the regime treats the weak, those who criticise and condemn, and those who defy. Today, I would like to talk about my take on the predicament of the elderly and youth in Hong Kong.

The care and support services for the elderly in Hong Kong have been lagging quite far behind other developed countries. Many families cannot take care their senior members, and significant number of the elderly are residing in elderly homes. The Code of Practice for Residential Care Homes for Elderly (RCHE), which regulates the operation of elderly homes, was stipulated in the 80s. The regulations have been lenient and loose to allow private elderly homes to prosper. The demand for better quality, government subsided places in subvented homes, far exceeds the supply. Most elderly could only reside in shabby private homes where they were sometimes poorly treated. Despite the frequent occurrence of incidents and negligence, the families of the elderly could only choke with silent fury, since the wait for government subsidized places seemed endless. The Social Welfare Department rarely imposed punishments on residential homes that violated the regulations or replaced them with reputed ones. To shorten the more than 30-month long wait for subvented elderly care services, the government eagerly launched the pilot scheme of residential care service vouchers in 2017, hoping that the elderly would opt for government purchased private home places under the Enhanced Bought Place Scheme [EBPS] of Social Welfare Department. Compared to the worst private elderly homes that charge an overwhelmingly low fee, those government purchased private home places are seems to be decent, but their services are of diverse and inconsistent quality. Recently, the press has reported that an older adult residing in an elderly home was mistakenly given anti-diabetics medication, resulting in health consequences. That elderly home, which was under the higher standard category of EBPS, was also reported to have a rodent infestation.

The Code of Practice did not explicitly state the mandatory requirements concerning air quality and infection control. Outbreaks of seasonal flu or other infectious diseases were found in elderly homes every year. The third wave of COVID-19 has also spread across dozens of elderly homes in Hong Kong. The elderly are the most innocent yet the most affected by the epidemic. They did not attend vibrant social gatherings nor travel abroad nor benefit from economic activities. Yet most COVID-19 patients are older adults, among which some have unfortunately passed away. Even some were not infected, those who were living in elderly homes with outbreak were woken up and brought to quarantine facilities in the middle of night. Most service providers of elderly homes imposed stringent visitation rules, all face-to-face visits by family members were terminated, the elderly were separated from their families for months. Many day care centers suspended their services for infection control reason, the elderly deprived of the community support and rehabilitation services they had the right to receive. How did the government officials respond to these? There was no apology, no condolence, not even a promise to evaluate the residential care services for the elderly. 

It has been more than a year since the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement began. The movement has left a deep wound on the young people. Some were hindered academically, some injured physically or psychologically, some lost their freedom behind bars, some were exiled and some (whose names were known as well as those who were not) have even lost their lives because of the movement. Last year, two young protestors, a six former and a diploma student, were shot with live ammunition by the police. Fortunately, they have escaped from the grip of the Grim Reaper but the injury left severe health consequences and now they have to go on lengthy trials as well. Although the young people should face legal responsibilities for disrupting social order, the police are also expected to treat them fairly and professionally, it is obviously not what we observed. Out of disappointment and fear, some people have parted ways with their families and friends and left Hong Kong for good. Twelve Hong Kong citizens, among which some are underage, were detained by mainland police in Yantian, Shenzhen for allegedly crossing the border. Although the 12 citizens attempted to flee to Taiwan are involved in pending criminal cases in Hong Kong, the government should show concern for their well-being in Shenzhen and provide their families with adequate assistance.

Not only do those in political power have no mercy for the younger generation, they are also resentful towards the professionals who have helped the young people, spoken up for social justice and criticized the government. Health care workers, the press, social workers, religious figures and legal professionals have all been attacked by the politically influential government officials. Those in power never reflected on their shortcomings in governance. Instead, they blame the educators for instigating the youth and aggressively suppress them to ensure no educator would ever teach the students to think critically and independently.

Dear seniors and young people, it has surely been difficult just to live a life in Hong Kong nowadays. The circumstances might have left you feeling very devastated. We could not quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet but with conscience, HongKongers will unite and get through this bumpy ride together with you.

發表意見