人口老化的衝擊

Writing Question:
Like many other developed cites, Hong Kong has an ageing population. However, while the average age of the population is rising, the living standard of the elderly is not. Thus, some people are urging the government to set up a universal protection scheme which would provide retirement protection to all people who have reached the retirement age.

  • Write an article for your English teacher.
  • Explain some of the benefits and drawbacks of having a universal retirement protection scheme and ways to ensure that people from different businesses do not go against the scheme.
  • Include a title for your article.


Retirement — “Desserts” or “Stressed”?

Not many people would go against the idea that the elderly ought to have a protected retirement. The question is – how? In order to get everyone under the umbrella, some 水have been advocating a universal retirement protection scheme. But what are advantages and disadvantages of that? Does everyone in Hong Kong support this? Like it or not, this is a topic that we will all have to face.

To commence with, a plan for retirement should always involve a bit of calculation. There is an assumption that an average lifespan of women is 87 years and if they retired with one million dollars that they saved from 30 years of working, they will have around 100 dollars to use every day, without counting in inflation. This is a palpable reason for us to have retirement protect to avoid seeing the elderly collecting cardboard, newspaper and aluminum cans to support their living after retirement. Furthermore, reducing disparity between the rich and the poor is another blessing. Most of the poor in Hong Kong are the elderly. According to the “Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report 2017”, there were 340,000 poor elderly people and the poverty rate in population groups aged 65 and over was 30.5%. For different reasons, someone people would have never had a job. One way or the other, our society will still have the obligation to look after them. True, having a universal retirement protection scheme may not serve fairness well, but it fits in the concept of equality.

Moving on come here, when fairness is concerned, not all shareholders in the society will welcome this scheme. The most obvious point is that the scheme requires a huge amount of money. There are statistics to show that the elderly rate will be increased to 31.1% and the number of elderlies will reach 2.37 million by the year 2036 in Hong Kong. What’s worth noticing here is that not all of the above mentioned are in need of the protection. In fact, the rich will still be the rich when they retire. When resources are limited, isn’t it nonsensical to help someone who doesn’t need help? Take Li Ka Shing an example, he is the 30th richest person in the world, with an estimated net wealth of US$29.4 billion. So, does he need retirement protection? The answer is definitely a “NO”. The thing none of us should neglect is that protection is affecting the use of resource. There are areas like education, medical treatment, infrastructure and countless other social issues which are in need of finding. Thus, such retirement protection seems more like a double-edged blade.

Apart from the above-mentioned concerns, the scream from different business sectors is not to be neglected. Clearly, the government will need to increase its income, such as raising taxes, so as to finance the scheme. To avoid conflict in the society, the implementation should be done step-by-step. First of all, ample explanation, education and promotion would be expected. Letting people know more about the scheme can gain approval from the public and probably instill the sense of responsibility of looking after the elderly. If the government publishes the scheme imminently, further tension might be created among different stakeholders.   After all, most businesses are money driven but at the same time expected to uphold social responsibility. When the scheme gets enough credibility from the public, the chance of it being rejected by big companies would be lowered.

To bring all the above to an end, as the saying goes, “STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards”. The universal retirement protection scheme is not without its fault. While it creates stress to the government’s financial planning as a whole, it brings desserts to the group of people who deserve the care and respect.

5A(2) Katie Chan

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