Ahad, 13 Oktober 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Senior Citizens’ Day should be made a public holiday


BEIJING: Chong Yang Festival, which falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month and was observed yesterday, is associated with filial piety.

Traditionally, Chinese observe the festival by paying respects to their deceased ancestors, climbing mountains and drinking chrysanthemum wine.

In China, the day also marks Senior Citizens' Day, as written in the revised Elderly Rights Law that came into effect on July 1.

Ideally, Chinese should make use of the day to visit their aging parents, but many lamented that it was unfeasible when the day is not declared a national holiday.

Children working in big cities cited long travelling hours as the reason that discouraged them from going home.

Local media ran articles that quoted experts urging the government to consider a day off on Senior Citizens' Day for people to spend quality time with their parents.

Renmin University Professor Zheng Gongcheng told state news agency Xinhua that the elderly should not be left celebrating the festival alone.

"It is family reunion that makes the festival meaningful. While the children are compelled by law to visit their parents, we must acknowledge that such visits require time.

"Making Senior Citizens' Day a public holiday would help raise the awareness on Chinese values and customs," he said.

China National Committee on Aging deputy director Wu Yushao added that since Chong Yang Festival centres around filial piety, declaring the day as national holiday would highlight its cultural values.

He suggested the government to introduce housing policies to encourage children to live together with, or near to, their parents.

The Elderly Rights Law, which was passed in December last year by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, spelled out the children's duties in caring for the elderly in the families.

According to the law, citizens aged 60 and above are considered elders. Their needs, including spiritual and medical, should be well taken care of.

"Those who do not stay together with the elderly should visit or send them greetings often," Clause 18 read.

Nonetheless, the law did not specify the punishments that await those who flout the law by neglecting their parents.

Chinese legislator Yu Jianwei told reporters last December that there were 178 million elders in China as of 2010, which represented 13.26% of the population.

"The elderly population is expected to exceed 300 million in 2025 and 400 million in 2033," he said.

Tharman is 'best Finance Minister'


SINGAPORE'S push towards greater productivity has won its key architect and spokesman an award for good policy-making.

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shan­mugaratnam was named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine, a global banking and finance publication.

He will receive the award today in a private presentation at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington.

The accolade recognises Thar­man's "over-arching role" in shifting Singapore's economic growth model from one dependent on an ever-expanding working population to a steadier platform of increasing productivity, Euro­money said yesterday.

The shift is taking place even while Singapore's status as an innovative trade and financial services hub to diversified export markets is being maintained.

"Not content with ... relying on low taxes to attract foreign direct investment and business ... (he) has spearheaded a push to find new sources of economic growth, while building a social safety net to address discontent over strained infrastructure and rising living costs," it added.

"There is universal consensus that there is no better policymaker than (he) to push through this domestic agenda, while actively crafting policies to ensure the city-state maintains its relevance amid competition from such rivals as Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Dubai."

In glowing reports, Euromoney detailed Tharman's successes and challenges in helping Singapore move towards more sustainable and inclusive growth.

Describing him as "energetic" and "reformist", the magazine also lauded Tharman's accomplishments outside Singapore.

He is the first Asian to chair the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee and was seen as a contender to lead the IMF itself.

Tharman has also earned acclaim for his prescient and wide-ranging warnings that the region needs stronger and timelier reforms and better regulatory coordination, it added. With degrees from the London School of Economics, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, he "is regarded as one of the region's smartest finance ministers".

He is the 34th recipient of Euromoney's annual award and is only the second Singaporean winner, after Hon Sui Sen in 1982. Euromoney's choice is based on the opinions of its senior editors, the world's leading bankers and economists around the world. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

More youngsters diagnosed with eating disorders


MORE teenagers, some as young as 13, are being treated at public hospitals here for eating disorders.

Figures from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) show that 95 youngsters aged 13 to 19 suffered from anorexia or bulimia last year, up from 65 in 2011 and 75 the year before.

"About a third of these cases needed hospitalisation," said Dr Lee Huei Yen, director of the eating disorders programme at SGH.

The number of these young patients with eating disorders outpaces the number of adult patients, which also went up from 40 in 2008 to 70 last year. SGH said it has already seen close to 50 teenage patients as of April this year.

The number of youngsters diagnosed with eating disorders at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) over the past three years has also increased – by about a third.

At the National University Hos­pital, doctors have observed a 20% increase in cases involving young patients in each of the last three years.

"Based on estimation – 70% of them are brought by parents," said Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, a consultant at the hospital's division of general ambulatory paediatrics and adolescent medicine.

The remaining 30% are picked up by schools or are diagnosed when they experience fainting spells or hair loss. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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