Hon KP Chan on Motion on Promoting Long-term Sports Development
• The ultimate goal for promoting sports is to train the public to build up the spirit of challenging themselves and never give up, and to develop the habit of physical exercises. In western societies, sports are generally regarded as having an active and essential educational role. Through sports, young people are instilled with a set of correct values and behaviors, the spirit of working arduously to achieve goals, the ability of independent thinking and problem solving. Through team sports, young people can learn the spirit of co-operation and mutual respect.
• Many international studies have confirmed that regular exercises have significant benefits on health, which include reducing the risks of suffering from various diseases and depression, thereby reducing the public and the Government’s huge expenditure on healthcare. Diseases relating to obesity, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancers are all related to diets and lack of exercises, and that an effective national exercise programme can reduce the incidence rates of a number of chronic diseases.
• The most valuable resources of a country or a place is its people and the health of the people will directly affect the power of production and development. The Government is obliged to encourage the public to do exercises, and provide adequate resources and a wide range of venues to engage in sports activities.
• An earlier survey by the LCSD found that the physical activity level for over half of the population has failed to reach the baseline indicator level, lower than that of the United States and Japan. Various governments around the world attach great importance to the health of their people. Singapore introduced “Sports for Life” many years ago to increase sports participants in the population within a specified period of time. In France, primary schools have eight to nine hours of physical activities a week, while secondary schools have five hours. Canada offers tax rebate incentives to encourage children to do exercises.
• Policies on encouraging national sports in Hong Kong are still very inadequate and not progressive enough. “Sport for All Day” only opens Government facilities to the public free of charge, lacking comprehensive and long-term strategy. The Government should educate the public on the benefits of sports and encourage the public to participate more in sports in a systematic manner. The Government may also work together with the business sector to promote flexi-hour work and sports activities at the same time, such as the Standard Chartered Marathon which attracts the participation of many people every year.
• It has always been my deepest belief that our greatest investment in life is health. I recalled that I had moved a motion on “Promoting medical check-up for the whole community” (during which I had also put forward a proposal on encouraging the whole community to do more exercises), the first motion moved by me as a Legislative Council Member when I joined the Legislative Council. The idea behind my proposal is to build a healthy society in Hong Kong, in which all people advocate sports and care for their health, and everyone work hard for their careers and families in great spirits and energy. Perhaps, some people may think that this is too idealistic, but I always firmly believe that Hong Kong can certainly become a healthy and energetic city, as long as we have the determination and the Government is willing to take a step forward in introducing a comprehensive and long-term sports programme.