Recently, I went to a park near my housing estate with my younger sister. We took a ball and played with it. But the guards immediately stopped us, saying that the ball was “too big and therefore dangerous, and we might fall over and hurt ourselves”.
Later, I saw a board which highlighted the restrictions on park visitors. For example, they cannot play with a ball nor sit on the grass, while dog walking is not allowed either. I was stunned by the long list of forbidden activities in the public park.
In the past, there were only signs reminding people not to spit or throw rubbish. But now most public parks have banned activities such as cycling and even dancing.
I think these regulations are preventing the public from enjoying their day out in a public facility.
Surely, people need some open space to relax and socialise. It seems the government is imposing more restrictions to keep us safe, but they are far too extreme, and in some cases, silly.
People should be free to do as they like in a park, as long as they don’t obstruct or pose a danger to other users, or damage the facilities.
Priscilla Shum, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School
Thank you for your letter, Priscilla. I think you have raised an issue that speaks to many Hong Kong teenagers about our open spaces and their “NO FUN” policy.
We would like to learn more about it and our readers can help us.
Take a ball to a park near you and play with it and then write in and tell us what happens. We would be very interested to know.
We will try to get a comment from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and find out what goes on in other countries so we can compare Hong Kong to them and see how well we do.
These kinds of restrictions are probably created because someone was once hit by a ball and made a complaint about it.
There is some sense to the regulations that have been imposed by the government. We have so many people living in such a small place that perhaps we cannot play ball wherever we like. On the other hand, this is not a good thing, especially for teenagers, who need to be able to move and relax in healthy ways.
Perhaps, Priscilla, you would like to write a longer letter giving us more information about what happened at the park that day.