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Shaw College 29th Founder's Day

Shaw College held its 29th Founder's Day Celebration Ceremony on 9 January with Dr. Stephen Fisher, director–general of Oxfam Hong Kong, as the guest of honour. Dr. Fisher shared in his speech that from his time working for the government until he served in other units after retirement, he has been involved in work related to poverty. Poverty is mainly defined as either 'absolute poverty' or 'relative poverty'. Absolute poverty refers to lack of food, insufficient money to fight disease, inability to receive education, no sense of safety and feelings of helplessness about the future. According to this definition, countries where absolute poverty can be found are mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Many Hongkongers do not believe there is a poverty problem in Hong Kong. Fisher's own experience tells him that this is false. There are Hong Kongers suffering from relative poverty which means not having enough money to live as mainstream residents do.

To solve the poverty problem, there are basically two types of solutions. One believes that as long as the economy is developing, employment opportunities can be created. The other holds that the government has the responsibility to care for the poor through tax income. As to why the poor should be helped, the main reason is that the government is responsible for protecting citizens' basic rights, including the right of survival. Morally there is the concept of the 'social contract' which states that in a just society, there are people who accumulate wealth freely and the only reason to allow the uneven distribution of wealth is to ensure the disadvantaged are cared for. This is known as social welfare. Dr. Fisher therefore believes both the government and society should help the disadvantaged.


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