talk back

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 12:00am

Q Should Hei Ling Chau be developed as a tourist attraction instead of a jail?

As an offshore island, Hei Ling Chau has the potential to become a major tourist attraction. Its breathtaking scenery and total isolation from the bustling city would certainly attract tourists who may be looking forward to spending time with nature.

I hope our government could consider promoting Hei Ling Chau as a place for tourists.

Heidi Lo Hoi-ting, Tsuen Wan

The government is now doing its best to revive the tourism industry. Besides supporting Disneyland, it encourages every district to promote their unique attractions.

However, the government is now trying to build a prison on a potential site for tourism. Isn't this a waste of resources, especially amid these tough times?

Hei Ling Chau is an ideal place for promoting eco-tourism. The island is far from crowded areas and is almost free of pollution. It has beautiful scenery, with beaches and greenery.

Tourists prefer a quiet, clean and green environment rather than highly polluted, densely populated areas. If this trend continues, there might be a chance to boost our tourism industry again.

How can a prison with low economical value have priority over using a location as a tourist spot? A prison can be built anywhere, as long as it is far away from the city centre.

The government's plan to build a prison on Hei Ling Chau is not logical. Officials should reconsider the prison site - unless they think Hong Kong can live without tourism.

Kenneth She, Tsing Yi

There seems to be a gap between what [Tourism Board chairwoman] Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee and [legislator] James To Kun-sun believe the first phase of the consultancy study into the superjail is for.

Ms Chow argues that the debate in Legco on finding a suitable location has gone on quite long enough.

She says: 'I really don't think this first study is about a choice of land use, but it is a first step towards construction of the prison.' This sounds like construction is a foregone conclusion.

Mr To says: 'The study will put forward options to the government and on the basis of the information we receive we will decide if further research can be done, or if other sites should be considered.'

This sounds like a genuine wish to listen to what the study says. Who is correct? It makes you wonder if the members were aware of what exactly they were voting for when they approved this study.

Ms Chow says: 'No doubt Hei Ling Chau would have been quite a good choice for tourism, but there are other sites as well.' This implies Hong Kong can afford to lose the potential of this island, presumably, since we have lots of other islands.

I think she misses the point - it is not only about the tourism potential of Hei Ling Chau. The island is smack in the middle of the route to and from the outlying islands. To put a huge prison there would be to despoil the area and blight its tourism potential forever.

This plan is tantamount to putting a municipal eyesore such as a rubbish-collection building along the Wan Chai waterfront. It is madness and totally unnecessary.

Jim Foster, Lantau Island

Q Is enough being done to protect frontline Sars workers?

There have been new cases of infection of frontline Sars workers almost every day. This shows that protection for them is not adequate.

Hospitals should be places where people are cured of diseases. If the frontline workers are being infected, patients will lose all confidence.

We can see that the hospital workers have done much to increase the confidence and morale of the public in the fight against Sars. However, their good health is the best confidence-booster for us.

The number of infections among their ranks must be reduced to zero because they are very important in this battle.

Gloria Lau, Shamshuipo

When our government announced a huge anti-Sars relief package for Hong Kong, it amazed me that there was no money set aside for our heroes, the frontline workers.

They are giving the biggest tax rebate ($3,000) to those who need it the least (including myself); they arrange for relief measures for the big hotels; they arrange relief packages for karaoke bars.

The government plans to spend billions on advertisements to get tourists back to Hong Kong, but fails to realise that these tourists will only come back when Sars is gone and no sooner.

All this money could be better spent to fight an all-out war against this disease, starting with preventing health workers from being infected themselves.

So what does our government really do for our heroes? They wait till they die and then give them a special hero's funeral - not exactly something our heroes are waiting for.

I learn from the Post that many health-care workers in Sars hospitals are only given simple surgical masks, not special masks which would give them added protection.

Why do they not get enough protective clothing? Anyone entering a hospital may be a potential Sars patient and therefore a source of infection.

The fact that almost every day there are health-care workers among those who have contracted the virus is proof that they are not being properly protected.

But under our so-called system of accountability, those responsible for the safety of our health-care workers will, most likely, not be held accountable, as usual.

Jeffry Kuperus, Repulse Bay

Q Is the government doing enough to help Yu Man-hon's parents?

The immigration officers responsible were incompetent, the system inefficient and the compensation inadequate.

But at the end of the day, Yu Man-hon is still missing, and some lessons should have been learned.

While dealing with a 15-year-old with the mental capacity of a two-year-old, never leave the child alone; avoid crowded places; never leave the child 'free standing' - hold hands or if necessary leash them like a toddler; and make sure that the child wears an ID bracelet/tag for identification. When it comes to your own children, please do not rely on others. Take it upon yourself to be in control.

Unless we all learn something from this incident, no amount of compensation and finger-pointing will help prevent the very same thing from happening again.

Annie Fu, Repulse Bay

On other matters ...

Could you please tell me why the government is so hell-bent on destroying the natural assets and beauty of Hong Kong? With abandon it demolishes entire mountains - see New Clearwater Bay Road in Choi Hung for the latest folly - only to throw the unwanted soil into our harbour. The next minute we are scrambling to re-invent ourselves with projects like Cyberport and Science Park.

We should not need a protection law for the harbour, it should be inviolate. The mountains and the harbour are the inheritance of all the people of Hong Kong and they should not be the playground for a few developers.

The most popular tourist destinations in the world are those countries that have successfully protected their natural and cultural heritage. Hong Kong has it all - the feel of Asia, the harbour, the Peak, beaches, country parks. All these attractions are unique and worth coming half way round the globe for - but all are under siege (from our own city planners).

Please let us show some common sense before it is too late - before we lose everything that sets us apart from other countries.

Monika Parker, Sai Kung

Every year the same public information films are screened and every year the same problems are replicated. Drains flood, yet no one challenges the offenders. A local butcher shop daily swills its waste directly into street drains. Local restaurants dump food waste directly into the drains. Sanitation workers add to the problem by using pressure jets to clean the streets, eroding mortar between bricks and washing it into the nearest drain.

If regulations are not enforced and offenders punished, should I expect to see the same advertisements in 20 years' time?

Donald Gray, Tsuen Wan