PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 August, 2003, 12:00am

Q Did Hong Kong get value for money from Real Madrid's visit?

The Real Madrid football team was paid an obscene amount of money to visit Hong Kong. This in the misguided belief that their presence here would help put Hong Kong back on the map, post-Sars. Beckham and Co drew massive media coverage - most of it in Hong Kong. The rest of the world hardly knows Real Madrid was here.

Meanwhile our football fans - starved year-round of any world-class events - succumbed to Real madness and celebrity worship, while being treated with world-weary disdain by a bunch of superstars exhausted by an almost endless European football season. The players are here solely to count their euros and the millions to follow via the future sales of player shirts and paraphernalia.

To pretend that the team's visit here was anything but a cynical money-grabbing opportunity for the club and the players is pure fantasy. PT Barnum was right: There really is a sucker born every minute. The suckers are the Hong Kong government and fans who paid good money to watch a meaningless game played by a team that would rather be vacationing in the Caribbean.

Peter Sherwood, Discovery Bay

Q Should the pet ban at public estates be relaxed?

The government cannot really expect that Hongkongers will find new homes for 300,000 pets, many of which are dogs. Especially when cute puppies are still for sale in local pet shops! So what is the most likely scenario? I suspect they will be dumped by their owners and/or gassed by government authorities. Those pets that are dumped in the streets or country parks will no doubt be starving and neglected. Just what you want the tourists and children to see on a jolly picnic or hike to the park - lots of pathetic little furry carcasses. If any of you really care about this issue, please write to the Ombudsman, the Housing Authority, Tourism Commission or anybody you know overseas to let them know what a disgraceful piece of work the strict implementation of this ban will become!

Name and address supplied

On other matters...

I am both shocked and disgusted that the fashion chain izzue has the insensitivity and ignorance to use Nazi symbols as a marketing tool. The Nazi symbols being sold are not just an insignificant part of a mere 'military theme' - they are symbols of hate, prejudice and racism. France and Germany, both aware of the horrors associated with these symbols, have banned all Nazi-related material from display or distribution. By allowing Nazi symbols to perpetuate in 'fashionable' clothing, izzue is desecrating the memories of the millions who suffered and died in the Holocaust.

This should be a crime. Shame on you, izzue!

James Liao, Jardine's Lookout

It was really shocking to see Nazi paraphernalia displayed in izzue's stores. I hope I am wrong, but I suspect that local insensitivity to the evil of Nazism has made it possible for such a disgusting display to escape widespread condemnation.

There has been an argument that Adolf Hitler gave back national pride to the German people who had been cruelly treated by French and British victors after the first world war, implying that he was a source of inspiration to China in its struggle against imperial powers that had exploited China in the early part of last century.

As late as the start of the second world war, the nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek had officers under training in Germany while the country was engaged in war against Japan. And there was also the dubious notion that China fought the war with Japan but not Germany, and therefore had no score to settle with Nazism, conveniently forgetting that China was one of the Allied powers and that had Germany won the war, China would have been vanquished along with Britain and Russia.

I appeal to readers to boycott the shop and show the world that sympathy for Nazism has no place in our community. There is perhaps no way to prosecute the shop under existing legislation, but surely the government can do more to educate the public that the evil ideology preached by Hitler is incompatible with traditional Chinese values of peace and tolerance.

John P.L. Wong, Pokfulam

My friends and I were fortunate enough to have been at the Hong Kong Coliseum for the exhibition basketball match between China and the Melbourne Tigers last Wednesday. We were entertained by an exceptional game involving true sportsmanship and an incredible display of skill and finesse by both teams. The crowd was magnificent, showing appreciation for the talent of both sides, although naturally backing China with more enthusiasm.

However, what should have been a perfect evening was marred by the commentators and their lack of respect for our foreign guests. During the introduction of the respective teams, my friend noted that the introduction of the Melbourne Tigers was tainted by racist comments in regard to the colour of one of the player's skin. What has that to do with skill? What really got me was that one of the commentators had the audacity to call out 'fluke' after one of the Melbourne Tiger's baskets. Granted, there was an element of luck on the way the ball bounced on the ring, but it was still a good long three-point shot which the player intentionally went for. I was fuming mad - just imagine what our guests must feel.

Comments such as these tarnish Hong Kong's reputation and negate all efforts to lure visitors back to Hong Kong.

I just hope that the guests felt appreciated by the crowd and will not judge Hong Kong on the performance of these commentators.

Ming Woo, Hunghom