PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 12:00am

Q How should heritage policies be reformed?

I am elated to learn that historic Kom Tong Hall is saved! Even as a young Conduit Road resident, I loved to wander around and admire the historic buildings in Mid-Levels, many of which have now been torn down.

They were part of a lot of happy memories for me as a teenager.

On the other hand, I feel guilty that as a citizen and lover of historic buildings, I have never made any contributions towards conservation.

I am not familiar with the government's preservation policies, but would like to use this talkback as a platform to express my appreciation to the Conservancy Association, its CEO, Lister Cheung Lai-ping, and to pledge my support in any future campaigns to conserve Hong Kong's history.

Paulie Chan, Happy Valley

Q Are our children getting enough sleep?

Save the Children Hong Kong notes with concern the findings that thousands of primary students are not getting enough sleep.

There are research findings that associate exposure to stress with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The adverse health effect of insufficient sleep inevitably affects children's study. We urge schools to consider time constraints when setting homework.

A primary pupil needs at least nine hours sleep. With a probable journey time of two hours to and from school, five to seven hours in school, one hour for meals and one hour for physical exercise, there are just four hours left for recreation, cultural activities and homework.

We believe teachers can help our children if they show flexibility when assigning homework.

Agnes Chow, programme development manager, Save the Children Hong Kong

Q Should the Victoria Park cats be saved?

I cannot help but draw some parallels between the stray cats at Victoria Park and the expose of school violence.

When one looks at the causes of most social problems, more often than not they are the manifestations of misguided goodwill of kind-hearted people who jump in without asking whether, in reality, their actions are sustainable.

It is absolute cruelty to give false hope to the animals and humans when these kind-hearted souls do no more than pay scant lip service to fashionable causes.

For the felines, why is it that nobody has come out with a realistic financial and operational plan to look after them? With new diseases popping up every few months, surely we cannot let these lovely creatures scavenge through rubbish bins for food and let public spaces be covered with their droppings?

As to school violence, where are the human rights activists, honourable Legco members, diehard anti-government advocates, religious leaders and so forth, who fight so hard for these young people to start a life in Hong Kong but never provide them with proper follow-up guidance and care? Where are their parents who are supposed to house, feed and care for them?

Sad to say that I have only seen blame for the government, the education system, the schools and teachers, but all our friends with holier-than-thou moral grounds have not uttered a word as to the real cause - parental negligence.

I hope that instead of paying lip service to various social causes, we can start finding affordable, do-able and sustainable solutions. Giving people or animals false hope is worse than not doing anything at all.

Chu Tak-chuen, Mongkok

Q Should Wedding Card Street be saved?

The Urban Renewal Authority has suddenly turned humane in its decision to evict the Wedding Card Street vendors because they feel these traders will be inconvenienced by the intolerable exposure to construction work.

Where was this humane heart when the URA chalked out the redevelopment programme on Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, when it surrounded an old building at 15-19 Carnarvon Road with heavy construction work on three sides. Did it not anticipate the same horror for these tenants?

If the URA and the co-developer had any other motive besides profit, they would have demolished the old building on Carnarvon Road which stands as an eyesore and an insult to the redevelopment plan.

Nalini Daswani, Tsim Sha Tsui

Q How should the ESF be reformed?

As a member of the ESF teaching staff I am as upset, as many of our parents are, over the recent allegations concerning the management of our organisation. Secretary for Education and Manpower Arthur Li Kwok-cheung is quite correct to question the 'goings on' at the foundation.

Professor Li or his representatives have inside knowledge of the workings of the ESF through a seat on its executive committee. They have apparently done nothing with this position of responsibility. It surprises me greatly that no moves have been made before by Professor Li to ascertain whether the ESF had its house in order.

Maybe the reason for the inaction was a lack of credible information. If so, I would hope Professor Li uses some of his eloquent transparency to tells us exactly what our problems are and who, if anybody, is to blame.

I also hope that as and when he 'comes down on ESF like a tonne of bricks' the recriminations are against those in the wrong and do not become a unilateral and personal attack on our entire excellent educational institution.

Name and address supplied