talk back

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 April, 2004, 12:00am

Q Should euthanasia be legal under certain circumstances?

Despite his sorrowful but grave demand, it seems everybody in Hong Kong is turning down Ah Pun's right-to-die request. Instead, many are mobilising to help him improve his quality of life and to live optimistically by supporting and encouraging him.

Support and encouragement may become a driving force for Ah Pun to live on, but how long can this last? Ah Pun's former school once set up a support team for him, to visit and care for him regularly. However, that stopped a few years ago. The reason? Who knows?

So, it's important the support and encouragement given is not a short-term measure, but long-lasting. Otherwise, you are just rubbing salt into the wound.

Lau Sze Hong, Tuen Mun

Euthanasia, or mercy killing, should not be legalised. If the patient is unconscious for a prolonged period, the discontinuation of burdensome medical procedures may be legitimate to medical personnel and the patient's family members.

But the legalisation of euthanasia means formalising the indifference of our community. The concept of having the right to die may be appealing, but the decision to kill oneself is an irrevocable one. Shall we turn euthanasia into 'physician-assisted' suicide?

We should respect the inherent worth of every human being, especially those most in need of love and care. We must defend the values of human life.

Wilfred Lai, Pokfulam

Q Should the Wan Chai Market be saved?

Thank you for your timely editorial on the proposed and apparently approved demolition of the Wan Chai Market building in Queen's Road.

It is surely now the time for the Antiques and Monuments Office and the Town Planning Board to act in harmony over so many of Hong Kong's historic buildings and ensure Hong Kong's history is not confined to photographs.

I am sure the Tourism Authority, if it were doing its job, should be speaking up as well against such potential, irreparable and officially sanctioned vandalism.

I also hope the Chinese-style house at 45 Stubbs Road is on their list. What about Hong Kong's film industry getting involved? It must be a filming location worth permanently preserving?

P. Jeremy Newton, Happy Valley

For eight years, I have included a drive past the Fenton-Raven Chinese-style mansion at 45 Stubbs Road as part of my standard tour for visiting friends from overseas.

Its majesty and style have consistently drawn 'oohs' and 'aahs' from my guests, especially when they learn the mansion is a private residence and not, as they first thought, a glorious museum filled with Chinese art and antiquities.

I propose the government act quickly to fulfil such tourist fantasies and rescue this glorious structure from the doom of demolition. But is such action plausible?

I love living in Hong Kong for many reasons, but the government's casual disregard for preserving such architectural treasures is increasingly not one of them.

Indeed, the environmental folly they allow to occur is often scandalous, and would not be tolerated in other 'world-class' cities.

Must we just sit back and watch as all this metropolis' historic treasures are dismantled, swept away and forgotten, only to be replaced by heartless structures of steel, glass and little cultural or aesthetic merit?

Adrian Overholser, Central

Q Do police attitudes towards domestic violence need to change?

Unfortunately, Hong Kong is not unique. In too many traditionally masculine societies, abuse against women is not only tolerated, but also deemed a 'right'. And also unfortunately, too many wives believe it too.

The whole system needs to be changed, from the law courts to the frontline staff such as the police.

Can anyone point out where it says on a marriage licence a husband can hit his wife? Of course, it doesn't. Without repercussions for abusers this will continue. And until attitudes change, there will be more headlines on deaths of wives and children.

I should point out that there is also abuse against men from their wives and this needs attention too. A general caring attitude towards the victims instead of acceptance of the abusers' behaviour must be a priority in any civilised society.

Ajana Zabel, Admiralty

Q Should the URA cut payments to poor tenants?

It has been a grave mistake to allow the Urban Renewal Authority to decide on compensation matters as well as assigning it to supervise the progress of vital redevelopment plans. This is bound to strain the authority's resources with conflicts of interest sure to occur.

We too had our own suspicion when the URA failed to repossess an eyesore structure in the midst of the joint modernisation project on Mody Road with leading developers and the KCR. The URA claims the building was not needed for the project. Sour grapes?

The authority was simply unable to negotiate with only one landlord and apply the same winning formula of compensation it had worked out with the adjoining New Astor Hotel plot to secure the building.

Only time and investigation will tell whether the URA were artful dodgers, or poor negotiators.

Nalini Daswani, Tsim Sha Tsui