Why bar locals from the top?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 May, 2004, 12:00am

An equal society? Think again ('At last, a chance to see the view from the top of the town ... but only if you've got $800 and a mainland passport', Sunday Morning Post, May 2).

I was astonished and angered that tours to the viewing deck of Two IFC, Hong Kong's tallest building, are given only to mainland tourists, and that one has to spend over $800.

This is contradictory to the idea of a modern society which believes in equal rights. Discrimination has no place in this city. Hong Kong is our city, not anyone else's - we built it. Yet no local people (apart from office workers) have been allowed to view the fabulous harbour from the top floor. I know many among my family and friends, locally and overseas, from six to 72 years of age, who want to visit Two IFC's top floor.

It is also surprising that non-office people can go to the top, as before and during construction it was said that there would be no viewing platform and people who did not work in the building would not have this access.

And why was a viewing area not provided? The Empire State Building in New York attracts thousands of people for its panoramic views. It makes quite a lot of money in the process and stimulates business in the area.

If the top floor of Two IFC were opened to the public (for an entrance fee affordable to all), the building would make a handsome profit, and business in its shops and the surrounding area would rise. Also, patriotic feelings and pride in Hong Kong would increase.

DEREK LEE, Tsz Wan Shan

Blatant discrimination

On May 1, I went to the shopping mall of Two IFC with a group of friends, where we were treated as second-class visitors. For mainland people only, there were gift packs, lucky draws and sightseeing tours, including to the top of Two IFC. Outraged by this policy, we left and spent a happy day in the shops and eateries of another shopping mall.

I will not visit the IFC mall again, as it does not want our patronage. Nor will I recommend to my overseas friends that they visit a place that blatantly discriminates against them.


Regular shoppers ignored

A permanent resident, I object to the Two IFC's promotion offer.

What about us, the local people, who have probably spent more than $800 at the Two IFC, and on a regular basis, not just once a year during a holiday? Doesn't the IFC management value our far more substantial and continuous support? Obviously not. I, for one, will no longer support the shops there.


One-sided politics

Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa keeps coming up with long cumbersome lists of guidelines. After the nine rules on political reform, we now have the 10 pointers to better relations with the mainland.

I do not want to sound like a pessimist, but no one can say or do anything in regard to political reform without violating these principles.

Ironically, Mr Tung did not provide a list of conditions for the central government to consider for better Hong Kong relations. This already is a deviation from pointer No 1 - mutual respect, trust and understanding.

SEAN NIEM, Mid-Levels

Retirement and suicide

I refer to the article headlined 'Alarm at increase in middle-age suicides' (Sunday Morning Post, May 2).

I too found this alarming.

The main reasons for middle-age suicides were said to be the economic slump and hardship. May I add one reason - the insistence of the government and related institutions and agencies on a retirement age of 60. With increased medical knowledge, as well as improved dietary and exercise regimes, I firmly place 60-year-olds in the middle-age category.

When a person is forced to lose something which helps to give him much of his identity, as well as an income that enables him to meet familial responsibilities, it is evident that some people will not have the mental and/or the material resources to cope with such an enormous change. In some cases, suicide may unfortunately be seen as the only option.

It would be socially - and even economically - beneficial, with an ageing population to extend the retirement age to 65, enabling people who are fit and experienced to continue working at a productive level. At least make it an option.


Avoid shocking images

I refer to the article 'Tobacco giant is fighting graphic health warnings' (Sunday Morning Post, April 25).

British American Tobacco recognises that there are real risks of serious diseases associated with tobacco use. We support appropriate, effective measures for informing consumers of those risks, including the use of on-package warnings, which are an important element in a comprehensive public education campaign.

However, we have serious concerns about the use of on-package images that are intended to shock, offend or repel consumers. There is no evidence that confrontational graphics increase consumer awareness of the risks of smoking or - most importantly - reduce tobacco consumption.

Indeed, these images may cause consumers to recoil and ignore the message that smoking is dangerous. Sensational graphics may even attract the young people who we believe should be actively discouraged from smoking. Furthermore, it is inappropriate to denigrate or shame consumers of what are, after all, legal products, and a significant source of government revenue.

Size and formatting factors also limit the effectiveness of on-package graphics. Without an explanation, these images are potentially confusing. And while they may initially attract attention, the impact will decrease as their novelty wears off.

Before mandating such health warnings, the government should thoroughly analyse their costs, benefits and effectiveness. Australia, Canada and other countries have undertaken similar programmes to find the best means of meeting their regulatory objectives. We look forward to working with the government to develop proportionate and effective solutions.

DORIS HO, corporate and regulatory affairs manager, Hong Kong and Macau, British American Tobacco

Chinese schools for all

I wish to comment on the article headlined 'Indian mother recalls her nightmare at Chinese-medium school' (Sunday Morning Post, May 2).

It would be naive to forget that 30 years back, Hong Kong was ruled by the British, a period when only English was encouraged. It seems Dolly Zwafirah has not fully realised that Hong Kong is controlled by the Chinese government. Times have changed.

Chinese is taught in most Hong Kong schools, and if a child is admitted at the right time, he or she does not face any problem learning the language. My granddaughter, Pranali, and grandson, Tanish, are both attending Chinese schools and doing extremely well in their studies. In fact, Pranali is the monitor of her class, 98 per cent of whom are Chinese.

Mrs Zwafirah should forget the past and take a more prudent view of the Chinese-language policy being followed by Hong Kong education authorities.


Women jailers

The leader headlined 'A blow to the battle for hearts and minds' (Sunday Morning Post, May 2) hopes for a new sensitivity in Iraq. Some hope, when the Americans display such a total lack of cultural consideration that they place women jailers over Muslim men.