PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 12:00am

Q Should the Stubbs Road mansion be declared a monument?

I am saddened to learn that this landmark building may be demolished to give way to development. But being a property broker myself, I can understand the owner's feelings. It may not be worth the time to persuade the owner to withdraw the sale - it's more practical to persuade some rich philanthropist to buy up the property for the people of Hong Kong and turn it into a museum.

This would create four 'wins' - Hong Kong people win, the owner wins, the philanthropist wins and the government wins. I would very much like to contribute my time and efforts in this effort. We should keep this valuable heritage for future generations.

K. S. Koh, Central

On other matters...

Last Sunday, as a friend, his son and I were hiking on Lantau Island enjoying the spectacular views of its southern coastline near Fanlau, we saw a disturbing scene of an environmental crime.

Offshore from a pristine beach, a fleet of about a dozen small vessels gathered. We believe these vessels were from the mainland but we were unsure of the purpose of this gathering. We then noticed a trail of brownish grey matter with what appeared to be bits of toilet paper being emitted into the bluish-green waters off the beach. We believe at least one boat was pouring hundreds of gallons of bilge and toilet waste into the bay.

We also have reason to believe this may be a regular occurrence, more so in waters perceived to be out-of-sight of Hong Kong police. Why does this have to happen? If these people are not from Hong Kong, why are they doing this to our environment?

Fortunately, two policemen walked by on this trail and we pointed this out. They shrugged their shoulders and moved on. Did they relay this occurrence to their authorities? I wonder.

Name and address supplied

Teachers should be assessed on merit - the effectiveness of their teaching methods, their dedication to the job and how they add value to the education of the students. Those who are less committed and do not have the natural traits to make a good teacher must find other employment. This applies in the commercial market, so why shouldn't teachers be subject to the same rules?

Some teachers are only capable of imparting, at best, 50 per cent of any given subject to their pupils. Parents and private tutors help make up the balance. Woe betide the weaker students who do not have parental support and access to tutors.

The large size of school classes is one contributing factor to this problem. Another is that quite a few of the young teachers educating our children do not possess the natural traits to do a good job. These young teachers do not understand basic child psychology and are not competent to effectively manage children of different abilities and interests and who need different levels of attention.

On the contrary, these inexperienced teachers are often good at making all students conform to a stereotype of accepted behaviour, and in the process kill off all forms of initiative and creative traits. These young teachers are essentially impatient, and their behaviour de-motivates young children and impressionable teenagers. As a concerned parent, I would like to find out what performance assessment methods school principals use to appraise their teachers? More importantly, are the teachers mentally balanced and trained in student psychology to handle all students' needs? I would prefer to entrust my children's education to older, experienced teachers who are good in their jobs.

Let's rid the system of inadequately qualified teachers, young or old - especially those potentially capable of damaging our children's psyche and self esteem.

Name and address supplied

There seems to be a growing trend among Hong Kong's youth to invade the privacy of parents with young children or young ladies going about their daily business.

Last week, an expatriate friend and his 11-year-old daughter were bathing on the beach at Mui Wo (Silvermine Bay), Lantau. Close by were three guys with huge telephoto lenses - one was even using a tripod. My friend observed that they were taking photos of young children, mainly girls, even with their parents. Unfortunately, my friend didn't have his mobile to call the police, and left the beach unable to find a policeman or a government official. Hence an afternoon's swimming with his family, a rare opportunity for him to enjoy Hong Kong's beautiful beaches, was marred by the perverted minority.

Last Saturday, in the Forum, Exchange Square, there was a group of five guys pretending to take photos of IFC 1 and 2. Being an avid photographer myself, I know that using a 300-1000mm lens is futile in such an enclosed space.

To capture such a large building, one would normally use a wide-angle lens which is compact and unobtrusive. Within a few seconds of sitting down, it was clear for all to see their real intention - snapping ladies and girls, as they went about their business traversing from Exchange Square to IFC.

Again, there were no policemen or security guards in sight, so I was left to shout 'invasion of privacy', to draw other people's attention to their antics, at which point they slowly meandered away, no doubt to return again.

I am not a prude, neither am I spoilsport. If a lady wants to model for a photo shoot that's her choice, but when people invade my privacy or that of my friends' families for their own sick gratification, it's time the law cracked down on them. Patrols by plain-clothes officers would be much more effective than uniformed officers as a deterrent, as the snappers would just find another location.

With today's digital technology, isn't it scary that someone can take a picture of your son or daughter, put his or her face to the body of someone else and post it on the internet?

It's time for all of us to be more vigilant and confront these pests.

Name & Address Supplied