PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2004, 12:00am

Q Is tearing down the Eastern Island Corridor a good idea?

The idea of tearing down the Eastern Corridor and replacing it with tunnels sounds okay. (I shudder at a thought of the traffic chaos it will create during the demolition and the construction.)

Anyway, the design of the tunnel location seems somewhat strange in that it will further encroach into Victoria Harbour, albeit underwater. Why not build the tunnels where the beams of the Eastern Corridor currently are or, even better, somewhere in between those beams and the current harbourfront, and then build the 'beautified public area' on top of the tunnels?

I also hope that the people behind this type of project are firmly focused only on benefiting Hong Kong people.

Kelvin Chu, Mei Foo Sun Chuen

Q Are the harbour tunnel fees too high?

I think the government should buy back the Western Harbour Tunnel, because the fares are simply outrageous. This tunnel is a major route for going to the western New Territories, the mainland and Chek Lap Kok.

Island East Corridor is a heavily used expressway. We should not convert it into a tunnel, which would limit future expansion needs.

John Koh, Admiralty

Q Are chickenpox parties for children a good idea?

It was reported a few days ago that some parents had agreed to take their children to a party where they would probably catch chickenpox, on the grounds that it is better to 'get it over with' while they are young.

I agree that if a child is going to have chickenpox, the earlier the better. However, not all parents may realise that it is not 'all over', because the chickenpox virus remains in the body for life.

It was over 40 years after having chickenpox that I found that out, when the virus was reactivated in the form of shingles. This was a much more painful sickness as it turned out, and one that can return repeatedly. Moreover, a person with shingles can infect children or even adults with the chickenpox virus.

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong

While childhood chickenpox infection does produce lifelong immunity, the virus does not disappear but remains dormant and can be reactivated later to cause shingles.

For the elderly, shingles is not a minor infection, but an extremely painful condition which may last for months or even years, and is poorly managed by current drug therapies. A vaccine for chickenpox is available, so why are parents not being encouraged to vaccinate their children? In this way, the fear of chickenpox interfering with examination schedules would be a thing of the past.

Helen Gray, Sha Tin

Q Are tougher measures needed to tackle Japanese encephalitis?

In spite of the wide publicity in the press, the chance of getting Japanese encephalitis is indeed remote and for those who are afraid there is an effective vaccine available.

It is better to stick to the scientific facts, as opposed to what happened during Sars.

The reality is that the mortality ratio in clinical conditions is only 5 to 10 per cent and in the wild it can be up to 30 to 35 per cent, not 60 per cent as reported.

Nobody can doubt the seriousness of this disease but is always wrong to panic.

Angelo Paratico, Mid-Levels

Q Has the government reacted adequately to the baby Wing-sum tragedy?

I am sure Social Welfare officers will learn a lesson and do their best to improve such situations, including being less trusting of parents when in doubt.

They should be required to prove they are capable parents before they are allowed to take care of their children again.

I strongly object to the in-adequate punishment that [the parents] were given. I think they both should be sentenced to life in jail - their crime was worse than premeditated murder.

Is there any way that the government can file an objection and fight for a much more reasonable punishment?

Name and address supplied

On other matters ...

I was shocked by a recent incident of ill-treatment of tourists.

I was at the Stanley Village bus terminus on Friday when I spotted a foreign couple having trouble communicating with Citybus staff stationed there.

While the tourists were trying to inform them that they had left their cell phone on Citybus '6X' bus No706, the staff rudely walked away, pretending they were not there.

I walked over and offered help.

A Chinese-speaker, I called a hotline and spoke to staff, who did not offer much help.

All they said was that we should call an hour later to see if the bus had arrived, and if the phone was found.

After a 30-minute wait trying to contact Citybus officials, we resorted to calling the police.

The police were co-operative and offered all means of help. The phone was not found. But the tourists expressed their appreciation of the police force and Hong Kong residents, and disappointment with Citybus officials. I do hope that transport officials and the Tourism Board look into this matter and how officials acted.

Jeronica Andrews, Tai Kok Tsui