talk back

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am

Q What do you think about plans for a nudist camp in Sai Kung?

The proposal claims that one of the benefits of the nudist camp is that it will stimulate local economies and tourism. It will also stimulate and promote interest in nudism. Though nudism is permissible under the law, it is not beneficial to the public. There are better projects on which to spend money.

Jessica Chin, Mid-Levels

Q Should vegetarian food products be required to declare all ingredients?

Has anyone else noticed that we have become diet-conscious yet ingredient-blind? Interestingly, while all of us have to eat, only a minority of people (namely the vegetarians) care to pay attention to the issue of questionable ingredients.

Vegetarian products should certainly have an honest list of ingredients on their labels, partly due to ethical reasons.

However, it would be even more unethical to continue to neglect food-labelling of all the non-vegetarian foods that dominate the market.

Winnie Chau, Sheung Wan

Q Should use of illicit encoding and decoding devices be outlawed?

I read with a wry smile the letter from Garmen Chan of Cable TV in these pages on Monday. If Cable TV's managers can only make such a meagre return on its capital after all these years, then they should give up.

It would be useful to have an accountant go over their figures to see exactly where they are spending all their income.

Cable TV had a monopoly for years, and pretty much still has one even today.

Price gouging is a monopolist's favourite pastime. For example, for their $298-plus per month, viewers have to endure repeats of repeats on all Cable channels, some of which have been renamed in a naive bid to hoodwink customers into believing these are new products. Or is this a reflection of Cable TV's attitude towards its customers in an environment with little or no meaningful competition?

Not so long ago, I tried to get Cable TV connected to a residential block, right next to other blocks which had the service.

Sure, they could provide it - but at a cost running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet someone in the business told me that such service provision should cost less than $20,000.

Needless to say, Cable TV didn't proceed with the connection.

As to Ms Chan's self-righteous reference to 'civilised society' and 'law-abiding citizens', maybe people would be more so inclined if Cable TV wasn't so apathetic towards its customers.

Disinterest in customer service is another hallmark of a monopoly, as any basic economic textbook will tell you.

Perhaps if Hong Kong had a more open market without monopolies, duopolies and cartels, with sensible prices for such services, fewer people would be inclined to pursue the so-called piracy route.

Name and address supplied

On other matters...

Before his untimely death, the renowned songwriter and lyricist James Wong Jim expressed pessimism about the future of Canto-pop. Judging from the farcical results of the recent music awards organised by local radio and television stations, it is not difficult for one to share his deep concern.

It seems that music awards are nowadays given out to those who have cultivated a close relationship with the relevant media organisations instead of having shown a measure of musical achievement. Indeed, some of the recipients of the 'most popular singer' awards are merely living off their past reputation.

They no longer produce any hit songs and their record sales are simply embarrassing. Unfortunately, these award-hungry singers, who hanker after superficial glory but are too lazy to improve their singing skills don't have the integrity and grace to refuse awards which they plainly do not deserve.

Needless to say, these music awards have lost all credibility, and music lovers have increasingly become disillusioned with the industry.

Should such a trend continue, the demise of Canto-pop will, I'm afraid, be just around the corner.

Calvin Lee, North Point

In the article 'Organic prices tough to swallow' in the City section on Monday you compare the prices of organic and non-organic carrots and cabbages.

This simple comparison that does not take into account the true value of going organic.

The $2.30/kg carrot is produced with fertilisers, chemicals and the like which pollute our water supply and soil. The water pollution and soil pollution carries a cost - a great cost and burden to the health of humanity and the health of our Earth.

This cost is not being paid for by the consumer or the producer; it is a charge that is passed on to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren - presuming the Earth is still able to support our great-grandchildren.

The $5/kg carrot costs humanity and the Earth nothing more. For an extra $2.70 it is possible to make the environment our priority and make it heard that we want to taste our vegetables, not our chemicals.

Every dollar we spend shows these industries what we value.

It is a choice and a privilege to be able to pay extra for our environment. It is our responsibility to pay the real cost of living.

Cheryl Preston, Discovery Bay