PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2005, 12:00am

Q Should children be allowed back onto racecourses?

The Jockey Club is considering ending its ban on children attending races. I believe that if measures are planned and taken carefully, the racecourse will be a nice and new place for families to visit. Anti-gambling groups claim that lifting the ban at the racecourse will breed a new generation of gamblers on horse racing.

Yet, it is obvious that the cause of new gamblers is mostly their families and friends. Children whose parents are gamblers are usually potential gamblers. But allowing children to enter the racecourses is not that risky.

I believe banning children from betting halls and only allowing them onto the racecourse will make the reopening more acceptable to the public.

Reamy Yung, Kwun Tong

Watching horses race at the racecourse is completely different to watching a football match in a stadium. In Hong Kong, horse racing is solely for gambling. I do not see any sporting spirit at the racecourse; horse owners, jockeys and spectators see the races as a simple way to make a profit.

We never see any team spirit at the races. I don't see how children can gain a lot by watching horse racing - instead such action directly pollutes their minds.

Yes, watching live horse racing at the racecourse is very exciting, but why it is so exciting? It's simple; horse racing is a simple but quick way to make money.

If the Jockey Club allows youngsters back onto racecourses, it will convey the message to youngsters that 'gambling is an exciting way to earn quick money'.

Other entertainment options are still abundantly available in the city. I don't believe allowing children back onto racecourses is very beneficial to them.

Fok Chun-kit, Mongkok

Q Is enough being done to prevent a repeat of the Tin Shui Wai tragedy?

City University criminologist Dennis Wong Sing-wing is certainly right with his suggestion that the laws concerning all forms of domestic violence have to be completely rethought and reformed.

For far too long, the very general problem has been misrepresented as being a pure 'gender problem' - and, of course, the monopoly of only one gender.

The most reliable research (not 'feminist' pot-boiling) has shown that the frequency of male and female violence at home (and on outings) is about equal.

Even more, the first strike is more often dealt by women. I do not wish to use the sad cases we have seen recently such as in 'high society' or in the New Territories cum Shenzhen mafias. I would not even be too quick to refer to the Tin Shui Wai case, until the situation of fingerprints on a certain knife is clearly proven, i.e. who picked up the knife first?

We must, however, realise a few things and accept them as guide for our actions. Family trouble is not abnormal.

I believe that even in the most harmonious families hands can and do slip. But violence on this level is different to criminal violence because it is not a form of patriarchic (nor matriarchic, and that exists too) power hunger, but a human eruption.

If arguments are taken out of the house into court, this may sometimes be better and safer - but only sometimes; and I would assume in no more than 10 to 15 per cent of cases.

The real danger occurs when the argument builds up under cover and becomes a cancer; this can be invisible to the outside, and ill-handed 'surgery' very deadly.

We might conclude that prevention and, when early forms of abuse occur, treatment are the answer that can lead to healing.

The sad fact now is that 'taking things outside the home to police and court' creates crimes where there are only problems - which hinder solutions and furthers the destruction of families.

Taking all this together, I think we have to concede that the present practice of going to the police is one that has (I believe) deliberately been construed to destroy the institution of marriage and family.

This bond does not mean 'slavery for women' as the pseudo-feminists have been claiming since Simone de Beauvoir.

Especially now, sound families are more important than ever.

J. Boost, Sai Kung

On other matters ...

We recently saw the billboard cited in the article 'Billboard showing whipped woman is declared decent' (August 15), and are concerned about the implicit encouragement of violence.

As a matter of principle, violence against women, men or children is a violation of human rights and should be condemned forcefully.

It causes harm to the victims, and also carries a huge cost to everyone in our society.

Intervention and treatment and, most importantly, the gradual erosion of core values such as mutual respect and harmony are a few of the most obvious costs.

The Women's Commission has long been promoting respect and harmony between men and women with an aim to achieve gender equality.

Among our various activities, a working group raises public awareness of gender issues to reduce gender bias and stereotyping using various publicity campaigns.

We advocate a zero tolerance stance against violence. Our safety working group is examining options for consolidating community efforts to address and prevent domestic violence more effectively.

Only when we all work together will this community be less violent. The Women's Commission will continue to work to achieve changes alongside the various community groups also focused on this aim. General public awareness and support are crucial to the success of this effort.

Hong Kong society should not tolerate violence against either gender, of any age. We sincerely appeal for active, thoughtful awareness and responsible behaviour from all community members to safeguard the core values that make Hong Kong a safe and progressive city - enabling both women and men to lead a life free of violence or fear.

Sophie Leung, chair, Women's Commission

Here are three problems in Hong Kong:

1. The 'mountain of Burberry fakes will be shredded, dumped';

2. Landfills in Hong Kong are filling at an alarming rate; and

3. Many people in Hong Kong cannot afford to clothe themselves adequately.

While I am totally in favour of prosecuting and penalising counterfeiters, I suggest customs officers might talk to Burberry to see if they can come up with a slightly more innovative plan.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

I refer to the story 'Mountain of Burberry fakes will be shredded, dumped' (Monday).

It crossed my mind: Aren't we trying not to overtax our landfills? How is this a solution to the seized fake goods? Why can't the clothing be given to the poor?

If you can't remove the stitched-on label, then use a fat felt tip pen to cross it out.

I urge the government and customs to consider allowing the poor to benefit rather than wasting these items.

At the same time, our landfills will be spared.

Rennie Marques, Mei Foo Sun Chuen

There has been much coverage of Disney recently. I was one of the lucky people to attend a 'rehearsal' with my eight-year-old daughter, albeit in a day of heavy rain.

We had a great time, although several of the rides broke down (possibly staff training?)

The 'cast members' were very energetic and enthusiastic and were consistently helpful. Disneyland is bright and cheerful. Thank you, Disney.

Unfortunately, one incident marred the memory. I purchased two pairs of men's boxer shorts for my husband and son at a shop in a hotel.

Both clearly have a design fault, being far too tight around the thighs. They will not fit an average-sized man (neither my husband nor son are overweight).

Wanting to save Disney bad publicity, I decided to suggest it withdraw them from the shelves until they are checked. I phoned the Disney line.

I spent more than one hour on hold listening to how busy the staff are in a recorded message. A second, albeit shorter call yielded the same results.

A houseful of young guests were delighted to listen to the many Disney tracks on the recording.

This is not a complaint about Disney, but I am sure it will receive a bucketful of complaints from others who purchase $80 boxers only to find they fail to live up to expectations.

I simply want to alert them to the problem.

Sharon Chandler, Lamma


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