PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2005, 12:00am

Q Should the development of Discovery Bay be stopped?

I am all for developing and making improvements in Discovery Bay, but surely HKR International managing director Victor Cha's comments have been taken out of context if not misconstrued entirely.

A chapel, spa and cooking school! A fleet of boats between Tai Pak Wan and Yi Pak Wan! You must be joking! Just how these stunning ideas are going to attract tourists or improve life in DB boggles the mind. Unless we can get Leonardo to recreate the Sistine, I can't see a chapel pulling them in. The boat ride would hardly be picturesque and would take about two minutes. A 'fleet' would seem like overkill.

That Discovery Bay was initially designed in a way that completely ignored its waterfront - the Plaza pointedly blocks off all views to the water and not one eating establishment was, initially, given al fresco dining rights or even a sea view - was the first mistake. This has, thankfully, been partially rectified over the past few years and the latest developments at the old Plaza appear to be a step in the right direction.

However, it is with some trepidation that most residents await the completion of the 'improvements' as the design of and facilities at the new clubhouse in the Sienna complex is another example of a lost opportunity to make the most of natural attractions. The new clubhouse has no restaurants and the sea front is accessible only via the swimming pool changing rooms.

What HKR International could do to make DB a better place to live and visit would be to put its development in the hands of someone who appreciates its beauty, who can leverage its environment and who can make it a viable place for restaurateurs, retailers and others to open shop. It is not lost on the residents that dining choices are extremely limited, no major retail chain has opened an outlet in DB, and what retail space is available is taken up by hardware shops, renovation contractors, a second-hand bookstore and children's costume shops.

We are served by one supermarket that is stretched to its very limit. The one thing Discovery Bay is, is quiet. Almost quiet enough to hear the opportunities to make it a great place to live pass us by. Bring on the cultural and arts hub!

Allen Japp, Discovery Bay

Q Should Chinese medicine practitioners be allowed to certify sick leave?

Traditional Chinese medicine has been a highly successful form of health care for thousands of years-far longer than western medicine-and the source of many western medicines. When Britain took over Hong Kong, western medicine became the standard and Chinese medicine was allowed to continue only because there was a clause in the Letters Patent that protected Chinese traditions. Although tolerated, it was never encouraged and was, to all intents and purposes, sidelined. The British missed a great opportunity to foster and encourage a great combination of medical knowledge.

The government has finally taken the courageous step to right a terrible wrong.

The Hong Kong community has every right to choose physicians. Denying Chinese medicine practitioners the right to issue sick-leave certificates once again sidelines Chinese medicine.

Its practitioners have, throughout the ages, been able to diagnose a patient's ailment and treat it successfully. Their methods of diagnosis and their terminology may be different from that of western medicine, but their success rate is as high - health-care professions do not survive for thousands of years unless they are successful.

Our chief executive has promised a level playing field for business in Hong Kong. The health-care industry is a business on a field that is still far from level.

Bruce Vaughan, Central

I applaud the Hospital Authority for finally shunning reason, logic and scientific claims that can be proved in favour of traditional healing techniques based on magic and superstition that, though they have not been shown to be effective, have been around for thousands of years.

Funnily enough, the mortality rate in China, Japan, India and other places that evolved these practices has dropped only with the advent of modern medicine. No doubt, that's just a conspiracy hatched by the evil pharmaceutical companies that for some reason don't give credence to voodoo.

Speaking of which, I'd like to suggest that in the name of fairness, other forms of traditional medicine be given room in our tax-funded institutions, for example voodoo (essentially the same kind of sympathetic magic as acupuncture from a different part of the world), blood letting (popular across Europe for centuries) and waving animal bones over sick people to exorcise the cold and flu demons. These are, after all, also ancient healing methods with about the same body of evidence behind them.

Or does traditional medicine only receive validity when wrapped in a cocoon of Oriental mysticism and therefore can't be a part of colonialist imperialism as the writer of yesterday's article implied of modern medicine? A friend of mine said that maybe our tax dollars would be better spent putting traditional medicine to the same controlled, randomised, double-blind clinical trials that modern drugs are subjected to, since if they actually work like they're claimed to do, they should be able to produce a significant result.

Two highly rated Korean dramas and faith is all you need! Now excuse me, I have a crystal healing/reiki/power of prayer appointment with my homoeopathist to get to.

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