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PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 March, 2006, 12:00am

Q Would you prefer to take a van or taxi from the airport

I prefer vans. Their fares are much more competitive simply because competition exists! Taxi fares are regulated so little flexibility is allowed, and both drivers and passengers have little say over fares. In our capitalist society, greater competition in the transport sector would certainly be a welcome boon.

Ma Shing-chak, Tseung Kwan O

Q Will the sodium information make you change eating habits?

No, because my diet is quite healthy. I eat bread with tea in the morning, and then eat vegetables, meat and rice. Although I eat outside at lunch, I don't eat fried noodles or fried rice very often. I know that eating too much sodium will cause high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke, so I will pay more attention to eating habits. I will also pay attention to the ingredients.

Leong Wing-man

Yes, the sodium information will make me change my eating habits because eating too much sodium could lead to high blood pressure and other problems. For example, heart disease or stroke. It makes us unhealthy.

Asian countries generally have higher sodium intakes because of their cooking style and choice of ingredients. If we choose the ingredients correctly and have a balanced diet, we will be healthier.

Therefore it is important to choose the correct ingredients for cooking. Besides, we must add fewer condiments and sauces when we are cooking, as these are unhealthy. We must eat more vegetables and fruit as they are good for us.

Chow Oi-ying, Tuen Mun

On other matters...

I refer to your article 'ATV courts controversy on shooting' on March 24. In particular, the Hong Kong Police takes issue with your comments that 'Ironically, his [a reference to the commissioner] own official silence and that of the entire police force in the three days following ... could have contributed to the speculation'. Your article then went on to say that, 'Amid their silence, a blizzard of leaks by unnamed police sources led newspapers to report ...'.

First of all I would like to make it clear that time was required (as indeed it is in every investigation) after the commissioner's initial press conference immediately after the tragic event for investigators to piece together the events of that morning.

Had a series of releases been made too early, only for them to change later, this would only lead to even more speculation and criticism.

Additionally, and though the media appear to refuse to accept this point, police are under immense constraints as to what can be released if a court proceeding could ensue; in this case a death inquest.

However, given the intense speculation over the case, a further press conference was organised. It appears that the intention is to find fault regardless of what is done in this case.

As for your 'blizzard of leaks by unnamed police sources', this begs the obvious question as to what is the responsibility of the press to ensure the accuracy of what they are being told, and whether their sources are likely to be in a genuine position to supply reliable information or are simply speculating or reporting hearsay?

Only several days earlier, Chris Yeung, your editor-at-large, wrote: 'The media is obliged to separate truth from hearsay, half-truth and lies. Journalists must not be blinded by bias or surrender to the temptation to dramatise and sensationalise. Doing so borders on misleading the public.'

The police look forward to balanced reporting.

Choi Wong Fung-yee, chief superintendent, Police Public Relations Branch

I refer to the anonymous Talkback letter (March 24) about English Schools Foundation teachers demotivated because of treatment by their managing body. It is hard to know how seriously to take it, as there can be no reason for anonymity other than it being from the organisation itself or it being unverified information.

Much is indeed hearsay and as a parent of children in ESF schools, I have heard nothing about teachers involving students in their concerns. The accusation of unprofessionalism is confused and unfounded. Professionalism is about how one executes one's job, and ESF teachers remain excellent and dedicated teachers.

What is absolutely spot on is the letter calls the ESF to account for teachers' flagging morale and diminishing willingness to give up their time, when they have so much planning and marking to do, to participate in activities that should only be attended because of goodwill.

As a parent, I feel it is a real cheek to assume teachers should be available to be with our children outside school hours. If they do choose to do so then I am grateful, but when they do not I completely understand, having attended meetings where teachers invited us to hear their concerns.

If parents now realise that their children might not receive so many extras from teachers - because they have been so battered by an intransigent ESF management - and if those parents wish for that to change, they must continue to demand that ESF's leaders show more vision and expediency in remunerating teachers well enough to make them feel valued and willing to put in all those tireless and generous hours.

Parents should object to the ESF if they want a fuller experience than the academic one for their children and vote through their PTA chairs if they are unhappy with the situation the foundation has incurred.

S. Holgate, North Point


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