talk back

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2006, 12:00am

Q Will you refuse to accept bags on No Plastic Bags Day?

I am not going to refuse plastic bags on No Plastic Bag Day. I do not support the tax either.

Let me ask a few questions: Would you buy a loaf of bread that is not wrapped? In what material is the bread you last purchased wrapped? Will you accept your suit from the drycleaner without the plastic bag? Will you dispose of your wet garbage in a cloth bag? Or a paper bag? If you use plastic garbage bags, how do you recycle them? Will you be willing to pay a 50 cent tax for each plastic garbage you use? In what material is your small package of facial tissue wrapped? Your new shirt?

The financial secretary should know using plastics is an integral part of the packaging industry. Do you want to tax the industry to death? What alternative material do you propose to use? The issue is more complex than you think!

Tak Lam, Mid-Levels

Q Should the planned smoke ban include the Central escalator?

I support the proposed ban. As the Central escalator is a long, moving walkway, people spend plenty of time there. A smoking ban can protect non-smoking adults and children. While the escalator is outdoors, it is covered and there is no ventilation. Tobacco smoke is trapped, and people cannot avoid it. It is not the same as in restaurants where non-smokers can pick and choose whether to dine there.

People who need to use the escalator cannot avoid it. They can only cover their mouth and nose with their hands or continue breathing in the polluted air.

If smoking is banned in all restaurants, billiard rooms, karaoke lounges and bars, the Central escalator should be included. A smoking ban on escalators is not difficult to manage. Authorities can install smoke detectors along the escalators. When somebody is smoking, the detectors should be able to give an announcement automatically advising the smokers to stop.

This could also embarrass smokers into not lighting up on the escalator. Hygiene officers can also patrol the escalator and issue cautions.

Cherie Ng, Tsuen Wan

On other matters...

May I express my deep gratitude to TVB Pearl for broadcasting their interminably dull 'wobbly exercise machine' advert before the 7.30pm news each evening, thus encouraging me to explore other channels. I had not realised how much ATV World has improved over the years.

Bill Galvin

I refer to the Sunday Morning Post (April 9) report 'Rapist and woman who helped him are jailed'. It said: 'A woman who drugged a friend and allowed a male acquaintance to rape her was jailed yesterday for two years. The man was jailed for six years.'

The principles of equality and the law as it applies to everybody in the same way - and with the same strictness - seem still far away from us if we observe our courts. A woman 'makes friends' with another female - invites her - drugs her and renders her unconscious - abuses her defenceless victim for her sexual pleasure. A man, her friend, participates only in one of these activities: he is not involved in the planning nor in preparing the victim for the sex game.

In the end, however, only the man is found guilty of rape! Why? How? What's wrong here? The answer is: A lot! What we have here is the typical and systemic culture of discrimination.

A woman plans and executes something she should not be doing. She carries out her wishes - and then spreads the guilt by dragging someone else in (an easier target: a male - and perhaps also made him a bit drunk) and makes him do what she wanted him to do.

This case only shows how much discrimination based on ideology are imposed on us these days.

The only way here would, of course, be for the prosecution to appeal against the verdict as well as against sentence for the woman Lau Hiu-kwan. What happened on May 27 last year was, if anything, a crime of rape committed jointly! If everything reported is correct, then Lau was the main culprit, not just an accomplice of lower responsibility but the instigator, the moving force of the crime.

That she is a woman must not protect her from the penalty, which is a minimum of six years for rape. And it should not protect her from long years on a Sexual Offenders' Registry.

Let us see that and we'll be on the way to equality - in bad as in good! That is what it means, after all. But I don't see much hope for that.

J. Boost, Sai Kung

I recently broke my leg rather badly and the only way I can leave the house is in a wheelchair. Being bored I thought a trip to the cinema would help, but was concerned about wheelchair access. On the internet UA and Broadway cinemas have nothing about wheelchair access on their websites. I tried to phone their information numbers. Again there was nothing about disabled access and it was impossible to speak to anyone other than a machine.

I did talk to a customer service officer with Broadway, who was pleasant and she found that the Palace IFC cinema had wheelchair access. I asked about booking seats and was told it was not possible over either the internet or telephone. I would need to go to the cinema to purchase the tickets. The woman agreed that this was not ideal.

She later told me that if I went at the time the film was scheduled the wheelchair slots were most likely free and I could get immediate access. I said I wanted to go with the family and wanted seats together or nearby. She told me this would be impossible unless I went to the cinema and made the booking. She was very apologetic. I asked for the company's address to send a letter to which I was told to send an e-mail because there was not an address.

Although I highlighted the Broadway chain, at least I could find someone other than a machine to speak to, unlike at the UA cinemas.

Steve Tarrant, Deepwater Bay