Violent trailers mar family fun at the movies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 May, 2006, 12:00am

It has been a refreshing change to see so many good family-rated films hit our movie screens over the past few weeks, among them Nanny McPhee, The Wild and Shaggy Dog.

However, I am shocked and amazed that the trailers preceding these movies are far from family-orientated.

I took my children, aged three and five, to the above movies, and we were shown trailers for, among other films, M:i:III and The Da Vinci Code, neither of which is appropriate for their age group.

I made my children sit with their teddy bears, or my hands, over their eyes so that they would not see the shootings, explosions and dead people, but they sure heard them.

I am interested to know, as I am sure many other movie-going families are, whether showing trailers for films in one category before movies in another is in keeping with regulations.

I also await a reply from UA, AMC and other movie houses on what consideration will be given in future to the suitability of trailers and advertisements shown.


Use an ashtray

To the man who flicked his cigarette butt out of his car in Repulse Bay last Sunday, please can you help us all with something. About 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered globally every year, and only smokers can stop it.

It can take up to 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down.

Butts leach chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into our marine environment within an hour of contact with water.

They have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals, leading to ingestion of hazardous chemicals and digestive blockages.

Please buy a personal, portable ashtray!


Children's pleas moving

I was touched by your story on the schoolchildren who wrote to the chief executive to ask him to do something about the air pollution ('Clean up our air, 600 children plead', April 30).

Not only was I moved, I was reminded that people do care about this. Pollution is not something we can put aside to deal with later.

The innocence of some of the letters the children wrote touched me. They are so young, but they understand what pollution is doing to the environment.

How disappointing that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, or at least another high-ranking official, did not receive the letters personally. Did these children not deserve attention?

Every day, it seems, the smog over Central gets thicker. But what have we done about it? Nothing. More needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.

DIANE WANG, Repulse Bay

Disney's side of the story

I refer to your feature story 'Revolt in the Magic Kingdom' and the editorial 'Disney struggles with Chinese translations' (April 23).

Around the world, as in Hong Kong, employment at Disney theme parks and resorts is highly sought after. Cast members, including character performers, are compensated fairly and consistently, and management does everything it can to ensure their comfort and safety. Anything more than a cursory review of your story reveals that allegations of unfair pay and unsatisfactory work conditions are limited to a minority of cast members.

Unfortunately, we fear that many readers would not have felt compelled to read beyond the headline and first few paragraphs, which are sensational and one-sided. The headline does not reflect the content of the story as a whole, which ironically makes it clear that any so-called revolt is rather a case of a handful of unhappy cast members.

Second, the article leads off with a colourful account of a park guest behaving inappropriately towards a frontline cast member portraying Minnie Mouse. We are puzzled by the fact that, during the interview we had with your reporter, we were not asked specifically about this case. This denied us the opportunity to respond and to convey how seriously we treat these situations.

The incident in question occurred late last year and, as soon as the character performer signalled her escort for help, she was immediately removed from the situation and the guest concerned was apprehended and turned over to the police.

Your editorial suggested that we should report such situations to the police, which is precisely what we did.

I should add that these incidents are rare at Hong Kong Disneyland, which gives the highest priority to the safety of our cast members and guests. Had we been given a chance to explain, we could have clearly communicated to your readers that the matter was dealt with efficiently and effectively. As it stands, the introduction to this otherwise fair article, along with the headline, served to promote misperceptions of park operations that couldn't be further from the truth.

BILL ERNEST, managing director, Hong Kong Disneyland

Safety in the bay

I was disturbed by the remarks of the Zapcat operator who told the Sunday Morning Post that people were 'exploiting Bjorn Lohse's tragic death to spread misinformation' ('Controls urged on high-speed dinghies', April 30). As a resident of Lung Ha Wan, I have been raising the issue of speeding in the bay for a year now, as it is dangerous and causes noise pollution.

After the tragic accident on April 8, I wrote to one of the people selling and operating Zapcats in the bay asking for his support in changing the behaviour of water-sports fans. I received no response.

Immediately after the accident, Zapcat users continued racing close to the shore, which I found incomprehensible. Does another family have to suffer a terrible loss before anything changes?

I agree with the Zapcat operator that the bay is there for everyone to enjoy and use. All I ask is consideration for other people and respect for life.

I am glad to say most Zapcat and jet ski users have adapted their behaviour and slowed down following the controversy over Mr Lohse's death. We must now look more closely at how water sports are conducted in the bay to find ways to avoid future accidents.

None of us who are upset about what happened are in any way exploiting Mr Lohse's death. There is nothing cynical, either, in our suggestion that safety measures and the avoidance of a future tragedy are linked.

I truly hope we can work together calmly and sensibly to ensure no one else suffers such a tragic loss.

VERA VAN EK, Lung Ha Wan

China's chance to do good

Your editorial 'China can help reason prevail in Iran dispute' (April 30) seemed more concerned with US threats than with Iran's obvious ambitions.

This, in a nutshell, is an outlook shared by the United Nations, the European Union, China and Russia. All these parties have demonstrated that they will not stand up to Iran. Their rhetoric is no more than a tool to pacify the US.

Deep in our collective hearts, we all know that only the US stops tyrants and terrorists carrying out diabolical schemes that would result in a world none of us would like to live in.

As China rises, it can afford to put altruism above economics and weigh in on the side of good.

If it did this, not only would Iran end up not armed with nuclear weapons but China would be on course to true superpower status in a world sorely in need of another 'good guy'.