PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am

Q Do teachers suffer more stress than other professionals?

No way. I have worked in a variety of organisations, from business to education, and have little sympathy for the teachers who claim they are under stress.

The bottom line isn't money, so even if teachers perform badly they are not going to bankrupt their organisation.

Their work isn't intellectually demanding (if they have the ability and qualifications to teach their subject).

Organisational politics is mild because the large majority of 'customers' are children and parents who are not employed by the school. I note, however, that the autocratic powers and behaviour of most principals makes many teachers feel (and behave) like hopeless pawns, but democracy only comes about through action by the underdog, and fawning only perpetuates inequality (and feelings of stress).

Most people these days do not enjoy job security and have to work very long hours.

Name and address supplied

Q Does the Commercial Radio incident indicate a wider problem with attitudes towards women?

The public outrage precipitated by the grossly offensive 'Most popular female artists for indecent assault' votes at Commercial Radio is something that can be expected. It is, however, even more appalling that one of those who drummed up such an inane idea, the station's programme host Sammy Leung Chi-kin, is a graduate of the School of Journalism and Communication at Chinese University and is teaching at the same department.

One can't help having doubts on the moral standards of today's university graduates as well as the integrity and professionalism of students of journalism and their teachers. In view of the declining standards in the media and the distorted values their reports often harbour, one wonders if there is something inherently wrong in the way some journalists are being taught. It is high time authorities and academics did something to ensure that those schools of journalism are being properly run and that students are taught to the highest standards of professionalism.

Jennifer Wong, Kowloon Tong

Q Are five demerit points sufficient penalty for running a red light?

The Legislative Council has been blowing its trumpet about the effectiveness of 'tougher' penalties for drivers going through red lights - 'Gabriel, toot your horn!'

Surely, it has not escaped the notice of many Hongkongers that the government's attitude to littering is immensely more serious than its attitude towards drivers who run a red light: just compare the penalties of $1,500 for littering with $500 for going through a red light!

The recent serious accident involving a green minibus and a car, apparently caused by one of the vehicles going through a red light, also illustrates graphically the uselessness of treating the symptoms ($5,000 penalty and/or several months' jail sentence for minibus passengers not wearing their seatbelts), when the cause (driver negligence and carelessness) is treated so lightly.

So, back to the littering versus red-light problem.

Littering has been a problem for some time and this does damage the impression of visitors which, in turn, indirectly hits government coffers adversely if the tourists don't return, or even come here in the first place. However, littering rarely causes injury or death and is usually the result of carelessness. Driving a vehicle through a red light is a premeditated, deliberate act and often results in serious injury or death to innocent road users.

It is difficult to escape cynicism about the whole back-to-front system of fixed penalties in Hong Kong. If drivers faced penalties such as those imposed on minibus passengers not wearing seatbelts ($5,000 and jail time) for going through red lights, it is most likely that the running red-light problem would almost disappear overnight.

Since it is likely that a percentage of such drivers are under the influence of alcohol, one such penalty for driving through a red light would also cause them to reflect seriously about drinking and driving in the future.

Then why don't we see Legco legislate such penalties for drivers? To borrow from a well-known ad, 'Because they are drivers themselves'.

John Gerlach, Tai Po

On other matters ...

The recent Unesco acclaim for the successful restoration of the Catholic St Joseph's Church on Yim Tin Tsai Island has given the village the opportunity to promote cultural and environmental tourism. The government supports such promotions because it can help implement 'cluster protection' in the coming cultural heritage protection concept instead of protection of sites one by one.

I support the idea because it not only can help educate our future generations about the richness of Hong Kong's heritage, but will also attract tourists. However, a detailed management plan should be developed to control development of the area and to prevent destruction of natural and cultural assets.

Investment of private funds is useful to support building restoration and maintenance in the future, but we should keep a careful eye on it. Unlike shopping malls in urban districts, the attraction of the area comes from its unique historic and architectural background, and therefore commercial activities should be carefully selected and managed. The development of business activities cannot be allowed to destroy the original environment.

It is important to prevent repeats of commercial overdevelopment that have been allowed in other areas. The attraction of the site would be reduced if the island only sells the same seafood or the same souvenirs that are available in shops everywhere in Hong Kong. It should be distinguished, as different from attractions from Lamma Island and Cheung Chau.

Guidelines should be set up for the adaptive reuse of the village houses. They should be flexible for future business but should prevent any damage to the exterior historical structures. Interior alternations should be reversible and no permanent damage to the building should be allowed.

The people flow should be carefully controlled to retain the natural harmony of the island. The government should educate the locals about the importance of protecting their cultural and environmental heritage to provide a sustainable balance between heritage and tourism development.

Development of cultural and green tourism is a long-term investment. It can be profitable to Yim Tin Tsai Island, but it should be carefully controlled and planned, otherwise our society will suffer the cost of possible disastrous damage to the cultural heritage of these villages and their valuable environmental resources. I hope the government and the local people will consider these factors.

Ng Yat-fai, Sha Tin

I am not sure how many readers would be terrified to learn that a powerful Lamborghini or Porsche can be in the hands of a young adult of 18 who has just got his driving licence. The government must set requirements over and above this minimum one, to avoid fatal accidents caused by young people in fast cars.

Albert Tong, Quarry Bay

I am of the opinion that all new buildings should have double-glazed windows - not only those that are planned for the future but also those now being built and not yet finished.

This will save electricity in the winter for heating and summer for cooling and delay the need to increase the supply of electricity to cater to rapidly increasing demand.

I am told China is already producing double-paned windows. I would like to hear the opinion of others, including Civic Exchange's Christine Loh Kung-wai, whom I highly esteem and respect.

M. Bok, Pokfulam