Q How can organ donation rates be increased?
Just as the state is responsible for the distribution of the assets of people who die without a will, the state also should monitor and protect people's wishes to donate their organs after death.
Relatives are not following the instructions of their near and dear dead ones. They are even destroying their organ donation cards with the moral support of their religious beliefs. I call that premeditated murder of likely recipients of the donated organs.
Religious organisations do not support such donations because they do not directly benefit their congregations. If we devise donations along the lines of Hindu organs for Hindus, or Christian organs for Christians or Muslim organs for Muslims and so on, religious leaders will fall head over heals for the donation concept and will encourage their disciples to be donors. Or better still, if we narrow it to Baptist organs for Baptists, or Catholic organs for Catholics and so on, the religious heads will ask their followers to offer their organs for donation. What a shame!
So I urge all religious leaders to unite and spread the wings of angels and give life to people who need organs by asking their followers to donate their organs after death.
Nalini Daswani, US
On other matters...
Following recent visits to high-end jewellery shops at Central, I must say the staff possess selling skills that would make wet-market fishmongers and Middle-Eastern rug sellers particularly envious.
As I was going from one jeweller to another, I was extremely surprised by the service in these havens of luxury. I was told by one staff member that I would be 'stupid to miss the opportunity' of a 20 per cent discount on one ring. Another claimed that a special promotion was taking place today only. These marketing arguments would not have surprised me at high-street retailers, but is this really what I want to hear from the staff at Van Cleef and Arpel?
Buying a ring or any special piece of jewellery is a different shopping experience from buying a pair of jeans. When you are prepared to spend a significant sum of money on a piece of jewellery, the choice is crucial, you want to take your time and not be rushed into buying.
What's more, if you have a budget of tens of thousands of dollars, a discount of a few thousand dollars is the last thing on you mind. 'Making a good deal' is great when you're buying a rug, but it is the last consideration when you're pushing the doors of the best jewellers in the world.
Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city where customers come from all parts of the world; if aggressive and pushy marketing tactics are acceptable and even welcomed by some customers, they should still be avoided. High-end jewellers should make an effort to train their staff in cross-cultural subtleties; the elegance of a brand is reflected in the service experienced by customers.
I am writing to express my feelings on Nga Tsin Wai Village, which has 600 years of history. During the past 20 years, this village has faced a dilemma of redevelopment against preservation.
Since the early '80s when a developer started to purchase village houses one by one and planned to redevelop the place, the villagers have fought for preservation of the village.
In the early '90s, the Land Development Corporation listed the village in its redevelopment programme.
In 2000 the Wong Tai Sin District Council passed a resolution that the government should preserve Nga Tsin Wai Village and its heritage. Nevertheless, many of the village houses in Nga Tsin Wai Village have been demolished by the main owner, Cheung Kong, in the past five to six years.
The government also announced in 2003 that it was impossible to restore the village to its original look. The redevelopment proposal submitted by Cheung Kong, which owns about 80 per cent of the village land, was approved by the Buildings Department last year.
On the other hand, the government announced that the Urban Renewal Authority has plans to start a redevelopment programme, and only the Gatehouse, the Archway and Tin Hau Temple will be preserved.
Obviously, the village has been sacrificed in the battle between the government and businessmen. Although the Wong Tai Sin District Council supported preservation of the village in 2000, the relevant government departments did not respond or adopt any measures to stop developers from purchasing the land and demolishing houses.
There is no communication between government departments as well. It is ridiculous that on one hand the URA is planning to start the redevelopment programme but on the other hand the Buildings Department approved the redevelopment proposals of the developer.
Queenie Sin, Yuen Long