PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2006, 12:00am

Q What do you think of the new Peak Tower?

I think the Peak Tower is finally on the right track for capturing local and foreign tourists. It was such a big waste of space and vantage point previously, with the only popular establishment being Pacific Coffee.

Given the right incentive and setting, people do like to hang out more in the tower. Previously, there really wasn't much to offer when it was full of uninteresting souvenir shops.

Given the location, it should no doubt position itself as a destination shopping place (with interesting and one-of-a-kind shops) and eatery centre - just like the Cafe Deco/Peak Cafe. People would go to the Peak just for that. With Bubba Gum Shrimps opening along with the others, there should be a boost to the attractiveness of the Peak Tower.

Virginia Mak

Q How can inappropriate portrayal of children in the media be discouraged?

We should impose serious penalties in the form of hefty fines or suspension of publication licences to halt inappropriate portrayals of children in the media. There should be some journalistic guidelines on what reporters should do instead of a fine to remind them. But if those gossip magazines operate without ethics, let's go for a more pragmatic approach.

Dannio Chan, North Point

Q Will the five-day week improve the work-life balance of Hongkongers?

I don't think so, because many Hong Kong people still have a mindset that performance depends on working time only but not ability and effort. In order to avoid layoffs, employees must work much longer on weekdays and they sometimes go back to work in the office on weekends.

I work in a company where employees sit for over 12 hours but just check their private e-mails and websites. Luckily, their employer thinks they perform well because at least they are hard working. How can we have an improved work-life balance in a five-day week? We should change the mindset about working attitudes to achieve a work-life balance.

Derek Chan, Ho Man Tin

On other matters...

Thanks for bringing our situation at Discovery Bay into the open in last week's Sunday Morning Post.

However, the underlying problem here is not the contractor's work but the heavy-handed and insincere attitude of the community's owners, HKR International.

Everything in DB is geared towards maximising HKR's profits, mostly through the sale of new housing developments. There is little consideration for the rights of residents and the rules are stacked against anyone not a part of HKR's business group. This includes commercial tenants, residents and even individual owners, who are all treated as 'the enemy' by HKR, and not as customers and stakeholders.

HKR's master contract with new buyers allows HKR to make 'renovations' at the owner's expense every seven years. HKR is now seeking higher margins from new 'luxury' developments, and as there is a new one coming on stream soon, they simply decided that Beach Village needed immediate 'improvement' in order to help them support a higher price per square foot for this new development.

The VOC (village owner's committee) was then given a short list of contractors, with a vague indication of work to be done, and told to pick one.

Once work commenced, resident's noticed a large amount of unnecessary replacement of walls and stairs that made little difference to the safety or appearance of the village, and the contractor was also allowed to do this work as cheaply as possible. Many residents experienced incredible humiliation, such as having workers urinating on their balconies.

The contractor has more support from DB management and HKR than the residents. At one point we were told by DB management that we had to accept work being done seven days a week because 'the contractor was losing money due to a late-completion penalty'.

Why is the contractor's profit more important to HKR and DB management than the quality of the work and the safety and comfort of the residents? The only parties benefiting were the contractor and HKR.

HKR relies on the gullibility of individual owners who themselves rely on the naivete of a new crop of foreigners coming here and renting their investment properties. Until HKR changes its attitude, I suspect there will be many more conflicts with residents.

As I fear retribution, I prefer to remain anonymous.

Name and address supplied

More people are starting to pay attention to the protection of our environment. Many are beginning to realise the importance of preserving mangroves because of their high ecological value. In Hong Kong, mangroves are one of the special features of the wild environment.

Unfortunately, some areas where mangroves grow are not restricted. The government should protect mangroves by setting up restricted areas such as those in the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.

The mangroves can also be protected by setting up special scientific interest sites such as the mangroves in Ting Kok, Tai Po. The government should also raise public awareness about the conservation of mangroves.

Eddie Cheung Ming-him,

Shau Kei Wan