The 'aloha spirit' abounds in HK
I arrived in Hong Kong last week and want to thank everyone here for making my vacation the best in my life! I am a tour operator, scuba instructor and boat captain in Hawaii and over there we try to share the 'aloha spirit' with our guests. The people of Hong Kong have demonstrated to me that the 'aloha spirit' abounds here.
I have travelled the world and not received the level of genuine hospitality that I have experienced here. Everyone and anyone has helped me when I was lost or had questions. All have been patient with my poor attempts at Cantonese and watched over me like loving parents with an inexperienced child.
From policemen like Steven Wong, to hard-working citizens like Alan Lai, to all the taxi drivers who patiently tried to understand my directions and the people who helped me practise Cantonese on the MTR, I want to thank you with all my heart.
I have fallen in love with Hong Kong and its people. I am already planning my next trip here in January.
On top of that, I turned the pages of the South China Morning Post and found this forum of communication where the good people of this great city can freely express their opinions, be it pro or con, on relevant topics and events that affect everyone's lives here. We have the same letter forums in our American papers and it is one of the tools that helps us make educated decisions and shapes our opinions. How wonderful to find freedom of speech in a city I have come to cherish.
I will depart on Tuesday with wonderful memories and a keen desire to return. Thank you again everyone for such a heart-warming two weeks.
LYLE KLEUSCH, Hawaii
Trans fat and obesity link
In response to the survey conducted on the nutrition of children in Hong Kong ('Children learn bad dietary habits young', July 9), I would like to comment on the most detrimental aspect: the presence of the artificial substance called 'trans fat' in our food. Widely introduced in the early 1980s and now dubbed the food industry's 'biggest disaster', trans fat is a man-made, synthetic fat which is very difficult for the body to metabolise, resulting in obesity and other illnesses. Obesity trends in America correlate directly with the extent of trans fats used in food over the past two decades.
Removing trans fat from children's food would have the single biggest impact on their nutrition. Possibly labelled as 'partially hydrogenated' oil, 'shortening' or 'lard', trans fat is a man-made substance which is found in processed food.
The safe limit for trans fat has been set at zero by the US Food and Drug Administration, yet it is found in up to 40 per cent of packaged food.
Our shelves in Hong Kong also stock many foods which contain the substance and it is the staple of fast food.
Studies have shown that the consumption of trans fat is the single biggest reason for childhood obesity and diabetes, over and above caloric intake and physical inactivity. It is also linked to heart disease, cancer, depression and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) as it competes in the body with healthy, scarce fats such as omega 3.
Why is it still in use? It is a cheap, easy to produce substance which makes food crispier and tastier, gives it a much longer shelf life and yields much higher profit margins. It is widespread in children's food - the typical children's menu is laden with it, with chicken nuggets being the highest source of trans fat on any fast-food menu. It is found in many breads, children's cereals (even those which appear healthy), biscuits, crackers, chips, snack bars, ice creams and even in baby cereals.
Its prevalence explains why in many countries, this generation will be the first not to outlive their parents due to the diabetes epidemic. Many countries are now acting to limit its use or provide better labelling of the substance, while Denmark has never permitted its use. For more information on trans fat, and what other countries are doing about it, visit www.bantransfats.com.
Give your children a very big 'treat' and ban trans fat.
DR LAUREN BRAMLEY, Central
Say 'no' to development
Lobster Bay in the Clear Water Bay Country Park is one of the last unspoilt, beautiful places left in Hong Kong. How can someone claim to own land right in the middle of a country park after having left it unused for more than 30 years ('Access to popular park sites blocked', July 16)?
Natural places like this belong to the people and there should be no buildings to mar the view. We have enough concrete and noise pollution everywhere else. It must be stopped now!
Nathalie Ho, Tai Po