PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 12:00am

Q Should the intake of medical students be increased?

I read your article 'Universities fear shortage of doctors' today.

I moved to Hong Kong with my family three years ago from Toronto, Canada, and we love Hong Kong. It has become our new home.

We had a medical emergency in the first year and we were treated by doctors in Discovery Bay and the Canossa Hospital. The care was costly, but excellent, and - most importantly - prompt!

In Ontario, we used to have free health care but we had to wait in the emergency room many hours. We once had to wait four hours to see a doctor after our son had cut his leg with a saw. There is a balance to everything in life - health-care systems, as well.

Last summer, my friends from the Czech Republic came to visit. A couple of them, doctors, fell in love with the Hong Kong pace and mentioned that they would love to work here, as there are so many patients. (The Czech Republic has in total just 10 million people).

When they asked, they were informed that it is impossible to come here and practise as a doctor from overseas.

These were doctors who used to work in public hospitals and today work in the private sector, and have more than 20 years of expertise.

Why don't you invite some people from abroad? Since Hong Kong is such a multicultural city, wouldn't languages besides English help?

It takes years before a medical student can become a qualified and experienced doctor, especially in a specialist field.

I know of at least two excellent English-speaking doctors who would be interested in working here.

Dagmar Hartley, Discovery Bay

Q Should counselling be mandatory for abusive spouses?

It is easy to point out that parents who leave very young children at home are behaving in a reckless and irresponsible manner and we should legislate to punish them.

I support the good intentions of such legislation but would like to seek assurances that temporary child-care services are readily available to all parents who may need them, and that it is only when they recklessly fail to obtain such services that they become subject to legislative sanctions.

Hastily rushing to legislate without providing support will only increase the day-to-day difficulties and frustrations of parents who cannot get child care or who do not or are unable to get the support of friends or family to provide such temporary child care.

Your report hints that it is unacceptable that the young mother was wrong to leave the children for 'entertainment'.

Such an attitude is misinformed as caregivers do need some respite from caring to enrich their own life and to release stress as well.

Your article suggests that the mother of the two young children did inform a relative. I can only presume that the relative had refused to provide the temporary care.

Here again, the need for such temporary care services is highlighted. We should put in place all the supportive services before we implement punitive procedures, which is what any 'home-alone' legislation would become.

Dr Philip Beh, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong

Q What do you think about the trend for cosmetic surgery?

The rising trend for cosmetic surgery is mainly due to the changing views of society. Many celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Pamela Anderson have undergone plastic surgery, and the practice is redefining society's concept of beauty.

Girls once perceived as naturally attractive now regard themselves as ordinary or plain, and many seek remedial surgery.

The world itself tends to be image conscious, yet inner beauty and one's character are far more important and should never be neglected.

What's more, cosmetic surgery can be addictive. Michael Jackson is one well-known example.

Getting old can somehow be graceful. It all depends on whether we are content with our looks and what we possess.

Borromeo Li Ka-kit, Kwun Tong

On other matters ...

You are so very correct in highlighting yet one more example of the terrible English standard in Hong Kong (LoDown, January 20).

As a native-English speaker, my ears are assaulted daily by oral English errors and my eyes ache from reading subtitles filled with errors.

It's a shame that Hong Kong's supposedly 'English-language' TV channels, Pearl and World, frequently have English subtitle errors in advertisements, and most frequently during locally produced programmes.

I often give up in frustration and stop viewing many of these good-quality, interesting shows such as Pearl Report and Hong Kong Connection because of errors. I absolutely refuse to go to the cinema or watch on TV any Hong Kong-produced movies for the same reason.

Would it be asking too much for these broadcasters and producers to hire native-English speakers as editors and proofreaders to ensure accuracy?

Philip Richards, Sheung Wan

Towngas would like to respond to comments raised by Peter Jonathan on the Sai Kung roadworks. (Talkback, January 17). The traffic jam on the evening of Monday, January 15, concerned repairs to two burst water mains by other parties and were unrelated to the Towngas pipeline works along Hiram's Highway. Work at our sites on the route was suspended that day to reduce inconvenience to motorists while the water mains were repaired.

Towngas' excavation works in Sai Kung encompass Hiram's Highway, Clear Water Bay Road, Sai Sha Road and Tai Mong Tsai Road. These works have been scheduled for completion during 2007. They are necessary for reliable gas supply to Sai Kung, Tseung Kwan O and some other areas in East Kowloon.

Our works and temporary traffic routings are implemented under stringent conditions as required by governmental departments and after consultation with the Sai Kung District Council.

I hope the above clarifies any misunderstanding. In the meantime, we will try our best to speed up work in the Sai Kung area. I sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to residents.

Wong Sau-ying, head of corporate communications, Hong Kong and China Gas

In response to the recent homophobia gripping the city ('Storm as lesbian's poem is withdrawn from art exhibition', C1, Monday, and 'Gay marriage show sparks TV row', Sunday), I would like to address the double standards in Hong Kong society.

The prudish principles of some seems to be quite hypocritical. Why is it not a cause for concern that newspaper hawkers clearly display pornographic magazines, both heterosexual and homosexual, for all to see as they stroll the streets?

Their licentious and often graphic covers seem to be far more offensive than a few words in a poem or documentary with opinions. At least we can choose if we wish to see those or not. The magazines are to be found in all areas of the territory, as are DVDs catering to all types of kinks in every video shop.

I find it deplorable that people can be so blind to Hong Kong's commonly accepted seedy tastes. Local newspapers have brothel reviews and tourists browsing the night markets are likely to be approached to purchase pornographic DVDs.

The moral repugnance towards homosexuality may be a valid crusade for some. However, I find it offensive that they perform such a caustic attack on what amounts only to opinion, current affairs and poetry, while turning a blind eye to the festering seediness rampant in the rest of the city.

Walter Bauman, Happy Valley