PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2007, 12:00am

Should slimming drugs be more strictly controlled?

I am astonished by the terrible side effects of the diet drugs prescribed by three different doctors ('Doctors push risky diet drugs', May 30).

I can't imagine how the doctors can give those pills to a woman whose body mass index is only 20, which is an optimal level.

This serious phenomenon provokes alarm about the lack of controls over slimming drugs. Personally I totally agree with the proposal. Some doctors merely want to do a lucrative business. They tell the patients, especially those who are women, that they are obese (slightly or exceedingly), then prescribe those bitter pills to them arbitrarily. By restricting the prescriptions of these drugs, further disputes and legal proceedings can be avoided.

I believe that besides banning the sales of these medicines, the doctors ought to be considerate by having an overall assessment of the patients' physiques before prescribing the perilous pills. After all, the territory is flooded with slimming adverts and propaganda which spread the wrong message to the public, distorting the concept of 'beauty'. This is the root of the problem and perhaps the government should do something about that as well.

Curtis Ho, Tsuen Wan

Are universities too uptight about sex?

While the conservative few like Joyce Siu ('Students taint a noble ideal', May 30) fail to give any convincing reasons why the sex survey in Chinese University's Student Press is indecent, their mention of 'difference in nature' between the Bible and the sex survey is ludicrous.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority refused to refer the Bible to the tribunal because it is a generally accepted historical document. But where are the remains of the Garden of Eden? It says in Genesis 19:26: 'But his [Lot's] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.' You call that history? Think again. If the Bible should not be referred to the obscenity tribunal for classification for its status in human civilisation, then why was Michelangelo's statue of David, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, not treated the same?

Fifty years ago Dr Kinsey used questionnaires and interviews to study sex. They let him found the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University. This year our students published a questionnaire about sex, and some people want to put them in jail.

Andrew Tay, Causeway Bay

On other matters...

Mary Melville touched on the Urban Renewal Authority's Hanoi Road redevelopment project ('Authority a law unto itself', May 26).

Indeed, on the subject of Hanoi Road, we are not short of correspondence with her, the latest being our response (April 30) in reply to her letter (April 26). For now, I can do no better than recap some of the facts and figures quoted in my last letter.

By way of background, the original project site at Hanoi Road was zoned for comprehensive development in 1976, with the objective of improving the environment and local traffic conditions. The Town Planning Board hoped the owners could come together to implement the project, but to no avail.

The project was then entrusted to our predecessor, the Land Development Corporation, which started it in 1998.

The site boundary was enlarged to include the old Astor Hotel site along Carnarvon Road in 2003. The board subsequently saw fit to approve our Master Layout Plan for the project, setting out details of the design.

We can see no truth in Ms Melville's suggestion that there is 'no supervision to ensure that the promised public facilities become reality'.

In fact, the redevelopment, apart from improving the dilapidated living environment within the site, will provide a good range of public facilities, including some 1,200 square metres of public open space trees, potted and hanging plants, sculptures, water features and seating.

Hard and soft street landscaping will additionally be provided around the perimeter of the site. Not only will the footpaths there be lined with trees but they will be widened to 4.5 metres.

To facilitate pedestrian flow within the area, an underground subway will be constructed, linking the MTR and KCR stations with the redevelopment.

The redevelopment will also include a major hotel. This will be served by tour bus drop-off bays and parking bays at basement level, which by taking access from Mody Road will help ease traffic congestion at street level.

We are confident the project will bring tangible and non-tangible benefits to the community following project completion scheduled for 2008.

If Ms Melville wishes to obtain more information on the project, she is welcomed to call Leo Law, senior manager (external relations) at 2588 2333.

Paul S.W. Leung, director, corporate communications, Urban Renewal Authority

Anyone interested in the true colour of law in post-colonial Hong Kong should heed the latest development of the Jackson-Lipkin saga (May 27).

Miles Jackson-Lipkin, a former High Court judge whose judicial career had been prematurely terminated for sporting military medals from campaigns in which he had not participated, and his barrister wife were sentenced to 11 months' imprisonment for welfare fraud. Exactly four months into the sentence the couple were freed for reasons which are published in the Judiciary's website, under case number HCMA 173/2007. The judicial pardon, predicated on unconvincing pretexts, has incurred a public outcry.

Critical commentaries have cropped up in popular local internet forums. For a well-argued critique, one may go to the site of Roundtable Inter-Society Knowledge at

The circumstances in which the couple was freed raise serious questions about the rule of law, whether it is merely a trade name for the rule of judges in post-colonial Hong Kong.

The executive branch of the government must act on behalf of the people of Hong Kong and appeal against the pardon and to protect the independence of the Hong Kong Judiciary from cronyism, such that it should not be compromised simply because some judges in England have committed the faux pas of opinionated incontinence.

Alex Chan, Santa Barbara, California