PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am

We can all do our bit to help families in crisis

The number of cases of domestic violence reported to police have skyrocketed over the past few years.

Last weekend's tragedy in Sha Tin, when a man threw his daughter from their 19th-floor flat before killing himself, has highlighted this issue.

I believe there are things that can be done to help families at risk and avert such tragedies.

One thing we must do that is fundamental to dealing with the problem is to employ more specialised counsellors who can provide comprehensive help.

There is a shortage of psychiatric services staff in Hong Kong and these people are being overwhelmed by their workload.

Because of this shortage, many families are not getting as much counselling as they need.

Also, the files of what are thought to be the less serious cases are closed, before the real problems in the families are solved.

There is an urgent need to get more of these counsellors, but we will only be able to recruit additional staff, if we offer them attractive salaries.

There also have to be changes in the law.

Your editorial pointed out ('More steps are needed to avert tragedies', July 9), that the reforms in the Domestic Violence Ordinance will give victims more protection.

Domestic violence is a serious problem and it is crucial that such violence is seen as a crime. This can serve as a deterrent.

Finally, we can all do our bit.

It has always been taboo in Chinese society to interfere when you see disputes in other families.

Many of us are very reluctant to get involved when we witness a problem in a family.

We must abandon this outmoded way of thinking and be willing to help victims when a family is in crisis.

As I have said, there are solutions to this problem, but all parties involved must act and they must do so as soon as possible.

Steven Lau Yuk-fai, Kwun Tong

Own goal over ticket sales

The Hong Kong Football Association's (HKFA) handling of the Barclays Asia Trophy ticket sales last Saturday was a complete and utter farce.

In no other country, or even for other major events in Hong Kong, has it been contemplated that a ticket sale would be classified as an event.

Information about the ticket sales prior to the day was very limited and late. There were no online sales, leaving the public to queue at the stadium on a hot July morning and it was a shambles.

Upon entering the stadium, tickets were given denoting a place in the queue, the only sensible idea all day. However, the HKFA had decided to open only three booths from the 24 available.

The association implied that the buyers were at fault for the length of time, but the major issue is that you cannot process more than 5,000 people with just three ticket booths open.

There were stalls available for the sale of food and drink and which were open for past ticket sales. However, these were left closed, and initially nobody was able to leave the stadium without losing their queue ticket.

When people were eventually allowed to leave and keep their place in the queue on their return, they were required to wait in another lengthy queue in order to give their Hong Kong identity card details, along with the number in their queue.

When we got to the booths, the hired marshals were more of a hindrance and those in the ticket booths were similarly clueless.

Given the glamour of the event, there should have been no problem for all the tickets for the day to be sold. However, many remained unsold, because of poor planning.

Things were made worse by the comments from the HKFA on the news that it was the public's fault for not planning ahead and bringing supplies to an event.

Is this really the image that Hong Kong wants the world to see?

Ken Abela, Mid-Levels

Disney's piracy not fit for HK

On a recent visit with my daughters to Hong Kong Disneyland, I came across the 'Pirates' promotion.

I remember reading, when Disneyland was being built, that there would be no pirate attractions, out of respect for the fact that piracy was, in this part of the world, a real concern. But this seems to have been put aside for the sake of bumping up the gross take of Disney's latest Johnny Depp vehicle, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

I took my children to see the movie and found it appallingly inappropriate. The violence was over the top and I walked out.

I will forgive Disney this once, especially since they are going to have their first African American princess, The Frog Princess, set in New Orleans, but please don't do it again.

Joy Kingan, Discovery Bay

Use maids' levy to create jobs

Foreign domestic helpers are occupying positions that could be done by local people.

This makes it more difficult for low-skilled or elderly workers to get jobs. Therefore the money raised from the helpers levy ('HK$3.2b maid levy still sitting in coffers with nowhere to go', July 12), can be used as a retraining subsidy for these workers. It could help them find jobs and improve their living standards.

It could help train young people who were just out of school, but who had a low educational level. These young people are probably unemployed. They need some sort of training to help them find work and the subsidy could assist them and help cut the unemployment rate.

The government should not leave idle the money accrued from the levy, but should formulate long-term policies that can increase Hong Kong's competitiveness.

Mau Chun-lok, Tsz Wan Shan

We need more recycling bins

There have been articles in past months regarding the shrinking landfills and the government's apparent dismay that its waste reduction plans are not succeeding.

Perhaps if the government helped us a bit more we could help it. The recycling collection bins are badly designed, collections from them are infrequent and there are not enough of them.

The government seems incapable of connecting the dots. A primary schoolchild could connect shrinking landfills and overflowing recycling bins and could probably come up with a better design for these bins.

Just take a look on any given day at those outside the Environmental Protection Department offices in Queen's Road East, Wan Chai.

I hope the new environment secretary is good at dot connection, for all our sakes.

P. Jeremy Newton, Happy Valley

Roger is right

I agree with Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and others that Hawk-Eye is inaccurate.

The reason is simple - the ball is round not flat. Therefore only a small part of the ball actually touches the ground. Yet Hawk-Eye - the ball-tracking machine - assumes that the whole ball touches the ground, allocating a full circle shadow in each case. Consequently the segment of the ball that actually touches the ground may be outside the line (out), yet the full circle shadow overlaps it (in) and the ball is incorrectly called in.

I suggest Hawk-Eye adds a further, inner circle to the shadow of bounce at a percentage of the circumference negotiated by players.

Phil Glenwright, Ma On Shan



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