PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 August, 2007, 12:00am

The King's calligraphy a unique part of the city worth preserving

To some the late 'King of Kowloon', Tsang Tsou-choi, was a harmless eccentric, but the passing of the old man, which coincided with the public's growing awareness of Hong Kong's heritage, has indeed created a resonance in the city.

To put the King's importance in perspective, we need to bear in mind that at this historical juncture Hong Kong people are still coming to terms with a difficult post-colonial identity. What the defining qualities, or the so-called 'core values', of Hong Kong are, have become urgent questions.

Against this backdrop Hongkongers are beginning to pay more attention to what is unique in the city, and the King's distinctive 'calligraphy', long a part of the cityscape, is an obvious candidate. The King's subject matter is also fitting for the movement: his writings about his ancestors emphasise the sense of continuity of history.

To evaluate the aesthetic quality of his works using the established standard of traditional Chinese calligraphy misses the point; the King was simply not working within, nor was he conducting a dialogue with, such a tradition.

This time the government has reacted quickly by announcing the intention to preserve the few surviving works of the King. However, it would be naive to consider that there is a fundamental change in this administration's attitude towards conservation, it just happens that it costs nothing not to rub the ink off the electric boxes. Not for nothing was Donald Tsang Yam-kuen crowned 'King of West Kowloon' in a recent Chinese drama.

Eric S. K. Mok, Pok Fu Lam

Atheists can also hold objective morals

Benjamin Rees ('Correspondents miss the main point on moral standards', July 22), raises some interesting points regarding the consequences of holding a morality whose rightness depends on a society's cultural norms. However, he goes amiss by assuming that an atheist's moral beliefs have no basis other than these norms.

In fact theists have the same problem about the basis of morality as atheists do. Few theists would say that what makes an act moral is the simple fact that God says it. This would have the unpalatable consequence that God saying that the pointless inflicting of pain is good, would, ipso facto, be good.

What most theists believe, and have historically believed, is that God reveals by his words and actions those which acts are already good.

They go on to add that humans do not, or cannot, find or hold to this morality without outside agency in the form of revelation or inspired messengers. Both atheists and theists can hold that morals are objective.

David Ollerearnshaw, Kam Tin

Taxi pick-up should be closer to airport

I would like to remind the Airport Authority that the airport is expressly for the use of travellers to and from Hong Kong.

As a frequent user of the airport, I would have liked to have been consulted on the issue of pick-up locations by pre-booked taxi.

If I can be dropped off immediately outside the airport building, then I and any business guests I have arriving in Hong Kong should also be able to catch a pre-booked taxi immediately outside the airport building.

I don't see why I should walk for more than five minutes in the sweltering heat to negotiate with airport staff and then be permitted to find my pre-booked car.

If the Airport Authority is now taking into account taxi issues, which to my way of thinking are none of its concern, then perhaps it would like to take up the issue of the fuel surcharge which no one can explain satisfactorily to me.

It could also investigate the 'loyalty' programme of its major airline where on some sectors it's not possible to redeem tickets before August 2008.

Ariadne Hueffmann, Sai Kung

Six-page fuel bill a waste of paper

At a time of increasing awareness of the wasteful consumption of natural resources occurring all around us, it was with great surprise that I received from Exxon Mobil my company's fuel bill arising from our fleet card.

This simple statement of one sole purchase of fuel comprises six single-sided printed pages.

The first is largely blank, apart from my company's name and address. Page 2 contains a list of service stations and phone numbers (I know not why) and an indication of what should be written on the back of a cheque.

Then comes the intriguing part: four pages with, broadly speaking, the same information - the amount of money owed.

I am at a loss to understand why all this is necessary, and why it cannot all be placed on two sides of one page. This would do much to reduce waste paper.

Geoff Carey, Yuen Long

Caught between a rock and a granite place

At first glance, Dr Margie Chen's warning of possible commercialisation of Hong Kong's geological features seemed rather alarmist (''World geopark' plan a business disguised as geoconservation', July 20).

The development of old piers and historic buildings is continually in the news, but prehistoric rock features!

However, knowing our businessmen's ability to turn a profit, I'm now not so sure, and the likelihood of shopping malls full of cheap granite garden gnomes, drilling equipment, and round-the-clock Flintstone movies is an alarming possibility.

But of course Hong Kong has a long association with geology and mining and many fortunes were made, and many more lives lost, in the Californian and Australian gold rushes.

So rather than waiting for our geological and mining heritage to be exploited commercially, perhaps we should instead take steps to promote it culturally.

And although we don't have a Grand Canyon, there is always Mount Butler Quarry, which gets pretty hot in summer and where the unwary could easily sprain an ankle.

Bill Greaves, Repulse Bay

Euthanasia is the selfish way out

Quadriplegic Tang Siu-pun's comments on euthanasia have led to a vigorous debate on the subject.

Some people interpret euthanasia as being a simple request for death by the ill, while others see it as a plea for relief from pain and suffering.

It is argued that legalising euthanasia could stop the suffering of some terminally-ill patients.

However, I think it can give the wrong impression to people that life can be given up easily.

People who choose this way out are being selfish. They are not considering the feelings of family and friends.

We should encourage terminally-ill patients to have a positive attitude towards their lives. And we should show our love and care.

Fong Hau-ling, Tseung Kwan O

Altered image

I travel frequently on the Light Rail in the New Territories and am extremely impressed with the service it provides.

However, they have for quite some time been running a safety campaign encouraging standing passengers to hold on to a stanchion or handrail.

Their publicity material depicts an elderly woman doing exactly that with a shopping bag in the crook of her elbow, whilst in the seats nearby are two children, about 10 years old, happily enjoying each others' company.

Does this image really reflect the views of KCRC management?

Ian McGerty, Sha Tau Kok