PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2007, 12:00am

Should needy families get free computers?

I definitely agree that poor families should get free computers.

Computers have become an essential part of our lives. We use them to communicate with other people on the internet.

Some of us also find it helps us to relieve stress by writing web blogs.

Children find it helpful when they are doing homework and other school projects. They may be asked to do a survey on the internet.

If they come from a low-income family and do not have a computer, it could prove an obstacle to their education. They might feel isolated because their peers have computers and this could lead to them feeling inferior and affect their ability to socialise with fellow students.

Therefore, to ensure their children are able to develop their abilities, low-income families should be given computers.

Cindy Tam, Kwun Tong

It is quite common nowadays for a family to have a computer in their home, often for entertainment purposes.

It is taught in schools and pupils are often given assignments to do through the internet. It is an essential tool for a student in a Hong Kong school.

Schools today put much effort into teaching students information technology and giving them Net assignments. With this trend, a computer is now a necessity for every student.

However, as the gap between rich and poor widens, not every household can afford the extra expense of a computer. Some families are so poor they can only meet their basic needs.

They cannot afford school tuition fees and certainly do not have the resources to purchase a computer.

Of course they can borrow a computer or use the machines in our public libraries, but if these low-income families were given a computer, it would be more convenient for them.

It will help poor students with their studies.

It does not matter whether you are rich or poor. You should be entitled to enjoy your time at school and have fun on the internet.

Wong Sai-ping, Tseung Kwan O

What do you think of pay-TV services?

I want to thank the Sunday Morning Post (September 9) for the full-page coverage on the opening of this year's American NFL season.

For Americans who are in Hong Kong and for those who have lived in the US, this week kicks off what promises to be a thrill-packed season that lasts only 17 weeks. The highlight of course is the infamous Superbowl in January. But tuning in to catch a glimpse of a game could be a problem.

Now TV, which usually carries the sport each year, unfortunately has someone in charge of programming asleep at the wheel. And although you'll see their NFL commercials on ESPN, there are no games covered, nor does Now TV know exactly when they will start.

Did they not know that this event starts every September, every year? Or is it that that Now TV's vision of Hong Kong's sports is slightly skewed?

If you think of eating as a sport, then you're in good shape, catch the Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest, which will be screened three times on ESPN this week.

Honestly, three broadcasts of a hotdog-eating contest on the sports channel? I'll bite my tongue and wish us well at the Olympics.

Want to talk to someone from Now TV? Not a chance - they've installed their 24-hour automated customer service hotline, which means you get to push buttons and listen to recordings 24 hours a day but never actually speak to a person. Why hide your customer service from your customers?

Of course, when you're so disconnected from them, you're probably scared of what they might say.

Greg Crandall, Sai Wan Ho

Should pet shops face curbs on the sale of antibiotics?

We all know that doctors diagnose our diseases and give suitable treatment. However, I cannot see any reason why pet shops should be allowed to sell antibiotics to owners or vaccinate animals.

Animals also have lives. If they get sick, the pet shop owners or the pet owners should take the animals to a vet so they can get the proper treatment.

Selling unregistered medicine at a pet shop is even worse. This practice must be banned. It is wrong for pet shop owners to give the animals drugs to prevent cross infection.

If their premises are not large enough to house a broad range of animals safely, without the risk of cross infection, then they should reduce the number of animals in the shop.

There must be curbs on pet shops selling antibiotics and it should be made a criminal offence. If an animal is given the wrong medicine it could die.

Without serious punishment, some people will not take care of their animals properly.

Kwok Hoi-wai, Kwung Tong

On other matters...

Your correspondent B. Bu (Talkback, September 10) complained that people were committing a 'faux pas' when bringing their own wine to a restaurant, because 'the wines people take to these restaurants surely cannot be better than the ones chosen carefully by a sommelier to match the food ordered'.

Your correspondent goes on to note that these people are, without realising it, 'insulting the chefs and the sommeliers'.

Restaurants in Hong Kong - and elsewhere - that allow diners to bring their own wine typically charge a corkage fee to make up for the lack of profit that would be derived from the sale of their own wine. Corkage fees in Hong Kong are very high - often HK$400 to HK$500 per bottle.

Yet, I regularly pay this fee happily. Why? Because unlike the charming picture painted by B. Bu, the average high-class restaurant in Hong Kong has absolutely nothing of value on its wine list (much less a knowledgable sommelier).

I would much rather pay the HK$500 corkage fee and enjoy a bottle of wine that I know I like and I know has been stored properly, than fork over HK$1,000 for a bottle of something I've never heard of that retails for under HK$200.

If the restaurant feels insulted by the prospect of having guests bring their own wine, they have the right not to allow the practice. In reality, however, I know of almost no restaurants in Hong Kong that do not have a corkage policy.

Doug Johnson, Tsim Sha Tsui