What do you think of calls for a Chinese opera hub?
On the same day - September 13 - we read the reports 'New vision unveiled for cultural hub', 'Looming closure of theatre sparks debate' and 'Calls for Cantonese opera hub in Eastern'.
The second story concerned the likely closure of the Sunbeam Theatre in North Point because the owner will raise the rent and to heck with the culture.
So our mindset is 'hubs'. Has nobody considered that, instead of spending HK$19 billion on a 'high-culture' hub to show that we are 'Asia's cultured city', we should spend it on a multiplicity of Sunbeam Theatres and equivalent centres throughout the city that have something to do with sustaining the cultural heritage of the people.
We could call them 'community hubs' if we have to.
Could the chief secretary please provide us with a considered statement as to exactly what is the cultural policy of his government or confirm there is none?
Li Si-ping, Lantau
What do you think of pay-TV?
There are many pay-TV service providers in Hong Kong, but the quality of service is not always good. Some providers are only concerned about money and do not care about their customers. Such an attitude is irresponsible.
On the street, you see lots of kiosks promoting pay-TV services. You are often offered gifts and given information about the services, but you are not told all the details. I think some of these promoters have a quota. They want to tell you about the advantages and are reluctant to talk about things like charges.
Sometimes, if you have a problem with your pay-TV service, it is difficult to get through on the hotline. You may have a long wait or not get through. It seems to be especially difficult when you want to cancel the service. However, when you can benefit the company, for example, when you want to renew the contract or change to use a more expensive plan, the hotline is always available.
Philip Wai Zhen-kwok, Kwun Tong
We refer to Tony Bruno's letter (Talkback, September 11). Our investigation revealed that the problem Mr Bruno encountered was caused by mishandling of his termination request on our part.
We apologise to Mr Bruno for the mistake and his fee balance has been backdated to his first termination request in May.
Garmen Chan, vice-president, external affairs, Hong Kong Cable Television
On other matters...
Nobody likes to get a parking ticket. The feeling of regret and anger when we see a parking ticket stuck on our windscreen is familiar to many of us.
Many of us don't bother to appeal the parking tickets because we feel it is time-consuming. But most importantly we don't appeal because we trust the authority is in the right.
On Sunday afternoon, September 9, my family and I attended a picnic organised by friends (see Mel Mak's letter, Talkback, September 13) at Chung Hom beach.
After a pleasant afternoon we also discovered that most of us had been given parking tickets. After the anger and regret, the feeling of injustice started to mount. Is this reasonable? What good does it serve and where are the signs?
In any state exercising the principle of the rule of law, we trust that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws, adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. Further, for a law to be valid it has to be properly communicated to all.
Well, this is not the case on the road to Chung Hom beach, as there are no signs or road markings to indicate any parking restrictions. How can the authorities expect us to be right when we have no way of knowing we are about to commit an offence?
Looking at the back of the parking ticket listing the long list of 21 types of contraventions, I could not find one relevant to our offence.
They all refer to situations of clear obstructions (for example, by parking in a matter likely to cause danger to others, or in a zebra-controlled area, or on the pavement), or situations where signs of parking restrictions were ignored.
If most families attending the picnic that day are ignorant of the wrongdoing, then probably the question any authority should ask itself is - has the law been communicated properly? It would be very useful to get a response from the relevant police department.
Veronique Bagge, Stanley
Mel Mak's letter highlights an important issue. It is an issue that the Transport Department and police choose to ignore, despite letters from many correspondents over many years.
The issue is that road users in general do not know the law and make no effort to find out! While illegal parking, in general, does not endanger lives, the same attitude applies to use of lights, indicating, road position and many other important aspects of driving, cycling and even walking on or near roads. And these offences often do endanger lives.
It is true that it is the responsibility of every road user to know the law and abide by it. But this is the real world: it doesn't happen.
What's more, the police do very little to enforce these laws; when they do they are inconsistent, when they don't they often give the impression that they are unaware of the law themselves. I have given one or two suggestions in the past but, typically, these letters receive either no response or very guarded response from anyone in authority.
This time I would be grateful if someone would take the trouble to give a reasoned reply, not just a record of previous convictions and warnings for various offences committed, but a well-planned strategy for enforcing the law consistently with a view to steadily reducing accidents and moving towards 'Hong Kong's goal: zero accidents on the road'.
Peter Robertson, Sai Kung