PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2007, 12:00am

Bridge route to Shenzhen a bad experience

Colleagues and I decided on Thursday to try the new, still free, bridge route into Shenzhen by car, but it became quickly apparent why so few people have ventured to use it.

Smooth sailing and an empty highway all the way to the mainland border suddenly hit a brick wall.

With only one customs crossing gate functioning, our car (the only one at the checkpoint) was quickly hauled over by a female customs officer. For 25 minutes our car was searched, the local driver questioned and our belongings thoroughly searched.

Meanwhile eight other cars, which attempted the passing queued, as seven or eight officials chatted amongst themselves. Another car was pulled over, but slowly they all worked their way across.

Not a single officer at this international checkpoint spoke English. At no time could anyone advise why we had been singled out.

Finally we had to call the car rental agency to send another car from the Shenzhen side to pick us up. Wake up, China. What utter nonsense. What an utter waste to have built this bridge.

Imagine what could have been done for the good of Hong Kong instead of lining another developer's pockets with my taxes, like, let's say, turning Hong Kong into a world-class city of learning by providing fully bilingual Chinese-English public education to all instead of leaving expats with no other choice than to pay outrageous English Schools Foundation/international school fees.

Michael Lavergne, Lantau

Pay-TV firms so parochial

So the pay-TV companies of Hong Kong would like to outlaw the use of overseas-based satellite broadcasts in pubs and bars ('Fine-tune the law to defend pay-TV', September 13).

Their spokesman, Marcel Fenez, would like us to sympathise with these pioneering, hard-working, public-spirited service providers, who find themselves undermined by sneaky competitors. Customers of this duopoly could be forbidden if they do not recognise Cable or Now TV from this description.

There is nothing illegal about foreign satellite hook-ups.

They offer the public coverage of events that our local providers are either too incompetent or too parochial to cover. And they offer the consumer respite from the hidden charges, covert contract changes and shoddy customer service of Hong Kong Cable TV and PCCW Now TV.

They are not content to treat their customers with contempt, they also seek to outlaw legal competition.

Mr Fenez claims that Hong Kong's success is based on contract law and copyright protection.

Ask any economist the secret of Hong Kong's success, and free market competition will be the top answer.

It is just such competition that the pay-TV lobby sees as its enemy.

Roy Allen, Sheung Wan

Be a good neighbour

Elderly people, especially those living alone, really need more help from the government.

I always do voluntary work and visit elderly people. I clean the house and give them some necessities like rice and bottled water.

They are very appreciative, even when you just do simple housework, or climb a ladder to change a light bulb. Tasks like that, and even leaning down to pick up rubbish from the bin, are hard for many elderly people.

Some of them have difficulty, after shopping, even carrying a 5kg bag of rice, or climbing the stairs.

Once, an elderly lady I was helping wanted to give me her precious oranges as a way of thanks.

I know that some charities send volunteers to visit the elderly, but what they want is love and care. The younger generation should do its bit. Younger neighbours could help more.

The elderly should not be neglected or regarded as parasites in society.

The message to help and respect each other in our society should be widely promoted, through advertisements and activities.

Many old people earn a few dollars by collecting paper and aluminium cans for recycling. It can be dangerous as they will push their trolleys on the road while cars speed past.

Therefore, the government should be asking if the old age and disability allowances, can honestly ensure the elderly enjoy a decent standard of living. More community centres should be built in estates to enable elderly people to widen their circle of friends.

As I said, while the government must do more, we all have a responsibility to lend a hand.

Terri Lam, Kwun Tong

Little stomach for reforms

I applaud the article written by Frank Ching on the essence of eliminating poverty in Islamic states in order to raise the standard of living ('Islamic road map', September 12).

There is no doubt that politically, economically and culturally, most Islamic states have regressed since the end of the second world war. Dictatorship and economic models, which served absentee landlords and a few powerful families, have proved to be irreconcilable with democracy and capitalism, both of which demand open governments and opportunities for fair and open competition.

However, I doubt whether leaders in Islamic states, really wanted to reform. It is apparent that democracy and a secular education system pose a challenge to religious leaders and those royal families that rule in some Islamic states, as they find it more difficult to dominate society.

Will such leaders implement reforms that are contrary to their interests?

It is hoped that leaders of Islamic states will bring about fundamental changes in their countries, even if they risk losing some friends from the mosque and businessmen who are benefiting from the current protectionist system.

Jonathan Mok, Aberdeen

Terminal failure

What a magnificent new building the airport's Terminal 2 is. However, it is hardly an airport terminal. It is, let the authorities be honest, a shopping mall with a few check-in desks.

It is also extremely poorly signed and a great inconvenience to passengers.

My wife and I would like to support Hong Kong's newest airline Oasis but the government has made it very inconvenient for us to do so under the present arrangements.

Bob Beadman, Tsuen Wan

No winners

I refer to the letter from Pang Chi-ming, 'Everyone wins in car park plan' (September 11).

Your correspondent says domestic helpers should be allowed to take advantage of underutilised car parks in Central on their days off, arguing that it can make Central quieter.

I do not think it would help much, because those domestic helpers who before had gathered in places like Admiralty, would go to those areas in Central, vacated by the helpers who had moved to the car parks.

Central business district would end up being noisier than ever.

I also think such a move would raise concerns over security in the car parks.

I do not think this suggestion would work out if it was implemented.

Wong Ka-kan, Tuen Mun