PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2007, 12:00am

Should needy families get free computers?

Computers are considered by some people as essential to modern life, but I foresee potential here for both a tremendous waste of money and an excuse by authorities and large businesses to withdraw certain traditional services, leaving some people lost and confused.

Computers are certainly essential for students, and I would applaud a scheme that provides a free computer and free internet connection to every low-income family supporting one or more full-time students. There might also be a case for providing a free computer and internet connection to other low-income families.

However, there are many who cannot use a computer and have no wish or inclination to learn; and there will be others who, despite wanting to, will find it beyond them.

Before free computers are dished out in all directions, a system of free basic training on their use should be made available to allow potentially qualifying families to learn to use them and demonstrate their ability; otherwise there will be a lot of computers around that are never switched on.

Further, and most importantly, traditional ways of conducting business must be preserved.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Will you ride the Ngong Ping 360 cable car again in future?

I have ridden on the cable car before and, despite the problems it has experienced, I will ride on it again. When I travelled on it the day was foggy but I still had a wonderful view.

A lot of measures have been undertaken to ensure the cable car system is safe to ride on.

Jane Ling, Sha Tin

I refer to the report, 'Cable car boss defends team's performance' (September 20), which quoted the chairman of Skyrail-ITM Ken Chapman describing the consortium as having 'got a great team'.

I wonder how his comments can be supported by the wreckage of the fallen gondola, the various temporary service failures and the fact that the service is now suspended.

Dennis Ho Chun-yin, Hung Hom

On other matters...

I refer to the letters by Mel Mak and Veronique Bagge (Talkback, September 13 and 15) regarding illegal parking at Chung Hom Kok Road.

Police enforcement actions against illegal parking are governed by stringent and consistent policy and procedures, which are reviewed regularly and are accessible in the public domain. Taking into account the prevalence and seriousness of the illegal parking, warnings and other levels of police enforcement action against parking contraventions are adopted to ensure our roads are safe for all road users and are free from obstruction.

Over the years, fixed-penalty tickets have been issued at any time of the day when there has been a public complaint against parking on a pavement or the road resulting in an obstruction, or causing a danger to other road users.

Police have been receiving public complaints about illegal parking at Chung Hom Kok Road, causing an obstruction to other road users. In July, we put up adequate traffic signs in both English and Chinese saying 'Warning - Vehicles parked illegally may be towed away' on both sides of Chung Hom Kok Road.

On the afternoon of September 9, a public complaint of illegal parking causing an obstruction at Chung Hom Kok Road was again received. Police officers were despatched to the scene and they found many illegally parked vehicles. They observed that these vehicles did hinder pedestrian and traffic flow. Therefore they issued a total of 27 fixed-penalty tickets.

Should any vehicle owner consider the fixed-penalty ticket issued against a vehicle is not justified, or wishes to dispute liability in court, they may write to the Central Traffic Prosecution Division at the 31st Floor, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters, 1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Fax: 22004320).

Regarding the call for parking meters at the beaches, we will refer their views to the Transport Department.

Choi Wong Fung-yee, for commissioner of police

To Craig Gibson (Talkback, September 20) may I suggest that unless we have a police officer in the seat next to us, it is our civic duty to report the problem of dangerous driving. That has been made much easier by the website

We have taken our reports through the system and I can report that when I am on the bus, the drivers stay within the speed limit. They do this because they know they will be reported if they do not and the operator's licence will be at stake from the fully documented cases of dangerous driving.

Additionally, if we can document the truth on the road, we can put pressure on the Transport Department to stop hobbling the traffic police and finally require all minibus drivers, by law, to display an accurate name plate.

Mr Gibson, the government does care. But we, the people, must be their eyes and their ears. Please join us.

It is quite easy to make the reports once you know the ropes.

Annelise Connell, Stanley

Your mention of The Link Reit's rent increases on shop owners in Shun Lee Estate ('Shop owners accuse Link Reit of adding fees in new contracts', September 19), was of particular interest to me.

I don't live in Shun Lee, but I buy most of my food there. The mall mainly serves its residents and only a few chain stores operate in the old wing.

The second phase of the mall that opened two years ago, however, was apparently intended for bigger name retailers, but few have moved in. One popular clothing chain there opens for only four hours each weekday, and business is not exactly booming during these times. A shopping centre with so many empty storefronts does not present a vibrant shopping environment.

Despite the new wing's novelty and lighting improvements, these mainly serve to illuminate what has become a veritable white elephant, as residents of Shun Lee and the surrounding estates still make most of their purchases in the old wing.

The Link may have turned some public housing estate malls around, but so far it has missed with Shun Lee. If it succeeds in driving away many long-time shop owners from the old wing because of the hikes, then it would compound its mistake and adversely affect the community that has depended on these small businesses since the estate opened.

Chohong Choi, Kwun Tong