Tower at police complex defies sustainability
I find it troubling that the government would agree in principle with the Jockey Club's proposal to install a transparent tower at the former Central Police Station complex.
Let's set aside the argument about whether such a new structure could be integrated with the existing historic site.
It is safe to assume that the proposed tower would require huge amounts of energy for air-conditioning, to maintain the constant temperature that Hongkongers are so used to - and that is definitely not 25 degrees Celsius.
Surely one cannot expect a structure made of glass to be very efficient in temperature retention or stability (think greenhouse effect).
It is important that the government and public give serious consideration to the design and environmental implications of any proposal put forward.
That's the only way to ensure that we get an environmentally sustainable complex for public and cultural uses.
This is all the more important given the chief executive's latest vows to improve our quality of life and environment.
I know that the way to reduce air pollution in Hong Kong involves reducing our energy consumption - and it's clear that the transparent structure the Jockey Club is proposing for the old police complex will not do that.
Mark Chan, Tai Po
Our city's plastic bag mentality
I am writing in response to the article ''No Plastic Bag Day' to become weekly event' (October 15).
In my opinion, anything done to prevent the excess use of plastic bags is fantastic and should be promoted.
Angus Ho Hon-wai, the director of Greeners Action, said he polled some people and concluded that there is 'a strong awareness of issues' among the public.
I beg to differ. Unfortunately, in my everyday experience, I am constantly disappointed by people's lack of awareness.
I see convenience store staff busily putting newspapers into plastic bags - especially at Circle K and 7-Eleven stores.
I am in a small, small minority when I make a point of telling them: 'No plastic bag, thanks.'
Everyone else in line always demands plastic bags for their small purchases.
I have asked staff at convenience stores why they so readily hand out the bags.
They reply that customers get angry if their purchases are not automatically put into plastic bags. What a disappointing attitude.
So my theory is the opposite of Mr Ho's: there is complete indifference among the general public about environmental issues. Unfortunately, people here simply do not care about decreasing landfills or using less plastic.
We all need to make a more concerted effort to create a better, brighter and cleaner Hong Kong.
M. Scully, Discovery Bay
Red herrings in mother's milk
The article 'Mother's milk', in the traditional Chinese medicine series (October 15), gives the impression that diet plays an important role in the amount of breast milk produced.
But this is not borne out by medical research.
In fact, a mother's breast milk supply will only decline if the mother suffers severe malnutrition. Fortunately, Hong Kong mothers are unlikely to experience this.
For them, the supply of breast milk is ruled by the principle of supply and demand.
The more milk that is removed from the breast - either by breastfeeding or expressing - the more the body will make.
Many mothers in Hong Kong report problems of low milk supply, and many attribute the problem to their diet.
But this is a red herring that prevents mothers from identifying the underlying causes of their problem. Low milk supply commonly occurs when a baby does not have a firm grip on the mother, as that hampers the effective removal of milk from the breast.
Giving babies formula milk and feeding according to schedules may also cause low milk supply, as they limit the amount of time babies spend sucking at the breast.
In many cultures, traditional foods are given to the mother after the birth of a baby. These are often high in calcium, iron and protein, and may have a restorative effect for the mother.
However, they have not been shown to influence the production of breast milk.
It is important to mention that the World Health Organisation and other leading medical bodies recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months - not the four to six months mentioned in the article.
Maggie Holmes, Happy Valley
Homage to a civic pioneer
Letter writer Alpha Keung ('Are by-election winds blowing against Anson Chan's bid?', October 12) challenged your correspondent Elsie Tu to show her support for Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee by helping to distribute campaign materials.
He may not realise that Mrs Tu is almost 95 years old.
It is admirable that, despite her age, Mrs Tu continues to care so deeply about this by-election and feels compelled to write to this page to articulate her support for Mrs Ip. But Mrs Tu is certainly not one of those who simply 'talks the talk'.
Back in the days when council chambers were filled with appointed members, Mrs Tu took the lead to become one of the first people ever to participate in democratic elections in Hong Kong.
A diverse society like ours should welcome disagreement, but pioneers like Mrs Tu deserve the respect of people from across the political spectrum.
Hinting that she hasn't done her part amounts to an insult to all those who have devoted their lives to this community.
Carmen Law, Kowloon Bay
Tsang insults the elderly
Jake van der Kamp, in his Monitor column, said 'Donald needs to apologise for insulting the HK people' (October 16).
The elderly of Hong Kong need more than an apology!
In effect, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said to them: 'Stay as undernourished paupers on HK$700 a month, and when you get sick as a result, you can have HK$250 for one visit to the doctor this year.'
If that is his 'culture', we certainly need a revolution.
S.P. Li, Lantau
Why did Algeria fall off the map?
As an enthusiast of belly dancing and Arabic music, I read with great interest a brochure on the Mediterranean Arts Festival issued by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department - in particular, the map titled 'Going Mediterranean' on the back cover.
I fail to understand why Algeria was omitted from the map.
Surely a country larger than neighbouring Morocco and Tunisia - and equally rich, if not richer, in the art of belly dance and music - should be marked on the map.
I noted that a performance by Hassan Boussou is all about Gnawa music, which originated in Algeria among other places.
If every other country that is represented in a dance and/or music programme is marked on the map, then why isn't Algeria?
Will the department please enlighten me on this issue?
Fiona Ng, Pok Fu Lam