PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2007, 12:00am

London deserves its No1 ranking for ease of public transport

A transport survey recently ranked London as the city with the world's most efficient transport system ('London ranked above HK in transport poll', October 7).

Many have given the opinion that, among the survey's criteria, convenience and the system's geographic coverage must have been the most important factors. Indeed, the London Underground system covers most of Greater London; and one can travel virtually anywhere by Tube.

In comparison, Hong Kong's MTR system is less extensive, and that is why it was ranked a few places behind London.

I could not agree more with the survey.

A mass rapid transit system's coverage is very important for a great city, and particularly so for a small one like Hong Kong. That's why the funding approval given recently to the MTR's West Island Line is most welcome; it will extend the system.

Many more extensions and new line projects must follow immediately, if Hong Kong is to improve its competitive edge. For example, a KCR line from Sha Tin to Central has been on hold for many years; its development would significantly improve the transport network.

Adopting a core transport policy that stresses the underground system as much as possible would help reduce our road traffic and tackle air pollution.

If more people were willing to travel on the subway system, there would be fewer vehicles on the roads, less demand for buses and taxis and a greater chance of welcoming back our blue skies.

That depends on government policy; the administration should have a clearer stance on this matter.

H.C. Bee, Ho Man Tin

Don't forget the starving in Myanmar

I was surprised by the reports 'Myanmar's monks had US training' and 'Monks make most of non-violent tactics' (both October 21). First, this is no revelation. There have been literally hundreds of groups from all over the world engaged in all sorts of activities along the borders of Myanmar for more than two decades, now.

Inevitably, they include some that receive funding from the US government; such groups do this sort of work everywhere from eastern Europe to South America. Their presence is not a secret, nor is it remarkable.

Second, people in Myanmar have a heritage of resistance to oppressive rulers that stretches back centuries.

Anyone at all familiar with their history will know that there is nothing that they haven't learned already from their own experiences.

Since the time of ancient, indigenous kingdoms, through the British empire and into the modern period, they have found ways to resist - not thanks to foreign trainers, but from the hard lessons of their own struggles. The idea that they might now somehow need to be taught how to do so is akin to suggesting that grandma should have lessons in peeling onions.

Third, there are many other, genuinely important issues concerning Myanmar that deserve serious discussion at this time. For instance, a senior World Food Programme official who just visited the country said on October 18 that some 5 million people there are seriously short of food due to the policies of its military government.

The country is starving. To my mind, this is a subject more deserving of your front page headline and editorial.

Basil Fernando, executive director Asian Human Rights Commission

Evil dog poisoner takes a beautiful victim

It has happened again. The Bowen Road dog poisoner has struck again ('Bowen Road dog poisoner strikes again near Lover's Rock', October 21).

On October 12, a beautiful young dog recently adopted from Hong Kong Dog Rescue was out walking with her owners on Bowen Road, when she suddenly started frothing at the mouth.

Her owners didn't even realise that she had eaten anything. They rushed her to the vet but she was dead within half an hour, and died in the taxi on the way there.

I knew this dog well, as I work at Hong Kong Dog Rescue. She was one year old when she came to us.

She suffered from parvovirus and canine distemper virus - two debilitating, life-threatening illnesses.

She managed to overcome both these illnesses and at last, after much suffering, found her own home and a family that would love her unconditionally.

My heart breaks when I hear stories like this, not only because she came from a shelter and had finally found a loving home. But also because a human being can be capable of such evil, inhumane acts. I just cannot get my head around it.

Dog owners, beware. Please be extra careful, and protect your innocent dogs from succumbing to the same horrible fate as this dog did.

Marie Laidlaw, Mid-Levels

Let's improve the police station project

Opinions are varied about the planned redevelopment project at the old Central Police Station complex.

While I largely support the project, I think there is room for improvement.

Looking at its positive aspects, the revamp will boost tourism - especially those tourists who want to see Hong Kong's heritage.

However, I do have some concerns about the project.

First, the project contradicts one of the objectives of the policy address - conservation of the environment: the proposed building will be about 160 metres high, and that will block airflows to the apartments and offices behind it.

This will make the city's poor air quality even worse.

Also, I do not think the project is sustainable.

When it opens, I'm sure many people will be interested and will visit it just because it's new.

However, the buildings will house restaurants and cinemas, which you can already find in so many parts of Hong Kong.

I am concerned that people, including tourists, will lose interest after a while.

I hope the relevant officials will take another look at the plans and come up with improvements.

Becky Leung, Ma On Shan

Benefits on board KMB's fare hike

I agree that Kowloon Motor Bus should increase its fares.

Though many may argue that this view is unreasonable, I can see at least a few benefits flowing from the mark-up.

First, the fare rise may result in the company providing better services to its customers.

For instance, we might see more buses and bus stops, which would minimise waiting times for passengers.

We may also get cleaner, more comfortable buses.

Second, if the fare puts the company in a better financial position, it may lead to improved conditions for KMB's staff.

They might not need to worry so much about the issue of job security.

Michael Tse, Tseung Kwan O

Stop Hong Kong's minibus maniacs

I am concerned about the number of accidents involving minibuses in Hong Kong.

Is this the image Hong Kong wants? - a collection of unruly, often unlicensed maniacs driving our friends, relations and children in a manner that totally disregards their safety.

When will the government act to compel all minibus drivers to take new, stringent driving tests and ensure that all minibuses are fitted with seat belts?

When will it limit the speed of minibuses, to stop them hurtling down narrow streets at excessive speeds?

How many people have to die before action is taken?

Mark Peaker, The Peak


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