PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 November, 2007, 12:00am

What do you feel about the ban on triad symbols?

I almost fell off my chair on learning of the arrest of Doug Young (of G.O.D.) over the sale of T-shirts that allegedly carried a triad message ('Top store raided for selling triad T-shirt', November 2).

The Bauhinia Foundation's recently released report on creative Hong Kong - of which I was a convenor - says, among other things, that more needs to be done to promote 'cultural diversity, tolerance and community engagement'.

Unfortunately, we just witnessed the kind of folly we dreaded; things like that don't happen in a truly creative and tolerant society.

True, creative expression must have its limits.

On the other hand, it is not too much to ask the authorities to have some common sense to be able to tell the difference between creative design and triad intimidation.

Or else, where does it end? Is 14K jewellery contraband?

Are we going to ban the 14K restaurant of Washington DC from Hong Kong or arrest Yves St Laurent for selling the perfume Opium?

Chan Wai-kwan, Mid-Levels

I was shocked when I learned of the raid on G.O.D. stores, not because of the issue of freedom of speech but because I am surprised a retail chain would act in such an inconsiderate way.

As a school teacher, I often find pupils making far-fetched excuses when they do something wrong, rather than admitting their fault. I feel the same way with regard to this store.

In the case of the T-shirts bearing the Chinese characters for the 14K triad society, I think the designer has gone too far.

Of course I believe in freedom, but with it comes moral responsibility. It is not about self-censorship, but about being responsible.

What kind of message does this T-shirt send to our young people?

I support the actions of the police in this matter. If they had done nothing, this would have sent the wrong message to young people.

Actions speak louder than words, but words can damage more deeply than actions.

Mo Wai-kit, Tuen Mun

Should mothers be allowed more time with their babies?

I refer to the report, 'Keep newborns with mums, hospitals urged' (October 26).

Any hospital policy that prevents babies from staying close to their mothers in the first few days of their lives due to infection and security concerns does not have its priorities right.

It is natural that a mother and baby should want to be close to each other in the moments and days after birth. There is plenty of research that proves the importance of the mother-child bond in a baby's early development, and throughout a child's life for that matter. Also, more contact allows greater success in breastfeeding.

This extreme policy of separating mothers from their newborn babies even when the babies are healthy reflects a growing trend towards prioritising a 'sterile' environment over social contact.

As a mother of young children, I have met more than a few parents and grandparents who deliberately keep their children at home and away from play areas where they might catch germs from other children. (Who knows where they've been and what they've touched?)

How can you expect children to grow up healthy with strong vision, muscles and immune systems when they are kept in such an overprotected environment? This may adversely affect their social skills and their ability to trust people if they are taught to view someone they have just met as a source of germs and a potential risk.

I feel very sorry for those frustrated parents who must watch their children only through a glass partition, with no control over the contact they can have with their long-awaited baby.

These hospital policies are disproportionate to the actual risk of infection; they defy common sense and emotions and should be immediately reformed.

Such policies are certainly not as patient-centred as they should and could be.

Doris Lee, Ma On Shan

Should all minibuses have seat belts?

Minibuses are an essential form of public transport in Hong Kong. They are economical and go to even the most remote locations. But they are not always safe.

There are too many minibus drivers who are obsessed with speed and do not care about the safety of their passengers. Therefore, all minibuses must have seat belts.

Having to cling onto the handrail while a minibus screeches round corners at high speed is a terrifying experience. Passengers can feel safer in such situations if they are wearing seat belts.

Some people may argue that installing the seat belts is pointless as passengers will ignore them. However, safety should be our first priority. We must appreciate that we do not get a second chance in life.

Truda Tsoi Chun-wai, Sheung Shui

Most taxis have seat belts to try to protect passengers from serious injuries in the event of an accident. I think minibuses should follow suit.

Many of my friends take a minibus to school every day. Some of them have told me that often the driver goes really fast and sometimes they have almost fallen out of their seats.

They would obviously feel safer if they had a seat belt.

I think it is essential to have seat belts in all minibuses.

Eva Mak Hoi-ki, Tai Po

On other matters...

So, just how many government contractors does it take to change a light bulb?

Like many residents of Hong Kong, one of my duties is to act as tour guide for friends and relatives. Guide books, including Tourism Board booklets, list A Symphony of Lights and the Avenue of Stars as must-see attractions, so they were top of the list on Monday night.

The former was a spectacle and, following the show, off we went to see the latter, which is, quite frankly, an embarrassment.

How many of us have had to explain that when the avenue was first built, myriad small lights embedded in the path made it sparkle in a manner that befits its name?

For the western visitor, this made up for the lack of 'stars' they recognised by palm prints.

However, now they must just imagine the effect of the lights as almost, if not all, of the lights have failed.

Maybe those responsible can provide an explanation to help relieve my embarrassment?

Oh, by the way, the answer is two: one to screw it in and one to screw it up!

Ray McGuire, Tai Po

Following the funding approval of the West Island Line project, it has also been revealed that the first stage of the South Island Line project is also under its finalisation stage and the government will seek funding approval from the Legislative Council by the end of the year ('Ap Lei Chau link first', October 28).

Although the funding mode is yet to be released, I welcome the news and would like to applaud the administration for taking immediate and real action in expanding the railway network.

However, there have been arguments raised by certain people - who object to the South Island Line project - by claiming that there might not be sufficient passengers to justify funding.

This narrow view has only focused on the economic consideration but has completely ignored the social requirement of such a network.

This attitude must be changed if Hong Kong is to advance into the 21st century.

The railway network is important not just for the sake of economic sense but also for the intangible effects that it will create for certain regions.

For example, the population of Stanley would never justify it being connected to the railway network but think about the convenience it would create for the people who live there and the effect it would have on tourism. Railways can be used to expand tourism spots and not simply to serve population-wise.

Perhaps the image of the loss sustained by the KCRC West Rail has affected the mindset of too many people but it should be remembered that railway projects are always visionary developments in which success or failure can only be properly ascertained in the long run.

I would also urge the administration to consider a more complete picture of the railway network, since there will be only one railway company in the future.

I hope that a more comprehensive consideration can be adopted by the government and the general public when considering the requirement of railway projects for the good they will do.

Bee Hai-chun, Ho Man Tin