PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2007, 12:00am

A big thank you to a truly wonderful city

My wife Lindy Hemming is the costume designer of Batman: The Dark Knight which has just finished filming in your wonderful city.

We spent the summer in Chicago, which is also one of the truly great cities of the world, and like many places on our polluted planet it has its fair share of problems, but, like Hong Kong, we observed they were being addressed.

As tourism is now a multibillion-dollar industry places have to provide a service and something unique to attract people. Chicago has tall modern buildings built alongside a waterfront, excellent food and a friendly happy population just like your city. However, where Hong Kong wins hands down is it has a history. Chicago is barely 100 years old. We were here a few years back when Lindy was the costume designer for Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The city was exciting then and is even more exciting now.

We have managed to do all the usual things - The Peak, suits/shirts custom made and thanks to Marco our driver we have experienced food of all kinds, from inexpensive noodle restaurants to exquisite dim sum in beautiful surroundings.

But the main reason for this letter is to congratulate everyone involved in keeping Hong Kong clean without losing any of its old world charm.

Lastly a truly big thank you to the citizens of the city for being gracious and patient and humorous to us on our buying excursions. Never lose this, it's by far your greatest asset and a lesson for other tourist destinations. We can't wait until we film in your city again.

Bob Starrett, England

Joint effort for pollution fight

I refer to the letter by Andrew McLachlan, 'Once-wonderful Hong Kong now faces steep decline' (October 31), concerning the deterioration in the quality of life in Hong Kong. The city has been transformed into an economic hub.

With a free economy and low tax rates, it is attractive to various investors. To maintain our competitiveness and high level of productivity, it is necessary for us to remain profitable.

Pollution may have deterred some people from investing or coming to live here and it hinders our sustainable development. However, our government is making an effort, with its Action Blue Sky campaign and the ban on smoking in public places. We should appreciate and actively participate in these environment-friendly schemes. Only a joint effort between the government and Hong Kong citizens will lead to improvements in the environment.

Mr McLachlan talks of wasteful infrastructure projects. In fact, they are the kind of long-term investment which this city needs. Although the budget spent on these projects is proportionately larger than the welfare given to our elderly, this is not an apt comparison.

Hong Kong is a place which focuses on clean government, a strong market, free press, respect for human rights and a powerful legal system. I am fortunate to have been born and to live in this prosperous and affluent city.

Anna Choi, Sau Mau Ping

Air quality not only problem

Hong Kong is portrayed as a renowned commercial and tourism hub.

It is also portrayed as having a booming economy and everyone is delighted with how things are. I agree it is prosperous and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. But I also agree with those who say it is not a suitable place in which to live.

Apart from the deteriorating air quality, there are other negative factors, such as the lack of comprehensive health care which has caused problems for a lot of our citizens.

The gap between rich and poor has widened and our government seems to be indifferent to this problem. Also, people work long hours to earn a decent living and this puts them under intense pressure.

Everyone is money-oriented. With their lives so centred on money and career success, Hongkongers have less to fall back on and this has contributed to the mounting number of depression cases.

If our government does not implement measures to alter this situation, the pressures of living in such a crowded, fast-paced environment, will fundamentally damage the city.

Several surveys have indicated Hong Kong's competitiveness is declining, at a time when it must maintain its competitive edge. People are entitled to enjoy a healthy work/life balance. We should not seek economic development at the expense of the quality of life.

Our government should try its best to ensure the city is an attractive place in which to live, work and do business.

Wong Pui-yan, Yau Tong

A place for the PLA at service

As a former second world war soldier, I felt the remembrance service on November 11 was memorable. It was held in glorious sunshine, in the 11th month, on the 11th day, at the 11th hour. We stood with bowed heads at the Cenotaph, in Central, the police band playing and various youth organisations taking part. More than 100 wreaths were laid. The number increases by the year.

Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian prayers were said in memory of all men and women, service and civilian, of every race, colour and creed, for their acts of gallantry and self-sacrifice in the defence of Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Allied cause.

Of course China played a prominent part in the second world war. How much more representative it would have been if a contingent from the People's Liberation Army had been present. Perhaps the appropriate authorities can make arrangements for them to join us next year.

After all, we are now living in a post-1997 world.

Dan Waters, Mid-Levels

Not plain sailing

I read with interest the letter from Anthony Lawrance asking why the Venetian has not been able to launch its ferry service to Macau ('Is ferry hold-up sabotage?', November 15). Regarding maritime regulations, Macau only exercises port state control and therefore the approval is based on different criteria from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong exercises flag state control and has to examine a lot of different and important issues. It is in the public interest for the Hong Kong government, as a responsible administration, to ensure that if any problems are linked to the new ferry operation they should be solved before granting the operation approval, no matter how rich and how big a company is.

Hong Kong's Marine Department is world class and has a very good reputation.

Shan Chan, Lantau

Hypocrisy rules

I have re-read my letter ('Do what I say, not what I do', November 12) and suggest Alan Wong ('US constitution allows dual role', November 14) does likewise.

Mr Wong accuses me of making flawed arguments, suggesting I do some research before making them. However, I made no arguments flawed or otherwise. So what is there to research?

I did not ask if the US president could or should have a dual role; I just pointed out he has the roles of president and commander in chief of the military. I merely showed the hypocrisy of a man (George W. Bush) who tells another man (Pervez Musharraf) not to do that which he himself is doing.

Jeremy M. Barr, Kowloon City