PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am

Stock market gamble can ruin teenagers

I was pleased to learn that Macau might change the entrance rules in its casinos ('Macau may raise casino entry age to 21', November 15).

At present the entrance age for casinos in this gambling hub is 18.

This shows that the Macau government is concerned about the negative impact on the next generation of the city's enthusiasm for gambling, realising that teenagers are immature and may easily form false perceptions of gambling.

They may see it as a quick way to make money, thinking it is so easy to become a millionaire by spending a few dollars at a casino.

Macau's concerns have made me think about the situation in Hong Kong, where our citizens are passionate about Hong Kong's biggest 'casino', the stock market.

I have heard reports of some teenagers quitting full-time jobs to gamble in this way, hoping to become millionaires overnight.

If this unhealthy trend continues, the future sustainability and prosperity in our society are really in doubt.

Therefore, even if the Hong Kong Jockey Club follows our neighbour and raises the entry age for its betting centres from 18 to 21, this may not stop many of our young people from getting hooked on gambling.

Other measures, such as a cooling down of the stock market, are required.

This might discourage our teenagers from getting involved.

Of course, in a liberal economy, any measures of this sort, would be deemed government intervention in a free market.

Apart from any measures it might take in this regard, the government must educate young people about the dangers of gambling. It has to demonstrate to teenagers the disastrous outcome a gambling addiction can have on a family.

It can cause disharmony, which can lead to domestic violence and to threats from loan sharks.

Eric Chu, Tsing Yi

Naive view of HK pollution

I refer to the letter by Peter Thompson ('Resident loves this city, November 20).

He is clearly living proof that ignorance is bliss if he can write with such naive confidence about Hong Kong's ability to reduce pollution.

Mr Thompson even states, 'now that we have got our minds set on solving it'.

I remember a statement made by the former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa about 10 years ago, when presumably the government's collective mind was 'set' on reducing pollution.

He expressed a determination to have pollution levels in Hong Kong comparable to those of New York or London by 2005.

Well, 2005 came and went, and pollution has only continued to worsen.

So just how long after minds are 'set' should we hope to see results - 20 years, 50 years?

It is indeed an interesting question.

Mr Thompson's love for this supposed dynamic and free city may be short-lived. He may well choke to death if this society and this government maintains its indolent attitude towards pollution.

Angela Jackson, Central

Plastic bags are not wasted

I understand that there are too many plastic bags about.

What I do not understand is how household garbage should best be dealt with by individuals.

I would appreciate an article which clearly spells out what the government would like us to do with our trash.

I use the bags from the markets to clean up after my pet and for my household rubbish. Should I buy different plastic bags for this purpose?

My building has no recycling bins.

Occasionally I take plastic and metal down the street to a collection point, but that means I have to have a place to hold it in my flat.

I separate paper and leave it separately for the building.

I have no idea if that is appreciated or a nuisance.

At the supermarket level several changes by the stores could help eliminate some landfills:

Stop wrapping every vegetable in plastic or putting it on a styrofoam tray and then wrapping that in plastic;

Use the corrugated cardboard shipping boxes the manufacturers send the groceries to the stores in for deliveries (instead of special larger plastic bags); and

Stop wrapping soap/cleaning products and dairy/meat products in separate bags and then putting them in regular bags.

The Hong Kong government can be an extremely efficient one, why has mandatory recycling not been called for?

Bonnie Corwin, Mid-Levels

Government slow to act

The idea of a plastic bag tax has been considered for some time, but has yet to be implemented by the government.

With its voluntary levy on plastic bags, ParknShop has shown itself to be more positive than the government.

I agree in principle with this policy. It is a good start and might encourage customers not to use so many plastic bags. In the past, the government believed it could educate citizens to use fewer bags, but that was ineffective as there was no economic incentive.

I think the new ParknShop policy sends a message to the government, that the administration's response has been too slow.

Many campaigns have been organised by environmental groups and retailers, for example, 'No Plastic Bag Day' and refunds.

However, the government has been slow to establish its plastic tax and this disappoints me.

I hope other retailers will follow the example set by ParknShop.

Dennis Cheng, Tin Shui Wai

Out of order

After casting my vote in the district council election on Sunday, a few people wearing badges and holding cards with the names of the candidates approached me as I came out of the polling station.

They said they were carrying out a survey and wanted to know how I had voted.

Voting is a secret process and such surveys are uncalled for. I think it is inappropriate for any survey agency to carry out such an exercise and the election commissioner should not have permitted this kind of activity just outside the polling station.

Police officers were outside the polling station.

Have they no power to stop something like this?

Ramesh Bahety, Tsim Sha Tsui

Baby subsidies

The government should be preparing now for the ageing population in Hong Kong.

More resources will have to be allocated to medical services to deal with the care people will require as they get older.

Also the government must ensure all employees are saving the necessary funds so they have enough to look after themselves and the government does not have to spend money on them.

However, while measures like this can help society cope with an ageing population, this does not solve the problem.

One of the major reasons for this problem is that not enough babies are being born. Some young couples are choosing not to become parents, because of the costs involved.

The government must, therefore, offer subsidies to young people to encourage them to have children and ensure a better balance in the population.

Helen Leung Hei-man, Kowloon Tong