PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am

Samaritans do best they can to prevent tragedy

I refer to the report concerning the hearing-impaired lady who jumped to her death last Saturday ('Dad to set up fund in memory of daughter', March 4).

The article stated that Lee Ching had sought help from the Samaritan Befrienders two months previously when she had suicidal thoughts.

I hope you did not mean to imply that having sought help from Samaritan Befrienders and then having completed her suicide that in some way the Befrienders had failed Miss Lee.

As a sister organisation I would like to say that all Samaritans, whether it is The Samaritans, SPS or Samaritan Befrienders, commit to give unconditional emotional support to all our callers. Befrienders Worldwide Charter defines the key common principles of member centres as:

The primary purpose of centres is to provide emotional support to people who are suicidal, or in general distress;

Centres are mainly resourced by volunteers;

Anonymity and confidentiality are respected;

Centres are non-political and non-sectarian, and volunteers do not seek to impose their own convictions on anyone;

Volunteers are selected, trained, mentored and supported by other experienced volunteers and any necessary relevant professional experts;

Where appropriate, callers may be invited to consider seeking professional help in addition to the emotional support offered by the centre; and

We are mutually supportive and committed to sharing information with fellow member centres and participating in activities of the network.

It is so sad that Miss Lee felt that having talked to a Samaritan organisation that she still felt unable to go on with life.

It is certainly devastating for her family, friends and colleagues to have lost a dear daughter, a loving friend and work mate. I would like to send my sincere condolences to the family for their unbearable loss. And if it would help I know that The Samaritans, SPS and Hong Kong Befrienders would give the family and anyone else who is mourning the loss of this young woman, emotional support through this very personal crisis.

Liz Chamberlain, director, The Samaritans 24-hour Multi-Lingual Suicide Prevention Hotline

Nowhere to train for cyclists

Cycling and athletics, judging from media reports, would appear to be totally corrupted by drugs and money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As proof, last Sunday, I went along to watch the biathlon events at the Hong Kong Science Park.

Hundreds took part from seven to 70-year-olds.

Every competitor was cheered and encouraged along by the spectators from first to last across the line. No drugs, no money, just a healthy and happy way to spend a Sunday morning.

Congratulations to the event organisers for putting on such a worthwhile event. Listening to the comments of some of the elite racing cyclists taking part, however, it seems there is no permanent safe site for them to train and hold regular events.

By the numbers taking part in Sunday's event one is necessary and would contribute to the better health of the people of Hong Kong (even better if the pollution levels of the city were lowered). There are plenty of places where it could be arranged if only the government bodies involved would get themselves together to consider the common good (as against their individual departments).

Runners and cyclists of Hong Kong deserve better official support than they get at present.

David Tonks, Tung Chung

Cars are major polluters in city

Not enough people in Hong Kong are using the city's public transport system.

If Hong Kong does not change this state of affairs in the near future, the skies will remain grey with smog. Have a look at the cars on our roads.

How many of these cars are actually full?

Sometimes, you only see the driver in the car.

Many of these people could easily take public transport or at least buy a hybrid car.

They should think about the exhaust fumes coming out from their car and then consider all the other vehicles in Hong Kong and their exhaust emissions.

Also, you see very large cars with powerful engines, which cause more pollution.

Do people need such large cars, or are they just trying to show off their wealth?

Public transport in Hong Kong is efficient, frequent and punctual.

If you use it rather than driving, you will save money.

We can all play our part to ensure that Hong Kong has a cleaner environment.

Kate Rawson, The Peak

Give children a fair deal

I refer to the Court of Appeal ruling on divorce ('50-50 split new starting point for HK divorces', March 6). Mr Justice Peter Cheung Chak-yau said: 'On marriage, the parties commit to sharing their lives' and therefore they should split the assets after the marriage ends. How about the children in the family?

If they go with either mother or father, why do they only benefit from one-half of the assets? Wouldn't it be fairer to split the assets equally between all parties in the family? If a wife has the responsibility of raising two children she should get three-quarters of the assets. Hong Kong, which needs more children, should take greater steps to protect their rights.

Tony Ferguson, Mid-Levels

Quarantine law is cruel to pets

I am preparing to return to Hong Kong after three years in Macau.

However, I have a dilemma as I have four dogs and a parrot. The parrot is 14 and was born and hand-raised in Hong Kong. My pets will have to spend four months in quarantine. However, the parrot cannot survive without me.

On the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website, Secretary for Health and Food York Chow Yat-ngok, indicated he was considering changing the law, but it has not happened yet.

Such a long quarantine period is cruel and unfair. It forces Hong Kong pet owners living in Macau to abandon their pets here, but worse, it forces others who love their pets but cannot afford the quarantine charges to take their pets illegally to Hong Kong.

To force a person to be apart from their pets for such a long time is very cruel. In some cases (like my parrot) it would be more humane to have the pet put down, rather than to force it to endure four months' quarantine alone, but I can't do that.

Eliane Stocco, Macau

Sound advice

I would like to extend my deep appreciation for the thoughts of Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land ('Tycoon tells of brothers falling out', March 1). We men would do well to heed Mr Lee's cautionary statement: 'When you listen too much to a woman, your mind gets confused.'

Certainly as a youngster I always found my mother's admonitions contradictory and confusing. It is well documented that Adam should have ignored Eve, Samson should never have listened to Delilah and who knows what would have happened in China, if Mao Zedong had ignored Jiang Qing's constant paranoid murmuring in his ear. Certainly an enlightened Mr Lee deserves praise for sharing his philosophy with us.

Kevin McBarron, Central