PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am

Is closing schools the right move amid the flu outbreak?

The closure of the schools might have been a bit sudden, but it is one of the most effective ways to break the chain of spread during a flu outbreak. The community should be more appreciative of prevention measures during an outbreak.

We should learn from the 2003 Sars epidemic. The official response was too slow and Sars spread into the community and claimed almost 300 lives. It is better late than never. Companies and communities should be more understanding when something like this happens and make the necessary arrangements, so parents can look after their children if schools are closed. Maintaining the mental well-being of the community during the period of an outbreak is as important as curbing the outbreak itself. Full support should be given to the officials whose job it is to carry out their tasks diligently.

Paul Yip, Pok Fu Lam

I urge those who criticised the government's decision to close schools to appreciate that things happen for a reason.

What if they waited for one day, so they had enough time to inform everyone, and things had got out of control? Then people would be blaming them for not acting faster.

It was not easy for officials to make this sudden decision, but they did so in the best interests of everyone. This is what they are employed to do. I think officials made the right decision to close the schools.

Salvacion Arcenal, Repulse Bay

Should repeat animal abusers be barred from owning pets?

I refer to the letter by Cynthia Chang (Talkback, March 11), in which she talked about 'young people ... involved in animal cruelty'.

She said: 'Groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should set up special courses for these teenagers.'

Established in 1921, the SPCA (HK) has since strived to fight animal abuse. Our 24-hour inspectorate team investigates suspected animal abuse cases, provides advice (and warnings if necessary), and works closely with the authorities to assist in a number of areas pertaining to animal abuse investigations and prosecutions. The SPCA (HK) believes education is the key to eliminating animal abuse and cultivating responsible pet ownership. We work annually with 21,500 young people in welfare education sessions inside our centres, outreaching to schools and community events.

In June 2007, we took it a step further by publishing the Humane Education Package, a teaching resource on animal welfare, made available free of charge to all primary and secondary schools - a resource that teachers can incorporate into their curriculums.

Rebecca Ngan Yee-ling, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

On other matters....

On Friday, March 7, I went to my first and last concert (to see Santana) at AsiaWorld-Arena.

My friends and I took our seats up in the nosebleed section (we're teachers, not bankers). Being typically western concert-goers, we sprang to our feet as the beat grew stronger. It is, after all, Latino music, not Barber's Adagio for Strings. At that point, the red-bereted, white-shirted 'dance police' swung into action, telling us to sit down because those around us couldn't 'see the music'.

We apologised to fellow spectators for blocking their view, all the while not really comprehending how someone could hear this music and not get up and move, and proceeded to leave the row and take our physical jubilation to the open space behind the seats. At that point, the uniformed minions called in their black-suited leaders, walkie-talkies and all, with about 10 more white-shirts, who ordered us to return to our seats. We refused, telling them we didn't come to a Santana concert to sit down.

At about the same time, an announcement came from one of the band members on stage telling the audience: 'It's OK to dance, people!'

Two minutes later, all the dancers in our growing crowd were escorted to a vacant section of seats and told we could dance there. So we did. But every time someone's foot stepped on the aisle, yet another white-shirt flew down the stairs and told the person to return to the appropriate area.

I felt really bad, not for myself, but for Santana and for Hong Kong. How lame does an audience have to be for the band to feel obliged to announce that it's OK to dance? No wonder their show was lethargic. Any entertainer's performance feeds off an audience's energy, and this house had been pronounced dead on arrival way before it reacted at long last to the closing strains of Oye Como Va!

The final indignation came as I headed to the bus stop to return home. The public restrooms at the western entrance were locked.

Those clipboard-bearing girls who did the customer satisfaction surveys before the concert should wait two hours and ask people how they feel about this venue after they've experienced its heavy handed hospitality.

Craig McKee, Tiu Keng Leng

Macau resident Michael Share complains about the inadequate lift service in Prince's Building (Talkback, March 13). He is lucky that he does not have to navigate Hong Kong on a daily basis.

In order to achieve a fortress-like double storey shopfront facade in The Landmark, the long escalator that carried tenants and shoppers directly from the ground to the second floor was taken away. Now, one has to walk halfway around the building to get to the first floor and then navigate another corridor to continue up. Not only is this inconvenient, this week the intermediate escalator was closed off, making the journey to and from the MTR station even longer and more circuitous.

Add to this the annoying computer-generated muzak blasting out along the corridors and on the connecting bridges to Alexandria House and Prince's Building, and one arrives back at work in an anything-but-relaxed frame of mind.

Martin Brinkley, Ma Wan