PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 April, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think about the food labelling law?

As a long-time resident of the city who buys the most nutritious foods possible for my family, I am greatly concerned about the government's proposed nutrition labelling law.

If I understand the issue correctly, any product with a nutritional claim will have to follow the new law.

You report that only 2.5 per cent of products will be affected ('Labelling laws threat to product diversity, says top US envoy', April 15).

In checking my cupboards last weekend, almost 75 per cent of the packaged groceries I buy have nutritional claims and would no longer be available to me. The juices, yogurts and cereals all make 'vitamin' or '0 Trans-fat' claims.

I depend on these claims to help me choose 'low sugar' and 'low fat' food for my children. And because my choices have nutritional claims, they will not fall under the small volume exemption and will therefore be gone from the shelves.

Far from being the 'step in the right direction' your editorial describes ('Draft food legislation needs swift approval', April 15), this proposal would be a giant leap backwards for the city and for all of us who relish the amazing worldwide choices we have today.

Why is the government proposing a law that will limit new choices and force the healthiest packaged foods from the market?

Ellen M. Friedlander, The Peak

Should domestic helpers get a pay rise?

For those employers who value their domestic helpers' contribution to their daily lives, there is no doubt what the answer should be to this question.

I would like to refer to the comments of Joseph Law, chairman of the Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, ('Inflation, weak dollar require pay rise for maids, says union', April 16) who said it was unfair for the domestic helpers to have a pay rise because of inflation and the weak dollar.

He said: 'We don't cut their salaries when the Hong Kong dollar is strong.'

What does Mr Law really know of domestic helpers' duties? He says employers are 'more hard-hit by inflation', but they would have no qualms about paying for an expensive item of designer clothing, rather than raising a helper's wages.

There are a lot of domestic helpers in the city who have been working for their employers for many years and who deserve to have a raise. But if the attitude of Mr Law's association is anything to go by, they haven't got a chance.

Salvacion Arcenal, Repulse Bay

Domestic helpers should not get a pay rise because employers are buying, among other things, rice, cooking oil and vegetables at high prices.

The meals that are cooked in a home where the helpers work are prepared for them and family members. Therefore, the helper is not having to pay these higher prices. Why do they need extra money - to buy luxury items on Sundays and public holidays?

There is no need for the government to bring in a pay rise, given the high cost of food at the moment.

T. Narain, Sham Shui Po

Should flight attendants have to retire at 45?

Forcing flight attendants based in the city to retire arbitrarily at 45 is an anachronism that should be scrapped.

At a time when people are living longer and healthier lives, many cabin crew can exceed the physical demands of their job well past their mid-40s.

It is blatant age discrimination and hypocritical in a city aspiring to be Asia's world city. The city's airlines need to learn from their international counterparts the art of valuing and retaining flight attendants until their legal retirement age.

Nancy Lai, Sheung Wan

How can children with learning difficulties be helped?

Most children with learning difficulties have a variety of problems, such as visual and hearing impairment, and dyslexia.

Different problems require tailor-made teaching methods and different materials. To improve the learning ability of children, teaching staff must be given sufficient training in special education so they can understand the needs of these children and how best to help them.

And a wide variety of teaching methods should be applied to cater to the needs of these children.

Apart from using the chalk and talk method, teachers can use more pictures, diagrams and charts in lessons to arouse the interest of this group of students.

Drilling and dictation should be avoided.

The syllabus should take into account the slower learning pace of these pupils. Teachers in special education have to care deeply about their pupils. And they have to be willing to spend a lot of time with them.

Michael Leung Chung-hong,

Sham Shui Po

On other matters...

I am glad that environmental group Earth Rescue Team has launched a newspaper-recycling competition in schools. Recycling paper is an effective way of helping to protect our environment. This is especially the case in this city, where so many people read newspapers, as there is a tremendous demand for trees to produce the newsprint.

Earth Rescue Team has organised the competition. It will be effective in two ways. It will encourage schools to recycle more paper, and hopefully get students to read more newspapers and become more knowledgeable about society.

Jennifer Ho, Sha Tin

I welcomed the decision taken by the government last month to close primary schools and kindergartens because of the flu epidemic. Officials decided that children's health should take priority. It helped allay the fears of parents, who were concerned about the health risks involved if the schools stayed open.

Dustin Chow, Ap Lei Chau