What do you think of the land exchange system?
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the land exchange system, but there has been something wrong with the administrative control of the system.
Mike Lam Chun-wah (Talkback, July 22) advocates an equitable system that takes into account public and commercial interests.
He is correct and the remit of the Town Planning Board is to strike a balance between all competing interests.
However, the scale of development has been weighed heavily on the developers' side and examples of rampant overdevelopment may be observed throughout our city.
How has the system failed? Planners are inclined towards large sites and the creation of 'comprehensive development areas' requiring the planning submissions to be in the form of a master layout plan.
The layout plan brief needs clearly expressed quantifiable parameters (such as maximum plot ratio, maximum height, minimum open space), but the planners prefer a vague flexibility.
Businessmen and developers exploit this flexibility as much as they can.
Our officials need to think inside the box with clear dimensions and keep the lid firmly on, or the large developers' greedy commercial instincts will suffocate our city.
Also, the box needs to be transparent.
Christian Rogers, Mid-Levels
What can be done to revitalise the film industry?
There was a time when we could feel proud of the Hong Kong film industry.
However, this is no longer the case. Compared to its heyday it is barely recognisable.
There are enough people in Hong Kong with the technical skills to make good films and we have a lot of talented actors.
However the film industry is being adversely affected by pirated VCDs and DVDs and by people downloading films.
The fact is that the film industry in Hong Kong is not as large as Hollywood. It is not able to withstand the affect of pirated videos and internet downloads.
These pirated videos are available for sale while the film is still showing in the theatres in Hong Kong.
This can discourage producers from spending the money needed to bring out a high-quality film as they feel that people show no regard for the effort they have expended.
In order to revitalise the film industry, the government should solve the problem of pirating, so that people in the industry are once again motivated to make high-quality movies.
The legislation exists to enable the authorities to prosecute people who, for example, illegally upload a film on the internet.
The government, if it wishes, can control this problem.
To conclude, this industry cannot be revitalised on it own.
Not only does the government need to make an effort, Hong Kong people need to show their support for the film industry.
This is the only way to help the industry to achieve its full potential.
Li Wing-sum, Wong Tai Sin
On other matters...
I refer to the comments made by G. Marques (Talkback, July 15) regarding the rainstorm on July 10.
The Hong Kong Observatory issues rainstorm warnings according to prescribed criteria and objective scientific data.
The amber, red and black rainstorm warnings are issued when heavy rain has fallen or is expected to fall generally over Hong Kong, exceeding 30, 50 and 70mm in an hour respectively and is likely to continue.
Please refer to the webpage at http://www.weather.gov.hk/wservice/warning/rainstor.htm for details of the rainstorm warning system.
In operating the rainstorm warning, the Hong Kong Observatory makes reference to a set of over 100 rain gauges covering the whole of Hong Kong, delivering rainfall data to the Observatory headquarters every five minutes.
On July 10 an active southwesterly airstream brought thundery showers to the South China coastal areas.
According to the Observatory's record, heavy rain reaching 50mm in an hour was confined to a limited area and was not widespread enough to warrant the issuance of the red rainstorm warning.
The criterion for the amber rainstorm was met and that rainstorm warning was in effect between 6.35am and 11.15am.
In the northern New Territories where the catchment area is relatively large and the slope is gentle, it takes some time for the rainwater to accumulate and to drain away. The resulting floods may therefore last up to a few hours.
The Observatory operates the Special Announcement on Flooding in northern New Territories (SAFNNT) especially for the region to alert the public and relevant government departments to take precautions against flooding due to heavy rain.
On July 10 the SAFNNT was issued between 6am and 1.40pm.
The Observatory would like to remind members of the public to be on the alert during rainstorm situations and carefully consider weather and road conditions when going outdoors.
Hilda Lam Kwong Si-lin, for director of the Hong Kong Observatory
Every year I hate to hear that there is an election coming, especially a Legislative Council election.
This is because when I go to work on the minibus, on some of the vehicles there are posters promoting candidates on the windows. I find this extremely annoying and would far rather that such an election was less intrusive.
I appeal to these Legco candidates to remember they are there to serve the people who vote for them. They should not allow posters advertising their campaign to be put on the windows of minibuses or any other vehicles.
Another point to mention is that it is against the public transport regulations to obstruct the view of the glass window on a motor vehicle.
Do these Legislative Council candidates see themselves as being above the law?
And what are our law enforcement bodies doing about this problem? Are they turning a blind eye to these posters and deciding not to take any action against the offenders?
I hope this matter can be resolved and that the candidates can find other locations to put their posters, or that they can put the posters on the chassis rather than the window of a vehicle.
Robert Thio, Central