AS Watson


PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 September, 2008, 12:00am

What can be done to increase organ donations?

I fully agree with your two correspondents, Ng Shuk-yee and Lee Cher-hin (Talkback, September 13), that Chinese family traditions have been responsible for the low rate of organ donations in Hong Kong. But I also understand that many western-oriented Hongkongers [and mainland] Chinese never care a farthing about this and are ready to donate their organs after death to friends and relatives for transplants or any other medical needs.

On the other hand, one point that shouldn't be missed is: are all patients needing organ transplants worthy of such donations? Isn't it fair to give priority to those born with inherent birth defects only and to take patients off the list who have been neglecting their lives from addictions to smoking, drinking and other unhealthy habits?

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong

How can we tackle childhood obesity?

I refer to the report 'Bad habits blamed as study shows children are getting fatter', (September 4).

The article showed Rita Sung Yn-tz holding up blue and pink measuring tapes indicating that children should fit within defined limits, and if they didn't they were overweight. I disagree with this form of assessment.

Aside from fuelling the typical frenzy associated with local culture (whether it is parents lining up in long queues for the latest hamburger meal toy, or the unfair pressure placed on children to excel at school), it does not help to define obesity in this way.

When I last wrote to the South China Morning Post several years ago, it was about a student committing suicide. Too much pressure is being placed on pupils.

My message was that this must stop.

The problem is that local psyche makes conforming so important.

Children who are big-boned might fail this measuring-tape test due to the width of their hips and shoulders. I am talking about solid-set children who will never fit these measuring-tape limits.

I saw one such child being interviewed on local television this week relating to these measuring tapes. The child was solid and was never going to be a ballerina or skinny catwalk model, but she appeared a fairly normal, big-boned child.

As a big-boned westerner, I would have failed these measuring-tape tests as a child.

I would argue that such a simple measuring method cannot be used, especially in a culture where conforming is so critical.

These poor children do not need another round of public scrutiny and peer ridicule to feel like aliens.

Craig Collins, Sydney, Australia

What do you think of the fine for the Tai Po dumper?

It has been very difficult to pin down illegal dumpers because you really need to catch them red-handed.

Yet in this case, with a successful prosecution, the judiciary has failed in its duty to protect the countryside from vandalism by setting the fine at only HK$8,000, a meagre fraction of the top fine of HK$200,000 ('The penalty for dumping 600 truckloads of waste? HK$8,000', September 13).

One cannot argue that these 600 truckloads of waste had been dumped by coincidence.

I believe in heavy fines as a deterrent for such blatant infringement of the law.

Those who actually do the dumping, as well as the person in charge, should go to prison and perhaps they will learn a lesson.

Andrew Chan, Happy Valley

On other matters...

ParknShop, Wellcome and Vanguard have a common shopper-last management style. Let me illustrate this with the following examples.

None of these supermarket chains ever has enough cashiers. Whatever the hour, day or night, every shop has long queues of shoppers who have to wait and wait to pay for their intended purchases.

Each of these supermarket chains has a separate queue for each cashier. It's a bet with bad odds whether a particular queue will move rapidly or slowly.

Waiting and more waiting is the fate of shoppers.

These supermarket chains [need more] cashier lanes specifically for customers who have 10 or fewer items, and who will pay with cash or by Octopus card, not with a credit card.

Shoppers with few items, and who are ready to pay rapidly, must wait and wait.

Also, hire enough cashiers. They are paid low wages, so hiring sufficient numbers of them would not impinge on the bottom line of any supermarket chain.

Have one single queue. The shopper who is first in the queue goes to the next available cashier. This costs nothing.

Having a dedicated queue for shoppers with 10 items or fewer and who will not pay with a credit card also costs nothing.

The suggested solutions are not new.

They are easy to implement.

The stumbling block is the management of ParknShop, Wellcome and Vanguard.

Stephen Kruger, Tsim Sha Tsui