PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am

How can the operation of the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre be improved?

Like H. C. Bee (Talkback, February 7), I visited the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei. It took me some time to locate the building. There should be more signage in addition to that catering to those arriving by MTR, but I was quite impressed with the facilities.

The complex is very open and well ventilated, and a tribute to town planners of yore who gave some thought to designing people-friendly buildings as opposed to the concrete boxes that Hong Kong people now fork out millions for.

I found it well suited for the purpose of providing affordable studio space for up-and-coming artists.

What I found lacking was a coffee shop/bar serving drinks and simple snacks. This would provide a focal point for both tenants and visitors. The provision of communal-style tables would encourage interaction between the artists and members of the public.

Musicians and other entertainers could be encouraged to display their talents and gain experience performing in public at the same time.

Premises in the atrium and visible from the upper floors could be rented on a profit-sharing basis in order to assess potential and to allow the operator to build up the business.

If I could have relaxed with a coffee or glass of wine and had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with some of the talented tenants and visitors, I would have stayed longer and considered it an interesting venue for meeting friends.

Unlike Mr Bee, I believe that there is a distinct lack of appealing district venues in our city and their creation would encourage people to explore more and expand their social circles.

Martin Brinkley, Ma Wan

People are too quick to criticise the centre. It is barely off the ground in its transition from a factory building to a centre for artistic activity.

Every new venture has teething problems and it seems to me that the centre has managed those rather well.

Artists are difficult to organise into a coherent voice so the best thing is to leave the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre alone to develop organically - as it will do, given time. Having visited the centre many times, from seeing the original empty building to the latest exhibition, I have only admiration for what has been achieved.

As an artist and photographer who has had many exhibitions since I moved to Hong Kong in 1976, I think the centre has a great future.

It is easy to get to, just a short walk from the MTR and even from Pok Fu Lam where I live. It takes less than an hour by minibus and MTR.

Norman de Brackinghe, Pok Fu Lam

What is the best way to prevent drink-driving?

We can tell from a number of car accidents that drink-driving has reached an alarming level. We need to pay attention to this problem and change motorists' attitudes.

During training, people should not just be taught driving skills. Students also have to learn to adopt a proper driving attitude. Emphasis must also be placed on a driving-improvement course.

Obviously, the law on drink-driving is lax. The threat of a custodial sentence can act as a deterrent and we could see a reduction of drink-driving cases. Fines are not an effective deterrent. Therefore, legislators must take responsibility for this problem and change the law.

The government must strive to alert people to the consequences of drink-driving. The media can also help deliver positive messages about sensible driving.

I urge motorists not to drink and drive, and society must make it clear that drink-driving is unacceptable.

Walter Li Ho-wa, Kwun Tong

What do you think of restaurant food portions?

I refer to the article on reduced portions at restaurants ('Green campaign to persuade city diners that less is more', February 4).

I have doubts about how effective this campaign will be, with a HK$1 rebate for customers who ask for less rice with their meal. I do not think this is a big enough discount. Also, some restaurants will be reluctant to join it, since if they have to give a lot of discounts their revenue will decrease.

Also, the plan is to reduce the amount of rice people eat. But as the article pointed out, 15 per cent of food that is left over is meat and vegetables, so there will be no reduction of that food wasted.

I think the campaign needs to be adjusted. If someone asks for less, there should be less rice, meat and vegetables.

Chen Yat-hang, Tsuen Wan

On other matters...

I enjoy sport and accept the advantages you can enjoy from participation in sport.

However, when considering the disturbance caused to road users, the impact on the participants and the inconvenience to local residents, I have reservations about allowing the marathon to start later in Hong Kong.

The event covers Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. To ensure preparations are completed, there are road closures from early in the morning until the afternoon of the race.

As a result, most vehicles using major roads (Tsing Ma Bridge, the Western Harbour Tunnel and the Island Eastern Corridor) have to switch to other roads, making them busier and more crowded.

This can cause problems for emergency services vehicles. Everyday there are thousands of vehicles passing through the Western Harbour Tunnel and it is a lot less pleasant running through it than running across the Tsing Ma Bridge, which provides beautiful scenery if the weather is good. I do not see the point of using the tunnel for the marathon route.

The weather starts to become more humid in February. If we start the event later, the relatively high temperatures in the afternoon and the humid conditions will be harmful to runners.

For many people Sunday is a day off. However, there are a lot of people who work shifts. They need a peaceful morning to recharge their batteries.

I am concerned that the organisers of the marathon and the relevant government departments do not show sufficient concern for the objections made by local residents about the noise generated by the marathon.

This year there were four 10km runs on the Island Eastern Corridor, which meant four starting times. It is inevitable that with four starts there will be noise that will disturb residents.

There is a need for the organisers to be fair and show consideration for residents' concerns. They should design a different route for the 10km race.

Thorple Hui, Chai Wan