PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am

How do you remember Spencer Lam?

I live in the North Point area and frequent Victoria Park. Just over a month ago as I was returning home from the park, I ran into 'Uncle' (or 'Ah Suk') Spencer Lam Sheung-yee, who as a player was known as Heavy Cannon ('City mourns Spencer Lam, the soccer hero turned commentator famous for his dry wit', April 24).

He was just outside the Tin Hau MTR station exit. I greeted him as Ah Suk and he nodded. As I was only a stranger to him and in a hurry to go home to my child, I did not stop for a chat. I now wish I had. Our encounter was brief, only a few seconds, but I could sense his solitude; there was a bit of sadness in his eyes.

As I grew up overseas, I did not know that he was a football commentator, famous footballer and Olympian until later. I was first introduced to him when I saw Young and Dangerous in the mid-1990s and other on-screen performances. His trademark cheeky attitude and wit were memorable and he was always a joy to watch.

His sadness on the day I saw him is nothing compared to the sadness Hong Kong feels now for losing such an outstanding, multitalented individual.

His achievements and antics are cherished gifts we hold close to our hearts. Uncle, you're a legend, sir; goodbye and thank you.

Anthony T. Y. Chan, North Point

Is the rise in the price of textbooks justified?

I refer to the report ('Price of school textbooks increases', April 9). For teachers, this is the time of year to review, assess and select textbooks for the coming year. As a teacher I have a number of points to make.

Inflation has no bearing on the price of textbooks. As a rule, they get more expensive every year.

The teachers who make the selection are not the people who pay for them; it is the parents that do so. Teachers care more about how comprehensive the book is in terms of covering the syllabus, and little regard is given to cost. Some books are made with excessively thick paper, exacerbating costs and the weight on children's backs.

The marketing ploys of most publishers get more expensive by the year and they often involve gifts and sponsorship. I have lost count of the number of knick-knacks I have received from publishers. To outdo competitors, publishers present their books in attractive and colourful boxes, which will eventually end up in a landfill.

Teaching aids, software and CDs galore are available to teachers. We all know who foots the bill eventually.

I have been a teacher for 20 years and I see no sign of this abating. In trying times such as these, cost is of paramount importance. Wherever possible, pick the most inexpensive books.

Jeff Chung, Ap Lei Chau

I refer to the views expressed by Eirene Chan Chi-yan (Talkback, April, 17).

Being a student, I also think that the publishers are unscrupulous when they impose such substantial increases in the price of textbooks. It is true that the cost of some materials increases. But why don't they use other materials or find other ways to reduce the cost? They always shift the financial burden to our parents. During this economic downturn, many people are having to work very hard to earn enough to meet their daily living expenses. However, publishers are only concerned about profits and do not take into account the parents.

The true purpose of a textbook is to teach the younger generation, not act as a moneymaking tool. But for publishers it is about making hefty profits. Teachers can help, to some extent, by making their own notes and preparing handouts.

Mandy Lam Chor-yee, Tseung Kwan O

What can be done about Hong Kong's waste problem?

Teenagers love playing with electronic-game consoles. They love to buy every new model, and this is one of the reasons we have such a problem with wastage.

The key here is education, and this has to be a long-term strategy. Schools should teach students not to be wasteful and to try to save precious resources. They should provide data on how discarded electronic items can damage the environment.

The government must also get a similar message across through television adverts. It also has to set up recycling points and recycling bins for discarded electronic products.

Hongkongers should recycle as much as possible, including paper and plastic bottles. And, where possible, they should opt for reusable instead of plastic bottles.

Also, people should think carefully and not buy items they do not need.

Winnie Lam Wing-yin, Tsuen Wan