PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2009, 12:00am

Should more ice-cream-hawker licences be issued?

Why limit new ice-cream hawker licences to only 61 when 3,500 people are unemployed yet willing to do the work? Why are we so strict on limiting hawkers?

Come to Ma On Shan, the streets are deserts with neither markets nor culture between the private housing estates and shopping centres. Ma On Shan could use more hawkers and street life.

Meanwhile unemployment has climbed to 5 per cent. The government says 'we won't interfere' as companies lay off a large number of workers. On the other hand how are these increasing numbers of unemployed supposed to survive? Is it not the government that should at least legalise and find ways for them to eke out some sort of living, as long as they are willing to do the work and take the business risks?

This is a HK$6,000-a-month job, 3,500 people want it and the government will reject 3,439 people for whom HK$6,000 is vital for surviving during this crisis when they would otherwise have no income and face high food prices.

The government should relax the limit it imposed on hawker licences. Ice cream is not a nuisance on a hot day.

Doris Lee, Ma On Shan

Should the smoking ban be delayed?

Rob Weiler (Talkback, May 21) suggests that bars lower their prices to attract new, non-smoking customers.

This seems a very pro-recession statement, if such a thing exists. Smokers, who have been proven time and again to spend far more in bars than non-smokers (could it be they really are cooler and have more fun?) are happy to continue to pay these prices for a comfortable, happy time in a smoky bar.

But perhaps Mr Weiler has inadvertently found the happy medium. Non-smokers go to non-smoking bars.

The volume of new non-smoking clientele should enable cheaper drinks and perhaps some of them like Mr Weiler might even stay for more than one drink.

Meanwhile, the smokers go to smoky bars and pay high prices. Let the market decide, give the bar owners freedom to choose. Oh, wait - the market already did decide and we currently have probably equal numbers of smoking and non-smoking bars, all happily making a profit and keeping people employed. And as for banning indoor smoking and outdoor dining and drinking, in the same month, during a global economic meltdown?

Tom Grek, Central

Should rules on open space be more flexible?

I do think the rules should be more flexible. Some dining places in Lan Kwai Fong and the Sai Wan Ho waterfront should be given permission to continue having patrons outdoors.

These places do not cause hygiene problems, they are very relaxing and they are not a nuisance to the public.

But on the other hand, some dai pai dong in Mong Kok, Cheung Sha Wan and Sham Shui Po should be banned as those restaurants are very dirty and noisy. Those are not suitable places for dining out. They do not enhance Hong Kong's reputation as an international city.

Johnny Lee, Cheung Sha Wan

Should CCTV be installed in busy pedestrian areas?

Following the acid attacks in Mong Kok, police are now considering the use of closed-circuit television cameras in some of Hong Kong's busy shopping precincts, such as Causeway Bay and parts of Tsim Sha Tsui. I think the government would be well advised to take this sort of measure.

However, one issue that has been raised is privacy. While I appreciate people have concerns in this regard, I would urge the government to stick to its guns and consider the importance of ensuring public safety.

It is important for a government, especially one in a prosperous metropolis with a high-density population like Hong Kong, to protect its citizens and do its best to prevent them from getting hurt while they are out walking on the street.

There are always going to be disturbed and aggressive people in our community capable of committing criminal acts that are harmful to members of the public. Whatever their motives, their actions are clearly unacceptable by any standards.

These attacks on citizens have serious and sometimes tragic consequences. For example, acid attacks can leave people disfigured. They can cause permanent damage. Some people could be killed.

Everyone is at risk from such unstable people and when attacks like this happen, it is the responsibility of the government to come up with a rapid response and try to reduce the risk.

Christine Keys To Yu-ling, Tuen Mun

How can MTR passenger behaviour be improved?

Most of us will have heard the safety messages in television adverts and over the public address systems at MTR stations and on LCD displays. You sometimes see members of staff on MTR platforms reminding people about the need to be safe and trying to deter commuters from rushing onto the train as the doors are closing.

I think the MTR Corporation has done a good job with its safety promotions. However, you still see people taking risks.

I think this shows there is still a lack of awareness and some passengers are still willing to take risks. However, by acting in such an irresponsible manner they are putting other passengers at risk.

To deter such practices, the MTR Corp should deploy more members of staff who can enforce the by-laws and take action against passengers who contravene these by-laws.

Perhaps they should also run adverts emphasising what I have said, that people acting in an irresponsible and dangerous manner can harm other passengers.

Wong Pui-lam, Kwun Tong


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