Ignorance of anorexia puts girls at risk
As a sufferer of anorexia nervosa, I was pleased and interested to read the insightful article by Laurie Penny ('Vanishing act', August 3).
Having battled with the disease for more than 10 years and having faced periods of hospitalisation and strict bed rest, I feel there is a need to educate and inform people on the many dangers and misconceptions attached to the illness.
Studies show that anorexia is on the rise in Asia as young school girls face increasing pressure for perfection, alongside globalised images of thinness and success.
For many sufferers, such as myself, anorexia is driven by a need to gain control over life and to achieve irrational and damaging self-driven goals of 'perfection'.
Having moved to Hong Kong five years ago, I find myself often shocked and appalled regarding the lack of knowledge and understanding given to the illness.
When seeking professional help for anorexia from doctors and psychiatrists, I have on numerous occasions been dismissed with the remark that by Asian standards my weight is perfectly normal, with no attention or awareness given to the reality that anorexia is both a physical and psychological problem.
Giving a talk at the University of Hong Kong on anorexia, I was amazed to find that many of my fellow master's degree students did not even know what anorexia was. I sincerely hope that before too many young girls and boys become victims of this tragic illness, society in Hong Kong becomes more aware of its severity.
J. Symons, Sha Tin
Rein in airport overspending
Can anyone explain the rationale the Airport Authority is pushing for massive construction projects on Chek Lap Kok island, including the building of a third runway, as the aviation industry continues on a downward path?
The only explanation I can think of is that, after the fiasco of Terminal Two, it appears to be empire building at the expense of taxpayers.
Its own figures show that traffic is drastically down and will continue to slide.
Major airlines have slashed the number of flights to make ends meet, with Cathay Pacific cutting capacity by 8 per cent as June passenger figures suffered an 18 per cent drop compared to last year.
Yet the authority's property managers want to continue to waste public funds.
I implore responsible members of the public to pay more attention and scrutinise the so-called master plan when it is published later this month, urging yet more construction.
The plan is understandable - it is done by consultants who have been briefed on what to come up with. They are hardly likely to disagree with the authority and I am concerned that, therefore, it will not be an independent report.
The irresponsible waste of public funds must be stopped.
Something must be done before it is too late.
I urge the director of audit to look into the points I have raised.
F. Chan, Wan Chai
Worried about minibonds deal
I would like to know why DBS was not included in the agreement reached with 16 Hong Kong banks [which sold Lehman Brothers minibonds].
Why did most of the foreign press cover only news on minibonds and not many other bonds that were highly risky and resulted in local and mainland investors sustaining serious losses?
The Securities and Futures Commission and the Monetary Authority should explain the legal basis of their agreement with the 16 banks.
I would also like to know why only holders of minibonds sold by Sun Hung Kai get full compensation, but not many other bond holders, despite the large sums involved. DBS was the sole distributor of Constellation Notes.
I wonder if any investigation has been undertaken into the operations of DBS and its customer services managers who persuaded customers to buy these notes.
Peter Wei, Kwun Tong
Conductor's role is obvious
I refer to the report regarding the Asian Youth Orchestra and Home Affairs Bureau (''What's a conductor, why do you need one?'', August 4).
To ask what a conductor does in an orchestra is ignorance of the first order. An orchestra without a conductor could be likened to a ship without power. Through the conductor the score is interpreted and passed on to the musicians.
Daryl R. Goldby, Sha Tin
Tax-free wine proves costly
A recent trip to Macau brought to my attention the fact that our local wine merchants are profiteering and taking advantage of the wine tax that was scrapped last year.
I believe the price of wine has not been reduced despite the abolition of wine duty.
For example, during my Macau trip I purchased a bottle of Bordeaux Mouton Cadet 2007 red wine for 69 patacas in a Macau supermarket but it cost HK$105 in Hong Kong supermarkets. This a price difference of 34 per cent.
If our neighbours can sell the same bottle for 34 per cent less, it would mean that our supermarkets are profiteering.
It is only simple mathematics and a three-year-old child could tell you who is the bad guy. Unfortunately the SAR government will do nothing about this.
Joseph Lee, Pok Fu Lam
Lane needs safety checks
I refer to the letter by Eva Ngai ('The tragedy of Theatre Lane', July 31).
The cramped pavement at Theatre Lane is indeed worrying. The shoeshiners who support themselves by their own labour deserve our sympathy and respect, but considerations of safety override all other concerns.
The lane appears to be an emergency-vehicle access serving the adjacent buildings - China Building, Pedder Building, Tak Shing House, Wing On Life Building and the construction site of a new commercial building.
If this important access is blocked or appears hazardous, then who could afford the consequences in the event of a fire or life-threatening medical emergency?
Surely Central and Western district councillors should do more than serve the interests of the shoeshiners and look out for their safety?
They should seek to ensure the Fire Services Department carries out a risk assessment at the lane and advises on fire safety requirements.
Lau Yee-ling, Ma Wan
I would like to respond to David Chappell's letter ('Gobbledegook', August 1).
It was most regrettable that the word-processing error in the weather outlook he mentioned escaped the attention of our manual checking procedures. We shall take steps to safeguard against a repetition of such mistakes in the future.
The Observatory welcomes constructive suggestions that enable us to improve the contents and clarity of weather information delivered to the public. Mr Chappell's contribution in this regard is much appreciated.
Edwin S. T. Lai, senior scientific officer, Hong Kong Observatory