• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:23am

Talkback

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 August, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of the drug-testing system?

Which official declared this drug testing to be the answer to the problem of under age kids taking drugs?

Students can refuse to give samples, will not be punished after failing, and questions have been raised about the tests' failure rate.

To add to that, every test will go to government laboratories for further testing. Aren't our government services already overstretched? surely this will significantly increase costs as specialists are required?

Most baffling of all to me is that students can refuse testing even after their parents give written consent.

There should be an incentive for a student to be co-operative in the drug tests - a certificate proving they have gone through the Hong Kong government schools drug-testing scheme.

Those refusing even one test or parents not having conformed to the written approval of testing will not achieve that certificate immediately.

Students who have failed once or more or parents who have refused that written consent should have the opportunity to go through counselling. If they come through that successfully and conform thereafter to the drug-testing scheme, they should get the certificate.

Then it is up to the universities or other places of higher education to either require that a student has achieved the certificate or not.

Hopefully, our officials will give this greater thought and consider the many loopholes. Students will exploit this and the Hong Kong public will feel cheated. Shame on you Education Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yeung.

Amit Singh, Sheung Wan

Should Staunton St buildings be excised from the URA project?

The Urban Renewal Authority is a menace. It is intent on destroying the spontaneous rejuvenation of SoHo and replacing it with its bland soulless vision of Hong Kong - more monstrous glass and concrete high-rises.

SoHo does not need the URA's help to renew, it is doing quite nicely by itself. SoHo property owners like Dare Koslow, ('URA split over call by owners to leave their Staunton St building out of project', August 4), and me, who are spending our time, effort and money to renovate our traditional walk-ups, against all obstacles set up by the Hong Kong government, are doing far more to enhance the SoHo area than the URA ever could.

SoHo's charm comes from its 'pedestrian accessed low-rise oldness'. We invested in this area because we love its charm and want to maintain it. The URA's vision of glass monsters will kill the SoHo we know, love and believe in.

If the government really wants to encourage regeneration in SoHo, it should stop banks being discriminatory against lending on older buildings and, for example, 'buildings without a lift' (one bank's mortgage policy).

The government can encourage realistic bank valuations and beautify the public street areas, for example, with paving, garden beds and trees.

SoHo would grow and evolve in a unique and diverse way reflecting the individual owners' styles while retaining its unique charm for all of us to enjoy.

The URA's 'remove character and make money' mentality will be the destruction of SoHo if we don't speak out. Stop the high-rise in SoHo now.

Greg Miles, CentralHow should trees be protected and managed?

Surely the easiest way to protect trees is not to cut them down unnecessarily.

It appears the Highways Department has plans for a large number of trees on Mount Butler Road in Jardine's Lookout, where it is carrying out slope reinforcement work and making a pedestrian footpath.

More than 100 trees have been tagged and many of the trees are mature and up to 15 to 20 metres tall. I suspect these trees are going to be cut down.

The planned footpath seems unnecessary as there is little pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

The slope that it plans to reinforce borders an open lot used by the Water Supplies Department to store equipment.

Hopefully, I am wrong and the Highways Department has tagged all the trees for preservation.

Would it care to clarify its plans? Or is this yet another case of public works for the sake of spending money with no regard to the end result?

Adrian Brady, Jardine's Lookout

Could installation of speed limiters lead to accidents?

Speed limiters cannot lead to accidents. Speed limiters and similar devices, such as cruise controls and speed loggers, are available and used by private vehicle fleet operators worldwide.

If we are purely talking about the enforcement of speeding legislation, then it is a tool that ought to be used. In fact, why only pick on minibus operators, especially since most of us fear speeding lorries and large container trucks more?

While I am a closet speed addict, I am sure speed limiters ought to be mandatory for all vehicles using public roads, including our elite police cars.

Nigel Lam, Kowloon Tong

It is crazy for minibus drivers and owners to say that fitting speed limiters to vehicles will lead to more accidents.

Many of my expatriate friends tell me that they call the minibuses in Hong Kong the 'fatal minibuses'. Most Hong Kong drivers have an attitude problem and when they get behind the wheel of a car they think they are racing drivers.

Not only should speed limiters be installed on minibuses, but also the government should impose harsher punishments in order to deter drivers from speeding. People nowadays are getting out of control. Selfish Hongkongers only care about themselves.

Johnny Lee Chi-ho, Cheung Sha Wan

On other matters...

On June 22, I wrote to these columns to complain about 11 shelters on Bowen Road that had been demolished. I pointed out that hundreds of people used the road for their daily jog. They could rest at these shelters and get protection from the rain. I asked when the shelters would be rebuilt.

Up until now, there has been no response from any government department and the situation I described in June is unchanged.

This has been a particular problem in Bowen Road because of recent heavy rain. Will the relevant department please reply to my query?

Babu Bharwani, Mid-Levels

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