PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of the drug-testing system?

It seemed a bit out of place in an article on the school drug-testing saga for Peter Wei (Talkback, August 12) to blame the influence of a decadent, Western materialistic world.

To say the Western world is a bit like saying the Asian world; there are many diverse cultures in both.

If there is a recession in my home country Germany, everyone will cut back, even the rich. For example, a company boss will switch from a large to a small car. People will avoid lavish dinners. I have never seen anything like this happen in Hong Kong.

China, including Hong Kong, is a country where a large number of people pay twice the price to get a mobile phone two weeks before it is launched.

I know of no countries, with the exception of China and Russia, which have ever hosted a millionaire fair; now that is decadence.

In Germany, we say you do not show or talk about money, you have it. Many of the richest European families live an extremely humble lifestyle.

Sadly, on any given day in Hong Kong we can see displays of materialistic and decadent lifestyles - people showing off their money with no sense of responsibility. It is more prominent than in any other city I know.

But Hong Kong has been my home for the past 13 years and I love it.

Drug problems go back through history and affect all countries, but drug use in the modern sense has existed for the past two centuries.

In Hong Kong, we need to take a rational approach to solve the drug abuse issues that our children face, just like children in major cities around the world.

Tobi Doeringer, Ap Lei Chau

Should the shoeshiners be allowed to stay on Theatre Lane?

I think the developer of the Luk Hoi Tung Building is to be congratulated for its public-spirited approach ('Brush-off for shoeshiners in Theatre Lane revamp', August 13).

Of course, the presence of five old men and their small boxes of shoe-cleaning equipment poses a hazard and an obstruction to emergency vehicles.

The company's trusty lawyers should also issue letters saying that nobody at all should be allowed on any street whatsoever for the same reason.

The problem of congestion in our streets would be solved overnight. And if we are not allowed out of our homes, we would not even need our shoes cleaned.

Robert Nield, Clear Water Bay

What do you think of hygiene at public pools?

As a dedicated swimmer, I use the public pools eight to nine times a week.

I often go to the Morse Park pool and I find the hygiene and water quality to be unacceptable. Sometimes the water is cloudy and you see dead insects at either end of the pool. Mosquitoes are constantly buzzing about our legs. The absence of a temperature control system means that the water is either too warm or too cold. The lifeguards should be dealing with these problems.

Officials from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should pay more attention to the problems at Morse Park and deal with them. They should also try to educate the public about pool hygiene and encourage them to act responsibly.

I also think there needs to be an improvement in the general attitude of pool staff.

I appreciate that it is difficult to eradicate insects around a pool, but staff must do more thorough and frequent hygiene checks. There should be greater use of pesticides in surrounding bushes and shrubs.

At Morse Park, I think the pool's filtering system and thermostat should be replaced when it is closed during the winter break.

Eunice Leung Yan-yee, Kowloon Bay

On other matters ...

I refer to the letter by Adrian Brady (Talkback, August 8) asking why trees on Mount Butler Road, Jardine's Lookout, had been tagged.

Your correspondent said: 'Surely the easiest way to protect trees is not cut them down unnecessarily.'

The Highways Department is carrying out upgrade work on slope No 11SE-C/F11 on Mount Butler Road to stabilise it. The work includes installation of about 360 soil nails (that is, steel reinforcements hammered into the slope) and the construction of drainage channels.

The work started last month, and is to be completed by July. No tree will be felled under the works.

To protect the trees on the slope, we asked our contractor, prior to the work beginning, to record the locations of the existing trees and to tag them for monitoring.

Our staff will also closely supervise the slope works and the preservation of the trees.

Regarding Mr Brady's concern about the path on the western side of the slope, it is temporary construction access for transport of equipment to the work site and will be removed upon completion of the works.

We would like to thank Mr Brady again for the enthusiasm he has shown for tree preservation and his interest in the slope works.

Victor Chan, senior engineer/public relations, Highways Department

We refer to a letter from R.J. Shipp (Talkback, August 7) regarding the cleanliness of the Citybus fleet.

We have duly noted the comments and the suggestion he made.

Citybus is highly conscious of the need to ensure the cleanliness of our bus fleet to provide passengers with pleasant journeys.

Upon receipt of the letter concerning the cleanliness of the bus mentioned (fleet number: 1507), immediate action was taken, including a thorough cleanliness check on board.

The stain he mentioned, was a blob of red paint on the side of the compartment and was removed the same day.

In fact, all our buses are thoroughly cleaned every night at depots and bus terminuses. Moreover, since the arrival of the influenza season, we have been using the 1:99 diluted bleach solution daily to clean the bus compartments to ensure comfortable journeys and good hygiene for passengers.

Nevertheless, we have instructed our cleaning contractor to pay more attention to the hygienic condition of our buses and will continue to keep the fleet clean and tidy.

Beatrice Wong, public affairs manager, Citybus