Chinese women are the key to progress
Climate change is forcing us to look at our wasteful habits of consumption causing pollution and disease.
If our world is ever going to change, we need the wholehearted support of Chinese women. Why? The answer is simple - they form the world's largest group of women with a common culture in the earth's most populous nation. Their sense of values and their decisions will have an enormous impact on China's and the earth's future.
Unfortunately, as in other cultures, tradition and male-dominated politics have relegated women to an inferior status, manipulating education, mass media and often religion to keep women from working for reforms. A perfect example of this manipulation is advertising by male-controlled corporations. They tell women that they must buy the latest fashion, the newest handbag and more jewellery. They have to buy slimming products, must use expensive cosmetics and must frequently change the furniture. The damage and waste caused by this media strategy is enormous.
The worst manipulation of women, though, is the propaganda aimed at turning their children into warriors. As history reminds us, armies and navies are not used to defend one's own country, but to intimidate other countries and obtain foreign resources. Young men are easily deluded into believing that war is glorious. Their mothers are often unable to prevent them from becoming soldiers and potential killers. Why is it considered patriotic to fight overseas merely to ensure a steady supply of oil for wasteful cars, as the United States has been doing for so long?
Chinese women, who are politically astute, will be drawn into the crucial decision-making facing all world leaders. The choice is stark - do women and mothers want a more peaceful, cleaner and healthier world for their children, or do they want them to kill other women's sons for a bigger share of our earth's dwindling resources?
J. Garner, Sham Shui Po
West Kowloon the wrong place
There is little doubt that Hong Kong needs to be integrated into the national express rail network. However the choice of West Kowloon for the terminal is a poor one.
The principal consideration should be connectivity to other modes of transport so that the whole of Hong Kong may benefit. The MTR's Airport Express and Tung Chung Line have much spare capacity, especially in view of your report ('Massive railway platform lies idle in Central', November 13) and could be better utilised if the terminal was resited in the New Territories as suggested by a group of professionals.
West Kowloon is an inconvenient cul-de-sac and I agree with Jason Cheng ('New rail link is no time saver', November 14). A cynical view is that our Transport Department creates bottlenecks so that in future it can spend our billions on trying to fix them - as per our harbour tunnels and the Central-North Wan Chai reclamation and bypass.
On the other hand perhaps this West Kowloon terminal has been promised to the tycoons who have been busily developing that area. It is normal in Hong Kong that their interests take precedence over the interests of the wider public.
Frank Lee, Mid-Levels
Make good use of terminal
A number of articles have contained negative comments about locating the new high-speed rail terminus in West Kowloon. There was also a report on the underutilised Airport Express line ('Massive railway platform lies idle in Central', November 13).
Therefore, I would suggest that the high speed rail terminus should be located at Terminal Two. The airport is Hong Kong's best transport hub, as Terminal Two provides immediate and direct access to local rail, bus and taxi services. Immigration and Customs facilities are present and would not need to be replicated in West Kowloon.
Passengers arriving in Hong Kong by air can transit directly to the high-speed rail link and international travellers from southern China can depart from Hong Kong. And the long-suffering merchants in Terminal Two may gain some customers. Taking this argument one step further, the much criticised Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau 'bridge to nowhere' can be redesigned to accommodate the high-speed rail line. Combining the high-speed rail line, the bridge and Hong Kong's airport into one project would be a better use of government finances. We would make use of the existing infrastructure, the airport, Terminal Two and the Airport Express, thus reducing the environmental footprint.
Z. Y. Wei, Ap Lei Chau
Most bus drivers are safe
I agree with the assessment made by N. P. Black ('Double-deckers not at fault', November 13) that it is not that double-decker buses are unsuitable, it is the driver that makes any vehicle potentially unsafe.
However, your correspondent unfairly points the finger at our city's bus drivers. I have observed that KMB drivers are professional and among the best drivers in the city.
If someone studies the statistics of all traffic accidents, I am sure the percentage of them that involves a bus at fault would be the lowest.
Taxis, minibuses and private vehicles all have significantly worse track records when compared to bus drivers. I have never been in a bus where the driver displayed any sign of road rage. But I have been in countless situations in all other vehicles where road rage made up half the trip.
For this alone, bus drivers should be commended.
When a bus driver is to blame for an accident, it is a rare incident and we should not let it affect the general perception of buses or their drivers.
Jason Cheung, Hung Hom
Shanghai theme park a threat
There has been a great deal of discussion in Hong Kong about the Shanghai Disneyland, since it was given the go-ahead earlier this month.
The Hong Kong government and tourism officials have said the mainland's 1.3 billion population is more than enough to support two Disneylands. However, I do not think this is a reasonable argument.
The mainland may have a large population, but many people there live below the poverty line and could not afford to visit a theme park.
I think those Chinese citizens who can afford it would rather visit a large and new facility, rather than a small, older Disneyland.
The Shanghai Disneyland will adversely affect the theme park in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong government should not rely on Disneyland to boost our economy.
It should be trying to find other ways to get tourists to visit the SAR.
Mandy Wong, Sai Kung
Electric cars not that green
I am very pleased some people understand electric cars cannot improve the pollution problem in Hong Kong ( 'Electric cars will still pollute', November 14).
The main problem is the way power stations generate electricity.
Many power stations use coal and oil, which damages the environment.
This is the same as pollution caused by cars which run on petrol.
Therefore, there is no real difference between the pollution caused by petrol-driven cars and that which is caused by power stations.
The only way this level of pollution can be lowered, is if power stations can come up with cleaner ways of generating electricity.
Cliff Cheung Yee-Han, Fanling
Taxi touts at Airport Express
I will be contributing to the fall in usage of the Airport Express after I caught the train from the airport to Hong Kong station last Friday afternoon, for the last time.
About 150 passengers queued for taxis at the taxi pick-up point.
I gave up after 45 minutes.
MTR Corporation officials told me that I had arrived at Hong Kong station at the wrong time.
However, upstairs, the taxi touts were doing a flourishing business, picking up passengers at the drop-off point, contrary to the warning signs.
MTR officials had no interest in regulating the process.
Two policemen, one of whom was a sergeant, told me it was not their job. Whose job is it to stop consistent, systematic abuse of the traffic regulations in Hong Kong?
Alan Olsen, Mid-Levels
Tobacco tax rise is good
I support an increase in tobacco tax.
A higher tax forces the tobacco companies to increase the price of cigarettes.
This definitely discourages some citizens from smoking, especially people on low incomes.
I think that some smokers who cannot kick the habit, but cannot afford more expensive cigarettes, will turn to illegal cigarettes.
However, in spite of this, I still support the government's smoking-control policies.
We all know that smoking is harmful to health.
People who smoke should be encouraged to give up.
A higher tax, and increased prices of cigarettes, can help people to give up.
The Hong Kong government should take the initiative and stamp out the practice of smuggling cigarettes.
Shirley Chu, Sha Tin