PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am

Need for tougher building safety laws

An old building in To Kwa Wan collapsed recently, killing four people and making 20 families homeless. The tragedy highlights the need to introduce stricter laws to ensure building safety in Hong Kong.

There are hundreds of buildings across the territory which are 50 to 70 years old. They are mostly occupied by people who cannot afford to buy a new flat. They even find it difficult to renovate the flats they are living in.

To make matters worse, some of the blocks have illegal additions and renovations. These can put a heavy burden on the structure of a building. There could be another disaster very soon unless the government takes immediate action.

Under proposed legislation, owners are required to have their buildings and flats inspected every 10 years and, if necessary, repaired. It has to be approved - and enforced - as soon as possible.

The public must comply with the laws - for their own safety and that of others.

Ken Lai, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College

Time to stop the acid attacks

There have been several acid attacks in Hong Kong over the past few months. Bottles containing acid were thrown from the rooftops of buildings in busy, commercial areas.

These attacks injured a number of people, including tourists. I am shocked by these criminal acts which could kill innocent people. Maybe the perpetrators just want to release their anger or frustrations, but there are many peaceful ways to do this. Throwing harmful liquid down on to the streets won't solve their problems. We cannot tolerate such anti-social behaviour.

Although the police are trying their best to apprehend the culprits, we cannot guarantee that this kind of incident won't happen again.

Some people say the installation of surveillance cameras will help prevent acid attacks. Others say they intrude on people's privacy, so the authorities should consult residents before installing them.

Most importantly, heavy penalties should be imposed on offenders. It is the government's duty to protect the lives of all citizens.

Winnie Ho Yin-ni, St Antonius Girls' College

Leading the way

An outstanding leader should have several essential qualities. They should be considerate, disciplined, independent, and have good communication skills.

They should know the strengths and weaknesses of their group members. Then the tasks can be assigned accordingly. In addition, it is important to listen to participants and encourage them to make suggestions.

During a project-based learning activity last year, our group faced a lot of problems, mainly due to a lack of communication and understanding.

For example, one of our group members who was not good at writing was asked to compile reports. Some did not do their job properly because they did not receive clear instructions. With good direction, the situation could have been different.

Evelyn Wong Sze-cheuk, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Traditional values

Hong Kong is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. There are many traditional shops besides the city's shopping malls and other luxury high-rises.

Outlets selling Chinese wedding gowns and herbal medicine have existed for many decades. This is because the shop owners have a good relationship with their customers. It is the same overseas - age-old traditions have survived because they have their own values.

I believe the government should allocate more resources to protect our customs and traditions.

Wu Ka-ping, Pooi To Middle School