PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2011, 12:00am


Radiation levels in Japan have fallen sharply

In reply to Albert Cheng King-hon's article ('Business should face up to Japan's nuclear threat', April 27), I should point out that measurements taken close to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and around the country show that radiation levels have in fact fallen substantially.

In Tokyo, for example, measurements of the air, soil and drinking water all show that readings have declined well below safe levels that present no threat to public health.

Given that the crisis was, as Mr Cheng says, unprecedented, there was some confusion initially as matters unfolded. But the Japanese government and the operating company, Tepco, have achieved progress in bringing the situation under control and are now ready to move from the 'emergency response phase' to the 'planned and stabilising action phase' as laid out in the long-term road map.

Outside the affected area, there are many prefectures that remain totally unaffected. Popular travel destinations like Okinawa, Hokkaido, Kansai and Kyushu are all a considerable distance away, and radiation readings there have remained static throughout, so it is perfectly safe for tourists to continue visiting and for agencies to offer tours there.

The same can be said for eating Japanese food, much of which comes to Hong Kong from the unaffected south and west of Japan. Besides, the authorities here conduct radiation inspections on foods imported from Japan and issue appropriate certification.

Given such safeguards, it would be a pity if consumer confidence were to be undermined unnecessarily.

Yuji Kumamaru, consul general of Japan

Protest at store was ineffective

The protest by young activists at a ParknShop store has proved to be controversial.

They were accused by some critics of being too radical in their effort to get their message across.

It is certainly the case that nowadays more young people are exercising their right to express their views by getting involved in demonstrations.

They have also used such mass media vehicles as YouTube to try to raise public awareness.

However, some of their tactics have come under fire, and questions have been raised about how they can become tomorrow's pillars of society.

Apart from giving careful consideration to the issues they wish to raise, they must also think about their methods.

The protest in ParknShop against what they called property developer hegemony backfired. It was neither reasonable nor effective.

It caused great inconvenience to customers and staff. These people were, after all, innocent parties.

It will not have persuaded the government to reconsider any of its relevant policies, nor did it raise public awareness.

Young activists have to make wiser choices when planning future strategies if they want their demonstrations to be effective.

Winnie Ng, Kwun Tong

Q-ships could end piracy

The issue of piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea will never go away if left to the likes of Britain.

Piracy needs determined and resolute action. Sadly these attributes have been lost as Western nations have become fat and lazy. The qualities that built Western empires are long gone. It is now up to nations from the East to take the initiative, take the war to the pirates and clear them from the oceans. If the West starts crying crocodile tears, as it surely will, it should be ignored.

During the first world war, Britain employed a military tactic using Q-ships - armed vessels disguised as merchant navy ships. When attacked, they removed fake superstructures to reveal heavy guns. Piracy could be ended if the pirates feared that the next vessel they targeted was a modern version of a Q-ship.

J. C. Lawrence, Swansea, Wales

Phones cause noise pollution

People are constantly dialling and talking loudly on mobile phones. They do this on the street, in train carriages and on buses.

This is a form of noise pollution, yet the government does not appear to recognise there is a problem. I believe the selfish users of these phones are as much of a nuisance to Hong Kong citizens as air pollution.

These phones cause other forms of environmental damage. Many people discard mobiles that are functioning properly just because they want a new model.

I would like to see some no- mobile-phone days designated in Hong Kong.

I urge the government to take action so that citizens can once again enjoy some peace and quiet.

Pang Chi-ming, Fanling

Ban mainland motorists

I read your leader ('Bridge traffic already running into problems', April 14) with alarm.

Mainland drivers should be forbidden from bringing their vehicles onto Hong Kong's roads. Hong Kong drivers are hardly the best, but in general, there is no comparison to mainland drivers, whose competence is less than rudimentary.

Anyone who has spent any time across the border knows that the motorists there are taught only to switch the vehicle on and then make it move forwards and backwards; how they use it thereafter is up to them.

They are not taught any road courtesy, lane discipline or even simple rules, such as how to react to other traffic when turning at a junction. To a mainland driver, pedestrians have no rights at all. Those highway code rules that do exist appear to be optional, depending on how convenient one considers them to be.

Given that these drivers are incompetent on their own road systems, I find it horrifying that our government would let them onto Hong Kong's roads in left-hand drive cars. To do so would be like giving a four-year-old a throbbing chainsaw to take to kindergarten.

Mark Ranson, Sai Kung

Smaller ferries cut idle capacity

I refer to the letter by Samantha Bell ('Ferry change backward move', April 21) and would like to provide New World First Ferry Services Limited's feedback on the ferry deployment for the 8.30am sailing from Mui Wo to Central.

The company has operated the ferry services between Central and Mui Wo since 2000 and we have conducted constant reviews of our ferry deployment to achieve waste minimisation and resource maximisation.

Given the gradual change of passenger demand on the Central-Mui Wo route, First Ferry believes that an update of ferry deployment will facilitate the effective use of vessels and avoid wastage.

Therefore, it has re-allocated vessels with smaller capacity for some sailings, such as the 8.30am from Mui Wo to Central. Capacity utilisation reached only 44 per cent, on average, when ferries with the largest capacity in our fleet were deployed there.

From late February onwards (not April 1, when the new fare and timetable were implemented under the ferry service licence granted to First Ferry, as mentioned by Ms Bell), First Ferry started regularly deploying the smaller-capacity fast ferries on the 8.30am Mui Wo-Central sailing. After the implementation of this change, we found a more effective use of vessels had been achieved. Vessel capacity utilisation had increased to an average of 70 per cent, but there had been no reduction in the spaciousness of the cabin.

First Ferry will closely monitor and review ferry deployment on this route and ensure that appropriate arrangements are made.

Anthea Chau, corporate communications manager, New World First Ferry Services Limited

Learn to cope with pressure

It has been claimed that Form Five students who will take the first Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam in March next year are facing a great deal of stress and that some of them are feeling frustrated and despondent.

I think this is an exaggeration of the situation that they face.

People from all walks of life in society have certain levels of pressure that they have to deal with. The older you get, the more stressed you tend to become.

Secondary students must accept this pressure at school, just as they will have to cope with it throughout their lives. In fact it can actually help to motivate them to reach their goals.

Overprotective parents have produced young people who are vulnerable and feel unable to cope with the pressures that they face in their school life.

They will be the future pillars of our society, and it is important that they learn to tackle stress.

Jessica Cheung, Shau Kei Wan

Reclamation good for island

Overzealous environmentalists may not always act to the benefit of Lamma Island.

Among their main concerns are that the proposed reclamation project, with a new beach and an access road, will put an end to the stream of tourists and that waterfront restaurants will be too far away from the water.

At the moment, however, what tourists see when they get off the ferry is a graffiti-covered seawall, a run-off ditch with dirty water and a tiny sand strip full of rubbish.

What conservative Lamma residents miss is that a nice beach and the facelift for the bay might increase the flow of tourists.

Meanwhile, seaview restaurants and inns near Hung Shing Yeh, the island's best public beach, are thriving even though they are separated from the waterfront by an access road and the large beach. This proves that not every development is necessarily an evil for the island.

Anton Ivanov, Lamma