Residents of Lamma will be consulted
I refer to your report ('Lamma waterfront plan back on the table', April 26) and editorial 'Lamma islanders ought to be involved in plan', May 2) and a number of letters which have appeared in these columns following your story.
To avoid any misunderstandings, I wish to provide some background to the project for your readers.
The Yung Shue Wan development comprises two phases, with the Phase I works completed in April 2002.
The proposed Phase 2 development includes reclamation of about 4,000 square metres of land for the construction of a landscaped seafront promenade with a sandy foreshore feature in order to improve the general landscape and environment of Yung Shue Wan for enjoyment by locals and visitors.
As an added benefit, the reclamation will be able to accommodate a new emergency vehicular access which will help reduce the travelling time from the town centre to the clinic and helipad in an emergency.
The current conceptual proposal was drawn up in 2003 based on support from the public and consensus reached at that time. However, we are yet to commence the detailed design and will certainly engage the public before firming up any details of the proposed works. It is therefore obviously premature to say that the waterfront will all be covered up with concrete.
The advertisement of the project profile for public inspection and comments from February 24 to March 9 was only a formality under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance.
We have no intention of pressing ahead with the project without the substantive support of the public, including local residents, on its design details.
Lam Sing-kwok, chief engineer/port works, Civil Engineering and Development Department
New law is open to abuse
The minimum wage law which came into force on May 1 is supposed to protect workers who are on low incomes.
However, it seems that many employers are using different ways to reduce the money they pay workers as salaries.
There have been examples of a full-time worker being fired and two part-time people employed to do their job. Also, some employers will not pay for lunch breaks.
I think the government should act to stop this kind of exploitation.
I am concerned that the legislation could lead to many low-income workers losing their jobs.
This is the opposite of what was intended, which was to protect workers on low incomes and ensure that they earn stable salaries.
I think the government should change the law to ensure that workers continue to be paid during lunch and toilet breaks.
I believe the law can help the poor, but there are some people who will be vulnerable. I hope the government will review its legislation to stop the exploitation of low-income workers.
It should look at adopting different policies to improve the living standards of low-income workers and tackling the problem of poverty in Hong Kong.
Stefanie Tsui Yik-sze, To Kwa Wan
Soul searching plea to airline
Hong Kong Airlines attributes its initial refusal to allow seasoned solo traveller Zhu Min, who is blind, to board a Shanghai-bound flight ('Complaint filed over access to flight', May 6) to a possible 'misunderstanding in communications'.
How much nuance is involved in communicating to a ticket holder that they are rejected for boarding? Or that, if they still wish to board, they must submit to a wheelchair despite their obvious youth and vigour?
The passenger involved is, as his many friends know, fluent in English and Cantonese, as well as Putonghua and his native Shanghainese.
He navigates crowded Causeway Bay streets and rush hours on the MTR more surely and confidently than many a sighted person.
He is employed by an international organisation - the award-winning social enterprise Dialogue in the Dark - which, ironically, maintains that the 'disabled' suffer more from the ignorance, information deficit, unequal rights and uncertainty of the 'abled' than from the disability itself.
All airlines need policies and training to deal with a multiplicity of individual circumstances, but from the outside it appears that Mr Zhu's experience was less about a 'misunderstanding' and more about a draconian policy pursued without common sense, judgment or heart.
One sincerely hopes that an airline which carries the name 'Hong Kong' - plus the 'Caring Company' logo of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service - will reflect on its service values in light of this disturbing incident and be more forthcoming in its explanation.
Sarah Monks, Discovery Bay
Death will not end terrorism
The stunning news of the killing of Osama bin Laden released strong emotions in America, as he had eluded the US since the 9/11 attacks.
Yet the celebrations in the US were tempered by the threat of retaliatory strikes and warnings that the war on terror is far from over. Everyone knows that terrorism leads to innocent people being killed. Most people abhor terrorist acts and have hoped that bin Laden's death might bring peace.
However, I do not think his death will result in peace. I believe there will be attacks by terrorists and they will attempt to retaliate against the US. This could lead to many Americans having to live in a climate of fear.
Other people will take charge of al-Qaeda. We also have to ask why it is that al-Qaeda targets the US. Maybe because the US can be seen as an aggressor, given that it is a superpower and has invaded other countries.
As I said, I do not think the death of bin Laden will solve the problems he created.
Natalie Wong Hoi-yi, To Kwa Wan
Muslims must take criticism
It is tiresomely predictable for people like the Muslim leader in Hong Kong to issue dire warnings over irreverent depictions of Osama bin Laden ('Animated views on killing of bin Laden 'offensive'', May 7).
Ever since Islamic fundamentalists unleashed their attacks in various countries, too many people have bent over backwards to appease the terrorists, who have never apologised for the destruction they wreak on civilian populations.
For many years jokes about Christians, Jews and Hindus have been made without the members of those faiths resorting to the kind of irrational violence used by rabid followers of Islam. Now that the US has carried out a retaliatory action over 9/11, one wonders if those who espouse religious violence realise that their senseless practices will be met with the force they deserve.
L. M. S. Valerio, Tin Hau
Citizens should obey the law
Eric Chan's letter ('Graffiti a thought-provoking art form which is widely respected', May 4) says Hong Kong's freedom of speech is deteriorating and he regards one of those responsible as a brave younger painter.
No matter how noble the causes that we are pursuing, civic-minded citizens should abide by the laws, and Mr Chan has rightly pointed out that the Home Affairs Bureau-funded graffiti programmes in Youth Square in Chai Wan should be an appropriate venue for such 'artwork'.
I wonder if Mr Chan would be as delighted if he woke up in the morning to find that images of Pope John Paul II or any of the saints had been spray-painted on walls, corridors doorsteps or building blocks where he lives.
Keith Law Chi-fu, North Point
Help teens with online addiction
Some young people are addicted to the internet and it threatens their health.
Some also put their safety at risk as they communicate with strangers online and may even arrange to meet them.
Those teens who do have an addiction problem can suffer in other ways.
Their compulsive habit may adversely affect their academic performance and they may become alienated, damaging their relationships with friends and relatives.
Some of them may steal in order to pay their internet fees.
Adults can help young people by talking to them about their problem and helping them to deal with it.
Jessica Mak, Tai Po
Threat to planet
There has been a lot of public alarm about the threat posed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that was damaged following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Because of this calamity, the risk of using nuclear energy has been exposed, and the safety of nuclear plants has been called into question.
The long-term effects of being exposed to radiation are very damaging.
As the world's population grows, we use more of our finite resources. We have to ask ourselves if we really need nuclear energy. It is convenient, but we also have to consider the long-term welfare of the human race.
We should be looking at the possibility of using other energy sources. We must question the resources we are using and the other things we are doing to our planet.
Because of human activities we are witnessing more natural disasters, and if we continue with these practices they will increase. We have to act now and do more to save the planet.
Erica Lau Pui-man, Kwun Tong