PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am


It is time to outlaw ticket scalpers

On Friday, I spent more than one hour with one finger on the refresh button of my browser and the other on redial of my mobile phone, trying to get through to Hong Kong Ticketing in order to get tickets for the third Lady Gaga concert in May.

After many 'server busy' and 'call failed' messages, I finally got through at 11.03am, only to find that tickets were sold out already (once again); not that I expected any other outcome.

It is a great shame that so many people gave in to greed and spoiled the chance for true Lady Gaga fans to get the tickets to see her concerts.

As I said, the underlying reasons for what happened were greed and lack of integrity.

I found it particularly puzzling that a big venue [AsiaWorld-Arena] could sell out so quickly even though there was no pre-sale for the second and third shows.

In general, only one thing could have been done to prevent the hysteria given the first pre-sale fiasco. People should have been limited to four tickets, with them being sold only on the website and hotline or, if they were to be sold at ticketing outlets, only at the weekend.

I wonder how many people who because of work commitments couldn't wait in line actually hired people to queue for them. How many got their secretaries and domestic helpers to do the same or wasted their time at work, trying to order online?

If the tickets were sold at weekends, they would not have to hire someone to queue for them.

The policies of HK Ticketing are questionable. It is obvious that they didn't want the public to know how many tickets were sold out/given out before the sale started. To whom - to tycoons and celebrities?

Ticketing agencies should be required to publish the number of tickets available. On the Asia- XPAT website, Gaga tickets were on offer at double and triple the face value. One person had 34 tickets for sale.

Who are these people and how did they manage to get so many tickets? Need I mention that in some jurisdictions this kind of activity is illegal?

I call for a boycott of these greedy individuals. Don't buy overpriced tickets and don't give them the reason to continue this business.

Websites and publications should refuse any posts intending to sell overpriced tickets.

There should be no pre-sales, and scalping activities should be outlawed. The idea of pre-registering people in the queue (with Hong Kong identity card number) is an improvement, but how does it help those who cannot queue up?

J. Ferencova, Tsing Yi

Lady Gaga coarse and outlandish

Wasn't it just a couple of decades ago when Madonna shocked many people who found her too sexually suggestive?

Nowadays she seems a genteel lady beside the bizarre Lady Gaga, who has gone beyond shocking into the coarsest most outlandish ribaldry possible.

Craig McKee thinks she's great ('Lady Gaga given too little credit', March 3), proving how some people's tastes are questionable.

After watching her video Born This Way, one wonders whether pandering to humans' basest instincts with vulgar spectacles like that to make a point is necessary when more edifying means can be used to appeal to people's intelligence.

One has to feel sorry for the people involved in such productions since they'd be totally lost without all their computer- generated tricks used to camouflage a lack of natural talent.

Beatriz Taylor, Cheung Chau

Were Marcos billions frozen?

It is refreshing to see a senior Swiss official admit that his country 'made grave mistakes' in allowing the world's dictators and other scoundrels to deposit their stash in Switzerland ('City can 'help recover ill-gotten gains'', February 23).

I wonder if he could enlighten us Filipinos on whether the billions of Ferdinand Marcos were frozen after Bern enacted its law on the restitution of illicit assets last year.

The long battle to regain the Marcos billions squirrelled away, not just in Switzerland but certainly in banks here in Hong Kong, has unfortunately never gained much traction. The Philippines' never-ending poverty could be alleviated if all the stolen assets, particularly of the Marcos clan, could be retrieved.

But, sadly, the people in power, which includes the Marcoses who now hold various important political positions, have unlimited resources that allow them to ensure that their fortunes around the world are protected.

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai

Criticism of students justified

I refer to Kevin McBarron's letter ('Distorting HK's unique history', February 29) replying to Lau Nai-keung's article ('HKU will lose way without moral compass', February 17).

I am sure Mr Lau was not suggesting that we forget the fiascos brought upon the mainland people or the safe-haven role played by Hong Kong for the victims of those fiascos.

I assume Mr McBarron was hinting at the commune system to boost food production and the 'Great Leap Forward' campaign to industrialise.

Even the leaders in Beijing have not failed to so recognise what happened, although they are probably right in blaming the quality of the people for the dismal failure of the commune system, considering the success of the kibbutzim in Israel.

Mr Lau was rather taking the University of Hong Kong students and management to task for putting human rights above the nation's security and unity, and for ignoring the phenomenal achievements of the communist government, which puts security and unity above human rights, to raise China's standing.

They have thus neither forgotten nor forgiven the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, perennially disfiguring HKU's premises with June 4 graffiti, and seizing every opportunity to embarrass Beijing, to the delight of some Western countries who wish China ill.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Avoiding chain stores impractical

You see well-known chain stores throughout Hong Kong. Even in more remote areas, there are often 7-Eleven, Circle K or McDonald's branches. There might even be two from the same firm on a single street.

They have in general replaced the traditional small stores we all used to visit to purchase snacks and other kinds of food

The independent shopkeepers have suffered from high rents.

I understand why there are calls for people to try and help these smaller businesses, but I am not sure this is practical. We depend so much now on the chain stores, whether it is buying a meal from a fast-food outlet or medicine from a well-known chemist.

The corner stores may even be more expensive and so you cannot afford to buy everything from them.

I think the government should allocate streets where the small stores would be allowed to operate on a low rent.

Sean Choi, Ma On Shan

Slimming a dangerous obsession

Nowadays, people equate beauty with being slim.

Faced with adverts and articles in the media, young women are often persuaded to go to extremes to try and keep their weight down.

This is a growing trend and it is becoming a serious problem.

There are so many promotions for slimming treatments which often feature celebrities. In an effort to lose weight, some young women have unhealthy diets and this can be bad for their health.

This is not something that can be solved overnight.

Ingrained attitudes have to change and advertisers and the media have to agree to act more responsibly.

They need to get the message across to young women and girls that it is inner beauty and your personality that really matter.

Chan Tsun-ho, Sha Tin

So much rubbish at protest site

I write regarding the Occupy Central protest site at HSBC's headquarters.

As the ground floor area at HSBC seems to be public space, I wonder where the law enforcement is against littering.

I visited the bank one day last week and all I could see was rubbish in a public area.

Peter Ortmann, Clear Water Bay