A cashless society has its drawbacks
While I do agree with Peter Kammerer that cashless payments are more convenient (especially when change is involved), he does not mention the positive aspects of cash and the drawbacks of a cashless society ('Dying notes', March 6).
The biggest advantage of cash is the anonymity you have when buying items.
I can go to a bookshop or grocery store and purchase items with cash and they do not know who I am.
People who sign up for Octopus Rewards or money-back cards usually do not realise that they are receiving these rewards in exchange for their personal information.
Also, the buying habits of these people will be tracked for marketing use.
With cash, I do not have to worry about my personal information being used in such a way and possibly abused.
The same thing is true with credit cards.
The buying habits of people are sold for the purposes of market research (don't we all just love getting those telemarketing calls).
In the case of an electronic or technological failure, how will credit card payments be processed?
If the power grid were to go down for a few days (which is what happened across northeastern and midwestern US and Ontario, Canada, in 2003), how can you buy something that you would need if the payment processors don't work?
However, with cash, you can still preform the transaction.
Kammerer also cites security as a significant reason to go cashless.
How many stories do we read on a daily basis about electronic fraud or electronic mistakes made by banks that can take weeks and sometimes months to rectify?
You may suddenly find yourself cut off from your money due to a mistake.
At the end of the day, both options should be available to the public so people can make a choice. We should not ever be forced into a cashless society.
Harminder Singh, Lai Chi Kok
Cardinal's support not appropriate
I refer to the report ('New cardinal stands up for Tsang', March 3).
I think this overt support by Cardinal John Tong Hon was unwarranted, and illustrates that senior clergy are also seduced by a proximity to wealth and power.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been a senior official in all administrations since the handover.
During this time, the wealth and influence of the major tycoons has grown exponentially, while the life of most citizens has become more difficult, especially for those at the bottom of the ladder who are treated despicably by an out-of-touch and uncaring government.
Mr Tsang has worn his Catholic beliefs on his sleeve, but has not followed Christian values when governing our city. Jesus Christ was a champion of the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the abused and the disadvantaged, and challenged the blatant self-interest and corruption in authority.
Conversely, Tsang has acted as a champion of the privileged and well-shod tycoons, and has amassed vast monetary reserves [for the government] which are not being applied for the good of the general population.
Cardinal Tong would have served our community better if he had used his voice to criticise Tsang's collusion with the tycoons and to urge the government to implement more equitable policies that would benefit all who live in Hong Kong.
In this context, I also refer to your editorial ('Maids deserve more consideration', March 4).
It is hard-hearted and mean-spirited that many locals resent sharing our facilities with guest workers. These workers make a valuable contribution and add colour and vitality to our city. It would be a much duller place if they were not here.
The living and employment conditions for some of these girls is abject and appalling, and our authorities turn a blind eye.
As many of these abused workers are Catholics, the new cardinal should be more assertive with the government in protecting the vulnerable members of his flock.
Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai
Disturbing trend must be reversed
I see many advertisements for slimming treatments in newspapers and shopping malls and on television.
These adverts send the wrong message to young women in Hong Kong.
They wrongly think that, to be beautiful, you have to be thin and they sign up for these treatments and try to eat less.
They are also influenced by pictures of thin models and actresses and they want to emulate these celebrities who they perceive as being perfect.
More young women in the city are now underweight because of the media and these slimming programmes ('40pc of young women too thin', March 2).
This trend must be reversed. Young women need to think twice before signing up for slimming treatments. If need be, they should consult a doctor before joining a programme.
Parents also have to offer guidance to their children so they adopt responsible attitudes as they grow up and are not easily influenced by adverts and what they read in the media. They have to realise that what really matters is to be healthy. The important thing is how you think about yourself and not how others judge you.
Ng Suet-yi, Tai Wai
Politician kowtowing to Beijing
Greg Barns almost had me convinced of his argument that Australia's new foreign minister Bob Carr is a China-savvy politician ('Rudd's successor reveals understanding of China', March 6).
That was, until he let slip with Carr's denunciation of the Dalai Lama as a 'cunning monk' trying to 'dismember China'.
Regurgitating droll communist party cliches is hardly the way to demonstrate understanding of China.
It merely demonstrates the weakness of a man who is ready to express such views in order to please the dictators who bankroll the Australian economy.
Marcus T. Anthony, Discovery Bay
Blame firms' excessive packaging
The Environment Bureau proposes introducing a charging system as a way of reducing the volume of municipal solid waste that is generated in Hong Kong.
Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah has said that reduction at source is the best way to deal with our waste problem. But I do not think that charging the public is actually dealing with refuse at source.
Although two-thirds of the municipal solid waste that ends up in our landfills every day is domestic waste, it is not fair to say that households are responsible for all of it. The main culprits are manufacturers who produce tonnes of useless material.
Take the gifts we all give and receive at Chinese New Year as an example.
Look at all the wrapping involved in something as simple as a box of biscuits. You have a cardboard or tin box, with plastic or paper cups to hold the biscuits and often each biscuit is wrapped in plastic or foil.
Manufacturers will always claim that this is done in the interests of hygiene, but I would take issue with that.
As long as the manufacturing process in the factory is done under hygienic conditions, that should be enough. The finished product would remain clean and safe to consume with much less and simpler wrapping.
The extra costs of additional material are passed on the consumer and no one likes having to pay for wrapping that is totally unnecessary.
When it comes to a waste charge, the government should be charging those who are responsible for creating this unwanted material in the first place. Officials need to identify the real source of the waste.
Conan Lee Chung-man, Tai Kok Tsui
Taiwanese proud of NBA star
I refer to Charmy Lau Cheuk-man's letter ('Youngsters getting right message from basketball star Jeremy Lin's success', March 5).
The government and people of Taiwan are proud of Jeremy Lin's outstanding achievements in basketball.
Lin's success is mainly due to the support of his family, his religious beliefs and his hard work and perseverance.
He visited Taiwan in the summer of last year and has said he will return this summer.
He can be sure of the warmest welcome.
We hope his visit will strengthen bilateral basketball and other sporting culture exchanges between Taiwan and the United States.
Sherry Chen, press secretary, Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre