Latecomers must learn their lesson
I refer to the letter by Elida Chiang, of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department ('Why opera latecomers were let in', March 15), replying to Brenda Scofields's letter objecting to the halting of Cosi Fan Tutte by the Bavarian State Opera ('Opera was halted for latecomers', February 28).
I, too, was at this Arts Festival performance and also thought it disgraceful that the opera was halted 30 minutes in, at a point in the story-telling which was clearly not meant to accommodate a significant break. The house lights were raised, and a very lengthy break made in the performance to allow latecomers entry, much to the confusion and disbelief of those seated.
This was not helped at all by the raising of the lights to a level which felt like this was an un-programmed or emergency intermission (has the department never heard of ushers with torches?), and by being forced to rise many times to allow these insensitive latecomers entry.
This was a serious interruption of the performance, the like of which I have never experienced before, anywhere. The fact that this pre-arranged break was thought necessary, is disrespectful to both the performers and the paying seated audience.
Why the department and festival organisers think it necessary to make such a prior arrangement is perplexing. Presumably, the rationale for this peculiar requirement is that Hong Kong audiences are simply not disciplined enough to attend performances on time. I do not know why it is that performance venues or the public need to accommodate such behaviour.
The department should educate these latecomers by making it clear on the ticket that there will be no admittance to the auditorium after commencement, until the first intermission. Latecomers who are forced to stand and watch the show on TV in the lobby will then likely pay more attention, next time, to attending on time.
Sion Edwards, Tung Chung
Single-child policy serves a purpose
I refer to the letter by Lui Sheung-yin ('One-child policy is so destructive', March 14).
Given China's already destructive and irresponsible behaviour as it is, someone is actually speaking out to allow couples to have more than one child? He points out social problems, but social problems stem from the teachings and acts of the people as a whole.
What does being allowed to have more than one child have to do with it?
He also speaks about overprotected single children. What makes him think multiple children still wouldn't be overprotected? I think until the people of China can evolve and grow with the times, the one-child policy should stay in effect.
Phil Hayashi, Happy Valley
HK a beacon of freedom under British
There has been a heated argument in the local press over the Wall Street Journal article saying Hong Kong was better under British rule.
Much of the debate has related to popular stories of drunken judges, romantic affairs with Asian beauties, and corrupt contracts.
Let us put all this into context. Hong Kong for all its faults has been a beacon on the hill for many people in Asia, not only the Chinese.
This can be seen by the flood of refugees who have sought refuge in Hong Kong over a period of around 140 years. Some famous people who came here were Sun Yat-sen, Ho Chi Minh, Jose Rizal and many others before Tiananmen Square.
Hong Kong was the only place in Asia where the rule of law was applied equally and freedom of speech respected.
Again, in regard to the question of whether Hong Kong was better under the British, the last governor Chris Patten has been missed by Hong Kong people and they queued for hours to get him to sign a book he had written. This will give readers a clue to the underlying truth of the question.
Stephen Anderson, Macau
A healthy diet is so important
In recent years, many adverts have appeared promoting various slimming treatments.
This has influenced many women and, consequently, some of them are underweight.
Young women are heavily influenced by the pictures they see of scantily clad models in these ads. Many of them idolise the celebrities who also feature in the ads. They often care more about trying to look thin and do not realise they could be risking their health.
They are also influenced by peer pressure, and members of young women's peer groups should act responsibly.
Young women who are dieting must be made to realise that extreme weight loss can be bad for them in health terms and may lead to complications and diseases such as anorexia.
They must try and stick to a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
They should also think about inner beauty and appreciate that it is more important than outer beauty.
They should always aim for a moderate lifestyle and eating habits.
Tsang Yuen-tung, Sha Tin
Prepare now for ageing population
The government must deal with the pressing problem of Hong Kong's ageing population.
The SAR's medical bill will increase with more people living longer.
The government must get ready for this in advance through the correct allocation of resources, for example, in the field of education.
Also, to ensure we have a productive workforce, the administration should try to encourage more couples to start a family by increasing the child allowance for families.
If the government does not make adequate preparations to deal with Hong Kong's ageing population, it will face serious problems in the future.
Kellie Yip, Lok Fu
Act now to deal with shortage
I strongly agree with the legislator and lawyer Audrey Eu Yuet-mee that the shortage of judges is a cause for concern ('Shortage of judges a worrying trend', March 15).
Magistrates' courts hear a wide range of offences and we should have enough magistrates to deal with all the cases that appear before them.
Given the shortage of judges, magistrates face a heavy workload.
Because of their tough schedule, they are under a lot of pressure and it is difficult for them to strike the right balance. Magistrates in other jurisdictions could also be similarly stressed.
According to statistics cited in your editorial, in Hong Kong, the 'the average waiting time for a criminal case to be heard in the High Court rose to 53 days last year from 50 in 2010, and for a civil case to 117 days from 89 days in 2010'.
If more magistrates are brought on board, this will help reduce the waiting time for cases to come to court.
The government needs to allocate more funds for the training of legal professionals who could sit as judges, and encourage more people who are suitably qualified to consider becoming judges.
Plans to build more court space will help, but courts take time to build and the shortage of qualified personnel has to be dealt with now.
Fung Tsz-ying, Sha Tin
Police must crack down on speeding
I have great respect for the police in Hong Kong and think they and the civil service in general set a very high standard.
At the same time, I believe that speeding laws on the roads and highways are not enforced very well.
Along Pok Fu Lam Road between Kennedy Town and Aberdeen, speeding is endemic. Most taxis travel at 70-90km/h in the 50km/h zones, as do many minibuses and private cars.
A few times a year, there are speed traps, but nearly everybody knows where they are and slow down on the day.
There is little point in speeding because the traffic lights stop most of the traffic most of the time. There are danger spots throughout that area, and of course all over Hong Kong.
I would strongly favour a regime here similar to that in Australia, where as a guest there I have seen zero tolerance for speeding and police often randomly check using radar guns without big roadblocks. We'd all be much safer and not waste any more time if we travelled at rigorously enforced speed limits.
Toby Marion, Pok Fu Lam