Department's park projects are pointless
I appreciate Hong Kong has many parks, however, they are often very dusty and noisy.
This is not because of road or pedestrian traffic, but because the Leisure and Cultural Services Department often digs up a pavement which is in good condition and repaves it with other material, sometimes worse than the existing one. This is probably being done to quickly spend excessive allocated funding for the fiscal year.
For example, it dug up red clay bricks at Quarry Bay Park and replaced them with large concrete bricks at the west entrance. Red clay bricks are more water permeable and do not reflect the heat as much. Now this part of the park will be more prone to water overflow and will be hotter in the summer with the big concrete bricks.
Similar unnecessary work is being done at Victoria Park and on the footbridge of the Central Library.
This work is inconvenient for people using the facilities. I had to walk a long way to find an elevator to go up to the library with my son in a stroller and had to make a detour to avoid the noise and dust at Victoria Park.
I suggest the department should spend the excess in a more productive way.
A lot more activities and classes could be offered to children and the elderly. For example, the toy library at the Central Library is very popular and it is always full at the weekends and sometimes during the week.
I am sure there is demand in every district for this service and the non-profit organisation is more than happy to work with the department to provide this service on a bigger scale.
The reason I go to the parks with my family is to enjoy a relatively quiet environment with fresh air.
It is a pity that the department, which is supposed to provide that environment, destroys it on a daily basis.
Michelle Lee, Quarry Bay
Pedestrians must stay on pavement
The picture above the report ('Police guard billionaire's family after kidnap bid', April 27) shows a mother with the child she has just collected from the English Schools Foundation Kindergarten in Stubbs Road.
Why is she walking on the road when there is an adequate pavement?
Why is her child on the more vulnerable side? And why are the two policemen, one of whom appears to be watching her without concern, not, at the very least, giving her a warning?
Sadly, this kind of irresponsible behaviour is typical of many Hong Kong pedestrians, who walk on the road or on the wrong side of a safety barrier, usually in order to shorten the distance, but sometimes for no apparent reason.
It is time to start issuing tickets to wayward pedestrians for their own safety, for the safety of their children, and in fairness to motorists.
Peter Robertson, Sai Kung
Building can be vibrant market place
Four years ago, people protested over the Urban Renewal Authority's decision to close Graham Street Market in Sheung Wan.
Although the redevelopment went ahead, judging by recent readers' letters, there is renewed interest in safeguarding our culinary traditions and market places.
Not far from Graham Street, is Bridges Street Market, which is earmarked for heritage preservation.
Earlier this year, the Development Bureau, which oversees heritage conservation, held a public engagement survey, which 'some 20 people' responded to.
While hardly a statistically significant sample size, some of the suggestions included building an exhibition of Dr Sun Yat-sen's activities (really, do we need another one?) and establishing a 'printing museum' (why?).
I urge the bureau to not only consider the educational, cultural and heritage significance of the concepts being tendered, but to also think about what would serve our community best. In this case, revive Bridges Street Market's original function by creating a modern-day market place.
It could showcase some of our gourmet traditions, promote a growing appreciation for farmers' markets and organic produce, and nurture Hong Kong's way of life and culture.
We don't need any more token museums and vainglory paeans to our past. Give us relevant concepts that are alive and green.
Mei Kwok, Sheung Wan
No-smoking rule flouted in hospital
I recently stayed in a private hospital in Kowloon Tong where I found a patient smoking in the toilet in the ward.
I promptly reported this to the hospital staff and the patient was asked to stop smoking.
I must say I was a little perturbed by the response of staff to what I thought was a very serious offence, especially as this was a hospital. I therefore went to the reception area to lodge a complaint with the most senior person on duty.
Her response was even more alarming.
She tried to reassure me that they would monitor the patient who had been smoking and if he continued and was caught three or four times they would consider reporting the incident to security personnel.
I pointed out that every few metres there were clear signs saying, 'No smoking, penalty fine of HK$5,000'.
This fell on deaf ears, with this person refusing to endorse the rules that the hospital had put in place.
She thanked me for my good suggestion to actually enforce the rule by issuing the fine as a deterrent to stop people smoking in the hospital.
Her attitude is prevalent in Hong Kong.
You see no-smoking signs in all public toilets with a warning of fixed fines.
However, despite this, the rules are not enforced and therefore do not act as an effective deterrent.
People continue to break the law knowing full well they will never be fined.
Brian Mahoney, Kwai Chung
Give Leung chance to prove himself
On April 1, a demonstration was held to protest over Leung Chun-ying's victory in the chief executive election the previous Sunday.
There were calls for him not to take up the post. I could not see any reason for supporting such a view.
Various allegations were made against Leung during the election campaign, but the same could be said of one of the other candidates, Henry Tang Ying-yen.
Critics talked of Leung's alleged communist background and this did dent his popularity. But whether or not those claims were true, they had nothing to do with the chief executive-elect's integrity.
There is no doubt that his government will face tremendous obstacles. I think we should give him a chance and see how he handles the top job.
He should only be judged once people have undertaken an in-depth analysis of his performance as chief executive and looked at different aspects of the policies he has introduced.
He needs to be given time to do the job.
Only then will we be able to judge how well he and his team are governing Hong Kong.
Lilith Ng Lee-fu, Tseung Kwan O
A smooth transition is feasible
There have been a number of news reports saying that there has been a lack of communication between the present government and chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.
There are certainly different policies with regard to the issue of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong. Leung has talked of his intention to impose zero quotas on these mainland women in private hospitals if their husbands are not Hong Kong residents. However, the present administration still allows a quota. Therefore, it is little wonder that some experts have expressed concern over the transitional period.
There has also been some discussion about whether the My Home Purchase Plan, which helps middle-class residents to own a flat, will be shelved once Leung takes over. Despite Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's public assurances it will not be scrapped, people obviously have doubts about this.
There has been no transition like this in Hong Kong, but I do not see why it should not be smooth. Any problems that do exist are surely not insurmountable.
As long as the lines of communication remain open between the two parties, there should not be any problems.
James Au Kin-pong, Lai Chi Kok