Wasteful shop packaging is not needed
I picked up a birthday cake the other day from a shop in Sai Kung.
The cake was really great, not of unduly large dimensions but, by the time it was wrapped, it might have been a three-tiered wedding cake.
I gasped as I squeezed into the bus. I lurched as I made my way to a seat.
I hid behind the box on the journey home and all the time I wondered, "Why?"
Why, in this era of environmental awareness, do we still waste our natural resources with such careless extravagance?
This shop is not alone. We received a present the other day of a delicious New Year cake. The box was enormous and heavy and made of the best quality cardboard. Goodbye, more trees.
We made our arduous way, as if penetrating a thick jungle, to find our prey.
It was not exactly a cupcake, but did it really justify the size of the box?
Would anything have justified the plunder of forests that such a wrapping represented? The short answer is no.
What do these people think they have to prove?
Have they never heard that you cannot judge a book by its cover and that good things come in small packages?
Above all, have they never heard that our resources are in real danger of running out, or are we preaching to the deaf?
But, just once more, may I send a heartfelt message to my fellow men, that I would enjoy my gift or purchase all the more if it were delivered in a packaging of more modest dimensions. It is the gift itself that counts, not the shallow pretensions that the packaging betrays.
Think of the trees, the forests, the environment, the air we breathe.
Think of the kind of world we would wish our children to inherit.
Helen Heron, Sai Kung
Tang should give auction cash to charity
Henry Tang Ying-yen is auctioning off some of his collection of Burgundy ("Tang to part with fraction of wine collection", February 6).
He says that "after all, the best wines are shared".
One hopes, then, that the profit realised on his estimated HK$29 million windfall will be donated to charities as our former finance secretary shares his wealth with the poorer citizens of a city he tells us he cares about so deeply.
I think we can all toast to that.
Mark Peaker, The Peak
Provide a timetable for suffrage talks
In his policy address, the chief executive talked about launching a "comprehensive consultation" on how the chief executive will be elected in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2016.
I do not hold out much hope with regards to the government on this issue, given that Beijing has shown no inclination to approve universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
Leung Chun-ying also talked about initiating the "constitutional procedures at an appropriate juncture". I am dismayed by those last two words.
I expected more from him, such as an actual timetable for the consultation process. If the government cannot even provide that, how can citizens have faith that it will deliver on other issues?
The administration should come up with this timetable as soon as possible. It has a legal responsibility to do so.
People want to find out what process will be used to choose their leader. Maybe we will choose the wrong one, but like other leaders who have to put their fate in the hands of the electorate, we should be allowed to learn from our mistakes.
Michelle Yuen, Sha Tin
For critics, it's time to leave Leung alone
I refer to the report ("It's no walk in the park as angry crowd mobs C. Y.", February 5) about the chief executive's visit to Victoria Park for the Lunar New Year Fair. He had to leave early because of protesters demanding his resignation.
Leung Chun-ying and his wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, were surrounded by the demonstrators for the full 15 minutes they were there, according to your report.
It marked the first time a chief executive had not been able to walk around the annual fair and make purchases at some of the stalls.
Mr Leung has not had a single day of peace since it was revealed that he had illegal structures at his home on The Peak.
I feel it is high time for him to be left alone. He should not be given such a hard time.
To protesters who spend their time mobbing him when he is making appearances in public, I say enough is enough.
I would strongly suggest they spend their time in more productive pursuits rather than making life extremely difficult for Mr Leung. I believe that if they left him alone to get on with his job, Hong Kong would be an even better place in which to live.
Eugene Li, Deep Water Bay
Setting limit on milk cans will curb traders
I refer to the report regarding parallel-goods trading ("Harsh penalties for flouting two-tin rule", February 7).
I hope the government is able to implement its legislative proposal to set the maximum number of cans of baby milk formula that can be carried across the border. I believe such a move will stem the influx of parallel traders.
The row over parallel-goods trading has intensified as many traders carrying trolleys cause blockages, especially at Sheung Shui station. This has been very inconvenient for other passengers. Also, the actions of these traders have led to shortages of formula milk products in Hong Kong.
It was wise of our administration to propose the two-tin rule and employ more officers to deal with the problem.
I also believe the Shenzhen authorities have been correct in adopting the sensible policy of introducing their own restrictions ("Shenzhen sets limits for frequent visitors", February 7).
Through the joint efforts of officials on both sides of the border, this problem can be effectively dealt with. Traders will find it difficult to make a decent profit if they can take only small quantities of milk powder across the border. This will lessen the impact of their actions on Hong Kong citizens.
However, there is always the possibility that the parallel traders will shift to other products, so the authorities should monitor the situation closely.
Cathy Li, Tsuen Wan
Parents play a part in phone addiction
I partly agree with the views of Wong Tsz-yan ("Sport can curb smartphone addiction, February 5).
I think that people who spend too much time on their smartphones indeed risk health problems, especially as they are viewing such a small screen.
However, the danger of addiction to these devices is not just affecting the younger generation. I think it also affects some adults.
When I am having a meal in a restaurant or boarding the carriage of an MTR train, I see people, young and old, concentrating on their smartphones.
More interestingly, I have even seen some parents giving a phone to their children to play with or listen to music with.
When you see that, it is hardly surprising that some children become addicted.
Parents play an important role in their children's development.
When I see the improper behaviour of youngsters in relation to smartphones, I feel it can be caused by inappropriate nurturing on the part of their parents.
It is important for these parents to realise that they should be good role models so their sons and daughters learn to appreciate the importance of practising self-discipline when it is required.
Yu Chun-leung, Tsuen Wan
Law must fight India's gender inequality
The case of the 23-year-old medical student who was gang-raped and murdered in New Delhi has called attention to the issue of women in India and why rape cases are so common in the country.
I think there is still a strong belief in India that men are superior to women. Many women are denied the rights to which they are entitled, and suffer from violence and prejudice.
Some rapists still evade justice. The penalties imposed by the courts must be tougher - if not, we are unlikely to see a long-term decline in the incidence of rape.
The government needs to enact stronger laws without delay.
While it has already approved harsher punishments for convicted rapists, including the death penalty ("Cabinet backs tougher punishment for rapists", February 3), it also needs to enact other laws which give women greater protection in terms of their rights, including their property rights.
The culture of sexual inequality has to change so that women and all citizens are considered free and equal, and so women do not have to fear for their safety.
I hope, through the tragedy of these rape cases and the ensuing public outcry, we will see India turning into a more peaceful and fairer society.
Ruby Kwok, Tsuen Wan