There is some hope yet that the deadening gloom surrounding the government's next constitutional report might be lightened somewhat by the 'district council model' described in Chris Yeung's column 'Fresh winds of change' (September 21).
It is time that some bold and innovative thinking be given to the district council system so that it becomes a fertile training ground for community leaders and a source of political talent for Hong Kong.
If five new seats are to be reserved for district council members, they should be only for elected representatives, and at least one of these seats should be reserved for elected women district councillors.
This is consistent with the government's current attempt to improve the proportion of talented women in advisory bodies, which continues to be below the 25 per cent benchmark proposed some years ago.
Political parties cannot be relied on to promote and encourage women leaders to emerge without some incentives.
If at least one seat is marked for women district councillors in the Legislative Council, there could be a positive wash-back effect in the way women are encouraged to join political parties and be trained to stand for elections. This is no token gesture.
EVELYN NG, Kowloon Tong
Hit factory polluters
The lead paragraph in the article 'Graft is widening wealth gap: economist' (September 20) referred to the mainland. It could just as well have applied to Hong Kong.
The article starts: 'Collusion between officials and businesspeople has created a new class of wealthy people and contributed to the widening rich-poor gap.'
It was ever thus.
Until we get the facts behind Cyberport, Disneyland, Discovery Bay and a few other very clever real-estate deals, Hong Kong people will not be easily dissuaded from the view that we are not getting the full story. Why cannot the government legislate against factories belching out pollutants?
Yes, most of these factories are on the mainland, but they are owned by Hong Kong businessmen. If they will not toe the line, ban their products from trans-shipment through Hong Kong's container port.
The power stations are based right here in Hong Kong. They have had adequate warning. A punitive tax on pollutants could easily be imposed without the power companies passing it on to the consumers.
Yes. There is a lot the government could do - but don't hold your breath.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
Disney dedicated to staff
I am a Disney staff member of 33 years. My very first job as a dishwasher at Walt Disney World taught me the values I needed to succeed in my career, which has given me the opportunity to meet millions of park visitors from around the world.
Throughout the years, at every Disney theme park and resort, we have received the same feedback from our guests - that they return because of the outstanding service of our staffers.
Hong Kong Disneyland has been no different, even though we have been open only for a few weeks. Already, our staff are being recognised for their friendliness, smiles and willingness to help. In fact, our employees are a key reason why we get great ratings from our visitors - they make the magic happen every day.
The Disney staffer experience was important to me when I was a dishwasher, and it matters even more now when I am leading our outstanding team of 5,000-plus dreamers and doers. They are Disneyland's most important assets. They are the show.
Long-term career growth, job fulfilment, friendship, and lots of fun are what we strive to provide our staff. Always listening to them has brought about changes that mean a lot to all of us. Enhanced transport arrangements, a series of upgrades on break-room facilities, complimentary family admission to the park on non-peak days, and an all-staff celebration on Main Street USA before the park opened are some of the ideas that we have gladly implemented in this continuous cycle of communication and improvement.
Our staffers are passionate about quality, talented in entertainment, involved in the community, and are dedicated to lifting hearts and bringing smiles to faces. Any suggestion that Disneyland believes otherwise is not only an insult to our dedicated team of leaders, but the very people who work hard to provide the magic when the 'curtain' lifts every day.
DON ROBINSON, group managing director, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Why Imelda keeps wealth
How ironic that the Need To Know primer on 'Imelda and her shady fortune' (Sunday Morning Post, September 18) showed the bejewelled former first lady on the same page as the item about an estimated 20,000 Filipino children in prison.
The notorious Imelda Marcos (who predictably opposes the auction of her jewellery collection) reminds me of how, on returning to Manila from comfortable exile in 1992, she proclaimed herself the mother of her nation. Declaring her willingness to live among the country's poor, she was soon ensconced in a five-star hotel by Manila Bay, before moving into a luxury condominium.
Manila's perenially bungled attempts to retrieve the Marcoses' plundered wealth have turned people into total cynics. And yet should the aged Imelda Marcos appear at Statue Square tomorrow, she will surely be mobbed like a celebrity. Why are there still Filipinos who look up to creatures like these? Why was she elected a congresswoman some years ago, as her daughter is now, and her son made governor of their native province? Because the system of patronage that produces those feudal attitudes remains rooted in the Pinoy psyche.
I find these reports about the Marcos loot, which includes accounts set up in Hong Kong by their cronies (jealously guarded by banks here), a big yawn. Even if a fraction of that stolen wealth were recovered, Manila will undoubtedly get bogged down in even more legal tangles.
And so the mass of Filipinos, long mired in poverty, will keep on praying for deliverance (Philippine radio stations are rife with sermonising and cries for salvation and 'financial breakthroughs'). The misguided notion that prayers are the answer to our problems only shows that religion is indeed the country's opiate. They have no effect whatsoever on the Marcoses and their ilk, who get richer and fatter while continuing to live it up.
ISABEL ESCODA, Mui Wo
Subtleties of cricket
Tim Noonan ('England and Ashes - finding out what the fuss is about', Sunday Morning Post, September 18) has probably spent too much time too close to Bushville and by now has an irreversible taste for instant gratification (like seal clubbing), to be capable of understanding the subtleties of cricket.
But for a colonial, I will gladly give it the old school try. At this point, though, I shall refrain from delving into the intricacies of the game and limit the exercise to putting the essential groundwork in place.
Try thinking of cricket this way. It is to most other sports as jazz is to most other musical forms. Both cricket and jazz demand a brain - which, and here is the tricky bit, has been turned on.
Once this concept has been mastered, we can move on to learning how the game is enjoyed.
PETER BERRY, Lamma
Challenging GI 'kills'
If Garry Hunt sincerely believes that American and Iraqi soldiers only kill terrorists ('Misplaced faith in Cuba', September 24), perhaps he would like to contact me. I have several bridges for sale.
DAVID CHAPPELL, Lamma