We need an arts hub chief who knows and believes in Hong Kong
Once again an international search is under way to find a chief executive for the West Kowloon Cultural District project.
Obviously previous attempts to fill the post have fallen short, leaving those responsible for the hire sharing a good deal of egg on embarrassed faces.
Are these international search efforts really worth the time and money?
Do we look too far afield and are we too quick to assume or believe that someone from outside Hong Kong will have all the answers?
Are we trying just a bit too hard to find the 'ideal' candidate?
West Kowloon is a Hong Kong project, the results of which will, it is to be hoped, have a huge impact on our lives for years to come.
Surely there can be found among the immensely talented people of this great city a passionate individual with superior administrative and people skills who knows and believes in Hong Kong and can lead this project to success.
What is needed is an individual who will encourage those with specific expertise to come together to realise the community's aspirations and bring glory to the West Kowloon project, all this whether he or she has arts experience or not.
If the Graham Sheffield episode has taught us anything, perhaps it is that those looking for work and applying for the job are the last candidates worth looking at.
The first must surely be those among us with conviction and dedication to the project.
Richard Pontzious, founder and artistic director, Asian Youth Orchestra
Impose heavy tax on HK's air polluters
As a smoker, I am deeply touched by the Hong Kong government's concern for my health and the health of all smokers in the SAR, evidenced by another increase in the price of cigarettes.
Faced with the prospect of having to pay more for a packet of cigarettes which will rot my lungs than I would for hard liquor which will rot my liver, I will indeed be cutting down the amount I smoke, with a view to quitting altogether.
A recent University of Hong Kong study confirmed a direct link between visibility and the health impacts of air pollution, and saw deaths attributed to pollution in Hong Kong increase by nearly 300 per cent over a nine-month period during 2004-2005, from 475 to 1,740.
Therefore, I hope the government's next immediate move will be to impose similar crushing taxes, and perhaps wallet-wounding penalties as well, on all sources and producers of airborne particulates and pollution in Hong Kong.
Only 12 per cent of Hong Kong's population are smokers, but fully 100 per cent of us have to breathe the air here.
Suzanne Miao, Kennedy Town
Five-year plan can ensure greener future
Environmental pollution is a very serious social issue throughout the world.
Air pollution creates its own serious hazards. When it is particularly bad, for example, people cannot go outside to exercise.
In Hong Kong, there are additional pollution problems in our urban areas caused by excessive noise and light.
These forms of pollution are especially annoying at night.
There are residents in these neighbourhoods who have difficulty sleeping because of disturbance from too much light and noise.
For example, I know of a flat owner in Tsim Sha Tsui who complained about the problems caused by a giant LED television screen on a building.
It could be seen from all angles, and the screen was so bright it made it difficult for him to sleep. Some foreign residents are so concerned that they have even decided to return home.
In urban Hong Kong we are assailed by noise from so many sources, including traffic and shops.
There are a number of pollution problems across the border.
However, the authorities there have failed to implement any comprehensive measures to, for example, control pollution from factories by taxing them.
These plants are in many cases causing quite severe environmental damage.
As it works out its 12th five-year plan, I would like the central government to include some kind of environmental tax.
These pollution problems I have described cannot be ignored. I do hope the governments on both sides of the border will work together to solve them.
Lo Cha-lung, Tsuen Wan
Difficult questions about beggars
I refer to Jason Wordie's Out and about column in Postmagazine on February 27, in which he raised the issue of mainland beggars.
They have been plying their trade all over Hong Kong and no one seems to be doing anything about them.
I too am very curious as to why these professional beggars have been allowed so much leeway for so long.
One cannot help but notice one of them, in particular, bundled in a tattered white cloth with head wrapped in plastic bags lying conspicuously every day for months (or maybe years) on the pavement at the crossing of Pedder Street and Queen's Road Central.
Ours is a tolerant society and it should remain so; but should we not at least set up some control so that they don't become a nuisance and an eyesore, not to mention it is making a mockery of our claim to be a 'world city'?
Wordie's article contains several pertinent questions.
Like Wordie and at least a few other residents of this community, I would like some explanation from the relevant authority within our government.
C. Y. Chen, Mid-Levels
Tremendous market opportunities in Iran
The brouhaha about Iran is totally misplaced ('Business as usual for HK firms linked to Iran', February 27).
As your correspondent points out, the EU is Iran's biggest trading partner. Iran presents tremendous market opportunities that Hong Kong firms could pursue. The UN sanctions against Iran should have been vetoed by China.
What many right-wing media and politicians in the West overlook is that Israel has had nuclear weapons for many decades. So if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon - which is very unlikely - it would simply catch up with Israel.
The latter poses a much bigger threat - pursuing a dream of a greater Israel, colonising the West Bank and imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinians.
Having a nuclear Iran would counterbalance Israel's threat and avoid war in the region.
Kristiaan Helsen, Sai Kung
Government can raise levels of awareness
There is a long waiting list of patients waiting for kidney transplants.
Unfortunately, not enough kidneys are available to meet all their needs. Many Hongkongers are obviously reluctant to register as organ donors.
I think the government must work harder at education within the community, in order to raise people's levels of awareness.
They need to get the message across regarding the importance of the organ donation programme.
Li Po-yee, Sha TinTopics: Diplomatic Relations Environmental Issue Geography Hong Kong