Q What can be done to make Hong Kong a more caring society?

It is high time more thought was given to the dormitories and ghettos designed by heartless bureaucrats and developers. Such places are prone to destroying individuals, families and living communities.

Tin Shui Wai is one bad example. New towns do not have to be like that. I have seen many mistakes in Europe, so I appreciate that Sha Tin shows how progress is possible.

Tin Shui Wai, however, would seem to be a retraction of any thought that architecture could inspire compassion. It is not just the concrete. If bright paint cannot breathe life into a cement block, social responsibility and care can.

But these ideas are in the wrong hands if they are only reaching out to one side. If the person in charge of community education at Harmony House plans to teach people in the ancillary medical care area only 'to be alert when seeing female clients with bruises ... as they might have been abused at home', it shows that Kitty Lai Man-che, co-ordinator of Harmony House, is very unsuitable for her position.

The one-sided 'caregiver' should read books by Erin Prizzey, 'mother of the women's refuge movement'. Ms Lai will see that women can be just as violent as men, especially when the money stops flowing and unemployment is a justified reason for divorce.

Social problems are not all and not only the fault of evil men.

And your reporter should learn a bit of responsibility: hate propaganda is not a solution for social problems. Male-bashing has become a great pastime for pseudo-feminists.

Fortunately, that kind of man-hater may become extinct. There is a chance that the decent majority of women will wake up and stand against the systematic destruction of family, community and love that has become the main aim of a radicalised distortion of the good feminism movement when it fought for a better existence for both men and women.

Let's hope for that good movement to be the basis for a new Tin Shui Wai.

J. Boost, Sai Kung

Q Can you have an affair with a machine?

In Castaway, Tom Hanks befriended a soccer ball with a human face drawn on it. On an isolated island, he talked to the face and shared his feelings. Having an affair with a machine is similar to this scenario.

Of course, we are not alone in society and machines we are talking to are technologically much more sophisticated. With artificial intelligence technology, we can make machines with human looks and behaviour.

However advanced our technology, machines still cannot simulate certain human qualities which are essential for developing a close and intimate relationship.

For example, a person's background plays an important role in shaping how a relationship is developed. This is the sum of what we have read, seen, learned and experienced. These qualities cannot be copied to a machine.

A machine can make decisions and conversations based on complicated computing logic, but it is unable to show an appreciation of something 'straight from the heart'. While it is possible to have machines with human looks and motions, I think an affair between I and a machine is still impossible.

Pang Shu Wing, Kwai Chung

On other matters ...

We refer to your article entitled 'Boy, 11, forced to sit alone for 2 months' in your July 26 issue on page C3.

We take great exception to the adverse remarks about some teachers of the school made by Mo Wai-ching. The remarks made by Mr Mo were so utterly unbelievable and without corroboration that obviously they were made to serve a personal ulterior purpose.

Turning to Tommy, we never said the boy had been violent towards other students. What happened was that in March, Tommy was told that as a result of incidents of his misbehaviour in school he was required as a matter of discipline - and not as punishment - to sit at a designated location in the covered playground of the school premises during recess times in March. Actually for 21 days as the school records show.

We wish to emphasise that the location where Tommy sat was within the covered playground where many other students were around and played. The location was not secluded and was accessible to everyone in the playground. Tommy was never forced to sit alone; other students in the playground could choose to sit next to him or around him if they so wished.

Three teachers were assigned to keep watch on the students, including Tommy, in the playground during recess.

The school discipline master would come along from time to time, to speak and provide counselling to those students who were subjected to discipline and required to sit at the designated location.

Tommy's movement or actions were not restrained in the manner that he was not allowed to leave his seat, move or even laugh. He was always allowed to go to the toilet or the snack shop upon notifying the teacher on duty, not to say that he must be allowed to laugh.

As to Tommy's mother Mrs Leung's grievance that 'she was kept in the dark about her son's punishment until May', this is not true. For reasons known to her and Tommy, it was not possible to reach Mrs Leung as and when the school wished.

We would like to add that the Education and Manpower Bureau has visited the school to investigate what was said in the article, and we anticipate that the outcome of the probe will be released very soon.

Tsang Shing District Citizens' Association Siu Leun School