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NOVEMBER 24, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 46 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Letters
Endangered Eating: 'Education is all-important. In Hong Kong, a survey found that about 80% of respondents said they would either cut down or stop eating a species of fish if they knew it was threatened.' — Oct. 27

The Cantonese have a saying: "We eat everything on the ground with four legs except tables and chairs. We eat everything in the sky except airplanes." Although this is a little exaggerated, it shows how diversified Cantonese cuisine is. People in Hong Kong enjoy eating expensive shark fin, abalone and sea-cucumber. Facai (black moss) is an inalienable part of Chinese New Year.

As you said in "More Than We Can Chew" [ARTS & SCIENCES, Oct. 27], people eat these dishes just for luck, and I think, partly to show off. These foods are of low nutritional value and have little taste of their own. I believe people will eat them less if they are informed that they are "contributing to the extinction of a species."

Shouldn't this be the job of the government? Tell people how foolish they are eating expensive foods which are of low nutritional value and, at the same time, that they are eating up the environment. A large campaign can be launched, volunteers sent to schools to promote the idea. This would surely work, just like the anti-smoking campaigns, which are very successful. Why not try? On the other hand, heavy taxes can be imposed on the sale of live reef fish and restrictions applied to vendors of them.

The Hong Kong government should try harder to deal with the environmental problem and, most importantly, educate people on environmental protection. Don't be passive. China has already forbidden the exploitation of facai. The Taiwan government has excluded facai from official functions. What are we waiting for?
Chong Man Kai
North Point
Hong Kong

Japan's New Generation

Your SPECIAL REPORT shows that Japan's attitude has actually changed very little on what really matters ["Japan's New Attitude," Oct. 20]. A mini-renaissance that socially emancipates the Japanese is a pretty idea, but since it won't break the political stranglehold on private enterprise, fails to tear down the bureaucracy that chokes the country's economy, and can't fix the poor corporate governance that shackles shareholder value, will it really make the people freer? Or just more complacent?
Matt Zobian
Reading
Pennsylvania


Forget Japan's old-line politicians, your story says. Well, most of us forgot about them years ago. We prefer to focus on the elusive bureaucrat, the real source of inertia, or lack of it. Unless that new generation can get inside the bureaucratic circles, it will be failing in a very true cause.
Timothy R. McCabe
Nagano
Japan


Crash in Taipei

I am angry about the way Taipei aviation authorities handled the aftermath of the crash of a Singapore Airlines plane ["After the Crash," BUSINESS, Nov. 17]. They have apparently made the pilot and copilots scapegoats with a view to avoiding their own responsibilities. How could a Taiwan investigator hint at the prosecution of the pilots for manslaughter before commencing an investigation? It is also unacceptable for them to reach a conclusion about what happened after making a rough preliminary investigation for only two to three days. Have they investigated the underlying reason for the airliner turning on to the wrong runway and the role of airport control in the accident?

The attitude of the Taipei authorities will only draw suspicion from their counterparts elsewhere. Now, all airline pilots will feel undue pressure when landing and taking off at Taipei. I am also disappointed by the attitude of the management of Singapore Airlines, which appeared to hastily accept the unconvincing findings of the preliminary investigation.
Bill Cheung
Hong Kong


Last Days of the Rajas

The main reason for the fairy tale and its ending in "End of the Royal Fairy Tale" [BOOKS, Oct. 27] lies in British rule of all India for more than 150 years and Mughal rule for 360 years of most of India. In both cases, the royal families were treated well. Most supported the British and Mughals merely to keep themselves enthroned. The rajas were left untouched despite demands for independence, self-rule and decolonization elsewhere. When the British left the problem was viewed suddenly as a new case.
K. Ravindran
Singapore


CORRECTION

We misstated Adam Schwarz's relationship with AsiaWise.com in BUSINESS BUZZ [Nov. 17]. Schwarz resigned from AsiaWise.com on Nov. 1. We regret the error — The Editors

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