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Students' Good Work

Students’ Good Work published on Opinion Page of SCMP 
Take a look at your schoolmate's work and learn from them!
 
The links here are the good work in the past years:

 

Below are the good work for 2016-2017:

SCMP July 12, 2017
Joyce Tsang 2D

Teens need more places to play sports
 
During the summer, there are not enough places where teenagers can relax and have fun exercising.
 
They are too old for playgrounds, which in Hong Kong are designed for young children.
 
Many of them would enjoy playing games like tennis or badminton, but the courts are normally fully booked and it is difficult to get a game.
 
Even basketball courts, which are found all over the city, are often full when teenagers want to have a game.
 
The government has to recognise there is a problem and build more sports facilities, so that youngsters can get some exercise instead of spending all their spare time at home on their smartphones and computers.
 
Tsang Kai-yuet, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 11, 2017
Karen Chan 5B

Local books are no longer very popular
 
Local print versions of books are under threat. I think local writers find it increasingly difficult to get their work published.
 
More people are now buying e-books. These are more convenient as they can be stored in tablets and on smartphones, and be read them anywhere.
 
I understand why they are so popular, but I hope that people will still buy the print versions of local books.
 
Whenever I am in a bookshop, I generally only see books from abroad, rather than material that has been printed locally.
 
This also applies to other aspects of culture. For example, K-pop is very popular here. Many youngsters are so keen on K-pop stars that they would rather listen to them than buy a new book and read it.
 
They may only buy a book if they have seen a movie that is adapted from a novel. However, few home-grown writers have their work adapted for the big screen.
 
I hope we will eventually see a revival of local books.
 
Karen Chan, Hang Hau

SCMP July 11, 2017
Icy Po 1C

Interesting playgrounds are feasible
 
Hong Kong has a lot of parks and playgrounds, but many of these are boring and not stimulating for older children.
 
Parents have complained about this time and again, saying their children do not enjoy these playgrounds and that, as they get older, they get easily bored by them.
 
I think the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department needs to listen to these parents and act on their suggestions, so that parks and playgrounds are made more ¬interesting for children.
 
A lot of the facilities at playgrounds tend to be very old. And yet, officials don’t appear to have any intention to ¬modernise the facilities and have more up-to-date equipment that children can enjoy.
 
Even if improvements are made, officials must ensure that any new equipment, as well as being more interesting, is also safe, so as to minimise accidents in these parks. Safety should always be a priority in playgrounds in Hong Kong.
 
I think it is possible, with the right planning, to ensure that parks have new facilities and are also safe to use. Experts can easily give the right advice to the¬ ¬department.
 
There are playgrounds in other countries where modern equipment has been installed.
 
Icy Po, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 10, 2017
Teresa Ng 4B

Robots will be too pricey for many firms
 
It has been predicted that with robot technology developing at a rapid pace, robots will take over more jobs.
 
I think this could happen and in some sectors this could lead to high levels of unemployment. But many firms might hold back from greater automation, as the cost of coversion and associated overheads are so high.
 
While I can see some jobs being lost, I do not see robots replacing a lot of people in the workplace in the near future. As with all new technology, there is an upside and a downside to advances in robot technology.
 
Teresa Ng, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 10, 2017
Bobo Man 5A

Playgrounds should always stimulate kids
 
I agree with correspondents who have called for more interesting playgrounds to be designed in Hong Kong.
 
If the city’s playgrounds fail to attract children because they are dull, they do not serve their intended purpose.
 
New playgrounds must be creative and those already built should be subject to regular improvements so they meet the needs of children.
 
They need to be places that boys and girls find stimulating and fun to use.
 
Bobo Man Siu-ying, Tiu Keng Leng

SCMP July 09, 2017
Marco Kwan 4E

Selfish Gobee bike users give city a bad name
 
I think that the bike-sharing app Gobee, which provides a platform for people to ride together, can strengthen our bonds with friends and family. It is also very convenient, as riders can get and park the bike anywhere they want, as long as there is a bicycle stand. This is more convenient than renting from a bike shop.
 
However, some Gobee bikes were found thrown into the Shing Mun River, or even left at some country parks. Such users are selfish indeed. Such misbehaviour caused the founder of Gobee bike, Raphael Cohen, to say he felt disheartened. Incidents like this seriously damage the image of Hong Kong people, giving the impression that they lack civic awareness.
 
Marco Kwan, Hang Hau

SCMP July 09, 2017
Spencer Lee 5B

Allow children to learn from their mistakes
 
I agree that parents should be vigilant over smartphone use by children.
 
Setting a time limit and laying down some rules on gadget use by children can help to prevent them from becoming addicted to their smartphones.
 
However, constant monitoring by parents may cause young children to lose their capacity for self-control and independent, critical thought.
 
When it comes to disciplining children, I believe parents should offer them more freedoms, as this is essential for their personal growth.
 
Children must learn to deal with failure and the consequences of their actions, not just follow rules blindly without weighing how these affect their lives and future development.
 
Spencer Lee Hiu-ming, Sau Mau Ping

SCMP July 09, 2017
Shirley Lee 5A

Traditional city businesses lack edge to succeed
 
I refer to the debate over whether the Hong Kong government should help preserve local traditional businesses.
 
I believe such measures cannot strike at the root of the problem. Some local traditional businesses are being eliminated because they lack competitiveness. They are usually small and independent, and so lack the economy of scale. So their prices are higher than those of big firms and less attractive to buyers.
 
Government measures are unlikely to help resolve this situation. Resources can be put to better use in sectors like the economy and technology, which can increase Hong Kong’s gross domestic product and its global economic ranking.
 
Both Singapore and Hong Kong are among the four Asian tigers. In 2000, Hong Kong had the higher GDP, but Singapore is now ahead. The Straits Times says the reason is the Singapore government’s decision to have “new economy” sectors like ¬e-commerce and data technologies to replace ¬traditional businesses. This proves that preserving traditional businesses would not help the development of Hong Kong. We should move with the times and make the best use of our resources.
 
Shirley Lee, Hang Hau

SCMP July 08, 2017
Benson Wong 4A

Vigilance is essential with online dating
 
With advances in technology and the growth of the digital world, it seems only natural that online dating is becoming more popular.
 
However, people need to be more aware of the possible risks involved in using some of these websites. If cybercriminals have access to a dating website where people have provided personal information, such as bank ¬account and ID card numbers, that data could be stolen. This could lead to them losing money.
 
If we all try to be more careful we can help to curb cybercrime. On dating websites, people must think twice before providing a potential date with, for example, your full name.
 
Also, if you are arranging to meet for the first time someone whom you have been touch with online, you should arrange for that first meeting to be in a ¬public place. And you should ensure you know something about them, such as their name and age.
 
The priority for all internet users is to protect their privacy at all times, so they do not become victims of online theft.
 
Benson Wong Tat-hin,Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 08, 2017
Janice Chan 4B

Timetable can curb overuse of smartphones
 
Millions of people around the world, especially teenagers, cannot imagine life without their smartphones.
 
You see so many teenagers in Hong Kong looking at their smartphones all the time. While these devices can be very useful, youngsters have to realise the health risks from overuse. Spending long periods staring at such a small screen can cause eye strain.
 
I am also concerned about people of all ages who go out for meals with relatives and friends but ignore them, concentrating on their smartphones instead.
 
Youngsters need to exercise some form of time management and create a timetable for all their planned daily activities, including for using their mobile phones.
 
Parents must also teach their children not to play too many games on their smartphones.
 
Chan Sum-kiu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 08, 2017
Rainbow Or 3B

Talking is far better than sabre-rattling
 
Following the response by the US and Seoul to North Korea’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (“Seoul, US in missile tit-for-tat with North”, July 6), I agree with the stand taken by China and Russia.
 
Beijing and Moscow want to solve the North Korean missile crisis through negotiations involving the relevant parties.
 
I can understand why some countries are disconcerted by Pyongyang testing a long-range ballistic missile which could reach Alaska.
 
The missile drills by the US and South Korea were tantamount to provocation. If a ¬conflict were to break out, many innocent civilians would die. I realise that an ambitious North Korea wants to develop more advanced weapons. However, it must realise the negative impact this has on other countries which then see it as a threat.
 
They, too, will increase the production of high-tech weapons. The fear is that a conflict could escalate to a point where nuclear weapons were used.
 
This is why all sides must seek a solution through negotiations. There is no guarantee of success, but history has shown that sitting down at a table and talking can avert war. Negotiations helped defuse the Cuban missile crisis.
 
Rainbow Or, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 07, 2017
Kevin Lee 2B

Light pollution has reached serious levels
 
There has been a downside to the rapid development of Hong Kong, including higher levels of light pollution.
 
We are seeing ever more and larger shopping malls. They have brightly lit advertising hoardings on their external walls to draw passing pedestrians. If the lights are too bright, some nearby residents will have trouble getting to sleep.
 
When I returned to Hong Kong after studying for a few years in Canada, I was taken aback by the bright lights from these walls and they actually hurt my eyes. This brought home to me how serious the light pollution problem is here.
 
I hope that measures can be taken to deal with this problem. The government must introduce legislation to limit the time that malls and shops can keep their bright exterior lights on.
 
For example, the strongest lighting should be switched off between 10pm and 6am. Malls and shops should also introduce voluntary -measures to cut pollution levels.
 
What is needed above all is cooperation between citizens and the government.
 
Kevin Lee, Hang Hau

SCMP July 07, 2017
Wing Li 4A

Students must get news from diverse outlets
 
It is common to find students obtaining information from a specific media outlet, such as a single newspaper or television news programme.
 
They may find this convenient, but it is not ideal. It can limit their perceptions and slow down the development of their critical thinking skills.
 
If they just access a single news source, it is difficult for them to be objective, as some sources will distort the news and this is counterproductive for youngsters.
 
That manipulation may be quite subtle and imperceptible, which is very bad for young people, as they may not be able to recognise this.
 
The whole point of liberal studies is to help young people develop critical and independent thinking skills. Therefore, I think that students should read widely, including international and local media.
 
This enables them to read about many different opinions and acquire all-round information. This can help them think in a wide-ranging way about a social issue that they are studying in school.
 
Wing Li, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 07, 2017
Louis Fung 4B

Public housing supply has to be increased
 
I agree with correspondents who have called on the government to substantially increase its provision of flats in public housing estates.
 
It is essential that a lot more of these flats are built, because the long waiting lists for public housing clearly show that there are not nearly enough of these flats available.
 
We still have many citizens who cannot afford to own an apartment and cannot even dream of paying the high rents charged for private flats.
 
The rise in the number of street sleepers highlights how serious the housing problem is in Hong Kong, with some people being forced out of unaffordable homes or subdivided units and ending up sleeping rough.
 
If we want to make Hong Kong a better city, much more must be done to help these homeless people, or at least ensure that they are housed in proper shelters.
 
Louis Fung Lam-lap, Sau Mau Ping

SCMP July 07, 2017
Anson Lam 2B

So much waste created by new smartphones
 
Whenever a prominent technology giant like Apple brings out a new version of its smartphone, many well-off Hongkongers will flock to stores to buy it.
 
Some will queue overnight, so they can get the phone as soon as possible and show it off to friends. But each time a new model is introduced, such fans of novelty need to think of the wider implications and ask themselves if they really need it.
 
I understand if the smartphone they already have has stopped working and must be replaced, but generally this is not the case. If the old model is recycled and reused, then that is fine, but if it is not, then it generates so much waste.
 
We need to get back to the attitude people had when I was young. You did not replace an electronic device until it was necessary because it was faulty or not working at all.
 
The mindset of so many, that they must buy something just because it is new, is misguided. They blindly follow a trend but this is pointless, especially if the new device is not much of an improvement on the old one and costs a lot more as well.
 
We all need to be less wasteful when it comes to electronic devices. We should be using technology to improve our lives, not become slaves to it.
 
Anson Lam, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 06, 2017
Mandy Hui 1A

Carrie Lam must win trust of youngsters
 
I wonder what we can expect of our new chief executive.
 
I think that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will have to learn how to win the trust of young people, and it will not be easy. She needs to understand that for youngsters, while having a decent place to live and job ¬opportunities are important, they also care about ideals.
 
Now that she is chief executive, Lam will have to give up her civil service mentality. Her role is very different from when she was chief secretary – and she needs to realise this. She is ¬expected not just to formulate policies, but lead the people, and instil hope and ¬confidence in the future of the city. I hope this is the start of a new era.
 
Mandy Hui, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 03, 2017
Cam Cheung 4D

Bureau must listen to voices of students
 
The older generation thinks that today’s student are too weak and cannot deal with stress and so some take their own lives.
 
However, I do not think that is the case. The demands on young people are greater than for previous generations. Now, if you want to get even a fairly good job, you need to have a university degree. This is due to changes in the economy and society. Without that degree, your prospects are limited.
 
Parents and schools realise this and so they push young people to do well academically. This increases the pressure and can lead to depression.
 
Too often, students’ views are ignored, their voices are not heard. The Education Bureau has to listen to their grievances and their wishes. They want the chance to enjoy their childhood and their school life, without endless tests and so much pressure.
 
Citizens need to appreciate the stress levels of young people caused by this flawed education system.
 
Cam Cheung Hang- yi, Hang Hau

SCMP July 02, 2017
Peter Tam 4A

Higher wages not all good news for jobs
 
The statutory minimum wage has been in force in Hong Kong since May 1, 2011. On May 1 this year, the rate was raised from HK$32.50 per hour to $34.50.
 
Although the HK$2 hike in the hourly wage rate would mean a higher salary for time-rate workers, there could be some negative effects.
 
The hike may see more ¬people unemployed, as local enterprises or services industry firms may hire fewer workers or sack others in order to avoid a hike in the cost of production.
 
Low-skilled teenagers will also find it hard to find work, as employers would prefer experienced and skilled workers if they had to pay the minimum wage.
 
Peter Tam, Po Lam

SCMP July 02, 2017
Phoebe Fok 5E

More places in university will boost growth
 
I agree with correspondents who say teenagers in Hong Kong face a lot of stress. I think the main reason for this is the lack of university places. The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education adds to the pressure, as most parents want their children to do very well and so gain an entry ticket to university.
 
In earlier days, students were under less pressure because most of them could find a job even if they were not academically bright. However, with Hong Kong becoming a knowledge-based economy, more and more companies only want to hire university graduates. This makes people think that, without a good DSE result, they may never find a good job. This is why students keep practising past papers like machines, without gaining true knowledge, hoping this will bring them good grades.
 
If the government wants the city to keep developing, it should first introduce more university places, not only for ¬students but also for society at large. Take the shortage of doctors and nurses, for example. If we increase places, we will not need to ¬import foreign labour.
 
The government should also put more effort into reforming the educational system, letting students be more creative and explore different ideas, in order to create an innovative society.
 
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 02, 2017
Judy Fung 2C

Buying to beat stress only creates clutter
 
I refer to the letter from Ip Sing-leong (“Shopping not best way to beat stress”, May 31).
 
People nowadays lack self-control and keep on buying things they may not ever need. They just think that the excitement of shopping is the most suitable “solution” for them to deal with their stress.
 
Apart from clothes that they don’t really need, people may also be drawn to attractive small furnishings and buy them without thinking, as it may help them forget their depression for a while. But all this only adds to the clutter in their homes.
 
Exercising is a much more effective way to relieve stress, ¬listening to music is another.
 
Urban living sees everyone suffer some form of stress, students in particular. Instead of increasing the amount of rubbish at home, we should do the things that will actually lighten our mental burden.
 
Judy Fung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 30, 2017
Oliver Lam 2A

SCMP June 30, 2017
William Law 3B

SCMP June 29, 2017
Laurant Li 4A

SCMP June 28, 2017
Kathleen Kong 6C

SCMP June 27, 2017
Patrick Leung 3B

SCMP June 27, 2017
Jocelly Tse 4B

SCMP June 26, 2017
Kassandra Wong 5E

SCMP June 24, 2017
Priscilla Ko 5B

Hong Kong’s pressured students need to know that learning is not about test scores
 
I am writing in response to the article on rising mental pressure on young students (“Hong Kong children suffer greater mental stress and parents can’t cope”, June 11).
 
Being a senior secondary student in Hong Kong, I strongly agree that youngsters today are extremely stressed out. The heavy workload, tutorial classes and stress from exams are putting unbearable pressure on us.
 
Indeed, parental pressure is a pivotal cause , but I think many of them have started lowering their expectations for their children because of the rapid increase in student suicides.
 
In many cases, the stress actually comes from the students themselves. With elitism driving society and given today’s low social mobility, many students are afraid they will be the lowest class of the society in the future, if they are not always the best students in class now. Besides, with the increasing number of foreign or mainland students coming to Hong Kong, the fierce competition between peers also makes a lot of students panic.
 
Simultaneously, it seems a comprehensive child health policy and a children’s commission are low priorities for the government, while the demand for psychological support services for students has been steadily rising.
 
I hope the government can enhance the support services for troubled teenagers. For example, more psychiatric clinics should be set up to provide the consultancy services our stressed-out students need. Publicity through TV campaigns and organised talks could convey the correct message to students – and parents – that “learning is more than scores”.
 
As for parents, it will be good if they can encourage their children, rather than simply blame them or force them to fulfil unrealistically high expectations.
 
As a student in Hong Kong, I can see clearly the pressure others like me are under. It is hoped we can get more help.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post June 23, 2017
Anson Chow 2D

SCMP June 21, 2017
Dennis Fan 4A

SCMP June 20, 2017
Cathy Yuen 4E

SCMP June 19, 2017
Peter Tam 4A

SCMP June 19, 2017
Tony Tam 1C

SCMP June 18, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

School bullies need to be counselled, too
 
Bullying at school has become particularly serious in recent years.
 
In fact, bullying in schools is a real threat to society. It would be our great loss if we do not resolve the problem and educate our youth well.
 
For the victims, studying in such an intimidating environment affects their focus on their studies and they even will consider going to school to be a torture. As a result, they lose confidence in the world, regard themselves as failures and become unable to counter any difficulties.
 
As for the bullies, since they are used to resorting to violence, they are more likely to commit violent crimes in the future.
 
Social worker counselling can help the victims overcome their issues but it’s the bullies as the root of the problem who need to change their ways. If we can correct their twisted views, we may not have any victims to worry about.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 17, 2017
Suki Lee 4A

Help elderly cope with housing costs
 
Hong Kong is dealing with an ageing population.
 
The government has introduced policies to help the elderly, including the construction of purpose-built housing units. While this may appear to be a good idea, many old folk are living below the poverty line.
 
If they are given one of these units, they simply do not have the financial resources to live in them. They cannot afford the management fees, rates or utilities, in addition to having enough money for food.
 
To survive, some of these people still have to go out in the morning and collect cardboard to sell to recyclers.
 
When old folk are offered a unit, but cannot afford the expenses because their income is so low, they must be provided with the necessary subsidies to cover costs, such as management fees and food.
 
Suki Lee, Hang Hau

SCMP June 16, 2017
Priscilla Ko 5B

Regulate the sale of breast milk online
 
In recent years, more women on the mainland have been selling excess breast milk online (“Chinese mums cash in on latest and lucrative craze: selling surplus breast milk”, June 7).
 
This practice has drawbacks. Babies being fed this milk may be at risk as there is no quality control. The buyers know nothing about the mother who is selling it online and if, for example, she has an infectious disease that could be carried in the milk. The quality of the milk may deteriorate in transit, especially during the hot summer months, so the food safety aspect should be a huge concern to the authorities.
 
Also, there have been scandals of criminals selling fake or tainted food. I am also worried that mothers from poor families might sell all their breast milk, leaving their babies deprived of it and having to depend on milk formula instead.
 
However, it does have some advantages. Some mothers may not be able to breastfeed for health reasons and so this would give them access to breast milk. And if some poor mothers had excess milk, it would bring them much-needed income.
 
The business of buying and selling breast milk online should be regulated by the government, so that everything is above board and the milk is safe.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 14, 2017
Kitty Lui 4B

SCMP June 14, 2017
Tom Poon 4D

SCMP June 13, 2017
Tim Cheung 5E

SCMP June 13, 2017
Louis Fung 2B

SCMP June 13, 2017
Lynette Tang 4E

SCMP June 12, 2017
Sam Kam 5C

SCMP June 11, 2017
Bobo Man 5A

Have fun, but also study hard at university
 
Now that the Diploma of Secondary Education exam is over, many students who worked hard will be looking forward to university.
 
They and their parents probably have very high expectations of learning a lot, getting a good degree and then starting a promising career.
 
However, as some correspondents have pointed out, some youngsters have to endure such a gruelling schedule with long hours during their school years that their love of learning has been killed off.
 
They have worked so hard to get an undergraduate place that now they want to have fun. It is as if they have already achieved their goals, when instead, they should be drawing up a new set of goals as they begin their degree programme.
 
I remember one of my teachers telling me she saw university as the real starting point in her life. The rote learning at school had ended and now she could learn subjects that really interested her in her own way. It inspired me to want to get to university and study hard.
 
I urge youngsters about to start their degrees to enjoy themselves and have some fun. But, you should also put a lot of effort into your studies and you will find it a rewarding experience.
 
Bobo Man Siu-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 11, 2017
Kassandra Wong 5E

We should not forget sacrifice students made
 
As a student, I appreciate the spirit shown by the students during the events that were brought to a head on June 4, 1989. They risked arrest and even death, but continued to bravely express their discontent towards the Chinese government. They were persistent in their fight for democracy.
 
Their actions show us the need to keep criticising the central government over what happened on June 4. But, it is not satisfactory if all we do is criticise. Rather than wasting time just criticising, we need to try to change our world and ensure history does not repeat itself.
 
Hongkongers need to pay attention to what is happening in our society. Students here should keep fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy. And we need to reflect on the city’s future.
 
Looking back on what happened in 1989, I hope that history will not repeat itself.
 
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 10, 2017
Jason Ng 3A

Proposed travel ban is un-American
 
I support the decision of federal courts in the US to rule against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travellers from some Muslim majority countries.
 
Trump says he is trying to protect the American people from terrorism, but critics believe it is an attack on Muslims.
 
Such a ban, if implemented, would undermine the protection of human rights and respect for people of different beliefs that have been part of the culture of the US since its foundation as a nation state. Also, this executive order is an act of religious discrimination.
 
Jason Ng, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post June 09, 2017
Haley Yu 3D

SCMP June 09, 2017
Thomas Wong 4A

SCMP June 09, 2017
Daniel Hui 4A

SCMP June 09, 2017
Bryan Wong 2C

SCMP June 08, 2017
Victor Kwok 2C

SCMP June 08, 2017
Cindy Wong 4A

SCMP June 07, 2017
Oscar Au Yeung 4B

SCMP June 07, 2017
Ada Yeung 2C

SCMP June 07, 2017
Miki Hui 4B

SCMP June 07, 2017
Katherine Chan 2C

SCMP June 06, 2017
Walter Chong 4B

SCMP June 06, 2017
Teresa Ng 4B

SCMP June 04, 2017
Suki Lee 4A

Subdivided flats are no place to live
 
Nowadays, there are still many citizens living miserably in subdivided flats because housing prices are high and they simply cannot afford their own home.
 
To solve the housing problem, some may suggest the government solves it by legitimising subdivided flats. But that is hardly the solution.
 
Illegal subdivided flats are not safe and cannot meet basic building standards. The material used to divide the room is wood, increasing the fire hazard.
 
The quality of life in these crowded flats is non-existent. The ventilation is poor and there is the hygiene problem of sharing the same kitchen equipment and toilet.
 
Too many of these flats exist because it is difficult for the authorities to check without permission from the tenant, so the problem of safety persists, not to mention the undignified way of life.
 
Suki Lee, Hang Hau

SCMP June 04, 2017
Zoe Chung 4A

Implement safety net for the elderly
 
Universal retirement protection has been debated for more than 15 years.
 
Some in society are opposed to supporting the elderly, while others say they must be helped as recognition for their contributions to building Hong Kong. In my opinion, everyone should help support the lives of old people.
 
Without the help of those who are now senior citizens, Hong Kong could not have developed from a fishing village into an international metropolis. It is a must that we support their lives in retirement.
 
Besides, many old people are not supported by their children. The government says about 40 per cent of the elderly are not supported by their children. Universal retirement protection should be implemented without delay to guarantee basic dignity in old age.
 
The government must also implement measures to combat the impact on our economy of an ageing population and its consequences of a shrinking labour force and lower tax revenue.
 
Zoe Chung Ka-man, Po Lam

SCMP June 04, 2017
Carly Fung 4A

Greying society should not be ignored
 
The problem of an ageing population is a serious issue for all citizens and the chief executive and Legco must tackle it as a priority. It’s a an issue that will have a negative impact on Hong Kong’s development as it adds a financial burden to the government such as through higher health-care costs and decreasing tax revenue.
 
Many people believe the government should provide more resources to the elderly since they have contributed a lot to Hong Kong throughout their lives. Social security, universal retirement protection and medical support are all issues to which the government should give sympathetic consideration.
 
If there are more elderly in Hong Kong, more resources need to be allocated to care for them. Meanwhile, less tax is collected by the government and so there is a limit to the budget.
 
The birth rate is also decreasing, therefore the government should act. Having longer paid maternity and paternity leave and including kindergarten in the free education system, as ¬incentives for couples to start a family, would help.
 
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP June 03, 2017
Anson Chan 4A

Housing and land problems must be solved
 
I agree with David Akers-Jones and his advice to the chief executive-elect (“Ex-chief secretary Akers-Jones urges Carrie Lam to get tough on land use”, May 21).
 
Our housing problems and shortage of land are the two biggest challenges faced by the present government and, unfortunately, it has failed to deal with them effectively.
 
The next administration must get the views of citizens and what they really want before it implements new policies. Solutions to the housing and land problems must be found.
 
Lam’s government will also have to deal with the problem of an ageing population. Many people have called for a universal retirement scheme, but I have doubts, if working people were charged higher -taxes to pay for it.
 
The city does face a lot of problems, but I hope that the new government will be able to tackle them.
 
Anson Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post June 02, 2017
Trisha Tobar 3D

SCMP June 01, 2017
Benson Wong 4A

SCMP June 01, 2017
Samuel Yu 4A

SCMP May 31, 2017
Yuki Tsoi 3D

SCMP May 30, 2017
Simon Chung 4A

‘Heads-down’ tribe common sight in city
 
Whenever I am walking around Hong Kong I see so many people on the streets, with their heads down, looking at their smartphones. And it is the same on our public transport network. The “heads-down” tribe is a global phenomenon.
 
However, people need to be aware of the health issues related to overuse of these devices.
 
I can understand why many people spend a lot of time on them as they are so convenient and more functions keep getting added to them by smartphone makers.
 
However, we should not rely on them so much, especially for -information, when we should be trying to fall back on our own memories.
 
Also, people need to recognise the importance of face-to-face communication and not rely on social network sites to keep in touch with friends.
 
People need to be wary of smartphone addiction and the risks it poses.
 
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

SCMP May 29, 2017
Samuel Cheng 4A

SCMP May 28, 2017
Anson Sin 5E

Video game players are not all losers
 
I am disappointed about the lack of support for e-sport talent in Hong Kong.
 
At this time of year, most students sitting the Diploma of Secondary Education have finished all the subjects and wait for the results. Most think a great result can guarantee their future but some teenagers disagree.
 
Most Hongkongers, including the government, would believe young people who play video games are wasting their time and they should read a book instead. In fact, in some countries universities have their own degree courses in e-sports but the Hong Kong government has never offered any resources.
 
If their competitive talents are not supported by their parents or the government, how can they be successful?
 
The government is controlled by people who are out of touch. Hong Kong might be a financial hub with impressive skyscrapers but it lags in the international arena in other areas because of old and ¬stubborn politicians.
 
Anson Sin, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP May 27, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

Sex education for teenagers still inadequate
 
I am concerned about the number of adolescents contracting HIV/Aids, teenage girls becoming unmarried mothers and the rise in the number of youngsters having sex while they are still minors.
 
The main problem is that these young people are experimenting with sex while they are still emotionally immature.
 
It needs to be explained to them that having sexual experiences at such an early age can have serious consequences for them.
 
However, they are not getting the help and advice they need, because sex education in schools is inadequate.
 
This state of affairs has existed for decades and there has been no significant improvement.
 
So, often, curious teenagers go to the media and the internet to learn more about sex. This leads to them being misinformed and reading material that is inappropriate. They may even come into contact with pornographic material. As a consequence, they do not learn to adopt a responsible attitude towards sex.
 
Also, Western cultural influences can sometimes be negative. Some youngsters may erroneously think that engaging in sex is a sign of maturity and individualism. And, because they are immature, they have misconceptions about sex. Sex education for youngsters must be improved.
 
Teachers and parents must have open and frank discussions with teenagers about topics such as premarital sex and teen pregnancy.
 
By having such open discussions and comprehensive sex education, misconceptions and misunderstandings about sex can be eliminated.
 
Given that Hong Kong is such a traditional society, sex is often seen as a taboo subject.
 
As long as this attitude remains prevalent, more ¬curious teenagers will be led astray and make bad decisions regarding sexual relations, which could lead to long-term problems for them.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post May 26, 2017
Kristy Tai 5D

SCMP May 26, 2017
Donald Wong 4A

SCMP May 24, 2017
Kristy Tai 5D

SCMP May 24, 2017
Kenny Tong 4A

SCMP May 23, 2017
Issca Yue 3A

SCMP May 22, 2017
Wing Kwok 5A

SCMP May 22, 2017
William Law 3B

SCMP May 21, 2017
Jenny Sit 5A

Preserve local culture to draw more tourists
 
I am writing to express my views on whether economic development should take priority over preservation of local culture, in view of current development trends in Hong Kong.
 
I believe local culture preservation is very important, as this can attract more tourists to Hong Kong.
 
We already have several festivals that draw the crowds in their thousands, like the Cheung Chau Da Jiu, or bun festival, and the birthdays of the Buddha, Tin Hau and Tam Kung.
 
These festivals offer a great opportunity to soak up the ¬energy, tradition and passion that together make up the soul of Hong Kong.
 
Tourism can be developed by preserving the local culture, which also means boosting economic growth. So a focus on preserving local culture will benefit economic development.
 
Moreover, cultural preservation can strengthen the sense of community and belonging among Hongkongers, whereas a loss of local culture may do the opposite, that is, erode our sense of belonging.
 
Also, if the public gets the sense that the administration has no interest in preserving the local culture, there will be conflict between the government and the citizens.
 
We still remember how plans to remove Queen’s Pier from the Central waterfront in 2007 drew strong opposition from the public and sparked hunger strikes by activists.
 
If there is conflict between the government and the public, that will affect lawmaking, as citizens will lack confidence in the administration.
 
Therefore, even though ¬economic development is the hard power that Hong Kong must continue to bank upon for a secure future, preservation of the local culture will help boost its soft power, which can also boost economic growth.
 
It is hoped that the Hong Kong government will consider the preservation of diverse cultural aspects in formulating development plans.
 
Jenny Sit, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP May 20, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

Ruining scenic rural areas is not the answer
 
Because Hong Kong’s housing problems are so severe, it has been proposed that flats could be built in or near country parks.
 
While I can see why such a proposal has been put forward, I would not agree to any projects going ahead in these areas.
 
There are other policies that could be adopted to increase the ¬housing stock which would yield better results.
 
If flats are built in country parks, trees will be felled, flowers and plants uprooted and beautiful rural areas destroyed. Sensitive ¬eco-systems will be at risk.
 
Once we lose the green cover with the felling of many trees, we can expect the poor quality of our air to only get worse.
 
When it comes to all the problems associated with ¬housing in Hong Kong, the biggest one is the high price of even a modestly sized flat.
 
This forces many people to rent instead of buy. And citizens who are on low incomes have no choice but to live in tiny subdivided flats, which raises quality of life issues.
 
If there was some way to cool the market and reduce prices, more people would be able to buy them.
 
The government needs to look at all available options to deal with the housing shortage, but it should not resort to ¬building in our country parks.
 
Sara Wong Kit yu, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post May 19, 2017
Chole Wong 4B

SCMP May 19, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

SCMP May 18, 2017
Benson Wong 4A

SCMP May 17, 2017
Sammi Lo 5D

SCMP May 16, 2017
Ian Wan 4B

Young Post May 12, 2017
Haley Yu 3D

Young Post May 12, 2017
Carina Cheung 1C

Young Post May 12, 2017
Michael Li 5B

SCMP May 12, 2017
Jenny Chung 3B

SCMP May 12, 2017
Winny Lai 2B

SCMP May 12, 2017
Priscilla Ko 5B

SCMP May 12, 2017
Cindy Wong 4A

SCMP May 11, 2017
Rainbow Or 3B

SCMP May 10, 2017
Haley Yu 3D

SCMP May 10, 2017
Yuki Pang 4B

SCMP May 10, 2017
Clarins Ng 4B

SCMP May 09, 2017
Michelle Ma 4B

SCMP May 09, 2017
Anson Chan 4A

SCMP May 08, 2017
Desmond Chan 4E

SCMP May 06, 2017
Samuel Cheng 4A

Bureau should issue directive on messages
 
 
Teachers nowadays are perplexed by the after-work pressure they face from students’ parents.
 
Some of these parents are constantly messaging teachers, via instant message tools. They are making various inquires, including asking questions that are related to studies.
 
This leaves teachers feeling that they have to shoulder extra -responsibilities, which puts them under far too much pressure.
 
They are being expected to give immediate answers to parents. If they fail to do so, they leave themselves open to unfair accusations that they are inefficient or are not being conscientious enough.
 
The attitude of these parent is unfair and it deprives teachers of the right to relax after work, just like any employee in a private company.
 
The Education Bureau should look into this issue. It should send a directive to schools saying that teachers do not have to handle these kind of messages from parents after work.
 
Samuel Cheng Ka-ho, Sai Kung

SCMP May 06, 2017
Phoebe Ko 5C

Teachers are entitled to enjoy free time
 
Primary and secondary school teachers are under pressure ¬because of the huge number of app inquiries they get from ¬parents and students (“Most Hong Kong teachers overwhelmed by volume of instant messages from parents and ¬students, survey finds”, May 3).
 
I think there are two reasons for this. One is that parents are overprotective and the other is that, with no time in the classroom, this is the most efficient way for students to clarify something or get help from the ¬teacher.
 
I appreciate that parents will send these messages because they care about their children’s education and it may make sense in primary school. However, the fact that the messages are being sent on behalf of secondary students as well does prove my point about some parents being overprotective. By the time their children are in -secondary school, parents have to start encouraging them to be more independent and learn to take care of themselves.
 
Schools need to find ways to deal with this so that teachers are not bothered after work. This is not just a problem in the education sector. In the private sector, employees often find emails from their managers when they get home in the evening that they are expected to deal with, even though they are at home.
 
Workers should be entitled to relax during their private time.
 
Phoebe Ko, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP May 06, 2017
Roslin Law 5E

Mainland’s social media lacks real news
 
The central government directly influences what news mainland citizens can read on the internet (“China updates internet regulations to tighten control over online news”, May 2).
 
With the largest social media websites from the West such as Facebook and Twitter blocked by China’s “Great Firewall”, citizens rely on mainland firms like QQ and Weibo for information. Chinese social ¬media and news agencies face restrictions.
 
To get more comprehensive coverage, I surf different sites. One of the most significant features of mainland social media is that it is very selective and generally runs stories which show the country in a positive light. For example, there are stories on how foreigners are amazed by China, how strong and influential China is, but very little negative news. So mainland internet users are deluged with the good news and cannot check with independent sources.
 
Operators of social media sites on the mainland require a government licence.
 
This raises concerns about them being “tools” of the central -government.
 
I certainly hope these restrictions on the mainland never affect us here. Hong Kong must maintain its freedom of the press and speech.
 
Roslin Law, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP May 05, 2017
Carol Mo 5E

SCMP May 05, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

SCMP May 05, 2017
Chole Chow 5E

SCMP May 04, 2017
Kevin Chan 5E

SCMP May 04, 2017
Mary Ko 5E

SCMP May 04, 2017
Kitty Lui 4B

SCMP May 01, 2017
Toby Leung 2A

Girl power a big hit on the gaming circuit
 
Some people object to girls playing computer games and taking part in electronic sports.
 
But now Hong Kong has its first all-female e-sports team (“Gamer girls: Hong Kong’s first all-female professional video gaming team PandaCute defy doubters”, April 22).
 
PandaCute members battle gamers from around the world for prize money, recognition and hopefully stardom ¬within the e-gaming world.
 
They are highly skilled and through their success they have proved that objections to girls and women getting involved in e-gaming are groundless.
 
They can do just as well as their male counterparts and are just as dedicated.
 
They train 10 hours a day, five days a week, at their base in Kowloon Bay. They only take a break at weekends to rest their eyes and wrists.
 
There are already a lot of e-sports professionals in Hong Kong, competing in global events. However, the government is still not helping e-sports much. It should do more to ¬promote e-sports.
 
Leung Chun-fung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 30, 2017
Michael Ke 4A

Bike-sharing concept has pros and cons
 
There has been some debate about the suitability of operating the city’s first bike-sharing app, Gobee.
 
On the one hand, the app is suitable for Hong Kong.
 
First of all, it promotes the concept of environmentally-friendly travel. Compared to motor vehicles, ¬bicycles do not emit pollutants and have zero carbon footprint, and thus ¬prevent further damage to the environment.
 
Moreover, Gobee’s ¬e-bicycles are powered by solar panels, and pick-up and drop-off locations are flexible. ¬Besides, renting is more suitable than purchasing a bike, given the small living spaces in the city.
 
But on the other hand, if too many people ride bikes on city roads, and use up parking space, they can slow down traffic and also cause overcrowding.
 
Also, as rentals are done via app software, the real information on users often cannot be confirmed, so it may be possible for underage children to rent a bike with their parents’ credit cards and mobile phones.
 
After comparing the arguments from both sides, I think the credibility and suitability of a bike-sharing service in Hong Kong is still open to question.
 
Michael Ke, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 29, 2017
Anakin Tam 3D

Monitoring of kids’phone use damages trust
 
It is quite common these days for parents to monitor their children’s smartphone use. In South Korea, service providers have to install an app for this purpose.
 
Monitoring phone use undermines the mutual trust between parents and children. It is also disrespectful, and sends out the wrong message. Moreover, it is an invasion of privacy. It is wrong for parents to think their sons and daughters are too young to be entitled to privacy.
 
What parents should do is talk a lot with their children, learn about what they are looking at online and discuss it with them if they have concerns about some of the content.
 
Anakin Tam, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 29, 2017
Ronnie Tse 5C

Let residents of Cheung Chau board first
 
Around 60,000 people are expected to crowd into Cheung Chau on Wednesday for the annual bun festival, three times the island’s population.
 
This will mean that all the ferries to and from Central will be packed. For this reason, I think the ferry company, First Ferry, should ensure that priority boarding is given to residents of the island.
 
I believe other passengers will be happy to go along with this arrangement as it is only temporary.
 
Also, I think the relevant government department has to consider how it can reduce the negative impact of the festival.
 
The final event of the bun scrambling competition takes place at midnight and, with so many visitors, it will be very noisy indeed. Officials have to discuss with the organisers ways of minimising noise pollution to reduce the negative effect on people living nearby.
 
With the right mitigating measures, everyone can enjoy the festival.
 
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post April 28, 2017
Heidi Cheng 2A

SCMP April 27, 2017
Candy Kong 3D

SCMP April 26, 2017
Burnet Chong 4A

Young Post April 24, 2017
Kevin Wong 3A

SCMP April 22, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

Scrap drilling and TSA is a good test
 
Parents and lawmakers have called for the scrapping of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) and the basic competency assessment (BCA) which is meant to replace it.
 
I do not think these tests are as difficult as is claimed in some media reports. Everything in the tests is covered in regular lessons. It is up to individual schools to decide how many preparatory exercises must be done by pupils.
 
When I was in primary school, we saw the TSA as a small quiz and it did not take that long to complete, so I do not think there is any reason for the Education Bureau to scrap it.
 
The actual test cannot be blamed for the schools doing too much drilling.
 
That is done by schools wanting to get better results and improve their ranking.
 
Therefore, the problem lies with too much drilling by schools and parents.
 
If lawmakers are concerned about so many students committing -suicide, they should focus more on the Diploma of Secondary Education and think about scrapping that exam.
 
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 21, 2017
Miffy Ng 3A

SCMP April 18, 2017
Jojo Wong 2B

People should aim for greener Easter break
 
Whenever the Easter holidays come around, they generate a lot of waste. I hope that during future Easter breaks people will try to be more environmentally friendly.
 
It is nice for parents to buy Easter gifts for their children, but they have to consider greener options and try to avoid purchasing items that lead to the generation of waste.
 
They can still buy a present that their children will like and that is also kinder to the environment.
 
For example, one of the most popular gifts is an Easter egg and there are a lot of them for sale in supermarkets. Parents should take care when making their selection and buy an egg with less packaging.
 
Also, if the egg comes in a cardboard box, then they should ensure that the box is recycled.
 
If possible, they should choose an egg produced locally, rather than one that has been imported. An Easter egg that has been made in Hong Kong or a nearby factory on the mainland has a lower carbon footprint than one that is imported and brought in on a plane or a -container ship.
 
Some people use plastic eggs as decorations in the home. There is nothing wrong with that, if the eggs are used again the following year.
 
I hope in future people will have a more environmentally-friendly Easter.
 
Jojo Wong,Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 16, 2017
Carly Fung 4A

Old buildings could help ease homes crunch
 
The housing shortage is one of the major problems in Hong Kong, and the government has announced that one million flats will need to be built in the next three decades.
 
All three candidates in last month’s chief executive election focused on the housing shortage in their campaign platforms. This only goes to show how severe the problem is.
 
Hong Kong’s growing population means more flats will be needed in the future. Therefore, the government needs to build more public housing to alleviate the shortage. However, there is not enough land for this. There have been proposals to solve the problem by developing the country parks and rural areas, but these suggestions sparked a huge debate in society and also sparked a lot of criticism, especially from environmental protection groups.
 
Undoubtedly, developing rural areas may be a good solution, if the government can strike a balance between building public housing and environmental protection. But why doesn’t the government redevelop old urban areas?
 
There are some old buildings lying unused around in the city, and these can be redeveloped to build flats. For example, in Kwun Tong many old buildings are now being rebuilt. If more such redevelopment projects are launched, the city’s housing stock will increase. Old buildings can also be upgraded with all necessary fire safety features.
 
If the renewal projects are done in the right way, then some of these areas could become popular with tourists, and bring economic benefits to the shops and business owners in the area.
 
The living standards of residents would then improve. What is more, a large number of flats can be provided by simply increasing the building height. Such projects would help the government to strike a balance -between the environment and the need to provide more homes, and therefore achieve sustainable development.
 
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 14, 2017
Anson Wong 1B

Fossil-fuelled power plants polluting air
 
We are consuming far too much energy in Hong Kong. This makes our air pollution problems worse, with power plants ¬depending on fossil fuels.
 
Citizens really need to try to be environmentally friendly and the best way to do that is to be energy efficient at home. We should switch off lights when we do not need them.
 
Hong Kong should also invest more in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, so that we become less dependent on fossil fuels.
 
Anson Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 14, 2017
Lok Lo 3A

E-car tax break cut is contrary to green aims
 
Following the latest budget, the first registration tax waiver for electric private cars will be capped at HK$97,500.
 
With the reduction of this tax break, the price of Hongkongers’ favourite electric vehicles could be doubled.
 
This is a counterproductive move by the government as some people will now be put off buying these vehicles.
 
It seems a strange move, given that officials keep talking about trying to clean up Hong Kong’s air pollution.
 
I do hope that they will have a rethink and do what is good for the environment.
 
Lo Man-lok, Po Lam

SCMP April 13, 2017
Carly Chan 1A

Individual actions make a difference
 
I think all Hong Kong citizens should be doing their bit to ¬protect the planet, and that individual actions can really make a difference.
 
For example, at home, most of the time we can switch on a fan instead of an air conditioner, and still be comfortable.
 
We should also choose cloth towels which can be used again, instead of paper towels. And we should take public transport and not private cars.
 
I also support government proposals to reduce volumes of waste -generated by households.
 
We must act to protect the Earth before the problems ¬become more serious.
 
Carly Chan, Hang Hau

SCMP April 12, 2017
Oscar Au Yeung 4B

Concerns over environment are snubbed
 
We are seeing more protests in Hong Kong and it appears that many citizens have lost trust in the government. Therefore they take to the streets, believing this is the best way to get the attention of our leaders.
 
However, are they listening? Concerns about threats to the environment were raised when it was proposed to build the third runway at the airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. In particular, people were concerned about the fate of the Chinese white dolphins and the effect on their habitat.
 
The Hong Kong government allowed both projects to go ahead and dolphin numbers have continued to decline.
 
It makes me wonder if leaders do ever listen to citizens. They should pay heed to public concerns about the environment. If they continue to ignore the views of Hongkongers, we will see more protests.
 
Oscar Au Yeung, Po Lam

SCMP April 12, 2017
Benson Wong 4A

Excessive use of smartphone is dangerous
 
No matter which country you visit, you see people walking with smartphones in their hand. Wherever they are, they will have the phone and this has raised concerns about smartphone addiction.
 
When individuals spend inordinate amounts of time on social media and playing online games, it can have negative consequences. They spend less time interacting with others.
 
If someone is repeatedly checking texts, emails, news feeds, websites or apps, even when it is encroaching on their lives, it may be time for them to reassess their use of technology.
 
This sort of compulsive behaviour can be seen as a form of addiction, and it has serious side effects. It can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
 
Smartphone addiction can also exacerbate attention deficit disorder. If people constantly look at messages on a smartphone, it can make it difficult for them to focus on anything for more than a few minutes .
 
Those who tend to spend too much time on smartphones must modify mobile use before this gets out of hand. They could schedule its use for specific times of the day. For example, students should decide only to switch their phone on after they finish a homework assignment.
 
With the right attitude, it is possible to avoid smartphone addiction.
 
Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 11, 2017
Alvis Lee 3A

More financial help needed for guide dogs
 
There are only 40 guide dogs in Hong Kong and that is not enough to meet the needs of citizens who are blind.
 
I was shocked when I read this statistic, because guide dogs make a major difference to the lives of these people. Just using a stick on our busy streets is not enough. Having a trained guide dog makes it far easier to get around. The dogs help their owners to avoid colliding with other people.
 
If the person is hurt, the dog will bark to attract attention so that medical help can be ¬provided swiftly. And they are not just helping, they are also companions.
 
It is good that there is greater tolerance in society, with these dogs being allowed into many restaurants, on public transport and in malls. There is also more public acceptance, because blind citizens have suffered from a lot of discrimination.
 
The non-profit organisation, Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services, trains guide dogs, but it is expensive and there is a waiting list for them. The government should pay the training costs. Other NGOs helping blind ¬people and the citizens themselves should also be given more -financial help.
 
The government should be doing whatever is necessary to improve the lives of those who are visually impaired.
 
Alvis Lee Ki-yung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 10, 2017
Divine Hui 3A

GPS services could perk up coffee to go
 
I am writing in response to the article on the Starbucks mobile ordering app (“Starbucks wants to deliver coffee to your doorstep”, March 19).
 
These days, downloading apps on mobile phones is not only convenient but also ubiquitous. The Kowloon Motor Bus, CitybusNWFB or Octopus apps, for instance, help people save a lot of time.
 
Starbucks has been promoting its “Mobile Order & Pay” feature across its 176 stores in Hong Kong and Macau. Customers can place their orders for coffee and food within the application, and then select a store location to pick it up.
 
In my view, this service is already quite adequate. Spread among all Starbucks shops, it is very convenient.
 
But some may say that some drinks may go cold or food items lose their flavour if customers arrive late.
 
To tackle this problem and improve this area of its service, Starbucks could get the GPS ¬location of the customers, so that staff can decide which drinks they should make first in order to ensure a satisfying meal.
 
But if Starbucks does enlarge its business to delivery, I am sure it will be a big success. Given their store network, delivering to homes or offices would be fast.
 
Hui Ching, Po Lam

SCMP April 09, 2017
Winnie Chen 1B

Choking air often a sign of worse to come
 
I refer to your report on air pollution data in the mainland (“Thousands of polluters in northern China fake emissions data, resist checks”, March 31).
 
Burning fossil fuels such as coal is a major contributor to air pollution, and the resulting greenhouse gases are speeding up global warming.
 
The government must take urgent action to protect citizens.
 
The chemical reactions of pollutants in the air, including photochemical smog, are damaging health and reducing life expectancy in many cities.
 
An increasing incidence of cancer and other diseases can be attributed to pollution, and children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.
 
Reducing damaging emissions has to be a government priority.
 
Speeding up reform of the energy policy, with a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels to more emphasis on clean and green power sources, such as solar and wind, is a basic starting point.
 
Effective control of vehicular emissions is within the government’s power, and it should also plant more trees and prevent deforestation to counter the greenhouse effect.
 
Winnie Chen, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 09, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

Vote fraud case highlights need for crackdown
 
I refer to your report on electoral fraud, “Anti-graft body arrests 72 people over alleged IT sector vote-rigging”, April 4.
 
I cannot believe that some of the suspects are accused of ¬accepting several hundred to HK$1,000 in last year’s Legislative Council polls, as it is not much money in Hong Kong.
 
Even if a large bribe is offered, of course voters should not accept it. But with only a few hundred, they were convinced to offend? It certainly undermines the reputation of the Legislative Council.
 
In my opinion, the government should strengthen the consequences of committing crimes related to fraud, and so deter citizens from being tempted to accept bribes.
 
Hong Kong ranked 15th in the global Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016, which shows citizens are not very aware of the significance of being incorruptible.
 
There should be more publicity about the importance of having fair elections and educating future generations through workshops, as well as making it compulsory in General Studies.
 
But, undeniably, if we have elections by universal suffrage, it ensures polls are more transparent and fair to all candidates.
 
I hope there will be universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
 
Sara Wong, Po Lam

SCMP April 08, 2017
Chloe Ng 2C

Rioting and arson cannot be tolerated
 
I am writing in response to your report on the Mong Kok riots cases (“Hong Kong technician found guilty of rioting and ¬setting taxi on fire ”, April 3).
 
Computer technician Yeung Ka-lun, 32, is facing jail as the first rioter convicted of arson over violent clashes ¬between protesters and police during the Lunar New Year in 2016.
 
Arson is a serious crime and cannot be ¬tolerated, given the serious casualties fire can cause.
 
Yeung even set a taxi on fire. Fortunately it did not explode. If the flames had reached the fuel tank, the dangerously flammable substance inside could have exploded, causing many casualties.
 
It is fine for protesters to ¬express their views about issues. But arson or rioting cannot be tolerated.
 
Chloe Ng, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 07, 2017
Amy Ng 6A

SCMP April 07, 2017
Angel Ho 3B

SCMP April 07, 2017
Cindy Wong 4A

SCMP April 07, 2017
Ray Hung 2C

SCMP April 06, 2017
Jason Luk 4A

SCMP April 05, 2017
Winnie Lam 5B

SCMP April 04, 2017
Cyrus Wong 3A

People missing the point on priority seats
 
I wish to express my opinion about problems related to priority seats on our public transport.
 
These seats were introduced to help those in need and as a reminder to Hongkongers to give up their seats to the elderly, pregnant or disabled. It was a good idea, but has sparked a lot of problems. People are always arguing about who should occupy these seats, or why teenagers should not sit there. Some may take a photo of youngsters occupying such seats and post to Facebook, which then leads to a storm of online derision.
 
I believe such acts are ridiculous. We need to educate the people on why they must offer their seat to those that may need it more. Just look at Japan. Young people there give up their seats to the elderly all the time. So it is really a question of public education, not earmarked seats.
 
Cyrus Wong Chi Kwan, Po Lam

SCMP April 04, 2017
Kenny Tong 4A

Digital addicts face serious health issues
 
I refer to the letter from Jasmine Cheung (“Smartphone overuse ruins relationships”, March 13).
 
She suggested that phone addiction can ruin relationships when one gives preference to the gadget over one’s partner. In fact, it can have many other damaging effects, such as ¬impaired communication skills and serious health issues.
 
On social networking sites, people use abbreviations or emojis in place of actual words while chatting. But this form of communication is not always acceptable, especially in formal occasions. Phone addicts also have less face-to-face daily interactions, which lowers their social communication skills.
 
Moreover, overuse of mobile phones is associated with headaches, impaired memory and concentration, fatigue, dizziness and disturbed sleep from radiation poisoning. The visible effects can include “text claw”, “text neck”, or “cell phone elbow”. Smartphone addicts can also develop a phobia of being separated from their gadgets for any length of time.
 
Users should become aware of the damage smartphones can cause and avoid overuse.
 
Kenny Tong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 04, 2017
Toby Tsoi 1A

Left puzzled by reaction to election rivals
 
I wish to express some thoughts on the recent chief executive election. When Carrie Lam, who was chief secretary under current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said she would run for the top job, the people of Hong Kong said she was CY 2.0, and more CY than CY himself.
 
Her rival for the office of chief executive, John Tsang, was very popular with the people, ¬because he always shared his views with the public and seemed open to new ideas.
 
Lam, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as popular, maybe because she lacked such people skills. As director of Social Welfare, she made some decisions that were unpopular, including controversial reforms such as tightening the social security ¬assistance scheme. But a lot of Election Committee members supported her.
 
If we think about this more closely, we can see a strange thing happening. Why would people like Tsang and hate Lam? On national security legislation under Article 23, Lam said it would be necessary to bear in mind the possible social disruption and said the Basic Law should be implemented “from a comprehensive perspective”.
 
Tsang, on the other hand, wanted to revive the legislative work to implement Article 23.
 
So, I want to ask the people, why do you all hate Carrie Lam and like John Tsang?
 
When Lam got 777 votes to become the next chief executive, many Hongkongers made fun of this, as ‘seven’ in Cantonese can be used as a vulgar term.
 
But seven is also considered a number of wholeness and ¬perfection by many Christians because it stands for the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
 
I hope that Lam, as our next leader, can resolve the differences in society and with the mainland, and bring about a harmonious future.
 
Toby Tsoi, Tsueng Kwan O

SCMP April 03, 2017
Yuki Wong 6C

Online abuse victims must sound alarm
 
Cyberbullying is a factor when you look at reasons for students committing suicide.
 
One way to deal with cyberbullying is for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children, so they can see if there is a problem.
 
Schools must hold talks to explain to students the potential risks when using the internet and how to avoid them. Also, students have to be told that if they are victims of online bullying they should talk straight away to someone they trust.
 
Yuki Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP April 03, 2017
Peter Tam 4A

Only rich gain as flat prices hit ridiculous level
 
Property prices in Hong Kong are now so high that the present situation is unacceptable.
 
Even young people who have graduated from university and have a good career can’t afford the down payment needed to get a mortgage for a small flat. Most of them are forced to rent or, if they cannot afford even that, stay with their families.
 
According to one survey, average flat prices in Hong Kong are “more than 19 times median income at the highest measure in 11 years” (“Why cooling ¬measures fail to rein in property prices in HK”, March 23). The only beneficiaries from these crazy flat prices are the rich, who use property as an investment tool. These investment and speculation activities are the biggest cause of the price hikes.
 
They buy low, hold on to the property and then sell at a much higher price. You might need as much as HK$4 million just for a 200 sq ft flat.
 
Because of these housing problems, more citizens are forced to live in subdivided flats. And because of inflation, many struggle to the pay the rents for these tiny units. Many residents would argue that they are experiencing a lowering of their quality of life.
 
For a teenager who does not come from a rich family, eventually owning flat is an impossible dream. I will rent, as it is cheaper than trying in vain to buy a flat, and spend more money on entertainment and education.
 
Peter Tam, Po Lam

SCMP March 30, 2017
Donald Wong 4A

SCMP March 30, 2017
Ken Siu 3A

SCMP March 29, 2017
Wing Li 4A

SCMP March 28, 2017
Cathleen Shek 4D

SCMP March 28, 2017
Leo Ho 4C

SCMP March 27, 2017
Holden Cheng 2D

SCMP March 26, 2017
Priscilla Ko 5B

Gay moment a breakthrough in Disney film
 
I write in response to the controversy over the gay moment in the new Disney film, Beauty and the Beast (“Hong Kong school tells parents to stop their children watching new Disney film over gay scenes”, March 17).
 
I feel the inclusion of a gay character in a Disney film is a breakthrough, and the scene concerned should not be banned or deleted.
 
First, deleting a scene shows disrespect towards the filmmakers, and tampers with their vision. Secondly, deleting any so-called gay scene would lead to the misconception that homosexuality is inappropriate.
 
We all advocate tolerance and respect for the rights of others. So how can the authorities delete the scene, while advising the public to act with tolerance and care in our diverse society? Everyone has the right to pursue their love and follow their own sexual orientation.
 
In fact, the film can be a good chance to educate children about respecting different kinds of people in society.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 26, 2017
Sammi Lo 5D

Exercise can teach children key life skills
 
I refer to Angela Chow Hoi-chiu’s letter (“Parents should push benefit of more exercise”, March 2). There is no doubt that children nowadays lack exercise, given the exam-oriented atmosphere in Hong Kong.
 
Most teenagers are preoccupied with schoolwork and tend to neglect the importance of at least moderate physical activity. And parents tend to believe that sport distracts children from their studies. Moreover, schools often have limited budgets and resources, and tend to prioritise grades over sports.
 
It is a shame that parents and teachers in Hong Kong seem to be blind to the benefits of physical exercise, when in fact sports should be a key part of ¬education and community life.
 
Experts around the world agree that regular exercise not only helps children become more fit, it imparts essential life skills, boosts their confidence and sense of well-being, and also fosters and cements their relationship with peers and parents. Sport also imparts important lessons in teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship.
 
Getting children to engage in physical activity is integral to ¬ensuring they grow up ¬physically and mentally healthy.
 
Sammi Lo Wing-sum, Sai Kung

SCMP March 26, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

Imported idea of food trucks failing to adapt
 
The food truck pilot scheme was launched over a month ago, but feedback from both sellers and buyers has been negative overall, with some truck operators even talking about giving up, as they have suffered big losses .
 
There are two reasons for this setback. First, as the trucks are confined to specific locations, many customers may not bother to visit if travelling to these spots is inconvenient. The main difference between a food truck and a restaurant is that the truck has mobility, it can go where the customers are. If each truck can only operate in a designated location, then of what use are its wheels?
 
Secondly, the government has tried to import the food truck concept from the West, but has been unable to adapt it to local needs. In the West, food trucks can operate outside parks and offer seating options. Moreover, setting up costs are relatively low, which means their menu is affordable for all.
 
In Hong Kong, operators face stiff registration and licensing requirements, and costs of at least HK$600,000. The high start-up costs mean prices that most find unacceptable.
 
There are already street food sellers in Hong Kong. Why doesn’t the government restart the licence scheme for street hawkers, who sell traditional food at affordable prices from their carts?
 
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 25, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

Waste charge offers financial incentive
 
I support the government’s proposed quantity-based charging scheme for municipal solid waste. It will help to reduce the waste generated by households in Hong Kong.
 
I think it can be effective, ­because it offers residents economic incentives. They will have to purchase rubbish bags of different sizes. If they generate less waste they can buy a smaller, cheaper bag and therefore save money. They will start thinking about items that can be recycled instead of thrown in the refuse bag and this will lead to far more material being recycled.
 
Offering a financial disincentive is a tried and tested formula. This is why the plastic shopping bag levy has been so successful. It has led to a drop in the number of plastic bags being used and discarded and helped to raise awareness and make people more environmentally friendly.
 
This new waste charge scheme can achieve the same result and this will ease the ­pressure on landfills.
 
At the moment, many people misuse or ignore the city’s recycling bins, but this can change as they recognise the need to ­recycle as much as possible.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 24, 2017
Miffy Ng 3A

Crystal Tsoi 4D

Cindy Wong 4A

Benson Wong 4A

SCMP March 23, 2017
Daniel Hui 4A

Tom Poon 4D

SCMP March 21, 2017
Samuel Cheng 4A

SCMP March 20, 2017
Suki Lee 4A

Lynette Tang 4E

Ivan Tsoi 3D

SCMP March 19, 2017
James Wong 4E

Cyberbullies causing pain around world
 
I refer to the article on online bullies (“Kids suffer in silence as cyberbullying contributes to youth suicide spike”, March 4).
 
Cyberbullying is an issue of concern not only in Hong Kong but worldwide. I was shocked to learn that six Hong Kong children had taken their own lives since the beginning of February . Youth suicide is rarely caused by any one factor, and ­cyberbullying is one of those ­factors.
 
Some call for police to monitor social media and online forums to prevent cyberbullying. But this will promote ­censorship and abuse of power.
 
Others suggest educating children that the online world is separate from real life. But, as most of our lives revolve around the internet, it would not be fair to say the web is irrelevant. There is no easy solution.
 
James Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 18, 2017
Rain Yeung 4D

Never-say-die Tso role model for students
 
Local boxer Rex Tso Sing-yu talked about his titanic battle last Saturday against Hirofumi Mukai of Japan (“I almost blacked out... I had to continue: Rex Tso describes his struggle to make it 21 straight wins”, March 12).
 
Tso described how he almost lost consciousness after a left hook by Mukai took him by surprise and he could not hear for a while. However, he struggled on and kept fighting while he gradually recovered from the blow.
 
He was determined not to give up, because he did not want to let down his supporters. Even though he took a lot of punches from his opponent, he persevered and was rewarded with a “spectacular eighth-round TKO victory”.
 
The spirit that Tso showed by refusing to give up should be an inspiration to every ­Hongkonger.
 
He already had injuries going into the fight, which he had sustained while sparring in the Philippines, but said he told himself he had to remain positive.
 
I believe that Tso is a great role model for all citizens. Students can learn from his attitude to stay upbeat whenever there are problems and try to overcome them and fight negative thoughts.
 
Rain Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 15, 2017
Cathy Yuen 4E

Bad parenting styles harmful for adolescents
 
The spate of student suicides in Hong Kong can be attributed to a number of factors.
 
It is normal for adolescents to suffer from emotional upheavals and encounter difficulties they do not know how to cope with. Also, if they are struggling with their studies, they can often suffer from low self-esteem. Additional stress can come from peer pressure and high expectations of parents.
 
Parenting styles can have a profound effect on youngsters. “Helicopter” or “monster” ­parents can hinder the personal development of their children. They are not equipped to deal with failure, and some may ­become so desperate that they take their own lives.
 
The Education Bureau must ensure the syllabus offers them different avenues to develop their strengths and weaknesses.
 
Schools need to have more programmes teaching moral, civic and national education, to help students foster positive attitudes about their future.
 
More school social workers are needed to counsel students showing serious ­emotional ­problems.
 
If more help is available, fewer students will feel isolated.
 
Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 14, 2017
Coco Chow 4D

SCMP March 13, 2017
Theodore Tam 4E

Daniel Chan 3D

SCMP March 12, 2017
Candy Kong 3D

Intensify drive to cut food waste in city
 
I am writing in response to your article on waste management (“Charges for waste ‘may be in force by 2019’ ”, March 6).
 
I agree with the government’s plan to implement charges for solid waste disposal by 2019. In 2015, the average Hongkonger dumped 1.39 kg of municipal solid waste per day into the city’s refuse heaps, a 3 per cent rise from the year before and the highest level in a decade. Therefore charges should be introduced to help achieve waste reduction and build up a habit of recycling. As the article said, the proposed charging methods may be either “by weight” or “by bag”.
 
Less waste will eventually ease the pressure on landfills. The government should also enhance existing recycling facilities, especially for food waste.
 
Government data shows 36 per cent of solid waste dumped in landfills in 2012 was food waste. There should thus be more aggressive campaigning to promote food waste reduction.
 
In the long run, a stick and carrot approach could be used by the government, such as introducing a bonus scheme to encourage recycling and waste reduction, and charging for the disposal of solid waste.
 
Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O

Kaecee Wong 3D

All children need is a bit of understanding
 
Cases of student suicide in Hong Kong have been on the rise. Some people blame parents for being too protective, which leaves their children unable to handle pressure. As a student, I have to disagree with this view.
 
Students in our city have always been subjected to great pressure, thanks to the education system and the sickening trend of competing, which starts even before kindergarten.
 
Parents who indoctrinate the idea of “enter university or you’re a loser” in their children create a distorted concept of studying. Many parents tend to have extremely high academic expectations and requirements for their children, without understanding their true gifts. This makes students depressed, as they feel unappreciated.
 
Internet trolls can also cause great mental harm. Many people judge students without understanding the true nature of the situation. Some of them even say suicide is a cowardly act. Such comments and attacks add to their stress and intensify the negative emotions among young students, making some of them take the tragic decision to end their lives.
 
Life planning, as suggested by the Education Bureau, is not really helping. What students actually need is not a well-planned life or a clear life goal, but the understanding of the adults around them. Some families and schools tend to give students stress instead of support, which really affects the mental health of the children.
 
I hope that the government will listen to our voices before making any decisions about us. I also wish that people would show us more support, not just criticise. Most importantly, I hope parents can spend more time to communicate with their children and understand them.
 
Kaecee Wong, Hang Hau

SCMP March 11, 2017
Katie Sze 3A

US citizens will see claims as ridiculous
 
I think many Americans will think that President Donald Trump’s claims about his predecessor are ridiculous (“ ‘New low’: Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phone”, March 4).
 
During the presidential ­campaign, all that then-president Barack Obama did to ­oppose Trump was campaign in ­support of Hillary Clinton. These eavesdropping claims are unfounded.
 
Obama is a man of integrity who while in office did a lot of good to help citizens. I think people will see him has having been a very effective president.
 
Katie Sze Ching-man, Tseung Kwan O

Ronnie Tse 5C

Temporary clinics can deal with flu cases
 
Every year during the peak flu season, public hospitals struggle to cope with the increased ­number of patients.
 
The latest government ­figures show high bed ­occupancy rates in wards, for example, topping 100 per cent in medical and paediatric wards at Tuen Mun Hospital.
 
The Hospital Authority should be implementing additional measures to deal with this massive influx of patients, such as setting up temporary general outpatient clinics near hospitals. If this is not deemed feasible, the authority should ­extend the opening hours of the existing outpatient clinics.
 
Many people will go to these clinics rather than visit a ­private doctor because they are cheaper. But often they are fully booked, especially during the flu season. Just to getting through to the clinic to make a reservation could entail phoning the reservation hotline three or four times.
 
If the clinics’ hours are not extended, more people will go ­instead to accident and emergency units in public hospitals, putting even more pressure on these departments which are ­already busy. Also, they are ­supposed to be for medical emergencies, not non-urgent cases.
 
The authority has to put these contingency measures in place and relieve the pressure on hospitals.
 
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 10, 2017
Andy Yeung 4E

Hailey Tso 5D

Don Wong 5C

Young Post March 10, 2017
Trisha Tobar 3D

SCMP March 9, 2017
Wing Kwok 5A

Trisha Tobar 3D

SCMP March 8, 2017
Samuel Cheng 4A

SCMP March 7, 2017
Ivan Ip 5C

Christy Lam 2B

SCMP March 5, 2017
Lok Lum 5C

Curriculum the key cause of student suicides
 
I am writing about the latest ­student suicides last month.
 
Although the government has been urged to implement ­concrete measures to prevent the rising number of tragedies, it seems to be powerless. But there is a solution, if the government can address the root cause.
 
Many people simply think of pressure as the reason for suicides. But what is behind this pressure?
 
I consider the wide curriculum as the root of the problem. ­Without such a broad range of subjects, it will be unnecessary for schools to have make-up classes and frequent tests which exhaust students.
 
Instead, students will have leisure time to relax or discover their own talents. Holidays are also indispensable for students, especially for those in senior forms. As I prepare for the Dipoloma of Secondary Education, I have been tired and fed up with the strenuous assignments and tests, as well as the exhausting make-up classes which are run after school and also during precious holidays.
 
The Education Bureau should offer a curriculum that can be completed during school days. The mental burden placed on students should not be underestimated. Short breaks during class also would refresh and allow greater focus .
 
Lum Chi-lok, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP March 3, 2017
Alex Tse 5B

Luke Fan 5B

SCMP March 2, 2017
Priscilla Ko 5B

SCMP March 1, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

SCMP February 28, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

Kaka Lau 5B

Young Post February 24, 2017
Timmy Lo 1C

Elvis Yiu 1C

Amy Ng 2C

SCMP February 24, 2017
Rex Lee 5D

SCMP February 23, 2017
May Chong 5A

Michael Li 1C

SCMP February 22, 2017
Natalie Lo 5A

Bobo Man 5A

SCMP February 20, 2017
Jason Luk 4A

Online dating convenient, but be wary
 
In the run-up to Valentine’s Day last week, a lot of attention was focused on online dating platforms which are becoming ­increasingly popular.
 
However, it is important that people using these websites take simple but important ­precautions.
 
Social network sites have shown phenomenal growth, but people using online dating sites have to be aware that they are chatting to strangers and some criminals use them as well.
 
Users should not divulge their personal information to these strangers, as there are so many online scams and for some it is easy to fall into these traps.
 
People just have to take care when communicating online. If they arrange a date, they should also make sure it is somewhere public, where there are other people. You could even bring along a friend.
 
These online dating platforms are convenient, especially for people with busy working lives, but users must be aware of the pitfalls. It is about being cautious and thinking about what information about yourself you are ­willing to divulge.
 
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 19, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

A few ways to shop smart at online stores
 
I am sure all Hongkongers have joined the current trend of ­shopping on the internet, at one time or another, or at least heard of websites like eBay and ­Taobao.
 
This is undeniably a convenient way to shop. Also, products are often sold at steep discounts, which attracts more shoppers.
 
But we must be aware of the risks, such as security breaches. Also, online platforms ­require customer information like name, password, email, identity card and phone numbers. When companies have access to such personal information, it is ­similar to being supervised.
 
Moreover, the quality of goods is not ensured, and products delivered may not match the sample, or may even be fake.
 
One safeguard would be to only shop on reputable sites and always check customer reviews.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

Kitty Lui 4B

Students may be unable to beat negativity
 
I was saddened to learn that three students jumped to their deaths days after we welcomed the Year of the Rooster.
 
There has been a number of such cases in recent years, and I think most are falling victim to stress related to their studies.
 
The pressure may come from school or from the expectation of parents. Although the government claims there is no link between the education system and the number of student suicides, I think more research is needed to ensure that young lives do not become difficult.
 
Also, perhaps students do not know how to manage their negative thinking, as life education lessons are lacking in school. Schools should help and make students realise how important they are to their loved ones. Parents must go easy on them too, as academic results are not everything.
 
Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Hang Hau

Cindy Wong 4A

Nursing rooms in all malls for a caring society
 
Mothers are always encouraged to breastfeed for the health of their babies, and there have been calls for greater public awareness of the issue.
 
I believe having nursing rooms in all of Hong Kong’s shopping malls would go a long way towards helping mothers out and about with young babies as well as developing a more caring society.
 
First of all, nursing rooms in shopping malls would encourage mothers to breastfeed more often.
 
Even if many mothers currently choose to visit malls with nursing rooms, they may need to queue for a long time as such facilities are rare, and thus be discouraged from feeding their babies outside the home.
 
Besides, if nursing rooms become common in shopping malls, this can raise citizens’ awareness about breastfeeding.
 
Many Hongkongers misunderstand the concept of breastfeeding or are hostile towards mothers doing so in public, which is a form of discrimination.
 
Greater awareness will thus be good for society and its future generations.
 
Furthermore, offering nursing room facilities can improve the image of the shopping malls concerned, as this would show care towards the community. Currently, only a few malls in Hong Kong have nursing rooms.
 
Cindy Wong, Po Lam

SCMP February 18, 2017
Peter Tam 4A

Invest more to develop young sporting talent
 
Every year, the winners of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon are from African ­nations like Ethiopia and ­Kenya.
 
These two countries are ­famous for producing world-class long-distance runners, but these winners are also professional athletes who can train every day.
 
It was great to see so many Hongkongers taking part, but I doubt if many were professional runners. Most have demanding full-time jobs.
 
I am sure there are young people in the city with the natural ability to compete at the highest level in their chosen sport. Unfortunately, the ­government has not invested enough in sports development, and so many young people are unable to reach their potential.
 
I urge the government to ­allocate more resources to sports development, so that one day we can see local athletes standing on the podium as Olympic champions.
 
Peter Tam, Po Lam

SCMP February 17, 2017
Laurent Li 4A

Street hawkers need help from government
 
The “fishball riots” in Mong Kok last February highlighted the plight of hawkers in Hong Kong who have to operate illegally.
 
The government has tried to phase out hawker licences because of hygiene concerns. However, these street food stalls are a unique part of our culture and they should be made legal.
 
Because they are part of the city’s heritage, they very popular with tourists and also loved by locals. Hawkers have to operate illegally because they cannot get a licence, and I do not think this is right. It does not make sense to crack down on them. They should be given licences.
 
They provide an income for people who find it difficult to get other jobs, including elderly citizens.
 
Laurent Li, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post February 17, 2017
Christry Lam 2B

SCMP February 17, 2017
Oscar Au Yeung 4B

Cherry Yeung 5A

Samuel Yu 4A

Sandy Chan 4B

Mary Ko 5E

SCMP February 16, 2017
Zoe Chung 4A

Felix Leung 5E

SCMP February 15, 2017
Kyle Wong 1A

Kary Au Yeung 3A

SCMP February 14, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

SCMP February 13, 2017
Eve Wong 5A

Michael Chow 5A

Amy Ng 2C

Peter Tam 4A

Oscar Mak 2B

SCMP February 11, 2017
Kristie Ko 5A

Green lai see campaign starts with us
 
A survey by a green group found that over 16,300 trees are killed each year to make 320 million of the red lai see envelopes so many Hongkongers receive ­during Lunar New Year.
 
Many are not well designed, and require glue to be sealed, rendering them almost ­impossible to reuse. If the designs could be ­improved to enable reuse, the packets would be much more environmentally friendly and we could achieve a green Lunar New Year.
 
It has been suggested that the government, housing ­estates and schools should do more to promote the recycling of lai see packets and spread awareness. But, most ­importantly, we should start from ourselves – reuse every red packet if possible, take damaged ones for recycling, and change mindsets with our actions.
 
Kristie Ko, Tseung Kwan O

Christy Lam 2B

No logic in drilling for tests like TSA
 
I refer to the report (“Revamped tests extended to all Hong Kong primary schools”, January 24).
 
Secretary for Education ­Eddie Ng Hak-kim revealed plans to extend the “basic competency assessment research study”– said to be simpler and shorter than the unpopular Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) – to all primary schools this year.
 
However, the same day, ­education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen dismissed the new test as just a “play on words”, saying, “I see no difference between this and resuming [a simpler ­version] of TSA.”
Ip also warned that the government’s proposal would not reduce pressure on students by eliminating drilling.
 
Ng and the Education ­Bureau don’t seem to realise that the public opposition is not so much about the format and purpose of the tests; the ­problem is a serious breakdown of trust between schools, ­parents and the government.
 
There is nothing wrong with benchmarking the core competence of students in key subjects to determine if schools are performing well. This is common practice around the world. For such benchmarks to be meaningful, though, drilling should be discouraged.
 
It is believed that the test will not be that difficult because the government has to accommodate all kinds of schools.
 
But students should be able to treat it as a normal school test, even though the marks are ­related to the schools’ ranking.
 
It should be the teachers’ responsibility to teach well so that students can absorb the knowledge in class and perform well in any kind of test, without the need for intensive drilling.
 
Christy Lam, Po Lam

Vivian Lo 5A

Historical buildings are collective gems
 
There has been a lot of discussion about whether cultural and historical buildings in Hong Kong should be preserved.
 
Such buildings should be protected for their high cultural and community value, as they enhance a sense of belonging among Hongkongers.
 
Hong Kong was a British colony and also occupied by Japanese forces during the second world war. Some of our buildings are reminiscent of that history. We have both British and Chinese heritage in our architectural styles.
 
The Haw Par Mansion is a Chinese Renaissance style building featuring a fusion of Chinese and Western elements. Such buildings highlight Hong Kong’s unique colonial architectural style. Thus, they are worth protecting. Also, historical buildings are part of the collective memory of Hongkongers and a part of their unique identity. These buildings are in a way a record of citizens’ lives.
 
Take Queen’s Pier, for example: it was the traditional landing place of successive governors and even Queen Elizabeth. It marked the history of Hong Kong as a colony. However, in 2007, the pier was closed by the government to enable land reclamation. This act was widely criticised as it destroyed a part of the memory of Hongkongers.
 
Moreover, as globalisation tends to decrease a city’s unique cultural identity, there is a greater need for the government to ­implement measures to preserve historical and cultural buildings.
 
Vivian Lo, Hang Hau

Jonathan Lam 5A

Stationary food truck plan will go nowhere
 
I am writing to express my ­opinion about restricting Hong Kong’s food trucks to designated locations.
 
Unlike those in the United States, the food trucks in Hong Kong have fixed locations, such as the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, rather than being allowed to cruise around the city. This totally contradicts the concept of food trucks. Their ­purpose is to provide a mobile restaurant so that people can enjoy snacks more conveniently and also save time.
 
Moreover, fixed locations also bring cons for the operator.
 
If people want to try the delicacies, they have to go to the designated area. Once they have tried it, they may not visit again as they will waste time in travelling to the designated locations. As Hong Kong is a food paradise, most of the food can be tasted everywhere. There is no need to travel a long way to try them.
 
Besides, there may not be enough clients in the fixed locations. For instance, the Golden Bauhinia Square gets very few local visitors; even the number of visitors from the mainland and other places is dwindling. And during weekdays, incomes must drop sharply for operators as there are even fewer visitors.
 
To help citizens find the food trucks, the government has even developed an app. But the first thing it should do is promote the app, as very few people seem to have noticed it.
 
Jonathan Lam, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 10, 2017
Natalie Ning 2B

Pros and cons of going to tutorial class
 
Students have their own ­studying preferences based on their priorities.
 
They have to decide what is best for them, for example, whether they prefer to study alone after school or join tutorial classes. Some find it hard to focus in one of these classes. They find it easier to concentrate when they are studying on their own, because there are fewer ­interruptions.
 
However, a tutorial class does have some advantages. You can listen to varying views. And you can share notes and other class material with fellow students. This can help you ­acquire more information and broaden your understanding of a subject.
 
You can also have a better idea of the progress you are making in grasping the subject you are studying, because there will be a lot of mock tests.
 
When you are on your own, you might have questions about something you are reading, but there is no one to ask.
 
At the private college you can clear anything up straight away with the tutor. I do not think that one option is better than the other. At the end of the day, it is up to each youngster to choose what they think is the most suitable studying environment.
 
The most important thing is for them to strike the right ­studying balance.
 
Ning Tsz-ching, Tseung Kwan O

Theodore Tam 4E

Don’t force food trucks to stay in one spot
 
The new food trucks scheme launched in Hong Kong is ­inspired by similar projects in countries such as the US, the UK and Australia. There, food trucks have successfully helped to ­promote the local culture and ­cuisine.
 
It is hoped that these mobile restaurants will offer citizens a greater variety and more food options, and that their choices will no longer be limited to eating in ­restaurants.
 
I also think that in certain ­locations these trucks will prove to be a popular tourist attraction, enjoyed by people of ­different nationalities.
 
I am sure they will offer good-quality and interesting food. They should do well because Hongkongers do love their food. But the people who are operating these trucks face some ­challenges.
 
First, the cost of purchasing and equipping these trucks is too high. This means the ­vendors will probably have to charge more than they would like in order to get back what they have already spent. The government should offer subsidies to ­encourage more people to set up these trucks.
 
Also, the government has so far allowed only a few designated parking places. These trucks need more ­mobility if they are to do well financially.
 
I am sure if the government did a public consultation exercise it would find there is ­backing for the trucks to be ­allowed more mobility.They should be allowed to choose different locations in the city, ­depending on where there is greatest demand.
 
Theodore Tam, Po Lam

SCMP February 9, 2017
Mandy Yu 5A

Traditional, local stores need support
 
I think the Hong Kong government should bring in measures to ­preserve traditional, local businesses.
 
In this tough economic climate, many of them, including Chinese herbal stores, bakers and shops serving local desserts, are struggling to survive.
 
It is important that the traditions and skills involved in their craft are preserved and passed down to future generations.
 
They are one of the features of Hong Kong that make it unique and are popular with tourists who want to experience traditional local culture. So, if the government introduces measures to keep them going, it will boost the tourist sector.
 
They are also important to Hongkongers, as they are part of our collective memory.
 
Many of these stores have a lot of history, they have been ­plying their trade for generations and can be an integral part of a neighbourhood.
 
It is very important that they are allowed to stay open so ­tourists and locals alike can enjoy them.
 
Mandy Yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 8, 2017
Mike Fung 2D

Timmy Chan 4B

Bobo Man 5A

SCMP February 7, 2017
Michelle Mai 4B

Wing Kwok 5A

Hebe Ng 5E

Brian Heung 5A

Desmond Chan 4E

SCMP February 5, 2017
Katrina Lo 4E

We should all aim for green New Year
 
One green group has estimated that Hongkongers use 320 ­million red lai see packets every Lunar New Year.
 
That amounts to a huge number of trees. The production process and then the fact that most lai see are discarded after the festival, cause a lot of damage to the environment.
 
Most of these packets end up in our landfills, which are ­already ­nearing capacity.
 
Citizens need to be aware of this and make some changes next year.
They can get recycled lai see packets from environmental groups.
This would help to reduce the volumes of waste generated and they can also save money. Also, people can donate their packets to these groups to be handed out the following year.
 
These may seem like small changes, but if we all adopt them they can make a big difference. We all should aim for a more environmentally friendly Lunar New Year.
 
Katrina Lo, Po Lam

Angel Ho 3B

Education best way to tackle cyberbullies
 
Teenagers spend a huge amount of time online, especially on chat room apps. This makes them vulnerable to ­cyberbullying through some social media sites.
 
Cyberbullies use these sites to send insulting and intimidating messages. These can leave teenagers feeling confused, ­intimidated and often deeply upset.
 
They can suffer from low self-esteem and in extreme cases they may even be afraid to go to school, worried that they will be victims of further bullying. This will then affect their academic performance.
 
The government and schools must recognise that the best way to deal with this problem is through educating students about the proper way to use social media sites.
 
If they are sent an offensive message on a social media site, they must not reply to it.
 
If they are victims of cyberbullying, they should seek help from peers or the school as soon as possible.
 
They should not wait until the problem has got worse and they are suffering from severe stress.
 
Angel Ho, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 4, 2017
Kassandra Wong 5E

Reduce waste to prevent a landfill crisis
 
I agree with Tom Yam about the volumes of waste in the city (“Waste management problems are getting worse in Hong Kong”, January 24).
 
Waste is undoubtedly one of our major problems. With around 9,000 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste (MSW), the three landfills in the city will soon become full. More than half of MSW is domestic waste.
 
Compared to countries like Japan, Hong Kong doesn’t have an effective waste management system. In general, our citizens do not have the habit of recycling. Even though the government could address the problem by ­expanding landfills, the lack of proper waste management and a growing population may leave us without enough space for landfills.
 
The problem should be tackled by the reduction of waste, a drive that every Hong Kong citizen should commit to. Food waste is one of the major sources of rubbish in the landfills. To improve living standards and the environment, we must come together to reduce waste and nurture the recycling habit.
 
More recycling bins could be provided to raise public awareness, and some form of reward introduced for citizens of districts that recycle the most or sharply cut waste production.
 
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 4, 2017
Laurent Li 4A

Make nursing rooms a must at all city malls
 
In Hong Kong, too many factors discourage breastfeeding mothers, -including a lack of nursing rooms.
 
All of society should encourage breastfeeding for the health of newborns, including not just our government, but employers as well. A survey in 2015 found only 18.6 per cent of 2,000 respondents worked in nursing-friendly workplaces.
 
First of all, employers should offer longer maternity leave, so that babies get enough time to be weaned and started on formula. Also, this will encourage more mothers to breastfeed, which will benefit the long-term health of our future generations.
 
Secondly, the government should make nursing rooms compulsory at every shopping mall. Such a step will not only help young families but also ¬increase public awareness of the issue, which is lacking now.
 
Laurent Li, Tiu King Leng

SCMP February 3, 2017
May Chong 5A

Playgrounds should be safe and interesting
 
The government has placed a great deal of emphasis on safety when it comes to the designs of its playgrounds in the city.
 
This is likely because of pressure by parents in the past to make all these facilities safer after their children may have been hurt in accidents at playgrounds run by the Leisure and Cultural ­Services Department.
 
Ensuring these playgrounds were also fun and stimulating became less important. This has meant that some of the more creative purposes of a playground have been neglected in Hong Kong.
 
Some critics have said parents are being overprotective; that children who suffered minor scrapes and dealt with them learned about ­overcoming ­adversity.
 
Very young children might still enjoy these playgrounds, but as they get older they find the equipment is not challenging. Nowadays, children will often seek entertainment elsewhere.
 
They prefer spending their leisure time on their smartphones and computers. So they do not benefit from exercising and, for example, joining with a team in a sports competition, all experiences which can help build character.
 
Well-equipped and interesting playgrounds contribute to the development of children. Safety is important, but they cannot be cocooned.
 
They need these spaces so they can play with peers. The ­department must accept that safety must not be so dominant at its facilities and that other ­important features that make them ­interesting are not ­ignored.
 
May Chong, Tseung Kwan O

Crystal Chan 1C

Give children a say on park equipment
 
I think the government should accept the criticism that its playgrounds are boring (for example, slides that are too short) and redesign them.
 
It should listen to the suggestions from children and remodel those aspects of the playgrounds that are considered to be old-fashioned and boring.
 
Children’s ideas matter ­because after all they are the users and know what they like.
 
One survey found they would like slides at different heights. Given the pressure they are often under in Hong Kong, children need places where they can go with parents, really relax and play with others of their own age.
 
Crystal Chan, Tiu Keng Leng

SCMP February 2, 2017
Trisha Tobar 3D

Traditions are adapting to modern times
 
This year, during the Lunar New Year, instead of using traditional lai see packets, many people gave these gifts of money through digital platforms.
 
Gifting money through ­digital services, such as HSBC’s eLaisee and WeChat’s Wallet function, is efficient and time-saving, as you do not have to queue up to take money out of an ATM machine, or purchase any lai see packets.
 
Also, ­because you are not using the paper packets, which are mostly thrown away, you are being environmentally friendly and ­helping to save trees.
 
Critics might argue that these internet options further erode Lunar New Year traditions. However, as society advances, it is only natural to adapt to what is available and is convenient.
 
There are many traditions from thousands of years ago that are no longer observed in modern society. We have to be practical. Sometimes, friends and family live abroad and cannot meet for the festival, but want to pass on their lai see gifts.
 
I see these digital lai see ­services as providing people with more options. For example, with the online versions, they can design their own cover and attach voice messages, giving blessings or expressing gratitude. This can prove enjoyable and different, and the tradition of giving lai see is preserved.
 
Trisha Tobar, Tseung Kwan O

Hazel Wong 3B

Cyberbullying can destroy young lives
 
With the growth of new technology and increasing use of cellphones, computers and tablets, cyberbullying is a ­growing problem which can cause acute embarrassment to its victims.
 
Rumours can be spread on social media platforms and also through text messages.
 
Teenagers are particularly vulnerable, because many are ignorant about the risks ­of going online and their so-called schoolmates are often the ones doing the bullying.
 
Many young people can be victims, including those from minority groups, such as youngsters who are disabled or from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community, who ­receive threatening emails.
Cyberbullying can happen wherever people log on and at any time of the day or night.
 
Offensive images can be posted anonymously and they can go viral very quickly.
 
Also, it can be difficult to trace the source and catch the culprits.
 
Once texts and pictures have been posted online, it can be very difficult to delete them.
 
Bullying can have a serious impact on the mental health of victims and, in the worst cases, can lead to suicide.
 
The government must do more to educate teenagers about the threats posed by bullying and make them fully understand how destructive it can be to the lives of so many youngsters.
 
Parents should also talk to their children about cyberbullying and help raise their levels of awareness.
 
They need to keep the lines of communication open and explain the importance of ­treating other children with kindness and respect.
Cyberbullying is a global problem that all governments should be addressing.
 
Hazel Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP February 1, 2017
Anakin Tam 3D

Traditions of festival now often neglected
 
I have noticed that some traditions associated with Lunar New Year are becoming less popular in Hong Kong.
 
In the past it was accepted that as a Hongkonger you would ­celebrate this festival with your family every year, but this is no longer always the case.
 
Many citizens go for holidays abroad rather than visiting the homes of relatives.
 
They see the break as being just that, a holiday, instead of thinking about what Lunar New Year actually means.
 
I have also noticed that older relatives sometimes give younger family members a gift by e-payment and no longer use the traditional red lai see packets.
 
I understand that advances are being made in new ­technology, but I do not ­welcome this change.
 
The act of giving and ­receiving the red envelope is more important than the ­monetary sum which is ­contained in the packet.
 
It has a deeper meaning. Family members are giving their blessings and wishing each other good luck for the coming year. This is not really possible with an e-payment.
 
With the rapid growth of technology, it is inevitable that some traditions will be ­overtaken by developments ­online with more people using computers.
 
However, it is important, ­despite the fast-paced lifestyle in Hong Kong, not to lose sight of the history of Lunar New Year, and its traditions.
 
Anakin Tam, Po Lam

SCMP January 30, 2017
Athena Ng 2C

Think about what students really want
 
Because parents always want their children to do well in life, many persistently urge them to get good ­academic results.
 
I agree with correspondents who say that these parents ­cannot see past doing well in exams.
 
They do not think about what subjects and activities will stimulate their children and so encourage them to learn more. If there are extracurricular activities available, ­parents must ask their children which ones they would enjoy taking part in.
 
They also should not sign their sons and daughters up for too many tutorial classes, which could leave their days overloaded with having too much to do in addition to their normal school work.
 
They need to find the right balance so that the children are not put under too much pressure and are able to develop and progress at their own pace.
 
Athena Ng, Po Lam

SCMP January 29, 2017
Cally Kong 3D

Beware the traps of social networking
 
I am concerned about the ­pitfalls of social networking sites.
 
It seems many citizens do not care or do not know about the potential risks involving social networking and only a few people have thought seriously about how our privacy can be breached.
 
Invasion of privacy and the possibility of being hacked is ­rising as we surf the web.
 
To prevent these kinds of ­invasions – and cut the risk of cybercrime – social network users should improve privacy by only ­allowing friends to see their personal information and avoid talking to strangers on ­Facebook. Never give out personal information to strangers online and don’t share sensitive or private information.
 
I am sure that if everyone just uses common sense and follows some basic rules, they will be able to avoid some of the traps and sad consequences of using social networking sites.
 
Cally Kong Tsz -yiu, Hang Hau

Tsang Ka Yee 3D

Effort needed to preserve old traditions
 
I am saddened by the disappearance of several Lunar New Year traditions.
 
Recently, HSBC launched a new function on their e-banking app which allows people to send or receive red lai see packets digitally. Sure, technology may offer convenience but it also shows that it is quickly replacing some of our festive traditions.
 
It’s not just the receipt of red packets – there are some other traditions which required the personal touch and are fading.
 
Nowadays people mainly use apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat to communicate, and this also ­happens during Lunar New Year.
 
More people are sending messages with blessings through the apps to their relatives and not making the effort to visit them.
 
Another tradition is the ­reunion dinner. As travelling ­between countries becomes more convenient, many people study or work overseas for higher wages. In the country they have moved to, Lunar New Year may not be an important festival and their office or place of study may not close for it.
 
Even if they have some leave owing, they may be less inclined than in the past to ask for a holiday so they can come back to Hong Kong to be with the family during the ­festival.
 
Instead of flying home and joining relatives for the reunion dinner, they will often send their greetings via FaceTime or Skype.
 
To keep traditions alive, we must balance convenience with the need to preserve family bonds.
 
Tsang Ka-yee, Tseung Kwan O

Donald Wong 4A

Breastfeeding mums deserve more respect
 
Many mothers choose to breastfeed their babies because of the health benefits. However, in Hong Kong they are made to feel embarrassed or angry by ­ignorant stares or humiliated by inappropriate venues such as toilets or tiny, windowless back rooms.
 
The government should actively promote the health benefits of breastfeeding, as well as educate employers and the public that nursing a baby outside the home is not shameful, and ­encourage more nursing rooms in public places such as ­shopping malls.
 
Employers should be told to show respect to breastfeeding mums and at least provide dedicated refrigerators so they can store breast milk at the office and be given breastfeeding breaks.
 
Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 26, 2017
Jojo Wong 2B

Aim for a much greener festival this new year
 
A lot of waste is generated during Lunar New Year, especially with children being given red paper lai see packets by older relatives.
 
So many of these packets end up in landfills, and so I urge that people think about the environment this year and either keep them for reuse next year or put them in paper recycling bins.
 
Also, shopping malls have a lot of displays at this time of year featuring traditional plants, such as peach blossoms, lilies and kumquats, which will also go into landfills. The malls could cut back on real plants in future and reuse other decorations.
 
It is traditional to have a ­family reunion dinner before the start of the festival. But often too much food is ­ordered and then thrown away. Diners should only order what they can eat or take away the ­leftovers to eat later.
 
We should all try to have an environmentally friendly Lunar New Year.
 
Jojo Wong, Po Lam

Alan Lai 3D

Dissatisfaction growing over housing policy
 
One aspect of Hong Kong’s housing crisis is that the poor are finding their plight becoming more unbearable, and more of them are being forced to live in ­subdivided flats.
 
Some of these units are ­located in old industrial buildings, which are totally ­unsuitable and often unsafe.
 
Even citizens on higher ­incomes struggle to put together enough to buy their own flat.
 
The government is building more public housing ­estates, but cannot keep pace with ­demand, so applicants for a public flat face long waiting lists.
 
This is leading to growing discontent, and we are seeing more anti-government protests and an increasing number of ­citizens expressing dissatisfaction with the government and its housing policies.
 
They ­argue that the administration is not developing enough ­brownfield land for public ­housing.
 
Instead, it is looking at ­building on more green-belt sites and even country parks. This is ridiculous, especially when some of the brownfield land is near green belts.
 
The government must change this policy. If it commits to using these brownfield sites for public estates, it will see fewer protests over its housing strategy.
 
Alan Lai, Po Lam

Rainbow Or 3B

Make students more aware of cyberbullying
 
There has been an increase, both abroad and in Hong Kong, in the number of victims of ­cyberbullying (“Toilet photos used to ­cyberbully children as young as 10”, January 21).
 
As the internet becomes more popular globally, and youngsters send a lot of text messages and use so many ­different websites, the problem is becoming more serious.
 
Cyberbullying can have a devastating effect on people’s lives and it must be curbed as far as possible. If we do not crack down on it now, the incidences of this form of cybercrime will only increase and could get out of control.
 
In Hong Kong, schools have to take action and teach children to adopt the right attitude ­towards the use of the internet. And this message must be put across from an early age to raise students’ level of awareness.
 
I feel that schools are ­neglecting this important ­subject. Students who lack that awareness are more likely to ­become victims of internet bullying on social networking sites. I think schools should act as the first line of defence.
 
They can also help teach young people the right attitude to deter those who are tempted from ­getting involved in ­cyberbullying.
The government should get schools to start teaching programmes on this subject as soon as possible. Children should be free to enjoy the internet ­without fear of being harassed.
 
Rainbow Or, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 25, 2017
Kenny Tong 4A

Overcrowding at A& E units is likely to remain
 
I am not convinced that raising fees at accident and ­emergency (A&E) departments in public hospitals, as the Hospital Authority wants to do, will have the desired effect and alleviate the serious ­overcrowding.
 
First, the proposed increase (from HK$100 to HK$220) is not big enough.
 
Most of the patients who go to A&E units in public hospitals are on low incomes.
 
Even if the fee is increased, it would still not be as much as at a private clinic, so they will ­continue to visit public ­hospitals.
 
Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance are waived the fee, so the rise will not affect them.
 
Overcrowding in these units is definitely a problem.
 
However, the ­government will have to come up with other policies to tackle this issue.
 
Kenny Tong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 24, 2017
Tsang Kai Yuet 2D

Carly Fung 4A

 

 

SCMP January 23, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

Kassandra Wong 5E

Young Post January 23, 2017
Jason Ng 3C

Jason Ng 3C

Coco Chan 3C

Joanne Ma 3C

SCMP January 22, 2017
Prisclla Ko 5B

TSA at primary level should not come back
 
I am writing to express my views on the now controversial issue of reviving the TSA at primary level.
 
Frankly, most people believe that the Territory-wide System Assessment test should not be revived for primary students, as it negatively affects not only the children, but also their parents and teachers.
 
Indeed, cancelling TSA at the primary level can relieve the academic pressure for these children. The difficulty level of TSA exam papers has risen to unreasonable heights. The test also causes many students to face ­intense drilling in addition to their regular homework. Homework, past primary-level TSA papers and related tutorial ­classes keep students up past midnight sometimes. Eventually, their physical and mental health may be harmed by the lack of sleep and leisure time.
 
Moreover, cancelling primary-level TSA may benefit parents as well. When students stay up to do TSA exercises, parents may keep them company, and when students are stressed out with the harsh drilling, it affects their parents as well. Also, given ­today’s “drilling culture”, some parents may even have to spend a lot on TSA exercise papers. All this creates a burden for parents that is physical, mental as well as financial.
 
Also, a valid question is whether parents’ drilling and expectations are likely to hurt the parent-child relationship.
 
As for primary teachers, cancelling TSA would undeniably relieve their workload. Usually, they have to finish the intense drilling within regular class hours, which creates additional pressure for them. Some teachers may even take supplementary classes during weekends. In the absence of all these activities and extra workload, teachers may be able to devise more meaningful learning activities.
 
Some believe that the primary-level TSA is a tool to assess student performance. However, TSA’s drilling culture seems to have made primary students well-versed in the skill of ­answering exam questions.
This just proves the effectiveness of intense drilling and is not a true measure of performance.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 21, 2017
Tutti Sung 5D

Young people have to follow their dreams
 
 
In it, she encouraged young people to try to be what they want to be and to be determined to achieve their goals.
 
I believe this is good advice that should be followed by ­students in Hong Kong. ­However, I think many local youngsters lack a sense of direction and do not know what they want to be.
 
All they focus on is studying and this is why they ­often end up feeling stressed.
 
They do not put any passion into what they are doing. They are afraid to chase their dreams and instead choose the safest path, which ­often means ­applying for a ­university place.
 
I believe they should set their sights on what it is they really want to do, think hard about their future goals and ­recognise the effort that will be needed to achieve them.
 
Certainly, they must not take everything they have for granted. They should treasure all the things they enjoy, such as freedom.
 
Look at Michelle Obama, for example. She was not born into a wealthy family and had to work hard to get to where she is now. She is living proof that so much is possible if you make the effort.
 
Students must not lose hope, but set out their goals in society and try hard to reach them.
 
So many youngsters lose hope, which explains the high suicide rate in Hong Kong. They lack a sense of belonging. Teenagers need to be determined and believe in themselves if they want to enjoy success.
 
Tutti Sung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 20, 2017
Alice Ma 4E

Emily Leung 3D

Daniel Ho 6C

SCMP January 18, 2017
Lum Chi Lok 5C

SCMP January 15, 2017
Sara Wong 4A

Rich but fragile biodiversity needs our help
 
I refer to your article on marine life (“Under the sea: species flourish in Hong Kong waters, study reveals”, December 30).
 
For such a concrete jungle, Hong Kong’s biodiversity is disproportionately rich. However, scientists warn that climate change, ocean acidification, and relentless urbanisation may threaten this biodiversity.
 
Most of the problems are caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, as this will emit acidic pollutants into the air and oceans. The solution is to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
 
To protect our planet, we cannot just rely on the government for renewable energy such as wind and hydropower, and solar and geothermal energy. The resources on our planet are limited, we should always follow the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 14, 2017
Oscar Au Yeung 4B

Teens should be aware of phone risks
 
Hong Kong citizens, especially teenagers, spend a lot of time on their smartphones.
 
People often communicate with each other using these ­devices and play computer games on them. Some adults have ­expressed concern about the time youngsters spend on these phones, saying that it can ­destroy their childhood.
 
For students they can be an important learning tool, helping them search quickly for information that they need. And wherever they are, they can take a photo or a video.
 
However, ­despite the convenience of this technology, I can understand why some adults express ­concern about the negative ­effects.
 
They fear that some teenagers spend an inordinate amount of time on smartphones and often not for studying ­purposes. This can have a ­negative effect if they are playing lots of computer games and using social media platforms for hours on end, such as Facebook and Instagram. Spending too long looking at the small screen can cause health problems such as eye strain.
 
Youngsters have to be taught to strike a balance and learn the importance of self-discipline. They need to use the phones sensibly for entertainment, but also for their studies.
 
Oscar Au Yeung, Po Lam

Kaecee Wong 3D

Eco-friendly tourists set good example
 
In November, a group of tourists from Japan came to Hong Kong and spent four days cleaning up beaches around Lantau and Lamma. They are part of a group called the Beach Clean-up World Tour.
 
Reading about what they had done and the comments they made about protecting the ­environment made me feel ashamed.
 
Citizens from another ­country came here to try and help deal with our environmental problems, while so many Hongkongers just ignore them.
These people were all volunteers, they paid for their own trip and they did this for the sake of Hong Kong’s ecosystems.
 
They have set a fine example that we should all follow.
 
Kaecee Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 13, 2017
Chloe Ng 2C

Daniel Hui 4A

SCMP January 12, 2017
Wong Tat Hin 4A

SCMP January 11, 2017
Ma Chung Yan 2B

SCMP January 9, 2017
Billy Sit 4A

Young Post January 9, 2017
Kary Chan 6A

SCMP January 8, 2017
Tutti Sung 5D

Small-class teaching has its pros and cons
 
Small-class teaching has been in the news lately, and sparked a lot of debate.
 
Many see this teaching method as a means to improve the education system. However, it has its pros and cons.
 
In terms of the benefits, small-class teaching can definitely provide opportunities for personal attention and additional instructional help.
 
If a class has only 10 students, the learning process tends to be more effective as the teacher can spend more time on each ­student. Even if all 10 have questions, the teacher can answer them one by one and interact with them. This is impossible in the case of a large class. One-on-one attention is what small-class teaching can ensure.
 
Apart from individualised attention, a better learning environment is also an advantage. Discipline problems will be fewer or better tackled in smaller classes. This will leave the teachers with more time and energy for effective teaching, and they will be less stressed out as well.
However, while it may seem that small-class teaching is the superior system, it also has a few disadvantages.
 
Smaller classes might mean less competition between ­students, as keen rivalry thrives when there are many contestants. With just 10 students per class, the competition between them may not be that tough, and students may feel less motivated to push themselves. Competition leads to better academic ­results – this is a fact. So small classes may actually lead to loss of motivation to study.
 
Moreover, small classes mean more classes per school day, which means more teachers will have to be hired. But the supply of teachers is insufficient. If a school does not have enough teachers, each one will need to teach many classes throughout the day and become exhausted.
Given these drawbacks, it is hard to decide whether small-class teaching is the best way to improve the education system or not. There are other means as well to achieve that goal, such as improving teacher quality, better teaching methods, and so on.
 
Small-class teaching can be an alternative but it will never be the only choice.
 
Tutti Sung, Tseung Kwan O

Billy Sit 4A

We must end obsession with spoon-feeding
 
Exams like the Hong Kong ­Diploma of Secondary Education cause a lot of stress to students. And it has become a trend for teachers to hand out more homework. In fact, I would not single out exams. The entire ­curriculum is stressful.
 
Our education system is counterproductive. Because of spoon-feeding methods of teaching, we produce young people who can regurgitate what they have memorised, but have not acquired the sort of real knowledge that they could use in their daily lives.
 
All that the parents care about is a good report card, but they ­neglect things like helping children learn to take care of themselves and ensuring that they have enough time to relax.
 
In some schools in the US, they are trying not to give out any homework, because they believe it is not effective and just causes more stress.
The education secretary in Hong Kong has to recognise there are problems and implement the necessary reforms.
 
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 7, 2017
Jerry Lam 4A

Abuse of study rooms now a big problem
 
When we are approaching an exam period, the public libraries’ study rooms become very crowded.
 
As a student, I like using them to do my homework and to revise, because at home there are distractions such as television, computers and ­smartphones. However, some users are abusing these study rooms and this abuse has reached serious levels.
 
Sometimes I see youngsters asleep at desks or surfing on their smartphones, rather than studying.
 
I appreciate that the priority of librarians is to maintain good order in the library, but they should also be curbing this abuse of study rooms, otherwise this is a resource that is being wasted. I also urge all users to act responsibly.
 
Jerry Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post January 6, 2017
Sammi Lo 5D

SCMP January 6, 2017
Fung Siu Chung 2D

SCMP January 5, 2017
Sarah Tam 5A

Lynette Tang Wing Yan 4E

SCMP January 4, 2017
Sarah Tam 5A

Playgrounds have now become boring
 
Parents are increasingly concerned about the safety of their children and that includes ensuring they do not get hurt in playgrounds.
 
While this is understandable, the downside is that some officials can try to be so careful that playgrounds in Hong Kong become boring. They should offer stimulation and be a fun experience, but this will not happen if the layout is unimaginative.
 
With innovative designs, safety can be a priority, but a playground can still offer a challenge to a child. For example, slides used to be higher and made of steel and they can still be safe and not pose a serious risk. It is difficult to get down smoothly on a low plastic slide.
 
If playgrounds continue to be boring, families will just stay away and they will remain empty and barely used. The government should improve the design of playgrounds and make them more interesting, and parents should try not to be overprotective.
 
An interesting playground gives children a chance to get a lot of exercise and this is important when you see so many overweight youngsters.
 
Sarah Tam, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP January 3, 2017
Ada Yeung 2C

SCMP January 1, 2017
Kathy Ho 5E

Education best way to raise recycling rate
 
Due to materialism and consumerism, most Hong Kong ­students do not treasure what they have.
 
Unlike Eunice Li Dan Yue (“Get Hong Kong students to embrace recycling culture from early age”, December 26), I think the city has enough recycling bins. However, most people still throw all their refuse into the ­ordinary rubbish bins.
 
What is needed is more education, so citizens start separating waste and using the recycling bins. Having a lot more of these bins all over the city is of little use if they are ignored or misused. With education, the many recycling bins we already have will be fully utilised.
 
Quality is more important than quantity. And it is important to get the recycling message across to students at an early age.
 
If this is done, then they will more readily embrace recycling culture as children and then as adults.
 
Kathy Ho, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 31, 2016
Tsang Cho Him 6E

Disneyland not as popular as it used to be
 
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung has asked the Legislative Council to support the government’s proposal to partially subsidise the planned expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
 
I do not support the expansion as I do not see how it can really benefit the Hong Kong economy. Of course, Disney’s theme parks are well known all over the world, but I do not think that the Hong Kong theme park is as popular as it was with visitors say 10 years ago and I do not believe a planned expansion would make much of a ­difference.
 
Also the project would be expensive and involve HK$5.8 billion of public money. This is money that could be better spent, for example, on building more public housing estates or giving additional subsidies to citizens living in poverty.
 
Tsang Cho-him, Ngau Tau Kok

Jojo Wong 2B

Lax controls over factories which pollute
 
The air pollution in northern China is really serious.
 
There are too many factories and they are not being properly monitored to ensure emissions are within legal limits. You see pictures of thick smoke coming from factory chimneys and it even causes problems in parts of the country some distance from industrial areas.
 
Imagine what it must be like for communities next to those plants. People in cities like Beijing wear masks when the smog is bad, but many still suffer from respiratory diseases.
 
The central government must impose tighter emission controls on factories and build more residential estates some distance from these factories.
 
It should also encourage citizens to use public transport instead of private cars. It can do this by charging higher taxes when people purchase a car.
 
Jojo Wong, Po Lam

Kelly Fung 2B

Cut back on food waste next Christmas
 
While Christmas is a joyful day, too often we do not think about the environment and next year I hope more of us will try to be more eco-friendly.
 
At Christmas parties there is a wide selection of food and much of it is wasted. We drink out of paper cups which cannot be ­recycled.
 
When organising these ­parties we should calculate how many people will be coming and how much food we will actually need and try not to order too much.
 
Food that is left over, if it is still edible, should be taken home by people so it is not ­wasted. People should bring plastic containers for that ­purpose.
 
Next Christmas I hope will all try to be environmentally aware at our festive parties and make sure we keep food waste to a minimum.
 
Kelly Fung, Tseung Kwan O

Sara Wong 4A

Give more incentives for electric cars
 
The government is trying to encourage more people to buy electric cars, as they do not emit pollutants.
 
However, there are not many charging stations and, often, the parking spots next to these stations in car parks will be occupied by non-electric cars, especially during peak hours.
 
The government should increase the financial incentives available to motorists who buy electric cars to make these cars more attractive.
 
Electric cars are just one aspect of people being eco-friendly. Even if we don’t own an electric car, we should all be trying to do more to protect our environment.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 29, 2016
Debby Wong 6E

Long haul from MTR platform to station exits
 
I agree with correspondents who have been critical of the layout of Ho Man Tin MTR station, which opened in October.
 
As they pointed out, it is on seven levels. It can be easy for passengers, especially those who are elderly, to get lost. They need to travel on at least three escalators to reach an exit.
 
At Chung Hau Street exit, there are only two lifts. Therefore, queueing is inevitable and the only alternative for people is to use the stairs. Many elderly citizens live in Ho Man Tin and Oi Man estates and will have to wait for the lifts and sometimes face a long queue.
 
The station is also quite far from some locations. For example, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk from the Chung Hau Street exit to Oi Man mall.
 
More escalators are needed, and signs clearly indicating exits to stop people from getting lost.
 
Debby Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Zoe Chung 4A

Higher charge will not curb overcrowding
 
There has been a great deal of discussion about overcrowding in public hospitals, especially in accident and emergency (A&E) departments.
 
To try and alleviate this problem, the Hospital Authority wants to raise A&E charges from HK$100 to HK$220. General outpatient and rehabilitation bed charges could also go up.
 
I do not think these price hikes will have the desired effect. Most patients who use A&E departments are on low incomes, many will receive Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and so they will be exempt from these charges and therefore ­unaffected by the increase. This means that the overcrowding problem will persist and many citizens will continue to abuse this service.
 
Instead of this price hike, the authority should undertake a ­review to get to the bottom of the abuse of the system and implement penalties where there is abuse.
 
Zoe Chung Ka-man, Po Lam

Samuel Yu 4A

Underground spaces good for city’s economy
 
The government wants citizens to express their views on a proposal to build underground spaces in some urban areas.
 
It is proposing to develop underground areas in very busy urban locations, namely, Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay, Happy Valley and Admiralty-Wan Chai.
 
I agree that there is potential to develop underground spaces. I think these projects would bring a lot of advantages.
 
At ground level, it would ­help to improve flow of traffic with less congestion and so we would see a better living environment for nearby residents. It would free up space which could be allocated for community use and it would help to boost tourism.
 
With more visitors and local residents enjoying a better quality of life, we would likely see an improvement in Hong Kong’s economy.
 
Some critics of this proposal have questioned the feasibility of building underground shopping malls, but examples have already been set in Japan, which has well-developed underground malls. They have proved to be very popular with Japanese shoppers.
 
I am sure we could have a network of these shopping malls in the designated underground spaces.
 
Samuel Yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 28, 2016
Ng Yik Huen 5E

Costa Rica sets example with green policies
 
With greater economic development globally, there has been an increase in greenhouse gases which envelop the planet.
As a consequence, average temperatures are rising and there are more extreme weather conditions.
 
Hong Kong has not done enough to tackle global warming, unlike Costa Rica. Costa Rica, like many other countries, has seen temperatures rise and is experiencing drier weather conditions. However, it is now taking action to try and deal with the effects of climate change. It has already declared that it aims to be carbon neutral by 2021 and already is a global leader in the sustainable use of energy.
 
Most of its energy comes from renewable sources, a mix of hydro, geothermal, wind and solar energy. That means it is possible to generate energy without burning fossil fuels like oil and coal.
 
Costa Rica is also trying to stop deforestation. It recognises that its trees play an important role in reducing carbon in the atmosphere. It compensates landowners in a scheme to encourage reforestation.
 
Tourists visiting the country are invited to make a donation to reforestation projects. In the last decade, Costa Rica has already increased its forested area by 10 per cent.
 
Hong Kong can learn from Costa Rica’s example and do more to alleviate the ­effects of climate change.
 
Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Suki Lee 4A

We must deal now with ageing society
 
Our ageing population is a serious issue in Hong Kong and is creating many problems for our society.
 
It will place a financial burden on the government. As the number of the elderly keeps increasing, there will be more single elderly citizens. As they get older, many will have to stop work and some will be dependent on allowances from the government. They will need help from welfare schemes such as the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). The government’s expenditure on such payments will increase as this ageing population grows in size.
 
With more elderly people and a low birth rate, the city’s competitiveness could be adversely affected. We could see a decline in the workforce with not enough young people to fill all the vacancies on the job market, jobs that Hong Kong needs. The government will have to consider recruitment drives to attract people with the necessary training and talent from overseas to come and work here.
 
The increase in the number of elderly will also place an additional burden on our public ­hospitals. More patients will ­require treatment for chronic conditions.
 
Many elderly people will choose public over private ­hospitals, because they are a lot cheaper. If they are recipients of CSSA, the government will have to pay their bill at the public ­hospital.
 
The administration has to do more in the way of planning so that it can deal effectively with the problems linked to an ageing population. It needs to start planning its strategy.
 
Suki Lee, Hang Hau

SCMP December 27, 2016
Billy Sit 4A

Brownfield sites offer best housing option
 
I refer to the letter by Shirley Lee (“Long-term solution to housing crisis”, December 14).
 
Not all underground areas in Hong Kong will be suitable for developments.
 
Some areas might be prone to flooding and pose a risk. Also, in an emergency it would be more difficult and take longer to evacuate people from underground sites if there was an accident such as a fire, than if they were in a high-rise at street level.
 
Also, if these underground sites were extensive, a lot of fresh air would have to pumped into buildings located there.
 
The government should ­instead be looking at ways to maximise the many brownfield sites that can be found throughout Hong Kong. They could provide a lot of land on which to build new flats. Many of these sites are abandoned land and ripe for ­redevelopment.
 
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

Fok Pui Yi 5E

Fight against corruption is top priority
 
I agree with Kathleen Kong Hoi-hung (“Citizens suffer when waste is dumped”, December 22) that the central government must do more to curb air ­pollution.
 
It must crack down on illegal factories and tightly control the proper disposal of waste.
 
Indeed, the government is trying to reduce pollution levels in the country, but is obstructed in its efforts by some corrupt ­officials.
 
It already has some strict laws in place, but it can be difficult to track down all the illegal factories. The government must effectively curb corruption if it wants to ­successfully tackle pollution. I do not see problems such as bad air being solved if the high levels of ­corruption continue ­unchecked.
 
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O

Vivian Shea 5C

Start planning now for city’s ‘grey tsunami’
 
Earlier this year, a study warned of the increased pressure that would be brought to bear on public hospitals because of our ageing population, what has been described as a “silver ­tsunami”.
 
It is anticipated there will be a massive rise in elderly patient admissions to hospitals by 2041. Clearly this problem is going to get more serious, so our government must start preparing now so that by then there are enough public medical facilities.
 
With many more senior citizens, there will be a greater ­burden placed on public hospitals. The government must now draw up its plan to increase the number of public hospitals in Hong Kong and staff numbers.
 
It also needs to ensure a change of mindset. The message must be got across to citizens that emergency rooms are for emergencies, not for patients who do not have an urgent need of medical services. We must all learn to treasure our public ­hospitals and not take them for granted.
 
Vivian Shea, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 26, 2016
Daniel Hui 4A

Underground spaces have safety issues
 
I understand why some people have supported proposals to develop large underground spaces in some urban areas, but we have to recognise that there are potential disadvantages.
 
One area that would be a cause for concern is safety. If there was a fire, how easy would it be to evacuate everyone, especially if a lot of people were in underground locations?
 
Surely it would be more difficult than getting out all the occupants of a building at ground level. There would only be so many exits and everyone would be heading to them at once.
 
Also, I think the risk posed by smoke inhalation would be greater underground.
 
I am also not convinced that these spaces would reduce overcrowding. If they became a major tourist attraction, we might see a large influx of ­visitors.
 
I do not support extensive underground developments.
 
Daniel Hui, Hang Hau

SCMP December 23, 2016
Jojo Wong 2B

Let’s pledge to cut waste this festive season
 
During the festive season, as people celebrate Christmas in different ways, including parties, a lot of waste is ­generated. When Christmas is over, a lot of stuff is thrown away.
 
Christmas trees that could be recycled end up in landfills, as do decorations that could easily be stored and used next year. People need to become more environmentally aware.
 
When people receive a gift, they should make sure they put the wrapping paper in a recycling bin and not just throw it away. Shopping malls pull out all stops for Christmas, with a lot of trees and decorations being put up. I hope they dispose of them in a responsible manner.
 
I have also seen some Christmas lights on buildings in Tsim Sha Tsui remaining on during the day, which is a waste of electricity.
 
Jojo Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Peter Tam 4A

Higher fees at hospitals is a ridiculous idea
 
Public hospitals have backed a proposed increase in the charge for accident and emergency (A&E) treatment, from HK$100 to HK$220 (“Hong Kong Hospital Authority proposes higher charges for use of public services”, December 15).
 
The purpose of the price rise is to reduce overcrowding, but will it be effective?
 
Many of the people who go to A&E departments in public ­hospitals are elderly and people on low incomes. The elderly get health-care vouchers and many of those on low incomes get welfare payments – they do not have to pay hospital charges, so the overcrowding will persist.
 
Also, a higher fee will hurt those who are on low incomes but are not entitled to receive benefits. It will be a struggle for them.
 
I think it is a ridiculous idea to increase the A&E charge.
 
Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O

Jason Luk 4A

Leave country parks out of housing plans
 
I appreciate that the housing problem in Hong Kong is ­serious, but I do not believe that building homes in our country parks is a viable solution.
 
Our country parks offer citizens a great opportunity to relax and deal with the stress we feel at the workplace or in ­college. They do occupy a lot of space, but that is no justification for building on them.
 
Once a natural environment is ­destroyed, the damage is ­irreversible.
 
These rural areas are precious retreats and should be seen as such in this small, densely populated city.


 
 
Building on them would also present logistical problems as parks include lots of hills.
 
The government should be making greater use of older residential and industrial buildings.
 
Many old apartment blocks have only a few floors. They could be redeveloped into much taller high-rises with many more flats.
 
Redevelopment of older buildings and entire ­estates can create a lot more apartments and go some way towards alleviating the housing shortage.
 
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 22, 2016
Donald Wong 4A

Place a ban on selling alcohol to under-18s
 
A lot of youngsters now drink alcohol. There are various reasons for this, such as peer pressure and the feeling that it makes them feel more grown up if they drink.
 
Also, they may try alcohol ­because they have seen their parents drinking and want to act like them and other adults.
 
However, the problem of teenage ­drinking is becoming more ­serious as youngsters can easily buy alcohol at retail shops. This is a legal loophole which must be plugged as soon as ­possible, as alcohol can do a lot of harm to youngsters who are still developing physically and mentally.
 
Once an alcohol sales ban is in place for under-18s, the government should order shops to check teenagers’ identity cards before billing. Shops found guilty of selling to ­underage youths should face fines.
 
Donald Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 21, 2016
Isabella Chan 1A

Brownfield sites always a better option
 
I do not agree with the assistant director of planning, Amy Cheung Yi-mei, about how to deal with future housing needs (“Artificial island or country park development? Hongkongers face hard housing choices, official says’’, December 7).
 
I do not believe there is any need to construct an artificial island in the middle of the sea. Nor do we need to encroach on our country parks to meet our housing targets.
 
What the government needs to do is fully utilise the brownfield sites which can be found all around Hong Kong, including abandoned agricultural land and places such as scrap yards, which may be located illegally on government land.
 
They can be cleared for much-needed housing projects.
It saddens me when I read of government officials talking about possible residential ­developments in our country parks.
 
These parks have high ecological value and it is important that they are preserved for future generations.
 
Isabella Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Dickens Mok 5C

Transgender citizens left feeling isolated
 
Although Hong Kong has a unique East meets West culture, in certain areas, it is less than open-minded, because of traditional Chinese ways of thinking.
 
Therefore, many locals may be unlikely to be tolerant of transgender citizens.
 
There is now greater acceptance in many countries of the transgender community and it is time for Hong Kong to follow this trend.
 
Transgender people here face a number of difficulties. Apart from a designated centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital, they have limited medical and ­psychological support.
 
This can often result in their feeling marginalised and it can make it difficult for them to be positive about life. Even in prison, transgender inmates have reported facing discrimination.
 
If we want to see a more harmonious society, Hongkongers must show tolerance towards ­transgender citizens.
 
Dickens Mok, Hang Hau

Kathleen Kong 6C

Citizens suffer when waste is dumped
 
Residents of cities like Tianjin (天津) are suffering from the ­ smog that is ­affecting northern China.
 
The measures introduced to tackle this problem have been inadequate and there are frequent red alerts for air ­pollution.
 
Also, the central government needs to regulate all illegal ­factories and tightly control the disposal of waste.
 
So ­often factory owners simply dump all solid waste and sewage into the sea and rivers.
 
This damages the environment and the quality of life for people living near these plants.
 
The government must come up with an effective strategy to ­ensure comprehensive monitoring of these factories and this should be done as soon as ­possible.
 
Strict rules, and punishments for those who break them, are necessary. It is also ­important to make citizens more aware of the importance of protecting the environment.
 
Kathleen Kong Hoi-hung, Tseung Kwan O

Samuel Cheng 4A

Time to get tough with worst polluters
 
Severe air pollution continues to be a serious problem on the mainland and a major concern for affected citizens (“Flights grounded and highways shut in smog-choked north China”, ­December 19).
 
Smog from vehicles and ­factory chimneys envelopes ­cities and towns, and blanks out what were once blue skies.
 
As a consequence, the environment and the people of China are ­suffering. The severe air pollution is causing health problems, ­leading, for example, to respiratory diseases, various cancers, cardiovascular diseases and asthma.
 
The air is full of suspended particles and ­visibility on the streets is low.
It is difficult for ­pedestrians and motorists to see what is in front of them, and there is a high risk of traffic accidents.
 
The government must do more to address this problem.

It must tighten the legislation ­banning the most polluting vehicles and ensure that it is ­enforced. And there must be ­stricter control over carbon emissions from factories.
 
It also has to encourage ­wider use of renewable sources of energy, like solar and hydroelectric power, in order to be able to limit the use of fossil fuels, which are the main cause of the air pollution.
 
Samuel Cheng Ka-ho, Sai Kung

Benson Wong 4A

Hospital fee hike will not be effective
 
I do not think the proposed ­increase in accident and ­emergency services charges (from HK$100 to HK$220) in ­public hospitals will be effective.
 
The purpose of the increase is to alleviate the overcrowding in A&E units, but I do not believe it will achieve that objective.
Most of the patients are elderly and people on low ­incomes who cannot afford the fees charged by private clinics.
 
Middle-class citizens generally prefer private clinics to ­public hospitals as they do not have to wait so long and can ­afford to pay around HK$300 for a consultation. This will now only be around HK$80 more than the proposed new charge for A&E units.
 
Many of the people on low incomes at these units are recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or elderly citizens who get health ­vouchers, so they will be unaffected by the fee rise as they do not pay it.
 
Therefore, despite the fee hike, they will still keep ­coming and so it will not solve the problem of ­overcrowding.
 
The best solution to cope with so many patients is for the government to hire more ­doctors and nurses.
 
With increased manpower, public hospitals will be able to deal with the large number of patients, but raising fees is not the answer.
 
Benson Wong Tat-hin, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 20, 2016
Kenny Tong 4A

Suki Lee 4A

Lok Lum 5C

No real break for students doing diploma
 
Two secondary school students committed suicide on the same day last week.
 
It is clear that many youngsters at local schools feel under a lot of pressure.
 
Teachers cannot get through the whole syllabus in lessons to prepare for the Hong Kong ­Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) exam, so extended ­lessons are frequently held.
 
As a result, students face a heavy workload and are under a lot of pressure. Schools have to recognise these problems and address them.
They must make sure that youngsters get regular breaks. If they feel refreshed, they will be able to learn more.
 
Also, when they go on holiday, it should be a chance to relax, and not to do a lot of additional school work.
 
As a senior form ­student preparing for the HKDSE exam, I am sick and tired of all the ­exhausting tests and assignments, even though it is still early in the school year.
 
We also have to participate in various extracurricular activities in order to gain other learning experiences.
 
All these different activities leave us feeling exhausted.
 
As I said, with additional classes (known as make-up classes) during the holidays, you do not get the chance to have a proper break.
 
If you ask many senior form students what they did during their holidays, they will often say the break was dominated by lots of make-up classes and revision.
 
This is not good for the ­physical or mental health and well-being of teenagers.
 
If they are tired, they will not necessarily do well in exams, so the heavy workload can actually prove to be counterproductive. There are even examples of some young people suffering mood disorders.
 
They must be allowed time to enjoy a proper rest.
 
The authorities have to recognise that there is a ­problem. They should be ­reviewing the curriculum.
 
The need to ask themselves if it is necessary for the curriculum to be so wide-ranging and if there are ways to modify and ­reduce the pressure that is being felt by so many students in local schools.
           
Lum Chi-lok, Hang Hau

SCMP December 20, 2016
Priscilla Ko

Sub-degree graduates face uphill struggle
 
Statistics released earlier this year showed that the average wage of sub-degree graduates had dropped and was on a par with what a secondary school graduate earns.
 
This is clearly not a satisfactory state of affairs.
 
Many young people sign up for sub-degree programmes as a way of eventually getting a place at a university, or because they just want to achieve a higher level of education than a secondary school leaver in the hope that they will earn a higher salary. However, it seems now that signing up for these courses is not really helping them achieve these goals.
 
Obviously some employers have a low opinion of sub-degree courses and this will lead some youngsters to conclude that they are a waste of time and money. You have to pay a lot in tuition fees to complete a -two-year sub-degree.
 
I think it is tragic that young people who are trying to improve themselves and learn more skills face so many obstacles in Hong Kong, when all they are trying to do is ensure they can do better in the workplace and enjoy a higher standard of living.
 
All in all, it is really tragic to see that there are more and more obstacles hindering students who are trying their best to achieve a higher standard of living.
 
Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 19, 2016
Yuki Wong 6C

Natalli Lo 5A

Young Post December 19, 2016
Mak Hoi Lam 2B

Simon Chung 4A

Beijing should not just focus on economy
 
The serious haze in northern China began last week and has led to warnings in many cities of heavily polluted weather.
 
Life goes on and for many it probably appears normal, ­because this haze is nothing new to China’s citizens.
 
I think what is different this time is that it has affected such ­extensive areas of the country, including the city of Chengdu ( 成都).
 
As China has developed economically, its environmental problems have got worse, with all kinds of pollution, including car ­exhaust emissions, toxic smoke from factories, road and construction dust, and fumes from incinerators.
 
Therefore, this serious haze is hardly surprising.
 
The central government must do more to protect the environment, and come up with an effective strategy for ­sustainable development for the country.
 
The emphasis for the mainland government should not just be on economic growth.
 
I also think some officials try to hide the seriousness of the smog when it envelopes a city.
 
Citizens should always have the right to know how bad things are and what is being done to deal with it.
 
Simon Chung, Kwun Tong

SCMP December 18, 2016
Lee Tsz Chung 5D

More bikes can ease roadside pollution
 
I am writing to express my ­concerns about global warming.
 
Extremely unusual weather has become more prevalent in all corners of the world today. And it is a fact that most of this abnormal weather, if not all, is induced by global warming.
 
Cutting the emission of greenhouse gases is a prerequisite in addressing global warming. In Hong Kong, roadside air pollution has been a major ­reason behind an intensifying greenhouse effect.
 
To reduce heavy traffic and the pollution it creates, it has long been advocated that people bike to work, as they do in Denmark and the Netherlands, but the idea has not caught on.
 
The construction of cycle tracks connecting urban areas would inspire more people to get on their bikes, but this has neither been introduced nor discussed in development plans put forward by the government or Legislative Council. The government must take action to advocate healthy lifestyles with a low carbon footprint.
 
Lee Tsz-chung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 17, 2016
Eve Wong 5A

Brownfield sites obviously the best option
 
I think it is more sustainable to develop brownfield rather than greenbelt sites to resolve Hong Kong’s housing shortage ­problem.
In economic terms, the cost-benefit ratio of developing brownfield is greater than greenbelts.
 
This means the profits and cost savings are greater, and this is important when a government’s goal is to provide ­sustainable economic growth.
 
In terms of the environment, using brownfield sites is clearly better, because a greenbelt site (and its natural ecosystems) is preserved.
Fewer natural resource are used as the brownfield site is land that had been used before.
 
Pristine areas of the greenbelt do not have to be destroyed, and there is also no need for ­deforestation.
 
Potential pollution problems can be minimised when homes are being built, by having a well-prepared environmental management strategy, such as using high-tech machinery. The cost to the environment is therefore kept to a minimum.
 
Eve Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Janny Kwok 5C

The economy will gain from a bigger Disney
 
The proposed expansion of Disneyland is proving controversial (“Lawmakers across political spectrum grill administration on HK$11 billion expansion for Hong Kong Disneyland”, ­November 28).
 
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum have questioned the need to inject HK$5.8 billion of taxpayers’ money into the expansion project, with some urging that the city ­to ­diversify its tourist offerings.
 
In my opinion, as the ­government is not a commercial organisation, it is not just considering profit/loss projections for Disney, but the city’s overall ­economic interests.
 
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, the Airport Authority’s Sky Plaza project and planned artificial islands off Lantau will lead to increased flow of economic activities and people. So it is important for ­Disney to expand.
 
Tourism is an important ­pillar of our economy, both in terms of growth and providing jobs. Given the regional competition, Hong Kong must keep up its edge to draw visitors. A bigger Disney will be good for the city’s economy in the long term.
 
Jenny Kwok, Tseung Kwan O

Young Post December 16, 2016
Donald Chan Wing Yin 2C

Leung Wai Yu 5D

SCMP December 15, 2016
Shirley Lee 5A

Angela Chan 5C

Poon Ho Yin 1A

SCMP December 14, 2016
Candy Kong Lok Son 3D

SCMP December 13, 2016
Tai Wai Chun 3C

Young Post December 12, 2016
Mandy Lau 5B


SCMP December 10, 2016
Tam May Yuk 1B

Mobile phones making kids lose out in class
 
I refer to your article about falling standards of science among Hong Kong students (“Students stumble to new low in science”, December 7).
 
Hong Kong students may have ranked second in the world at reading and maths, but their science scores are dropping, according to the latest survey by the global Programme for International Student Assessment.
Some experts attributed this to fewer students taking up ­science under the new senior secondary school curriculum.
 
But I have another explanation. I believe students’ scores are dropping due to their addiction to mobile phones.
 
These days, most students like to play with their phones all day. Consequently, they pay less attention during lessons. Constant phone use may even dull their brains, so they are not able to learn new concepts easily.
 
Also, playing with the phone means they will not engage in conversation as much, and will end up having fewer friends. They won’t even have time to talk to their parents. And the most serious effect: staring at an electronic screen all day will take a toll on their eyesight.
 
May Yuk Tam, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP December 9, 2016
Owen Mak 4E

Young Post December 9, 2016
Ng Cheuk Ka 2C

SCMP December 8, 2016
Karen Chan 5B

Roslin Law 5E

SCMP December 7, 2016
Spencer Lee Hiu Ming 5B

SCMP December 6, 2016
Emily Leung 3D

Sammi Lo Wing Sum 5D

Young Post December 5, 2016
Peter Leung 6E

Jamie Cheung 5C

SCMP December 2, 2016
Timmy Lo 1C

Apple power
 
If I could have lunch with a fictional character, I would choose Steve from Minecraft. I love Minecraft, and Steve is the original character from this game.
 
I would eat golden apples with him because they are very useful in the game, as they basically power everyone up. I’d like to try a golden apple and see if it makes me strong, too. I also want to know if I’d even be able to eat it – after all, it is made of gold.
 
Timmy Lo, 12, King Ling College

SCMP Novermber 30, 2016
Priscilla Ko Ka Ying 5B

Struggle to find historic food culture in city
 
The government wants to set up a street food bazaar over Lunar New Year and had initially ­proposed a location in Mong Kok.
 
I am glad to see officials ­trying to promote these hawkers, as street food is part of the collective memory of Hong Kong and is an important part of our ­culture. The food that these hawkers sell, such as fishballs, is a unique part of this city.
 
However, these hawkers and their stalls are now a rare sight in our urban areas. People seldom have a chance to experience this kind of cuisine, though it was common in the past. I think this is a pity ­because it is definitely worth preserving.
 
However, I am not sure if the government’s proposal for a temporary bazaar will do that much to promote street food. It has proposed quite a high rent, whereas most hawkers are on low ­incomes and will only have a limited budget. You might only find larger restaurant chains ­setting up temporary stalls.
 
Also, a temporary bazaar does not solve the problem of those people who want to be given long-term hawker ­licences so they can run their own business and earn a decent living.
 
I suppose even having a temporary, tightly controlled food bazaar, if it gets the go-ahead, is better than nothing, but I am not sure it really represents the busy street food ­culture that has been such an integral part of Hong Kong’s ­history.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP Novermber 28, 2016
Cherry Chan 1D

Tourists will flock to larger theme park
 
I support Disney’s plans to expand its theme park in Hong Kong (“Frozen and Marvel superhero attractions to boost Hong Kong Disneyland in HK$11 billion expansion”, ­November 23).
 
I think this expansion with some new features and a six-year upgrade will attract more tourists to the city and add ­thousands of new jobs to the tourism sector.
 
This expansion is needed, because some features of Hong Kong Disneyland are now a bit old and some visitors might even find them boring now.
 
With this expansion, the park will look even more beautiful and gain a global ­reputation as a place to come to Hong Kong to visit.
 
It will increase the number of visitors who stay for a night or even longer, especially as new attractions come online. Superheroes from the Marvel comics series, for example, will arrive at the park in phases.
 
Cherry Chan, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP Novermber 27, 2016
Samuel Yu 4A

Fight diabetes with fat tax on unhealthy food
 
Levies on unhealthy food, known as fat taxes, are being adopted by more countries.
 
Hungary, for example, has imposed this tax on food which is high in sugar, salt and fat. Mexico taxes sugary drinks, breakfast cereals and sweets.
 
Diabetes is a serious problem in Hong Kong, and it is the same globally.
Many poor people with diabetes in underdeveloped and ­developing nations cannot ­afford to buy healthy food.
However, people here are better off. I would like to see a fat tax levied in Hong Kong.
 
I believe that if more citizens move away from eating food which has high levels of sugar, salt and fat, there will be fewer cases of diabetes and expenditure on treating diabetes will drop, not just in Hong Kong but worldwide.
 
Samuel Yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP Novermber 26, 2016
Kassandra Wong Hiu Tung 5E

Urban benefits multiply below ground level
 
I am writing in response to your editorial on underground spaces (“It’s time for Hong Kong to go underground,” November 21).
 
Hong Kong is such a spectacular city but it still faces problems related to the lack of land and a large population. I believe the use of underground spaces can alleviate this problem.
 
Take the MTR – it reduces the need for land for roads and helps ease traffic jams. Besides, the air quality may improve markedly if more people choose to take the MTR instead of road transport, such as private cars.
 
Underground spaces can make urban living more convenient. Apart from underground railways, such spaces could be used to build shopping malls as well. Hong Kong should take the Japanese-style underground spaces as an example.
 
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Hang Hau
 

SCMP Novermber 25, 2016
Wing Kwok 5A

Kathleen Kong 6C

Voters will have been disappointed
 
I think that when the now ­disqualified lawmakers were ­elected in September with so many votes, many voters must have thought this could be a new era.
 
They believed these young lawmakers would bring tremendous ­passion to their work in the Legislative Council chamber in ­pursuit of their goals.
 
However, this was not to be and, because of their behaviour in the oath-taking ceremony, they have left a lot of citizens ­feeling very disappointed.
 
I think it is a pity that they failed to appreciate the importance of the oath-taking ceremony and the great offence that they caused. I hope that in ­future elections people will think carefully about all the ­candidates before casting their vote.
 
Kathleen Kong Hoi-hung, Hang Hau

SCMP Novermber 24, 2016
Harry Ng 6A

SCMP Novermber 21, 2016
Don Wong 5C

Felix Leung 5E

SCMP Novermber 19, 2016
Anthony Kong 5C

 

MTR must act now to close platform gaps
 
Earlier this month an elderly woman fell onto the tracks at the MTR’s Lo Wu station having slipped through the gap ­between the track and the train.
 
This happened as she was stepping off the train. Luckily, MTR staff arrived quickly at the scene and were able to stop the train leaving the station.
 
It was clear from what ­happened that the gap at this station is too wide and we have to ask about the situation at ­other stations on the East Rail Line.
 
It is fortunate nobody was killed, but it should lead to ­renewed calls for the MTR Corporation to instal platform gates at all stations on the this line.
 
The MTR Corp argues that introducing automatic gap ­fillers would delay trains, but after this incident it must surely act now.
 
Anthony Kong, Hang Hau


Young Post Novermber 18, 2016
Ding Boxuan 2D

SCMP Novermber 18, 2016
Jenny Sit 5A

Shirley Lee 5A

Chan Ching Fai 2A

Christy Ma 6C

Sorry veteran radical will not take part
 
With the court decision to disqualify the two localist lawmakers over their oath-taking, there will eventually have to be by-elections.
 
After he was defeated in the September Legislative Council elections, Wong Yuk-man said he was taking a break from politics. Many people want him to stand, given the work he did in Legco for the benefit of Hongkongers. His decision not to stand will disappoint many citizens who are against the pro-establishment camp.
 
The pan-democrats are always at a disadvantage in ­Legco, because of the strength of the pro-establishment groups in the geographical and especially in the functional constituencies.
 
Wong is a radical, but he also dealt in a mature way with some of the problems faced by Hongkongers. I fear that some day we may find a situation where ­Legco is full of lawmakers from the pro-establishment camp.
 
Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Wan

Kristie Ko 5A

Developers’ misuse of land hurts the poor
 
With a limited supply of available land for housing, flats are becoming more unaffordable.
 
This is leading the younger generation to worry about their ­future, while low-income families struggle to pay the rent.
 
Often, all that some people can afford are tiny units with room for only a single bed.
 
But, now, some really small private flats are being built and sold by developers for high ­prices. Why is the government ­allowing precious land to be used for these micro apartments? It makes no sense that private flats which are tiny and yet still unaffordable for many citizens get built.
 
This is a misuse of land designated for residential use. The government should be introducing policies which allow correct land use that increases the housing supply for low-income families.
 
Kristie Ko,Tseung Kwan O

SCMP Novermber 17, 2016
Mario Man Yuk Kin 5A

SCMP Novermber 16, 2016
Edward Wong 5C

Elmo Fung 6A

Janny Kwok 5C

 

Trump’s 45pc trade tariff is impractical
 
President Xi Jinping (習近平) phoned President-elect Donald Trump and emphasised the importance of maintaining good relations between the two countries (“Xi Jinping tells Donald Trump cooperation is the only choice for China and the US”, November 14).
 
I agree that the only option for Trump is for the United States to work with China.
 
During the US election campaign, Trump pledged to slap a 45 per cent tariff on ­imported Chinese goods, but it will be impossible to implement such a policy.
 
These nations have the two largest economies in the world. Anything they do can have global implications.
 
While there may be times when they are in competition with each other, they will also need to cooperate.
 
Cheap goods from China can ease inflationary pressure and this will be important as Trump seeks to restructure the country’s industrial infrastructure. In this regard, America’s trade relationship with China will be ­important.
 
This is why Trump’s threatened 45 per cent trade tariff on imported goods from China is impractical.
 
It would damage the relationship between the two countries, hurt their economies and have a negative effect on markets worldwide.
 
Jenny Kwok, Hang Hau

SCMP Novermber 14, 2016
Ronnie Tse 5C

SCMP Novermber 12, 2016
Chris Chan 6E

Shortage of A&E doctors highlighted
 
I am concerned about the long waiting times in the accident and emergency department (A&E) of one of Hong Kong’s public hospitals.
 
Last Thursday, having a high fever, I went to see a doctor at 4pm. I was sent to the triage ­station and classified as a semi-urgent level four patient. Then, I waited for five hours in A&E until I was called to the doctor’s room. To my astonishment, only two rooms were calling patients to go in within that period. It was 10pm by the time I left.
 
I understand doctors are busy but why are there only two rooms, which means only two doctors, helping patients? It seems there are not enough doctors in Hong Kong.
 
As a student I can’t afford ­private clinics and general outpatient clinics are always full when I try to make a booking.
 
This issue is alarming. There are many patients like me ­waiting in A&E.
I hope the Hospital Authority will step up its efforts to alleviate the problem. I’m looking forward to seeing the remedial measures made by the government.
 
Chris Chan, Tseung Kwan O

Sandy Chan 4B

Cultural show live streaming was good start
 
I refer to your article on live streaming of shows (“Cultural hub embraces live streaming with Greek classic”, October 31).
 
There are many advantages to live streaming. We can watch the shows for free and enjoy them anywhere. But, of course, a live show have a special appeal, as it allows the audience to truly feel the emotions of the actors.
 
I believe live streaming will be popular with teenagers, most of whom have a mobile phone these days.
 
Also, Hong Kong’s fast pace of life may not allow people to go and watch a live show too often. But with internet streaming, they could enjoy the show on their daily commute, if they wished. Such broadcasts are also good for those who cannot afford tickets to cultural shows.
 
Lastly, it offers an opportunity to enhance public awareness about different cultures.
 
Sandy Chan, Tiu Keng Wan

Gordon Cheung 6C

Target cooking fumes in urban pollution fight
 
I believe cooking fumes must be taken into account in targeting roadside pollution.
 
The government does not appear to pay much attention to the problem of cooking fumes, especially in crowded areas such as Mong Kok. Restaurants allow their extractor fans to blow right onto the street. Sometimes, I even avoid walking past as I can clearly see the clouds of smoke.
 
The Environmental Protection Department must act to ban restaurants from letting fumes escape into the street and impose fines as a deterrent. It should also bring all restaurants under one emissions control system, with frequent checks to ensure cleaner air for all.
 
Gordon Cheung Chun-Hong, Tseung Kwan O

Angela Chan 5C

Ageing city faces a myriad long-term ills
 
A greying population is a serious problem that may bring numerous negative impacts to Hong Kong in the long term.
 
According to the 2016 policy address, the proportion of the population aged 65 or above will go up from 15 per cent, or 1.07 million, in 2014 to 36 per cent, or 2.58 million, in 2064.
 
As a result, the pressure on the younger generation to ­support the family will increase, as will medical costs – as the elderly get even older.
 
Coupled with a falling birth rate, an ageing population will mean dwindling labour supply.
 
Suggested steps to tackle this include providing employment information for the second generation of Hong Kong emigrants and for our students educated in overseas tertiary institutions.
 
Also, increasing housing prices, salaries that never catch up with inflation, and dissatisfaction with the administration are fuelling a desire among the young to emigrate.
 
According to the Census and Statistics Department, almost 19,000 Hongkongers emigrated in the year to June, and the above factors could be among the reasons. The situation could change for the better if the government is willing to improve citizens’ quality of life.
 
Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng
 

SCMP Novermber 9, 2016
Edward Wong 5C

Oscar Chan 5C

SCMP Novermber 8, 2016
Toby Tsoi 1A

Jacky Chow Tsz Kiu 6C

Young Post Novermber 7, 2016
Ip Wai Yan 2C

SCMP Novermber 7, 2016
Sandy Chan 4B

SCMP Novermber 5, 2016
Felix Leung 5E

New stations could well see hopes derailed
 
I refer to the letter from Carol Mo Kai-wai (“New stations can ease road congestion”, November 1).
 
I do not agree that new MTR stations will really benefit local residents. The A3 exit for Ho Man Tin MTR station has a total of 562 steps. This is an unacceptably long daily climb, especially for the elderly.
 
The design of the single-track railway between Ho Man Tin and Whampoa stations means they will struggle to meet the demands of the rush hour. Some trains may have Ho Man Tin as the last station instead of Whampoa, and that may mean time costs for commuters.
 
Ms Mo also mentioned that demand for buses, minibuses and taxis in these areas is likely to drop, and so reduce congestion on the road. But demand will not drop drastically. Also, the MTR keeps raising prices, so some may prefer cheaper options.
 
Felix Leung, Po Lam

Roslin Law 5E

TSA adding to burden for young students
 
I agree with those who say that the Territory-wide System Assessment is useless in our education system(“Hong Kong lawmaker urges Education ­Bureau to scrap controversial test”, October 31).
 
In my view, TSA is a selfish product of the bureau. Its claimed purpose is to evaluate the skills of students in English, Chinese and maths. But is it ­necessary? Primary students are still children; whatever their learning ability or creativity, these have yet to fully develop.
 
However, TSA is forcing them to memorise complicated content like letter formats and difficult maths formulas.
 
As a secondary student, I was luckily spared the TSA in ­primary school, but couldn’t ­escape in Secondary Three.
 
In order to not bring shame on the school, a steady flow of notes, mock tests and homework came the way of students. I can’t see any reason to memorise these things given today’s advanced technology, and neither can I see any advantages the test brought to my school or me.
 
The bureau may think the TSA can help to assess and then improve academic standards, but it doesn’t. Multiple surveys have pointed to falling English-language skills in Hong Kong. The reason is very simple: students are not given time to enjoy English books or movies or other learning resources, the sole ­emphasis is on rote learning.
 
Students in Hong Kong are undoubtedly smart. However, most are educated under the wrong method.
 
Roslin Law, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP Novermber 4, 2016
Kyle Wong 1A

Permanent car-free zone not feasible
 
On September 25, part of Des Voeux Road Central was closed to all traffic except trams and ­became a pedestrian zone for six hours.
I think this was a good trial and it attracted a lot of people, ­including families who got ­involved in different activities.
 
It prompted some groups to call for a permanent pedestrian zone. However, I do not think it would be feasible.
 
It would mean that traffic that normally uses it would be diverted to other nearby roads, such as Queen’s Road Central and Connaught Road, and this would make congestion on these roads worse.
 
Kyle Wong, Tseung Kwan O
 

Kathleen Kong Hoi Hung 6C

Heidi Cheng 2A

SCMP Novermber 3, 2016
Kaecee Wong 3D

SCMP Novermber 1, 2016
Cally Kong Tze Yiu 3D

SCMP October 31, 2016
Peter Tam 4A

Carol Mo Ka Wai 5E

Kassandra Wong Hiu Tung 5E

Young Post October 31, 2016
Jacky Lau 6E

SCMP October 29, 2016
Christy Ma 6C

Choice of the voters must be respected
 
I am opposed to moves to forbid the two Youngspiration lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, from entering the ­Legislative Council.
 
I accept that Leung and Yau do speak impolitely, which ­offends many people. However, they should not be barred from Legco.
After all, they are lawmakers. They represent their supporters and pro-democracy citizens. It is unfair to the voters to remove the two lawmakers’ rights.
 
Leung and Yau were voted in by Hong Kong citizens. Some say they have not behaved well, but that does not relate to the work they will do in Legco on the citizens’ behalf.
 
The lawmakers described China in disrespectful terms. Yet, the voters trust them and so they are entitled to join the council.
 
Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Leng

Hebe Ng 5E

Schoolwork drives stressed teens to drink
 
Amy Ho calls for tougher action to prevent underage teens from being able to purchase alcohol (“Stop alcohol sales in shops to under-18s”, October 17).
 
There are many teenagers under 18 who have experience of drinking. Since underage drinking can inflict irreversible changes to the body’s nervous system as well as the organs, we must address the issue.
 
We should first find out the reasons for underage drinking.
 
Other than family environment and peer influence, sheer boredom is one of the most common reasons. Many adolescents suffer from a lack of physical activity. Teens also find that drinking makes it easier to discuss their emotions in a social setting.Hong Kong students have a heavy academic burden, and this leaves them little time for anything else. Hence it is important to encourage students to join out-of-school activities.
 
Although the government ought to tighten the regulations to stop youngsters from being able to purchase alcohol from shops, it is hard for shop staff to recognise people who are underage.
 
For example, the 7-Eleven chain has a policy not to sell alcoholic beverages to customers under the age of 18. However, employees do not check IDs. Educating teenagers that drinking has an impact on their health is the best way to alleviate the problem.
 
 
Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP October 28, 2016
Simon Chung 4A

Suki Lee 4A

 

Following trends adds to waste problem
 
Many people flocked to Apple stores in the city to buy the new iPhone 7 when it was launched last month.
 
I wonder how many of them asked themselves if they really needed it when the older version of iPhone they owned was still in good working order.
 
For so many people nowadays, especially teenagers, it is about following trends. Often, they are motivated by the desire to impress their peers.
 
I wish these young people would give more careful thought to these decisions and recognise that when smartphones that still work are thrown away, this adds to the city’s waste problem.
 
We should all be trying to ­reduce the volumes of waste we generate, whether it is phones or ordering too much food in a restaurant, and trying to reduce the pressure on our landfills.
 
Suki Lee, Hang Hau

Priscilla Ko 5B

Instagram’s alert button can really help
 
As an Instagram user, I am glad to see that it is trying to play its part to try and reduce the suicide rate in Hong Kong, which is a serious problem, especially among teenagers (“Instagram suicide report button ‘could have real impact on life and death’ of Hong Kong’s social media users”, October 20).
 
It is creating a new report button which will enable Hong Kong users to send an alert about a post they have been sent if they think a friend or relative on their feed could be at risk.
 
I think that this new report button could help to prevent some cases of suicide as there could be posts on social media that might indicate someone is in trouble.
 
Tragedies can be prevented if people are able to share their feelings with close friends and relatives. However, it is not possible to tell at this stage whether this button will make a big difference.
 
Unfortunately, many people who are very depressed and are contemplating suicide will not use social media to share their feelings because they dread an intervention.
 
Also, given the traditional nature of our society, even if someone is concerned about an individual, they may not use the button because they do not want to meddle in what they consider to be that person’s private business.
 
While the button will help, it is likely suicide rates will not drop significantly until we can address some of the root causes, for example, academic pressure felt by school students.
 
As I said, it is not possible to tell how effective the Instagram button will be, but we should still appreciate that it is making the effort to help tackle this serious problem.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

Billy Sit 4A

Using offensive word was unacceptable
 
The two new lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, are entitled to express their views.
 
However, using the word “Cheena” (for China) during the oath-taking ceremony in the Legislative Council was unacceptable.
 
It triggered painful memories for Chinese all over the world, because it is a variation of the derogatory term “Shina” used by the Japanese before and ­during the second world war. It reminds us of one of the darkest periods of China’s history.
 
They need to think more carefully about what they say in public and recognise that some comments can offend others.
 
Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP October 27, 2016
Cathy Yuen Tsz Wai

Localists’ oaths were insulting to all ­Chinese
 
The oath-taking ceremony when all new legislative councillors are sworn in should be ­regarded as a solemn occasion.
 
The two localist lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, should make a public apology for their behaviour during the ceremony.
 
Article 104 of the Basic Law requires lawmakers to swear ­allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR government of the People’s ­Republic of China. The correct wording in the oath-taking must be used. Failure to do that means you are not qualified to be a legislative councillor.
 
The two localists should have appreciated how insulting it was to pronounce China as “Chee-na”, given that it was similar to the word used by the Japanese for China during the Sino-Japanese wars. This was ­therefore insulting to all ­Chinese.
 
When you have a political objective, in their case, independence for Hong Kong, you need to come up with the best way to achieve that. Nothing will be gained by using abusive language. An apology is necessary because if they are disqualified they will have let down the ­people who voted for them.
 
Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Po Lam

Kong Lok Son 3D

Monitoring of nursing homes not sufficient
 
I fully supported Sunday’s demonstration which slammed the government for not doing enough to protect people with special needs (“Protesters demand reform of care homes”, October 24).
 
There has been no strict monitoring of nursing homes. The government has said 251 homes will have three years to meet new licensing requirements, but this is too long a grace period.
 
It means that special needs residents who are being abused will continue to suffer.
 
In my opinion, the government should shorten the period of time for the homes to meet the requirements to 12 months at the most. And it must increase the frequency of inspections of care homes.
 
Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O
 

Donald Chan 5E

Phoebe Ko 5C

SCMP October 26, 2016
Zoe Chung Ka Man 4A

Angela Chan 5C

 

Contingency plans essential for tenants
 
Because of the fatal blaze in an industrial building in June, the government is cracking down on illegal dwellings in such buildings. The report (“Hong Kong family of four may be forced on to street if they have to leave rooftop slum by year’s end”, October 23) is about 30 tenants facing eviction from “flimsy shacks built with metal sheets on the rooftop of an ­industrial building in Kwun Tong”.
 
Forcing tenants like this to leave these buildings is not the right way to deal with this ­problem. Some of the tenants who are displaced might not be able to find another flat and there might be some who have health issues and would need help. Surely it would not be ­acceptable to evict people in this city-wide crackdown on illegal dwellings and leave them ­homeless.
 
This crackdown exposes shortcomings in the efficiency of the government. It wants to deal with unsafe dwellings in old factories, but displaced tenants cannot be rehoused because of inadequate public housing and unreasonably high flat prices and rents.
 
Before it starts with its crackdown, the government has to ensure there is alternative accommodation for the tenants.
 
Also, to help these tenants and other people on low incomes the government should be offering more subsidies. And it must speed up its public ­housing building programme.
 
Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng

SCMP October 25, 2016
Joey Li 6C

Spare thought for those who keep working
 
Many people welcomed the No 8 signal being raised because of Typhoon Haima, as it ensured they would have an extra day’s holiday.
However, we should not forget those people who had to keep working, despite the storm.
 
Many workers, such as those in transportation and communications, had to work, despite the conditions, as did health-care workers and firemen who had to remain on call and deal with emergencies.
And we need to also bear in mind that when so many businesses shut down for a day and flights are cancelled because of a typhoon, the city ­incurs financial losses.
 
When I look at some of the damage done by heavy rain and high winds, I feel fortunate that I have a safe shelter.
 
Joey Li, Sai Kung

Winnas Wong 6C

Emily Leung Choi Yan 3D

SCMP October 22, 2016
Dennis Fan 4A

Poor water quality still a problem
 
I understand that some swimmers expressed concern about the poor quality of the water during the cross-harbour race.
 
They complained about seeing rubbish such as wood and paper on the surface. This illustrates the need for the government to do more to improve water quality in the harbour.
 
Unfortunately, some people continue to throw refuse into the sea and exacerbate the problem of water pollution.
 
I think the organisers of the race should test the water quality beforehand and ensure that it is suitable for people to swim in. Obviously this is a health issue and it is very important.
 
There were also problems with the start of the event, when some competitors were disqualified, including past champions, because they did not hear the starting gun. This is something the organisers must rectify for next year's race.
 
Dennis Fan, Tseung Kwan O
 

Young Post October 21, 2016
Era Siu Nok Yin 6C

More paid paternity leave would benefit all of Hong Kong society
 
 
Looking at data on paternity leave around the world, I found myself wondering why Hong Kong allows only three days of paid leave, which is far lower than some countries? In my opinion, more paid leave is needed for new fathers.
 
The pace of life in Hong Kong is fast, and most citizens focus on long working hours in a bid to earn more. This is true especially of employers, which is why paid paternity leave days in Hong Kong are so few.
 
However, the most frustrating thing is that a lot of research into this topic often goes ignored. Such studies illustrate how beneficial paid parental leave can be not only for the couple concerned, but also for children, society, and companies as well.
 
More paid leave could increase the incentive to work, as fathers would be able to take the time they need to bond with their babies and return to their jobs feeling confident and ready.
 
Also, employees who have been able to get paid paternity leave may feel greater loyalty towards their employers.
 
Besides, getting paid time off can also bring mental health benefits for new fathers. The babies and even older children can benefit if the leave is used for a family trip.
 
Such paid leave lets a new father immerse himself in parenting duties, and also spend more time with their wife and older children. This can enhance child development and improve marital relationships. It seems that more paid leave can help the entire family’s mental and physical health.
 
I hope the government can move to increase the paid paternity leave allowed to Hong Kong workers, in order to benefit the whole of society.
 
Era Siu Nok Yin, Tseung Kwan O

Yuki Wong 6C

Top 10: what’s the best thing to do on a rainy day?
Who’s up for KTV?
 
Sometimes the bad weather may make you a bit sad but don’t worry, because, as the old saying goes: “There are always more solutions than problems.” Even though we can’t go outdoors, we can still do something indoors. For example,,we can go to karaoke with all our friends. Not only will this bring us closer, the singing will make us happy and relaxed!
 
Yuki Wong, 14, King Ling College

Zina Chong 6D

SCMP October 20, 2016
Mario Man Yuk Kin 5A

SCMP October 19, 2016
Li Kai Wing 6C

SCMP October 14, 2016
Christy Ma 6C

Wrong time and place for these protests
 
I understand that some of the new lawmakers are young and passionate in defence of their beliefs.
 
However, I think their behaviour when they were being sworn in as legislative councillors on Wednesday was reckless (“Declaration of war as Legco opens”, October 13). What they did will have resulted in many Hong Kong citizens now ­holding very negative views of the more radical pan-democratic parties in the Legislative Council ­chamber.
 
Being courteous should be part of your moral code. Using insulting and sometimes foul language, which is what happened during the swearing in ceremony, is improper and ­impolite. It cannot be justified under any circumstances.
 
They have a responsibility to win over those who are opposed to, or have doubts about, their political platform.
 
Unfortunately, some of them showed on Wednesday that they are not mature enough to shoulder that responsibility.
 
The oath-taking session was not the appropriate forum to take this kind of stand. It was a moment to act in a serious ­manner, not to insult the nation.
 
I understand their discontent with Beijing, but with this kind of behaviour they will lose people’s trust.
 
Christy Ma, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP October 8, 2016
Tsang Cho Him Joe 6E

Many students enjoy reading actual books
 
I refer to the article on the government website (news.gov.hk), titled, “Subsidy suspension is reintegration”, justifying the decision to end book subsidies for primary and secondary schools.
 
The secretary for education, Eddie Ng Hak-kim, argues that reading habits have changed, with more young people getting their reading material from electronic gadgets.
 
The subsidies were used by both primary and secondary schools to buy books and multimedia reading materials. ­Because of the change of policy, schools will not have the budget to pay for new books and help promote reading habits. This was not the right time to end this subsidy.
Many students still enjoy reading actual books rather than scanning them online, and when they read more they ­improve their language skills, in both reading and writing.
 
I hope officials will ­reconsider this decision.
 
Tsang Cho-him, Ngau Tau Kok

Candy Ho 6C

Young drivers drawn to apps over taxi trade
 
I am writing in response to the article (“Hong Kong taxi trade hit by driver shortage as young are put off by its bad reputation”, October 3).
 
People nowadays don’t take a taxi as frequently as before, ­because they have an alternative. GoGoVan is one such. It is the first app-based platform for transporting goods in Asia, and the app GoGoVan was created to connect drivers and customers.
 
As more ride-hailing apps are launched, young people are tending to choose to become van drivers. The first reason for this is the desire to avoid paying expensive rental fees for taxis. Some drivers have their own cars. They are afraid earnings will not cover costs if they ­become taxi drivers.
 
The sector’s reputation of rude drivers overcharging and taking longer routes also puts off young people.
 
Candy Ho, Tseung Kwan O

Edwin Chung Yiu King 5D

Administration needs to heed voice of people
 
The “umbrella movement”, which lasted for 79 days, was a meaningful event for Hongkongers as they sought to ensure a democratic future for the city.
 
However, it did not achieve its goals. Two years on and Hongkongers are still fighting for universal suffrage, which the Hong Kong and Beijing governments now seem to want to avoid.
 
This is the wrong approach to take. Both local and central governments should listen to Hong Kong citizens.
 
If they do not, there will be more political protests like the umbrella movement and we will face a future of disunity as we ­approach 2047.
There are issues which need to be resolved if Hong Kong is to have a bright future.
 
Edwin Chung Yiu-king, Yau Tong

Kathleen Kong Hoi Hung 6C

Boost positives so children say no to alcohol
 
I am writing in response the ­article (“Children drinking ­alcohol as young as 10, study finds”, October 3).
 
The survey from Polytechnic University’s school of nursing found that 38 per cent of 840 Form Three students surveyed had drinking experience, with peer influence a key factor.
 
There is no doubt that this is a matter of grave concern that schools, parents and society at large must come together to tackle urgently.
To start with, offering moral education lessons should be a must for schools, to inculcate the important message that drinking alcohol may cause irreversible brain damage and harm the nervous system.
 
Parenting education is ­another crucial factor in helping children. Caring for children’s needs, listening to them and showing love are important things parents should always keep in mind.
 
Children are basically ­vulnerable and easily influenced by acquaintances and schoolmates. Keeping an eye on their activities can help prevent ­unhealthy habits and more heart-to-heart conversations can bolster the parent-child ­relationship.
 
Above all, if society as a whole has a healthy, energetic and ­positive atmosphere, doubtless we, the next generation, will be influenced by the positivity. Conveying the message of ­saying no to alcohol requires the cooperation and willingness of all sections of society.
 
Kathleen Kong Hoi-hung, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP October 7, 2016
Vivien Suen 6C

Pedestrian zone a viable green project
 
For six hours during one Sunday last month, the government turned part of Des Voeux Road into a pedestrian zone.
 
Often, people just focus on Hong Kong being an international finance centre, with its hub in the central business ­district.
 
But this experiment showed the potential in this area if there are pedestrian zones where people can relax, have fun and be creative. It also helped to raise public awareness about environmental protection.
I can understand the views of some critics, that shutting part of this very busy road was inconvenient for drivers and could have resulted in more congestion on nearby roads. However, as a secondary school student, I welcome this initiative and think it helped to promote ­the different cultural aspects of Hong Kong.
 
I ­believe having this part of Des Voeux Road closed to all traffic except trams is a good idea and can benefit citizens from all age groups.
 
Vivien Suen, Tseung Kwan O


Priscilla Ko Ka Ying 5B

New iPhone craze means more e-waste
 
The release of the jet-black ­iPhone 7 Plus models in Hong Kong last month was certainly a momentous event for Apple fans in the city.
 
When I read that the new models were snapped up within 10 minutes, the word “wasteful” popped into my mind. I assume that many of those who bought these smartphones will have discarded their current models, thus adding to the volume of electronic waste in the city.
 
Every year, Hong Kong generates about 70,000 tonnes of e-waste and most of this is exported for recycling. The remainder fills up aour landfills.
 
I am worried that some of the exported e-waste will adversely affect the environment of the countries taking it, for example, the heavy metal from appliances could cause water pollution near recycling plants. And the health of workers at these plants could be at risk if the proper precautions are not taken when handling the e-waste.
 
Many teenagers ­appear to be caught up in the craze whenever a new iPhone model is launched. I am a student and I cannot see point of spending over HK$7,000 on a new smartphone, especially when you will not need many of the extra features in this hi-tech gadget for your daily life. It is a lot of money for a student to pay.
 
I know of many schoolmates who placed an early order for the ­iPhone 7. I think some of them see owning it as a kind of status symbol. I wonder if having this kind of materialistic attitude is really good for them?
 
Maybe we need to remember the saying, “Buy what you need, not what you want”.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP October 6, 2016
Hana Cheung 6C

China must act now on perils of air pollution
 
When my class went on a graduation trip to Shanghai, we looked forward to enjoying the Bund’s spectacular scenery, but were disappointed when we learned there was a yellow smog alert. This brought home to me the pollution problems China faces, and the central government must deal effectively with them.
 
International cooperation is important. All nations must work together and multinationals operating in China, like Nike, Adidas and H&M, must also play their part.
 
Also, the government must shift its focus from economic ­development to environmental conservation.
 
The health of citizens should always be top priority. Besides, economic development could stall if citizens fall sick because of serious pollution in the country.
 
The people of China are ­becoming increasingly concerned about the nation’s pollution problem. I hope the central government will listen to their voices and take action to alleviate the problem. I also hope that the next generation will be able to live in a safe and beautiful environment. But for that to happen, the government must take action now.
 
Hana Cheung, Po Lam
 

SCMP October 5, 2016
Lee Tsz Chung 5D

Pointless high fines with few parking spaces
 
I take a dim view of the government’s proposal to increase fines for illegal parking.
 
The reason is I have doubts about how effective it can be at tackling illegal parking in Hong Kong.
 
I do not think that raising the levels of fines that are imposed will address the root of the ­problem.
 
There will be cases where, with no legal parking spaces near their homes, drivers can either park far away from their apartment or illegally park closer to it. Obviously, most drivers choose the latter option.
In some other cases, drivers have to opt for costly fees in a car park, although these car parks are in short supply.
 
Where demand is high, the monthly charges can be very steep, making paying fines more economical.
 
These cases I have described clearly show that the root problem is the lack of ­parking spaces available to ­drivers. Until this problem of lack of supply is addressed, raising fines will not curb illegal parking.
 
If the number of parking spaces is increased to a satisfactory level and the problem of illegal parking still continues, then the government can consider including illegal ­parking in the driving-offence points systems.
This could lead to drivers ­losing their licences and act as an effective deterrent.
 
Lee Tsz -chung, Tseung Kwan O
 

Mabel Wong 3B

Ease pollution threat with air purifiers
 
I refer to the report (“‘It’s like they’re killing our children’: ­parents call for tougher action on air pollution at Hong Kong schools”, September 30).
Parents are very worried about their children’s health ­because of the air pollution in Hong Kong.
 
They have called on the government to take appropriate measures, but it has failed to act.
 
Officials could order air purifiers to be used in schools to ­reduce the effects of pollution. This would be an important measure as most schools are ­located near roads. The purifiers can mitigate the effects of roadside pollution and ensure the students are breathing cleaner air.
 
The Education Bureau should also establish a rule that any PE lessons planned for ­outdoors must be cancelled if the air quality index is higher than 7. When the index is that high, ­students should not be involved in ­outdoor activities.
 
This should not be a guideline that schools may follow; it must be regulation that is enforced.
 
The government has the power to make sure that Hong Kong students enjoy better ­protection against the city’s air pollution, but it is not using that power.
 
The measures I have suggested could be implemented by the relevant government departments.
They must heed the calls of ­concerned parents to take the appropriate action.
 
Mabel Wong, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP October 4, 2016
Justin Lu 6E

Young Post October 3, 2016
Oscar Chan 5C

Carson Cheng 6E

SCMP October 3, 2016
Walter Chong 4B

Oscar Au Yeung 4B

SCMP October 1, 2016
Shirley Lee 5A

Breastfeeding facilities lacking in HK
 
A recent study by New Zealand’s University of Otago showed that breastfeeding can provide more vitamin D to babies.
 
Vitamin D is important for the growth and repair of bones. Some studies also show that breastfed babies grow up ­cleverer than those who are not.
 
Recognising these health benefits, more and more ­mothers are willing to breastfeed their babies.
 
However, in Hong Kong, there is no legislation which support mothers wishing to breastfeed in public areas.
 
I think the government should either introduce laws to protect the rights of mothers and breastfeeding babies or it should build more breastfeeding facilities throghout the city.
 
In Hong Kong, the lack of such facilities is a serious ­problem.
Mothers already take on a great deal of responsibility when they have children. And the government has a responsibility (in the interests of a harmonious society) to ensure that they can easily find facilities to breastfeed these children.
 
Shirley Lee, Tseung Kwan O

James Wong 4E

iPhone 7 will leave music fans in lurch
 
I refer to the article (“Should you upgrade to the iPhone 7? Here are the pros and cons”­, ­September 14).
 
The iPhone 7 has received a lot of criticism after it was launched, and for good reason. One of the most special features for this iteration of iPhone is its lack of headphone jacks.
 
Apple claims that removing the headphone jack from the ­iPhone 7 was a “courageous” move in order to make the ­device smaller and thinner. But this will not work as well as they anticipated.
 
Apple said that in order to use headphone jacks, users would have to buy an adapter (which costs around HK$70) to connect the headphone jack to the lightning port. However, this occupies the only lightning port in the entire phone, and the user would not be able to use anything other than the headphones at one time.
 
The user would not be able to charge the phone and use headphones at the same time ­without additional hardware.
 
If one wishes to listen to ­music and charge the battery at the same time on the iPhone 7, they will have to use Apple’s wireless headphones, or buy an additional HK$300 dongle with two lightning ports. And that is not including the adapter you have to use in order to connect the headphone into the dongle.
 
Considering both the dongle and the adapter’s large size, this is extremely inconvenient for the user, and contradicts ­Apple’s goal of “making things simpler and more streamlined for the user”. Basically, the user has to attach his headphones to an adapter to a dongle to the iPhone – just to listen to some music.
 
James Wong, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP September 29, 2016
Christy Lam

Tommy Yeung 4E

SCMP September 28, 2016
Tsang Kai Yuet 2D

Kathleen Kong Hoi Hung 6C

Cathy Yuen Tsz Wai 4E

SCMP September 27, 2016
Zoe Chung Ka Man 4A

Edwin Chung Yiu King 5D

Priscilla Ko Ka Ying 5B

SCMP September 26, 2016
Trisha Tobar 3D

SCMP September 24, 2016
Winnie Lui

Even a little food waste harms planet
 
Last month, the BBC reported that British households throw away 7 million tonnes of food waste every year. But about 60 per cent of Britons claimed they wasted a little or none at all. ­Unfortunately, that isn’t the truth.
 
Hongkongers are similar to the British. Having no idea about how much food we waste every day is the main reason that the amount of food waste has kept on rising in recent years.
 
If we don’t know how much we waste, then we will not train ourselves to waste less because in our mind, we only waste a little food which will not affect the environment a lot. It is hard to waste less without knowing how serious the situation is.
 
I wonder of readers know how serious the situation is. Even a little food waste can bring detrimental consequences to the environment.
 
Winnie Lui, Tseung Kwan O

Chantel Cheung 6A

Home market bans will strike at ivory trade
 
I refer to the article (“International vote means ivory trading may soon be extinct”, ­September 12). In order to stop the killing of elephants for their tusks, world governments have voted to urge the closure of all domestic ivory markets.
 
This came at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, which was a 10-day meeting that drew a lot of people to Hawaii.
 
The only way to stop the ivory trade at the international level is to ban all illegal imports, exports and domestic markets, and it needs governments all over the world to cooperate.
 
There is an annual decline of 8 per cent in the population of African elephants, who are mainly hunted for ivory. I couldn’t agree more that “the shutting down of domestic ivory markets will send a clear signal to traffickers and organised criminal syndicates that ivory is worthless and will no longer support their criminal activities causing security problems in ­local communities and wiping out wildlife”.
 
Domestic ivory markets must be shut down. Animals must not live to be hunted, used as decoration, or put on sale.
 
Chantel Cheung, Tseung Kwan O

Wilson Chan 6C

Education best way to boost organ donation
 
I am writing to express my views on the secondary teaching material developed by the Hong Kong Organ Transplant Foundation.
 
First of all, the donation rate in Hong Kong is low because of superficial knowledge about ­organ donation. People think donation may have negative health effects or simply do not know how to register as a donor.
 
Education is the best way to inform young minds about the significance and advantages of organ donation. I believe ­students can get a deep understanding of the advantages and procedure of organ donation through learning from the materials and class discussions.
 
They will know how to register as a donor, and that becoming a donor would have little or no effect on their health. They will also know they are ­making a life-changing decision. After ­getting a deeper understanding of organ donation, the young will become more willing to be ­donors. That way, the donation rate will ­increase.
 
Secondly, the donation rate in Hong Kong has remained low because of Chinese traditional beliefs about keeping the body intact after death.
 
To change this belief, ­perspectives from religions ­including Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Islam have been included in the teaching materials, with leaders of all faiths ­making positive ­comments on organ donation.
 
Wilson Chan, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 23, 2016
Mario Man Yuk Kin 5A

Young Post September 23, 2016
Hugo Chan 1C

What's a good excuse to skip school? In a (snail) shell
 
There are a lot of big snails outside my house now, and they are preventing me from coming to school. Teachers say we should not kill animals so I cannot step on them. And, I don’t have any helicopter or spaceship. So I cannot go to school today.
 
Hugo Chan, 12, King Ling College
 
 

Anson Chu 1C

What's a good excuse to skip school? Marvellous trick
 
I was on my way to school, but I got sucked into a black hole and ended up in the Marvel world where I saw Iron Man, Hulk and a bunch of other heroes. By the time I found my way out, the black hole had transferred me directly to my home.
 
Anson Chu, 14, King Ling College
 

SCMP September 23, 2016
Connie Cheng 4C

In future, think about enjoying green festival
 
I refer to the letter by Joey Li (“Stop children buying toxic glow sticks”, September 19).
 
It has become more popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival for children to play with glow sticks. Sometimes they throw them into trees and make a wish which they hope will come true if the glow stick stays on the branch.
 
They may think what they are doing is fun and harmless, but these glow stocks with their chemicals inside damage the environment.
 
I hope next year young ­people will think about the real meaning of the festival, to enjoy the beauty of the moon and the legends connected with the festival, such as the one about Hou Yi and Chang’e.
 
Adults must get the right environmental message across to their children. and discourage them from buying glow sticks.
 
Connie Cheng, Tseung Kwan O

Cathy Yu 4E

Trump’s ideas would hurt the US economy
 
I refer to the article, “Trump presidency would spell trouble for China’s economy, says ­Daiwa economist” (September 14).
 
I do not think there is any doubt that a Donald Trump presidency would be bad news for China’s economy, with his pledge to impose a 45 per cent tariff on Chinese goods imported to the US.
 
This trade makes up a relatively large proportion of China’s economy. A 45 per cent tariff could also be disastrous for the global economy.
 
If China was unable to find new export markets, many ­factories might shut down and the unemployment rate would rise. This would have an adverse effect globally and hurt emerging markets. There would be reprisals from those markets and this would hurt ­exporters in the US.
 
Trump’s proposals would harm other nations and not benefit America. He is a shrewd businessman; so why does he not understand this?
 
History shows that protectionism hampers the growth of international trade. The policies he is proposing show him to be a short-sighted politician. They would not help companies. Take the US steel industry as an example. Protectionist ­measures will not solve its fundamental problems. If he ­became president, the policies he has proposed would hurt the US economy.
 
As the world’s largest ­economy, the US should be ­actively promoting the development of free trade as a means of having a healthy global ­economy.
 
Cathy Yu , Shek Tong Tsui

Carly Fung 4A

Presidential election has turned nasty
 
Many Americans have said they are unhappy with the bitter US presidential election campaign and the trading of insults by the two mainstream candidates.
 
We recently had Donald Trump highlighting Hillary Clinton’s health problems and her sending of classified information on a private e-mail ­domain while secretary of state.
 
Clinton has fired back by saying that Trump discriminates against various groups of people, including women and Muslims.
Although Trump has no experience of government, some Americans will back him. They are ­unhappy with Barack Obama and think more of the same policies will not aid ­economic recovery.
 
I wish the candidates would focus more on policies that can really help US citizens and offer them a better future.
 
Carly Fung, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP September 22, 2016
Tweety Sung 6D

SCMP September 21, 2016
Wing Yau 5A

SCMP September 20, 2016
Lum Chi Lok 5C


Roslin Law 5E


Yuki Tsoi Ka Yee 3D


Christy Lam 4E

SCMP September 19, 2016
Kitty Lui 4B

SCMP September 18, 2016
Joey Li 6C

Stop children buying toxic glow sticks
 
I think one of the reasons so many glow sticks are wasted every Mid-Autumn Festival is because of peer pressure.
 
Children see other youngsters holding these glow sticks in parks and so they go out and buy some. Afterwards, they are thrown away and leak toxic chemicals which is bad for the environment.
 
Education is the key here. Children should be taught about the damage the glow sticks can do to the environment and that buying them runs counter to what we should all be aiming for, which is sustainable development.
 
Adults must be good role models and discourage youngsters from buying them.
 
Joey Li, Sai Kung
 

SCMP September 16, 2016
Lynette Tang Wing Yan 4E

Transforming old clothes a green option
 
I refer to the report “Researchers ferment old clothes into new textiles”, (September 8).
 
About three per cent of the more than 9,000 tonnes of ­municipal solid waste that ends up in our landfills each day is ­textile waste.
 
Many Hongkongers are very wasteful when it comes to clothes. They follow the latest trends and fashions, often throwing out shirts and jeans that could last them a decade. They may only be worn for a fashion season and are then thrown away.
 
We could see a reduction in this volume of waste if recycled old clothes can be turned into new fabrics through a “range of new technologies” being developed by researchers in the city.
I hope the techniques they are using can be expanded so that old clothes can be reused. With less waste going into our landfills, they can have a longer lifespan.
 
Lynette Tang Wing-yan, Tseung Kwan O

Desmond Chan 4E

Encouraged by lawmaker’s strong support
 
I refer to the report (“ ‘King of votes’ seeks democracy from bottom up”, September 8).
 
Independent lawmaker ­Eddie Chu Hoi-dick got more votes than any other candidate in the five geographical constituencies (84,121).
 
I do not fully support Chu, but it is good to see a localist ­getting more votes than pro­establishment candidates. This is proof of the rise of democracy in Hong Kong.
 
An increasing ­number of citizens are speaking out in defence of it and this indicates that we are starting on the road to ­democracy.
 
As I said, I have problems with some of Chu’s political programme. I am not convinced that what he calls “democratic self-determination” would be suitable for Hong Kong. I believe it could lead to serious social ­conflict and I do not think it is feasible.
 
However, I do think that, as a lawmaker, he will fight for greater democracy for Hong Kong ­people.
 
 
Desmond Chan Chun-fai, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 14, 2016
Jacky Leung 4E

Transport sector still has negative image
 
I refer to the letter by Ivana Lam (“Transport sector must ­increase wages to attract young recruits”, September 8).
 
The average age of employees in the transport ­sector is over 35 and the number of youngsters joining transport firms is decreasing.
 
The major reason for this low level of recruitment may not be a lack of promotion opportunities but the generally bad working environment.
Bus drivers put in long hours and cannot have a break while on a route. The travel time for a bus route can be anywhere ­between 30 minutes and one hour, depending on distance and traffic conditions.
 
Also, drivers have to work ­different shifts, and that will ­include sometimes having to work on buses running through the night.
They only get fairly short breaks and so overall their ­working environment puts off some youngsters.
 
Bus drivers are not required to have good educational qualifications. Parents often think that the job will only be done by people who got bad exam results and quit school early. So they will oppose their children if they say they want to ­become a bus driver.
 
In 2013 the South China Morning Post ran a story about a degree holder who gave up his well-paid job as an analyst to ­fulfil his dream of being a bus driver. Young people should not ­dismiss the idea of driving a bus as a career choice.
 
However, companies in the transport sector have to look into improving the overall working environment, if they want to change the negative image of bus driving as a job and get enough young people to fill the many vacancies.
 
Jacky Leung Kai-kit, Tseung Kwan O
 

Joey Chan Yuen Yi 5D

SCMP September 13, 2016
Ng Cho Kiu Teresa 4B

SCMP September 12, 2016
Ma On Ni Christy 6C

Burqini ban leaves Muslims feeling isolated
 
I understand the reasons behind efforts to ban women from wearing burqinis in France, given the terrorist attacks in the country for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
 
However, I think the ban breaches the freedom of individuals to choose what to wear. If citizens cannot be allowed to wear what they want how can it be called a free country?
 
Many Muslims feel this ban will leave them feeling isolated.
 
Christy Ma, Tiu Keng Leng
 

Priscilla Ko Ka Ying 5B

SCMP September 11, 2016
Kelly Lai 5D

Using digital technology beats books
 
I agree with correspondents who argue that digital technology should replace traditional textbooks in schools in Hong Kong.
 
Computers and iPads are lighter than a textbook and, in any school day, students might have to carry up to five of these books and some are large. This is a heavy weight to have to carry around or store in your locker, as most secondary schools have lockers.
 
Also, digital technology is more convenient. At the end of the school day, the students must choose which books to take for homework and ­revision that evening, but they might not always get it right.
 
It must be annoying to know you’ve got the wrong book and the one you need is in your ­locker. With a computer, the ­material for all your subjects is at your fingertips at any time.
 
Students can take the ­computer with them wherever they go and do their revision any time they want. This is ­another reason why it is far better than sticking with textbooks.
 
If students are carrying a lighter load, this will be better for their health.
Having a heavy school bag can lead to long-term back pain, so switching to digital technology is the healthier ­option for students.
 
Kelly Lai, Tseung Kwan O

Clovis Wong 5A

Tougher laws to curb rogue employers
 
I refer to the report (“How Hong Kong failed its domestic ­helpers”, August 21).
 
Working conditions for many domestic helpers have deteriorated and the government must deal with this problem as soon as possible.
 
They do not enjoy sufficient protection under the law if they are being unfairly treated by an employer.
 
Sometimes they are forced to resign before the end of their contracts and yet do not get paid all the wages they are owed. Legislation needs to be tightened to ensure helpers’ rights are ­protected.
 
There have been many ­campaigns and protests calling for improvements to helpers’ conditions, but the administration has still failed to act.
 
Some employers impose ­unfair and bizarre rules, such as restricting when helpers can go outside.
 
There is an urgent need to deal with any abuses and infringements of contract.
 
Domestic helpers are not slaves and should not be treated as such.
They deserve our ­respect and our support and it is important that their conditions improve and they enjoy greater legal protection.
 
Clovis Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 10, 2016
Louis Fung 4B

Citizens should choose earlier time to vote
 
The government should take measures before the next major election in Hong Kong to ­prevent a repeat of what ­happened on Sunday when queues were so long that some people did not get to vote in the Legco election until around 2am on Monday.
 
It should open more polling stations to reduce the length of queues and make sure people do not have to wait so long ­before they can vote.
It should also urge citizens to try and vote earlier rather than waiting until the afternoon or evening.
 
Louis Fung Lam-lap, Sau Mau Ping
 

Kitty Lui 4B

Open more polling stations at next election
 
I was happy to see so many ­citizens turning out to vote in ­Sunday’s Legislative Council election.
 
I think this was because many Hongkongers became more politically aware and ­started thinking seriously about the future of society after the ­Occupy Central movement in 2014.
 
I was encouraged by the fact that so many younger people voted. But because of this much higher turnout, some polling stations were feeling the strain and there were long queues late into the night.
It seems clear to me that there were not enough polling stations and not enough officers to man them.
 
The government needs to be better prepared in the future and make sure it has enough polling stations so that people do not have to wait so long to vote.
 
It is important that the voting and the count should be able to stick to the planned schedule.
 
I hope that this trend of greater political awareness that we saw on Sunday continues that we see a high turnout at the next election.
 
Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O
 

Dickens Mok 5C

Helpers at risk from high-rise cleaning
 
Last Sunday domestic helpers marched in protest over having to clean their employers’ ­windows and to call for a ban on the practice (“No more cleaning windows: protest at high-rise deaths”, April 4).
 
They also want higher pay, a limit on working hours and a clear definition of “suitable accommodation”.
 
As a spokesman for a group representing migrants pointed out it is the responsibility of the management of a building to clean windows and on high rises those doing the work need the right training and safety ­equipment. It is dangerous for helpers to clean windows on high floors.
 
The Hong Kong government is failing to protect helpers’ safety. By contrast, in Singapore there are guidelines on maids cleaning windows and it must be properly supervised by the employer and window grilles ­installed and locked during cleaning.
 
The government has laws to protect Hong Kong employees working at height, for example, at construction sites, but these do not cover domestic helpers. It has to make the necessary changes so that they are also protected.
 
Dickens Mok, Hang Hau
 

Ronnie Tse 5C

Expatriates will find that Hong Kong still has a lot to offer
 
I refer to the article (“Forget Hong Kong, Taiwan is the new expat hotspot”, September 3).
 
In the Expat Insider survey Hong Kong’s overall ranking has dropped from 26th to 44th place. It found that expatriates preferred Taiwan for living and working. It was a new entry in the survey last year, and topped the poll this year.
 
Expats have been put off Hong Kong by the high cost of living partly caused by property prices and rents.
 
There is no doubt the living here is a lot more expensive than it would be in Taiwan. But as a local resident I think our city provides so much that is not available in Taiwan. Outside Taipei, especially in rural areas, while it may be cheap, especially rents, the infrastructure is not well developed.
 
Many expatriates want a convenient transport system and good-quality residential and retail districts.
 
The kind of convenient lifestyle that most expatriates would expect, especially a transport network that takes where you want quickly and efficiently, would only be available in Taiwan’s major cities.
 
Some survey respondents referred to a language barrier in Hong Kong, but I do not think it is any better in Taiwan.
 
I have come across fewer Taiwanese who are bilingual than Hong Kong citizens.
 
If expats are worried about the language barrier here they would find it is even worse in Taiwan.
 
I do think that Taiwan has a lot going for it, but I still believe that Hong Kong is a great location for expatriates.
 
When comparing it with many other places in the world where expatriates might live, Hong Kong is still a comparatively safe place to live with a low crime rate.
 
This is rare in many large cities around the world where crime is a problem. Here you can walk safely virtually anywhere at night.
 
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 8, 2016
Tsang Kai Yuet 2D

Citizens can take Zika virus precautions
 
Researchers have still not found a vaccine for the Zika virus, which is spreading in the region and poses a threat to pregnant mothers and their babies.
 
Citizens need to be reminded of the measures they can take in their homes to lower the risks of being bitten. Water in vases and that collects in saucers for plants must be emptied regularly, as should drip trays for air conditioners.
 
People can use insect repellent when they are outdoors, especially when hiking, and wear clothing that covers the arms and legs. Preventive measures can be effective.
 
Tsang Kai-yuet, Tseung Kwan O

Michelle Mai 4B

Homework makes stress levels worse
 
While learning is essential for every child, students attending local schools in Hong Kong say there is too much stress. And they are concerned that adults lack awareness of this problem.
 
Last school year, a number of students either committed ­suicide or attempted to do so and, in many cases, this was ­attributed to the stress they felt.
 
I read about one survey where a school student from Finland and one from Shanghai tried to do the homework normally assigned to their counterparts in Hong Kong. The Finnish youngster was frustrated by the large number of repetitive questions. The Shanghai student felt many of the questions were meaningless.
 
In an ideal school environment, learning should be an enjoyable process.
 
The reality in Hong Kong is that many students feel trapped and cannot see the reason for some of the work assigned to them. Often they join ­interest groups to achieve goals their parents have outlined for them. With so many extracurricular activities, they then have to work late to finish their homework.
 
If they fail to complete it, they are punished at school then scolded by their parents and the stress gradually builds up. Adults want the best for their children, but often do not listen to them.
 
Michelle Mai, Sau Mau Ping

Michelle Hui 5C

Local start-ups face so many obstacles
 
There are many opportunities in Hong Kong for people with the right ideas to set up businesses.
 
A survey has shown there is still a strong desire among young people to launch start-ups. But they face major obstacles with a very competitive environment and high rents.
 
The South Korean government is promoting youth entrepreneurship. It aims to overcome the regulatory, structural, educational and cultural obstacles that constrain Korea’s ability to fully utilise its innovative capacities.
 
The Hong Kong government can learn from this policy, and provide direct support to young entrepreneurs in different forms, including financial assistance, and entrepreneurship and leadership training. It needs to create the right environment for start-ups and for talented young adults.
 
Hui Wing-lam, Tseung Kwan O

Clarins Ng 4B

Jocelly Tse 4B


Wong Hiu Tung 5E

SCMP September 7, 2016
So Kwan Yu Coco 5B



Kenny Wong 5A

Crackdown on illegal firms fully justified
 
I am concerned about businesses that operate illegally in industrial buildings in Hong Kong.
 
They contravene land lease terms, but remain open for ­business. Although the Lands Department has taken enforcement action, not all of these ­operators have shut down (“Businesses continue to violate conditions”, August 30).
 
I appreciate that the government is taking measures to try and prevent a repeat of the Ngau Tau Kok fire tragedy and it is ­important for it to do so. ­However, I think it needs to speed up its procedures.
 
Some of these buildings house unauthorised businesses, such as restaurants and entertainment venues, that could pose a fire safety risk.
 
As we know so well, an accident inside an industrial ­building can have tragic consequences.
 
Kenny Wong, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 6, 2016
Ko Ching Nga Mary 5E

Regular regime of exercise is so important
 
One of the highlights of the Mid-Autumn Festival is to gather with the family and enjoy some delicious mooncakes.
 
However, we seldom think about the ingredients and the fact that many brands contain a lot of sugar (“8 sugar cubes’ worth of sweetener in mooncake”, September 2).
 
Other traditional festivals have food which can also be fattening. As they are annual events, this should not be a problem as long as people try to get more ­exercise. They can work off the extra calories and lower the risk of obesity and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
 
Getting into the habit of exercising is also good for your mental health as it can help to relieve stress. I wish that more Hongkongers would make exercise a ­regular part of their lives.
 
Mary Ko Ching-nga, Tseung Kwan O

Anna Hui 3D

Why corporal punishment does not work
 
There are still some people who support the use of corporal punishment in schools, but I do not think it can be justified in this day and age.
 
Supporters of the use (and reintroduction, where it is banned) of corporal punishment in schools would say that it can act as a deterrent. ­However, that is no justification for having this form of punishment, given the physical and psychological harm it can do to young people. This has been proved by a number of studies.
 
I think it would lead to greater antisocial behaviour within a school and it would ­also create a hostile environment that is definitely not conducive to learning.
 
It is therefore counterproductive and simply is not necessary, and there are other effective options to create an atmosphere that encourages learning.
 
A school that allows corporal punishment will inevitably experience a worsening of student-teacher relationships.
Students who are punished in this way will feel shame and low self-esteem.
 
I would not like to see it practised in any schools in Hong Kong.
 
Anna Hui, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 5, 2016
Kiera Wong Ki Kei 5B

City’s unique past is still so important
 
I refer to the article, “Meet one of Hong Kong’s last working stencil workers” (September 1).
 
These traditional skilled workers are disappearing and, with them, the collective memories of what they did.
 
So many youngsters care more about the latest fashion trends and forget about valuable aspects of Hong Kong’s past. Traditional crafts, like stencil making, may seem irrelevant, as they have been replaced by ­machines. However, they remind us of a time when the world was not so advanced.
 
Skilled workers like stencil maker Wu Ding-keung really cared about what they did and took real pride in their work. They were not just motivated by money.
 
It reminded me of an elderly newspaper vendor who saw her stall as an extension of her home.
 
Teenagers can learn from these people and the attitude that they had to the jobs that they did.
 
Kiera Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Angela Chan 5C

Depression is a growing problem in HK
 
Experts in the US have raised concerns about depression among teens being inadequately diagnosed.
 
It became clear this was also a problem in Hong Kong, with the spate of student suicides during the last school year. There can be difficulties with those who have not been identified as having a problem and others who have been diagnosed but who refuse treatment.
 
I think people suffer from ­different kinds of mental illness because of pressure from family, peers, school and society.
 
The sooner the symptoms of depression are recognised, the easier it is to treat someone.
 
We all need to be more aware and recognise mood changes in relatives and friends that might indicate depression.
 
We should not be afraid to advise them to get help if we feel it is necessary.
 
Angela Chan, Tiu Keng Leng

Phoebe Ko 5C

Escaping the poverty trap still difficult
 
I refer to the article by Nicholas Brooke (“Housing is just one facet of Hong Kong’s liveable city agenda”, August 30).
 
With such high prices for a flat in Hong Kong, it has become increasingly difficult for many citizens to maintain their basic standard of living. Consequently ,the problem of poverty has got worse.
 
Government policies have failed to alleviate these levels of poverty and help people on really low incomes improve their lives.
 
There is also a serious housing shortage and the government must find more ways to increase housing supply, such as renovating more older buildings.
 
Phoebe Ko, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 4, 2016
Peter Tam 4A

Independence is suitable topic of discussion
 
I do not agree with executive councillor Cheung Chi-kong, who said independence for Hong Kong should not be ­discussed in schools and that it was “a political demand that would inevitably lead to ‘violent’ actions” (“Localist leaflets to be given out in Hong Kong schools”, August 31).
 
I believe that rather than banning it, if we respect freedom of speech, it is appropriate to talk about independence in ­liberal studies classes.
 
The pros and cons should be discussed, as part of the overall goal of getting students to talk in-depth about all aspects of current affairs. And students are entitled to say whether or not they support it.
 
Whatever the Basic Law or China’s constitution says, if people believe in independence for Hong Kong, they are entitled to express their views.
Instead of attempting to sweep it under the carpet, we should be asking what is motivating so many Hongkongers to think this way, given that this is unprecedented.
 
We should be trying to understand the social and ­political factors that have led to this.
 
Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O


SCMP September 2, 2016
Kelly Leung 5C

SCMP September 2, 2016
Jonathan Lam 5A

SCMP September 2, 2016
Jenny Sit 5A

 

SCMP September 2, 2016
Susanna Leung Tsz Shan 5D

Voting a way to make your voice heard
 
I encourage all citizens who have the legal right to vote to do so at tomorrow’s Legislative Council election and thereby fulfil their civil responsibilities.
 
Every vote represents the voice of a citizen and it is time for all Hongkongers to use that voice.
 
I am not suggesting what party they should vote for, that will be up to each individual, just get to the polling station.
 
Susanna Leung Tsz-shan, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP September 2, 2016
May Chong 5A

Investing in sport makes financial sense
 
Hong Kong citizens are proud of the athletes who represented the SAR at the Rio Olympics.
 
I believe that more resources have to be allocated to the development of sport.
 
It has been neglected in the past because Hong Kong is seen as primarily a centre of finance and free trade. But so much has been spent on white elephant projects like the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou.
 
We are losing some business now to Shanghai and Shenzhen, which has hurt us economically and we would be worse off than we are if the Hong Kong dollar was not pegged to the US dollar. It is important now to diversify investments in Hong Kong and one area to look at is sport.
It can help bring citizens ­together as they show their ­loyalty to Hong Kong.
 
I am sure there is a lot of potential sporting talent in the city. It would be sad if so much of that talent was to go to waste.
 
If the government tries ­harder to promote sport then hopefully more citizens will be encouraged to lead healthier lives.

May Chong, Tseung Kwan O

 

SCMP August 31, 2016
Chan Lau Kiu Sandy 5E

More recycling bins needed in country parks

I think more rubbish will be ­deposited and have to be ­collected in country parks after refuse bins are removed ­(“Family walks, nature trails to go bin-free”, August 27).

Removing bins and reducing the size of bin openings, deals with the symptoms but not the ­disease.

The government should be praised for its efforts, but there is more it must do if it wants to extend the time it will take for our landfills to reach capacity.

I believe the key is recycling. ­Instead of removing bins, the government should have even more ­recycling bins on roads and in ­country parks.

This can reduce volumes of discarded litter and enable more people to become accustomed to the idea of ­reusing things. It is important to raise levels of ­public awareness so that more people are willing to lead environmentally-friendly lives.

All citizens should be trying to reduce waste at source. This will lead to lower volumes of waste and increase the lifespan of landfills.

We must recognise the ­importance of protecting our city and our planet.

Sandy Chan Lap-kiu, Yau Tong

 

SCMP August 30, 2016
Sung Tsoi Ling Tutti 5D

When diets can have tragic consequences 
 
In society, being skinny equates with being pretty.
Many teenage girls are so heavily influenced by this idea that they try different methods to lose weight.
 
While it is good to exercise, have a balanced diet and drink a lot of water, some of these teens want quick results and so take short cuts which can prove dangerous, such as taking slimming pills or skipping meals.
 
Some of them develop anorexia and become so thin they look skeletal. And tragically, sometimes, anorexia can prove fatal.
I wish these young women could appreciate that being ­obsessed with losing weight can be so destructive.
 
The message needs to be got across to teenage girls that slimming is fine, but it must be done in a healthy way with a ­balanced diet.
 
Tutti Sung, Tseung Kwan O
 

Lau Hei Yu Kaka 5B

Why working hours law will help workers 
 
There has been conflict between different stakeholders, including the government, ­employees and workers’ unions, over whether or not to introduce a standard working hours legislation in Hong Kong.
There are people who work long hours and hardly ever have the time to talk with their family members and simply do things together like guide their children with their homework, or just going for a meal with relatives.
 
In order to rectify this I think there should be standard ­working hours legislation. Employees are entitled to be able to spend more time with their family.
 
They also need more time to relax and do things like sport, which can make them healthier. It can also help to reduce stress and the likelihood of becoming depressed. This also makes them more productive.
 
This is an important quality-of-life issue. Without legislation, many people will continue to be forced to do a lot of unpaid overtime and the opportunities to do things, like advanced studies at college, will be lost, because they have to spend so much time in the office.
I hope the government will finally get round to passing the necessary law.
 
Lau Hei-yu, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 29, 2016
Ho Wing Lam Nicole 5D

Safety issue must always be considered 
 
Car-hailing apps like Uber are proving very popular in many countries. However, a terrible crime in India, where an Uber driver was convicted of raping a female passenger, showed the need for users to always think about their personal safety.
 
These apps make a real difference during busy periods when it is difficult to catch a cab, but we must always be vigilant.
Whatever car-hailing app people use, especially for the first time, they need to check it out and ­ensure it is safe to use.
 
Nicole Ho Wing-lam, Tseung Kwan O
 

Ko Ching Ngo Mary 5E

Teens can get too involved in phone games 
 
The recent craze over Pokemon Go put the spotlight on mobile games on general and the potential risks involved.
 
Some people who got too ­involved in Pokemon Go had mishaps, in some cases resulting in injury and even death, and this led to calls for the location-based augmented reality game to be banned.
I agree that if they are misused, games played on smartphones can have serious pitfalls and do harm, especially to young people.
There is a risk that some adolescents could become addicted to some games as they are emotionally immature and vulnerable and are easily led. 
 
Because of that, they will ­often follow the latest online fad. They practise incessantly so they can show off their perfect game skills and spend money they do not have on games. 
 
Youngsters need to deal in a mature way with games and ­limit the amount of time and money they spend on them. 
 
They need to recognise that it is just a game and the mass appeal will be short-lived and then a new game will be all the rage. 
 
Mary Ko Ching-nga, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 27, 2016
Leung Wai Yu Rainbow 5D

Employers and maids must know of rights
 
I refer to the article (“Employers are victims too: man wrongly ­accused of maid abuse wants to help others like himself”, August 8).
 
The case of abused Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has stirred ­heated debate about human rights and the ­unfair treatment of maids in Hong Kong.
 
Increased awareness of this kind of “modern slavery” has led to reinforcement of laws as well as services from local agencies, in hopes of preventing the exploitation of maids by their ­employers.
Undoubtedly,domestic helpers are an easy target for abuse, since they usually suffer financial predicaments in their home country.
Despite receiving unfair treatment and low salaries in Hong Kong, they feel their ­labour here can help their family back home lead a better life.
 
Admittedly, the percentage of exploitative employers ­remains really high because of the lack of adequate laws and regulations to deter unscrupulous employers from taking ­advantage of their helpers.
Also, with few aid organisations reaching out to maids,their voices are not heard enough.
 
Local agencies could try to make monthly insurance available to domestic helpers in order to provide financial support. The agencies should clearly list the amount of commission fee they would charge on the ­worker’s salary and provide ­contract papers written in their native language.
 
The government should conduct regular monitoring of local agencies to prevent them from depriving workers of their rights. At the same time, domestic helpers should be brave enough to speak out in case they receive any unfair treatment from either their local agency or employer.
 
It is a fact that both employers and domestic workers can end up as victims. To avoid exploitation,they should clearly understand their rights, be ­cautious when signing the contract and be ready to speak up if they face any inequality.
 
Rainbow Leung Wai-yu, Po Lam
 

Cherry Yeung 5A

Public housing woes call for better remedy 
 
I refer to the report (“Public housing waiting time now 4.1 years as observers say government has failed to deliver”, ­August 12).
The housing problem is still a controversial issue in Hong Kong. According to the Housing Authority, families need to wait an average of four years to get into public housing.
 
This shows that the increase in supply cannot catch up with the substantial increase in ­demand in the short term.
 
Although the authorities are working hard to offer more flats, they face challenges such as public opposition.
 
Also, they need to get approval from different agencies to rezone and reclaim land. All these obstacles lengthen the waiting time.
I agree that the government should work harder on rezoning and reclaiming land so as to shorten the waiting time. However, many Hongkongers living abroad have public housing flats in Hong Kong which they have rented out. The government should clamp down on those owners as it is unfair to local citizens who are queuing for flats.
 
There is no doubt that the government should modify public housing policies and always keep people informed about regulations so as to eradicate any loopholes.
 
Cherry Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

Ronnie Tse 5C

Hospitals no place for fun and Pokemon
 
I am writing in response to the new trend in Hong Kong, Pokemon Go. As we know, Pokemon Go combines augmented reality technology and GPS to provide a new gaming experience.
 
However, there have been some complaints about the game, especially regarding Pokestop and Gym locations.
 
For example, the Hospital Authority warned that players will disrupt medical treatment if they try to catch pokemons on the premises, after crowds flocked to play. This will affect the safety of both patients and hospital staff, the authority said. So they want Nintendo, the company behind Pokemon Go, to remove all “game elements” from public hospitals, to ensure the safety of everyone there.
 
I think the government should take some action to ­resolve the social problems ­arising out of Pokemon Go.
 
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP August 26, 2016
Kiera Wong Ki Kei 5B

There is too much focus on exam results 
 
I refer to the article by Paul Yip (“Hong Kong’s exam obsession must end if we are to bring the best out of all our young people”, August 18).
 
Hong Kong is a city obsessed with exams. This can have a ­negative effect on young people and good exam results do not always guarantee success in life.
It is important for young ­people to pursue the things that interest them and look at other options than university, such as starting an apprenticeship.
 
Tests and exams should not be seen as the only way to ­measure the ability of students.
 
Youngsters have different kinds of talent and some may not be good academically, but could find other rewarding ­careers that do not require ­having a university degree.
I wish teachers, parents and the Education Bureau would realise this.
 
Kiera Wong, Tseung Kwan O
 

Mandy Yu 5A

Harassment in workplace is unacceptable 
 
Earlier this year, 60 per cent of prefectural assembly women surveyed in Japan said they had been sexually harassed by ­people including male ­colleagues and voters.
 
I think most cases of sexual harassment happen in the workplace, with perpetrators generally being male colleagues or bosses. It is also a problem in Hong Kong. Such behaviour causes women to feel uncomfortable, annoyed and ­distressed. Although men might sometimes be victims, most of the time it is women who are ­harassed in this way.
 
They feel so helpless and ­often stay silent, thinking that speaking out will do no good.
 
Victims must not be afraid to speak out. Also, the government must provide education so that the next generation learns about how to deal with sexual harassment.
 
Mandy Yu, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 25, 2016
Wong Hiu Tung 5E

Working hours law must heed adverse effects 
 
I refer to the letter by Borromeo Li Ka-kit (“Boycott of standard hours talks in Hong Kong will hurt low-income groups”, ­August 13).
The debate on whether Hong Kong needs a standard working hours law has proved to be controversial.
 
There is no doubt that such legislation would improve ­employees’ working conditions. Many would have a shorter working week if employers were not willing to pay overtime. This would give them more time to relax. Where overtime was paid, employees would find they were earning more than when they worked additional hours with no extra pay.
 
However, critics have expressed concerns about such a law, such as a higher unemployment rate. They claim some ­employers will lay off staff to cut labour costs and the worst hit will be the low-skilled poorly educated workers who did not earn much in the first place.
 
Also, they argue that there can be no specific definition of standard working hours and such a law cannot apply to all jobs, for example, a doctor or a teacher. And what about those who work from home? How can their working hours be calculated?
 
I think there should be a standard working hours law, but the government should ensure that measures are included which provide suitable assistance to those groups and ­people who are negatively ­affected by the legislation.
 
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 23, 2016
Lee Tsang Tsang Kathy 5D

Think twice before setting animals free
 
I understand why Buddhists continue with the practice of ­releasing animals into the wild.
 
However, before they do this they have to think about the ­welfare of the animals they have chosen to set free and whether they would actually be able to survive in the new environment.
 
For example, animals purchased from a pet shop may not have the instincts needed to ­survive in the wild. They only know a life of captivity where they have been fed and cannot fend for themselves. They are not fit for release into the wild.
 
Also, if the animal is not a ­native species, Buddhists have to think carefully about releasing them into an environment where they might pose a threat to indigenous species, especially if they breed at a high rate.
 
A better option for people wanting to protect animals is simply to become vegetarian. This can save more animals than releasing them into the wild. 
 
Kathy Lee, Tseung Kwan O
 

Eva Chow 4E

Many citizens not getting enough sleep 
 
Insomnia is a problem for Hong Kong citizens these days.
A survey in 2012 found that the average amount of sleep for residents was 6.46 hours which is a lot lower than many countries. Also, the survey showed that four in 10 adults suffered from insomnia so it is clearly a serious problem here.
 
A major cause of insomnia is stress and it has to be recognised that lack of sleep can result in health problems.
 
Some people resort to taking sleeping pills to help them sleep, but I do not think this is a good idea as they can become dependent on the medication and so this does not really solve the problem.
People need to try and think of ways to help them get a decent night’s sleep.
 
It is important that they feel relaxed when they go to bed and so they should try different things, such as drinking warm milk or listening to some soft music.
 
It is important that they ­finish their work in the office rather than having to take any work home with them.
 
Unfortunately, some Hongkongers will probably think that insomnia is just a small problem and will not last long. But if it does persist they should go and see a doctor.
 
They need to recognise the health problems and should not ignore them. I hope the widespread problem of sleeplessness can be dealt with in Hong Kong and that more citizens can enjoy a good night’s sleep.
 
Eva Chow, Tseung Kwan O

 

 

Sara Wong 4A

Why Pokemon Go should be banned in HK
 
I refer to the letter by Fan Ka Wing (“The enduring appeal of Pokemons”, August 19).
 
I think the government should ban Pokemon Go as it causes a lot of problems. Many players are unable to exercise self-control.
 
I used to be like them and suffered from what is known as nomophobia [irrational fear of being out of mobile phone ­contact]. I kept taking out my smartphone to try and catch ­pokemons.
 
Even when there were none to catch I would still keep ­checking my phone. This caused me a lot of problems, such as frequently bumping into pedestrians.
 
Eventually I uninstalled ­Pokemon Go and I then realised how annoying these ­players are. I saw one person ­trying to catch pokemons on a road when the light at the pedestrian crossing was still red. I was shocked and managed to stop her before there was an accident, but she was lucky.
 
It is also being exploited by cybercriminals who send spam SMS messages trying to get ­Pokemon Go players to unwittingly visit malicious websites.
 
A security company said it has exposed scams, such as a campaign that purports to offer victims 14,500 pokecoins – the game’s currency – when they collect 100 points.
 
I also see privacy as a ­problem as game players have to create an account or sign in with Google. I fear there is a risk that the privacy of players is not being protected and I think the government should prohibit the game.
 
Sara Wong Kit-yu, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP August 20, 2016
Vivian Lo 5A

There must be zero tolerance for doping 
 
Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi has been kicked out of the Rio Olympics for failing a drug test (“Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi booted out of Olympics as doping ban is upheld”, August 19).
 
The 18-year-old competed in the 100-metre butterfly event, placing fourth in the final. However, after the competition, she tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is banned.
 
Another Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang, was also involved in a drug controversy. In 2014, he tested positive for the drug trimetazidine, which he said was used to treat his heart condition. Consequently, he was stripped of his first-place finish in the 1,500m free at the national championships and made to serve a three-month ban from swimming.
 
There must be zero tolerance for athletes who used drugs. Such conduct is totally unfair to the other athletes who use their own abilities to perform their best.
 
Even when there may be legitimate reasons for the use of drugs, the coaches, medical teams and the athletes themselves must know what can be taken and what should not be. It would be ridiculous for an athlete to fail a drug test because he or she didn’t know any better.
 
The Olympics is where the world’s best athletes come together in tough but fair competition. If athletes take drugs because of their ambition, it would destroy the original meaning of the Games.
 
Vivian Lo, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 19, 2016
Jocelly Tse 4B

Government should ban mobile game 
 
An American man recently came to Hong Kong as part of a global quest to catch all Pokemons (“Pokemon master arrives in Hong Kong on worldwide quest to complete his collection”, August 13). Should we cheer on this Pokemon master? I think not!
I am not a player and I support any move for the government to block the playing of this game. Firstly, I know of students who failed a test during the summer holidays because they were too busy playing the game.
 
Secondly, many people are so wrapped up playing the game while walking around that it is likely to put them in danger of getting hurt.
Thirdly, I am annoyed that they are blocking the streets. I jog at night and, when I am out, I find many players blocking the streets, forcing me and other runners to go around them. Their actions are so annoying and disturbing.
 
I wish the government would take action to block this game soon.
 
Jocelly Tse, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 18, 2016
Ng Yik Huen Hebe 5E

Exploitation of poor workers must end 
 
I refer to the report, “Hong Kong firm making Disney toys in China under investigation for mistreating workers” (August 3).
 
As described in the article, the conditions in some Chinese factories are harsh. Workers are willing to work overtime to earn more money, and companies take advantage of that willingness to exploit them.
 
To compete for contracts from companies like Disney and Apple, these original equipment manufacturers try to lower their costs of production so they can offer a better deal. This usually means low salaries for the workers. What is more, in some cases, when workers get hurt on the job, they don’t get adequate support from their employer.
 
As a result, many workers are overworked and underpaid.
This must change. The government should strictly implement the laws on labour protection, which already exist on the mainland but are not ­enforced. To do that, officials must do a better job at monitoring abuse.
 
Most importantly, the workers themselves who are being mistreated must be ready to speak out and seek help.
 
Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Cherry Yeung 5A

Ways to ensure volunteer tours are effective
 
I refer to the article, “ Why Hong Kong students volunteering may do more harm than good” (August 11).
 
Hong Kong universities are organising more and more ­service-learning trips for students. Personally, I think these trips are worth going on as the participants can gain inspiring life experiences and broaden their horizons.
 
And there is no doubt that such trips, when done right, can address poverty and other problems in the host countries.
 
For instance, James Mak, a graduate student at the Architectural Association in London, chairs Project Little Dream, a charity set up to design, build and run village schools in a provincial town in southwest Cambodia (“How a group of Hong Kong students built four schools in rural Cambodia”, May 5). Since its founding eight years ago, the charity has built four schools successfully, now ­providing for the needs of 630 children.
 
However, it is better for students to prepare well before undertaking such ­service­learning trips.
 
They need to draft a comprehensive and workable proposal. For instance, students need to be aware of the locations and the facilities available, such as classrooms and medical rooms, and what to do if there are insufficient resources to complete the original plan.
 
Also, they need to adjust their attitude when disagreements occur, or they may end up upsetting the people they are trying to help.
 
Finally, the organiser should provide training for the participants so as to raise the effectiveness of the service.
 
All in all, it is hoped that Hong Kong students on such trips can gain value experience while helping the needy.
 
Cherry Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP August 16, 2016
Leung Wai Yu Rainbow 5D

Transgender people deserve fair treatment 
 
I refer to the case of the transgender woman who was placed in an all-male prison (“Transgender woman kept with men to protect female inmates, Hong Kong court hears”, August 9).
 
I understand the concerns of prison officers who worry about the safety of women prisoners, as women are often the target of sexual harassment. However, I believe transgender women who have been receiving hormone therapy and are undergoing sex reassignment surgery are no danger in this respect.
 
By contrast, detaining a transgender woman in an all-male facility and subjecting her to strip searches in front of male officers seem a violation of basic human rights.
 
We should respect people’s choice of gender identity. Under no circumstances should we tolerate unfair treatment in our society.
There seems to be loopholes in the laws and regulations when it comes to protecting the rights of transgender people, as well as inadequate education.
 
Transgender people and other sexual minorities in Hong Kong face discrimination. As global citizens, we should do more to give up our prejudices, and learn to respect differences.
 
Rainbow Leung Wai-yu, Tseung Kwan O
 

Choi Hiu Ki 5A

Personal best at the Games is good enough 
 
Sports has been in the news because of the Olympics. Hong Kong athletes don’t receive the same amount of support as those in countries like the US. Despite this, they still strive for the best. Achieving their personal best is already a feat, with or without a medal. This is the kind of spirit we should promote.
 
Choi Hiu Ki, Tseung Kwan O
 

Hillary Chan 5A

Sportsmanship should trump medal results 
 
In the world-class swimming competition that just concluded at the Rio Olympics, we not only saw some stunning performances but emotions also ran high.
 
Take Chinese swimming star Sun Yang. Although he is known to be arrogant and has been accused of being disruptive during training sessions, he does not deserve to have people challenge him for a past doping offence (“Sun Yang may not be a nice guy, but neither is he a drug cheat”, August 11). Accusing a professional swimmer of doping is a grave insult, and we should not do that unless there’s a positive drug test.
 
One other Chinese swimmer also made a name for herself – Fu Yuanhui became a fan favourite for her funny expressions after learning she had won a medal (“Funny girl: China’s ‘surprised’ medal winner Fu Yuanhui becomes an instant internet darling”, August 10).
This suggests athletes do not have to be top-ranked to win over fans; they just need to come across as real people to the public.
For me, sportsmanship matters more than results. If an athlete behaved in a disgraceful manner, he or she does not qualify to be a sports person.
 
Hillary Chan, Tsueng Kwan O
 

Cathy Yuen 4E

Time for digital over traditional in classrooms 
 
I think digital technology should be used to replace traditional textbooks and learning.
 
A study has shown that teenagers in wealthier northern European countries are more likely to use the internet to get information, rather than playing or socialising. Therefore, it is suggested that digital devices such as computers and iPads be used to replace traditional classroom lessons.
 
A report also shows that parents might want to encourage computer skills to give children a head start. Using computers in schools is beneficial; students no longer need to buy expensive textbooks as all teaching ­materials can be accessed ­online. Also, they can take down important notes by just saving a file.
 
It does not need to come down to a choice between ­improving reading or focusing on digital skills, as they are ­mutually beneficial.
When students search for information online, they have to go through the steps of reading, comprehending and analysing, in order to find the most suitable article. Thus both their reading and digital skills are enhanced.
 
Some may argue that being on the internet too much will cause addiction. I believe if teenagers always use the internet for studying, it is a positive addiction.
 
However, if they always use the web for fun, time management should be taught and parents should play a role. If teenagers learned time management from the start, internet ­addiction would not exist.
 
Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 15, 2016
Fei Hiu 3D

On MTR, all seats should be ‘priority seats’ 
 
It has been seven years since priority seats – seats set aside for passengers who need it most – were introduced on the MTR. Four years ago, KMB buses followed suit.
 
Such campaigns have raised citizens’ awareness of caring for people in need.
 
However, there is growing criticism that passengers may in fact have become more inconsiderate, as they think giving seats up to others is the responsibility of only those sitting in the priority seats.
The purpose of such seats is to remind us to be aware of others’ needs. People who are not sitting in priority seats should not take it as an excuse to ignore people in need.
 
Why do people have to be told to do something so basic? Actually, every seat is a priority seat. You should offer your seats to ones in need.
 
Schools could organise talks on moral education, and parents should be role models for their children, giving up their seats when needed.
 
Fei Hui, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 14, 2016
Fok Pui Yi 5E

Citizens should change their wasteful ways 
 
Environmentalists have been calling for Hong Kong residents to face up to the city’s waste crisis and change their ways.
Government figures for 2014 show that residents generate more waste per capita than any other city in Asia.
 
Therefore, green groups are calling on citizens to reduce their volumes of household waste. They point to landfills nearing capacity and beaches strewn with huge quantities of rubbish.
Most of us still have bad habits with the extravagant use of resources and ­energy. The government should learn ­lessons from Japan, ­Taiwan and Korea, where governments have vigorously pursued recycling policies, with the ultimate aim being zero waste.
Luckily, there are people here who care about our environmental problems and who are setting good examples and setting up recycling enterprises.
 
I admire their enthusiasm, but what is required is the concerted effort of all citizens. There has to be more education on the part of the government, and it should target young people with talks in schools.
 
It should also be looking at ways of further developing renewable energy, such as solar power, so there is less reliance on coal. But it is not just up to the government. All citizens should be trying to recycle more and waste less. We should only purchase as much food as we need.
 
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 12, 2016
Melody Ho 4E

Plan to charge for congestion is flawed 
 
Proposals have been put forward for the government to impose a ­congestion charge for driving in Central.
 
With more vehicles in the city every year, congestion is getting worse. It is a really unpleasant experience being stuck in one of the city’s many traffic jams. They cause serious air pollution which harms humans and the environment. One suggested congestion charge is electronic road pricing (ERP).
 
Such a scheme would certainly generate revenue for the government and, with fewer vehicles in ERP zones, pollution levels might drop. Some cities, such as Singapore, have ­adopted ERP and it has been very successful.
 
However, if ERP was ­imposed in one area of the city, motorists might choose alternative routes on nearby roads ­outside it and create congestion problems there.
 
It would be better for the government to try and raise the fee for registration and licensing of a vehicle.
 
Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 11, 2016
lan Wan 4B

Allow banned candidates to run for office 
 
I refer to the report, “Disqualifying localist Legco candidates lets politics ‘eat into’ legal system, former Bar Association chair says” (August 5).
 
Some prospective candidates in next month’s Legislative Council election, including Edward Leung Tin-kei, have been disqualified from standing by the Electoral Affairs Commission because, it is argued, they are not following the Basic Law.
 
I can understand why Leung feels upset over not being allowed to stand. He had already signed an agreement saying he accepted the Basic Law, but ­because of previous comments he had made about independence, the returning officer did not believe he would uphold it.
 
He and other banned candidates should be allowed to stand. I fear that if these things keep happening, Hong Kong will become more like the rest of China and will lose its unique characteristics and freedom.
 
Ian Wan, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 10, 2016
Wong Hiu Tung Kassndra 5E

Teachers make good use of computers 
 
With advances in new technology, devices such as computers and smartphones have become an essential part of our lives.
 
While they can be helpful to students, there has been some controversy surrounding e-learning. Critics say that schools can rely too much on e-learning and there is a risk that computers can actually be a distraction for some students in the classroom.
 
However, it cannot be ­denied that it is very convenient. ­Before, students would have to go to a library and look for a book, while now they can do an online search that takes only about a minute. Teachers use it for homework, sometimes via WhatsApp, and iPads are commonly used during lessons.
 
Some parents may have mixed feelings about e-learning, fearing it can be a distraction with so many entertainment apps. However, I think overall it does more good than harm. Most students can strike a ­balance between academic work and chatting online.
 
Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Hang Hau
 

Candy Kong 3D

Dialogue is better than confrontation 
 
Disputes between teenagers and their parents are common in families.
 
Youngsters can be very strong-willed and if the arguments get serious this can ­damage relationships between children and their parents.
 
Along with other kinds of pressure this can adversely ­affect the mental health of ­students and can even lead to depression.
It is important for youngsters to learn to control their temper. Parents also have to learn to compromise and not always dig their heels in.
 
If both sides make a real ­effort then I think a harmonious relationship is possible in the long term.
Parents do have to sometimes take a hard line on issues, but when they refuse a request from their child they have to explain why they said no.
 
They should try and see things from the point of view of their children. At the end of the day, having a discussion is always better than a very bitter argument.
 
Children benefit from ­growing up in a harmonious family environment and it ­enables them to develop relationships with people. This can help them when they are adults.
 
Candy Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 8, 2016
Dickens Mok 5C

Give more help to sub-degree students
 
A study has found that some fresh graduates with sub-degrees are earning around the same as young people with a secondary school education (“Earnings hit for those holding sub-degrees”, August 5).
 
The median ­monthly ­income of the sub-degree graduates has dropped 20 per cent over the past two ­decades “and workers with only secondary school education made almost as much last year”. This shows that the ­future is not bright for these graduates.
 
This is in spite of the fact that some sub-degree courses cost more than university degrees. And yet sub-degrees are not ­valued as much as university ­degrees by prospective ­employers.
 
The government must ­promote these sub-degrees, so that employers come to recognise that doing a sub-degree in Hong Kong is a valid form of study and ­employers should not look down on people with these qualifications.
 
The government should try to do more to enhance the reputation of these sub-degrees and try to ensure they are recognised as valid here and abroad. And more loans should be made available to young people who decide to do a sub-degree ­because they cannot get a place at a university.
 
The bad image of these sub-degrees in the eyes of employers is clearly still a problem, and I hope that the government will recognise that there is an urgent need to address it.
 
Ronnie Tse, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP August 6, 2016
Kitty Lui 4B

Glued to the mobile screen is risky 
 
I refer to Karina Lo’s letter (“Blame players, not the game, for accidents”, August 1).
 
The mobile phone game Pokemon Go has become very ­popular and there are many players walking the streets. Unfortunately, too many are so ­immersed in the game they are not aware of their surroundings. Accidents can easily happen. Not only will the players get hurt but also innocent people just minding their own business.
 
The players sometimes go to workplaces such as construction sites, police stations and hospitals, causing a nuisance to people who need the service. It is not the game that is dangerous – the danger comes from irresponsible players.
Played properly, Pokemon Go can get teenagers who always stay at home during the summer holidays to exercise outside catching pokemons.
 
Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O
 

Prisclla Ko Ka Ying 5B

Care needed to sidestep game dangers 
 
I refer to the report (“Man ­playing Pokemon falls into river attempting to retrieve phone”, August 1).
 
The new Pokemon Go virtual reality game is the talk of the globe among many millions now playing it and Hong Kong is no exception since its release here on July 25. Clusters of Pokemon trainers sliding their fingers on the screens of mobile phones are springing up across the city.
 
I’m a player and I think the game is indeed interesting and alluring.
Frankly, owning a Pikachu or certain kinds of Pokemon is the dream of most children who have watched the Japanese mangas called Pokemon. With Pokemon Go, this dream comes true.
Besides, Pokemon Go not only helps players live their childhood dreams, but also gives them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The more popular are the pokemons that are being caught, the higher the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction gained by players.
 
Nonetheless, Pokemon Go undoubtedly brings benefits and drawbacks to the public, just like every coin has two sides.
For example, in the US, it has been reported that some armed robbers used Pokemon Go to trap players.
 
Such reports highlight the need for players to stay alert when they are using their mobile phones on the streets. Wandering into traffic is also a potentially serious risk.
 
Care and self-discipline must be used, otherwise playing this ­exciting game may have a sad ending for some people. In a nutshell, playing Pokemon Go should be a pleasant and pleasurable pastime as long as all players pay enough attention to their own safety.
 
It hope that the game can only bring gratification instead of grief.
 
Priscilla Ko, Tseung Kwan O
 

Fung Chi Hang 6A

Action needed to end discrimination against breast feeding mums in HK
 
I agree with those who say that that mothers must be allowed to breastfeed their babies in public areas in Hong Kong, however, they face discrimination if they do. It seems the government has failed to act properly to offer enough privacy to mothers who have to breastfeed in public.
 
Biologically, breast milk is the most natural food resource for babies. It contains a lot more nutrients than milk powder, and the antibodies in breast milk can protect babies from pathogens as they help to build up a stronger immune system than baby formula.
Interestingly, the nutrients in breast milk can be automatically controlled according to the growth of babies and their demand. Therefore, it is more suitable for a baby to drink breast milk as they grow up.
 
Nevertheless, Hong Kong citizens do not quite understand the benefits of breastfeeding. Even though breastfeeding mothers may cover up with a scarf in public areas like buses and shopping malls, Hong kongers still tend to look at them in a hostile way as if they are doing something weird.
 
There is nothing wrong with babies drinking breast milk when hungry. No one can control what time babies get hungry. Therefore, some mothers have to go to the nearest washroom to breastfeed in order to avoid angry looks.
 
It is disheartening to see this phenomenon in Hong Kong, as breastfeeding is not something sexual or dirty, but just a means of providing food supply to babies.
 
The Hong Kong government has a responsibility to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. For example, it should launch more campaigns to educate the public that breastfeeding is not something that damages a city’s image.
 
Citizens also must try to be more open-minded. They cannot look down on and discriminate against breastfeeding mothers. It is important to support the normalising of breastfeeding.
 
Elmo Fung, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 5, 2016
Joyce Lee Lok Yi 5B

Blame users, not Pokemon, for accidents
 
Concerns have been raised about whether the mobile augmented reality game “Pokemon Go” could present safety risks. And with it becoming a global phenomenon, questions are also being raised about some players becoming addicted.
 
There have also been reports of people not paying attention to where they are and straying into bad areas of cities where they get mugged. There have been road traffic accidents and one player stole a boat in ­order to try and catch a Pokemon in a lake.
There have been similar examples of irresponsible behaviour in Hong Kong with some people playing it even when ­typhoon signal No 8 was raised.
 
The Education Bureau and ­Hospital Authority have said they do not want the game to be played in their schools and ­hospitals.
However, we cannot blame the game for this. The original aim of the creators of Pokemon Go was to encourage teenagers to leave their bedrooms and get outside. And there is the case of the autistic boy who left his home and went outside for the first time in five years to play the game.
 
It is the people who are at fault. It is the same as recognising that computers are not to blame for cybercrime, the blame lies with the criminals who use the computers to achieve their immoral aims.
A computer programme is always neutral, it is up to the user to decide what to do with it.
 
People just need to exercise some self-control when they are playing the game and take care so they can avoid having an accident.
 
Joyce Lee, Tseung Kwan O
 

Cathy Lo Ka Yi 5B

Game brings some families closer together 
 
I refer to the report (“Pokemon master arrives in Hong Kong on worldwide quest to complete his collection”, August 3).
 
The mobile phone game ­Pokemon Go has become a ­global craze. The man who has been dubbed a Pokemon ­master, Nick Johnson, says he is the first person to catch all the Pokemon in the US and is on a quest to catch them in different regions.
 
This just shows the ­impact the game has had on people throughout the world.
 
In Hong Kong, some ­netizens have said the game will bring more harm than good as many players waste a lot of time trying to catch Pokemon and some put themselves at risk on roads as they do not look where they are going.
 
They also talk about the ­negative effect the game has on personal relationships, where ­people regard playing on their smartphone as being more ­important than face-to-face communication – it is known as “phubbing” and it obviously affects the communication skills of “phubbers”.
 
Yet, I notice that Pokemon Go players do talk a lot to each ­other, so in that regard, there is more communication as they exchange information. In fact it may improve relations between teenagers and their parents, ­because it is not just youngsters who have been swept up by ­Pokemon Go, parents are also ­involved, so families can play ­together.
 
Also, more people are taking the tram, ­because it is easier to play the game on board as they travel at slow speeds. And it means that these players can enjoy the ­marvellous views of the city from the upper deck.
 
This is happening all over the world where people are discovering new locations and ­beautiful scenery as they play the game.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how long this craze will last.
 
Cathy Lo, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 3, 2016
Ng Yik Huen 5E

Russia’s honest athletes should be at Games 
 
I refer to the report (“Disharmony: Wada ‘disappointed’ as IOC fails to ban Russia from Olympic Games over doping scandal”, July 25).
Many Russian athletes have already been banned from the Rio Games.
 
This is one of the world’s ­biggest sporting events and clean athletes should be able to take part knowing that there is a level playing field and that all their competitors are clean.
The Games are supposed to symbolise peace and friendship and these principles are undermined when some athletes are drug cheats.
 
However, not all members of the Russian team are cheats. I am sure there are many who did not violate any rules on doping. Therefore, I think the International Olympic Committee made the right decision to let the governing bodies ­of individual sports decide who can and ­cannot compete in Rio. The clean athletes have spent years preparing for the Games and it would be unfair if they were disqualified because of the behaviour of dishonest athletes.
 
A Russian athlete who has not been found guilty of doping should be allowed to compete.
 
Of course the authorities should continue to fight against drug cheats, but we also need to be fair to those individuals who have trained hard for years and who are not dishonest.
 
Those individuals who have made that effort must be ­allowed to chase their dream and I hope all the Russian ­athletes who have been honest and who have been preparing for the last four years will be ­allowed to take part in the Games.
 
Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O
 

Alice Ma 4E

Canteens can offer low-sugar food and drink 
 
I am concerned about the ­increasing number of teenagers in Hong Kong who are ­becoming obese.
 
This problem is getting worse with more local people becoming overweight and some of them are classed as obese.
 
Some individuals, where their condition has become serious, will elect to have surgery to help them lose weight. ­However, teenagers who are overweight should not have to resort to surgery. They are young enough to be able to make lifestyle changes.
 
Too often teenagers buy ­unhealthy snacks and soft drinks containing a lot of sugar during their lunch break. School ­canteens and tuck shops can help by having items on sale which are low-sugar or sugar-free.
 
Schools must encourage students to do more sports. They should have a gym with air conditioning so youngsters can work out even during the hot summer months.
 
Alice Ma, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 2, 2016
Hillary Chan 5A

Making friends thanks to Pokemon Go 
 
The location-based augmented reality game, Pokemon Go, has proved to be controversial.
 
Critics say that it can be dangerous, with some players straying into rough areas of cities and towns and getting attacked and robbed. But, while there may be a downside, I also think that it has brought many advantages.
 
You see a lot of families ­playing it together and this is helping to improve parent-child relationships. As they play the game they get to talking about various topics and this can only be a good thing. 
It has also led to individuals becoming more sociable. They come into contact with other ­citizens on the street who are playing and start up conversations, often discussing with each other how many pokemons they caught on their smartphones. 
 
Pokemon Go has become a hobby that helps people to ­widen their social circle. Italso enables people to explore places they have not been to before.
 
People can really get a lot out of this game if they use it ­correctly. 
 
Hillary Chan, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP August 1, 2016
Jenny Sit 5A

Long hours, little leisure is no way to live 
 
I have been reading the views of Hongkongers online on the need to have the right work-life balance.
 
Most citizens work long hours, often more than 10 hours a day. When you have to put in that much time in the office, you have no time for rest.
 
While hard work can bring financial rewards for many ­people, is that so important if they are failing to achieve the right work-life balance? They should still aim for this and there are ways to achieve it.
 
One way is to have a golden rule of not checking work ­e-mails when you get back home. They can wait until the next day. You should only break this rule if the matter is really ­urgent.
If people are ­working hours that are so long they cannot get any leisure time and are always tired, they should switch jobs.
Also, I do not think it is good to do the same job for your whole working life. Sometimes, it makes sense to change your working environment .
 
Jenny Sit, Po Lam
 

Johathan Lam 5A

Ensure fair workplace for mothers-to-be 
 
Members of Parliament in ­Britain have been discussing the problems experienced by many pregnant women in the workplace and how they are often singled out for unfair treatment.
 
This is not something that happens only in the UK. In Hong Kong, pregnant women often find they get a raw deal from their bosses.
Some employers resent paid maternity leave and see it as a waste of money. Rather than have to pay it, they will sometimes come up with an ­excuse to fire an employee when the real reason is that she has ­become pregnant.
 
In fact, governments in all countries should be doing more to strengthen legislation that is designed to protect the rights of women, including those who become pregnant and wish to continue working and to return to work after the birth of their child.
 
The government should ­offer incentives to employers so that pregnant employees can get fair treatment. Women must always speak up if they feel they are ­victims of unfair treatment and they must fight for stronger rights.
 
We must all support the protection of women’s rights.
 
Jonathan Lam, Tseung Kwan O
 

Katrina Lo 4E

Blame players, not the game, for accidents 
 
I refer to the report, “Hong Kong goes predictably Pokemon Go crazy, and businesses try to cash in” (July 27).
There are obviously more phubbers [people who are glued to their smartphones] than usual in Hong Kong since the launch here of the popular game ­Pokemon Go.
 
There are now even some ­Pokemon Go trainers. And obviously some businesses are trying to exploit its popularity.
 
Some bars and shopping malls have come up with different ways to attract customers and make more money. So it is not only proving entertaining for a lot of people, but profitable for some companies.
It is certainly true that you see large groups of these ­Pokemon Go players who ­wander around parks and other ­public places like phone-wielding zombies.
 
Their numbers increase at night, when they are out in force trying to catch pokemons.
 
When there are a lot of them in a crowded place and they are devoting their full attention to the game, they can put other ­citizens at risk, even those who have no interest in the game. These players are so caught up in the game that they ignore what is going on around them and that is when people can get hurt.
 
However, I do not think it is fair to say that Pokemon Go is a dangerous game. The danger comes from the way in which some people play it.
 
All players must stay alert and be aware of other pedestrians what are walking around them.
 
If they keep looking around and make sure they are not a risk to other individuals, they can have an enjoyable and safe time and not pose a threat to other people.
 
Katrina Lo, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 30, 2016
Chloe Ng Sin Yee 2C

Keep an eye on overuse of the internet 
 
In the past 20 years, people have been using different kinds of appliances and gadgets to access the internet.
 
Most netizens use the internet for communication through social networks and for online shopping. And there’s entertainment through online books, video games and movies.
 
However, the internet is highly addictive.
 
Some teenagers are glued to their computer or phones all day long, even without sleeping or eating. Obviously this has health repercussions and an adverse effect on academic performance.
And there is the worry of anti-social fallout through lack of face-to-face communication.
 
Students and netizens need to limit their time online – ­striking a balance between work and play is important for family and friend relationships.
 
Chloe Ng Sin-yee, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 29, 2016
Prisclla Ko Ka Ying 5B

All parties can help troubled teenagers 
 
A number of reasons have been given for the spate of student suicides during the last school year, including mental health problems, interpersonal relationships and difficulty ­adapting.
 
I think relationship problems can sometimes get very serious. When youngsters are mixing with peers and teachers every day, they are coming into contact with people with differing personalities. There can be conflicts and in some cases even bullying, which can have a devastating effect on a young ­person. I have seen schoolmates who are so stressed out they have quit school because of relationship problems and as we know, in ­extreme cases, some teens have taken their own lives.
 
All stakeholders need to ­recognise this is an issue that must be dealt with and there is a need to understand and show sympathy for these troubled students.
 
Fellow students, teachers, parents and even the Education Bureau should make the effort to ensure youngsters suffering from emotional problems get the help they need.
 
With tolerance, patience and empathy, youngsters with problems can get better.
 
Priscilla Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 27, 2016
Jason Luk 4A

Hard-pressed citizens resort to junk food
 
Many Hongkongers are so busy at work that they neglect important things such as ensuring they have a balanced diet.
 
They have so little spare time that they will just grab what they can at lunch and dinner and this often means eating at a fast-food restaurant.
If they are not eating a nutritious diet they could eventually end up with serious health problems and perhaps chronic ­conditions.
 
With fast food the emphasis is on convenience and speed and not health. Often it contains a lot of oil and people who eat fast food regularly can become overweight. Students will often buy fast food because it is cheap and so they get into bad eating habits early.
 
All citizens need to be more conscious of health issues. And they must cut back on their consumption of junk food and try to ensure they have a healthier diet.
 
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

SCMP July 25, 2016
Ng Yik Huen Hebe 5E

Careless selfies can put other people at risk 
 
Taking a selfie with the camera on your smartphone is becoming increasingly popular.
 
While there is nothing wrong with doing that, some people take a lot of these selfies and sometimes do not think about their surroundings and put themselves at risk.
 
It is certainly more convenient to take a selfie. In the past, you had to ask a passer-by to take a picture on your behalf and now with a selfie and selfie stick, you can take it for yourself. But there have been cases of people getting hurt, or even killed, because they were so wrapped up in taking the picture.
 
For example, some people have got too close to wild animals or taken selfies while driving and got involved in an accident. They need to realise that by their careless actions, they can put other people at risk.
 
Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 23, 2016
Chan Lap Kiu Sandy 5E

Beware the overuse of e-devices
 
With the fast development of advanced technology, more teenagers are becoming addicted to the use of those electronic ­devices, therefore, it is clear that we have to be aware of the ­negative impact of the excessive use of these devices.
 
Computers and smartphones help students when they are doing school assignments, but they can be disruptive and may affect family cohesion.
 
Parents may think their child are neglecting their assignments when in fact they are reading online or searching for further relevant information.
 
It’s very easy to imagine how parents and teenagers can lose their tempers and have arguments in such cases.
 
Another issue is health. Overuse of devices prevents youngsters from having enough time for exercise and is a ­common cause of obesity with teens spending long periods seated.
 
There are other negative ­effects. A recent study suggested brain scans of children who play ­violent video games showed they had an increase in emotional arousal and a decrease in activity in brain areas involved with self-control, inhibition and the ability to focus.
Some experts suggest it is better for parents to regulate their children’s use of these ­devices. An alternative would be to block undesirable sites so that children can concentrate on their academic tasks.
 
Sandy Chan Lap-kiu, Yau Tong
 

SCMP July 22, 2016
Priscilla Ko Ka Ying 5B

Exercise books are OK, but in moderation
 
Some parents buy a lot of exercise books for their children and also sign them up for tutorial classes to improve their academic performance.
 
While there is nothing wrong with this, they should not overdo it and must ensure their children have enough time to play and have fun.
Too many parents feel their children need all the help they can get to win from the “starting line”, but if the Hong Kong Book Fair is anything to go by some really go too far, buying up lots of exercise books for children as young as five. These books can be effective but only in moderation. ­Excessive use can do more harm than good.
 
I do not think it is right to expect children of kindergarten age to have to fill in lots of exercise books. They may lead to them developing a dislike of studying. This could be detrimental to their schooling; if they have this kind of attitude at an early age, they could put in a poor academic performance at a later stage.
Parents must consider the long-term psychological health of their children.
 
At kindergartens in Western countries like Germany, ­students do not even learn how to write, and are not drilled with exercise books and yet they still learn a lot.
 
It is now time for everyone in Hong Kong to think carefully about spoon-feeding young children with exercise books and to recognise that this is not the right course of action.
 
These young children must be given sufficient time to relax and play.
 
Ko Ka-ying, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 21, 2016
Fok Pui Yi 5E

Lifeguards deserve a better deal 
 
I refer to the report (“Hong Kong lifeguards turn up the heat in pay dispute with 500 set to strike”, July 11).
 
The lifeguards launched their industrial action, because they want better pay and conditions from the Leisure and ­Cultural Services Department.
 
There are still more than 200 vacancies as the low pay and lengthy training time discourages young people from becoming lifeguards. I think they should get higher pay and the department must also find other ways to attract new recruits.
 
The department has said it wants the dispute resolved in a rational manner, but I do not agree with officials that the lifeguards have been acting irresponsibly.
 
The department needs to ­offer a better package to the lifeguards and to potential new ­recruits.
 
Youngsters keen on joining should be offered the chance to get involved in sports related to their jobs, such as extreme aquatics.
A lot of young people now like getting involved in what are known as extreme sports. The department needs to think carefully about the kind of package it can come up with to fill the ­vacancies and get the number of lifeguards needed.
 
Fok Pui-yi, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 20, 2016
Melody Ho 4E

Problems will get worse without action
 
I refer to the letter by Kathy Ho (“We can all help to curb global warming”, July 9).
 
Global warming is not just a local problem affecting Hong Kong, but a global phenomenon. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels and clearing vegetation and forests have increased the emission of greenhouse gases significantly.
 
These greenhouse gases are making global warming worse. Over the past century, Hong Kong’s annual mean temperature rose by 1.5 ­degrees Celsius and the global average temperature has risen by 0.74 degrees as a ­result of global warming.
 
This is causing greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions around the planet. Severe Typhoon ­Nepartak is an example of this.
 
Unless we all make efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, we will not be able to ­address the problem of global warming.
 
Melody Ho, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 19, 2016
Natalli Lo 5A

Workload does undermine happiness 
 
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Hong Kong schoolchildren’s level of happiness dropped to a new low last year.
 
The research, conducted by Lingnan University, showed this to be the lowest rating since 2012.
 
A total of 25 primary and secondary schools participated in this research. A major factor in this ­lowering of happiness was the increased workload caused by homework.
 
Primary Four pupils, aged eight or nine, on average spent almost three hours a day doing homework. For Form Three secondary pupils the daily average is two hours. The research also showed that primary school ­students here sleep around nine hours a night, secondary pupils around seven.
 
Children’s physical and mental growth is undermined if they do not get sufficient sleep.
 
The atmosphere in a school should be relaxed so that students can enjoy their time there and make new friends. But in our society there is too much focus on academic studies. Children have so much homework during the school year and sometimes also during holiday periods. Also some will be ­scolded if they do not meet their parents’ high expectations. Compared to Hong Kong I think children in some countries are much happier.
 
The Education Bureau should be looking at how things are done in these countries, where there is less homework and more activities aimed at ­relieving stress. If schools can make the necessary changes, Hong Kong children will be ­happier and we will see a rise in future happiness indexes.
 
Natalli Lo, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 18, 2016
Emily Leung 3D

Firms can save on bills by switching off 
 
Recent research has expanded on the adverse effect of excess light, showing that night-time light can lead to sleep disturbances.
This is certainly the case in Hong Kong where light pollution is very serious, especially in densely populated urban areas such as Mong Kok. University of Hong Kong scientists found it to be as much as 1,000 times ­brighter than international norms and even rural areas in Hong Kong were affected.
 
If because of this problem people are not able to get a ­proper night’s sleep then it can detract from their ability to function properly during the day. Citizens need to be aware of this and of the potential problems they face in terms of their health and quality of sleep if they are living close to buildings with a lot of external lighting.
 
This pollution also damages the ecosystems of animals who have difficulty distinguishing between night and day.
 
There must be cooperation between citizens and the government. External lighting should be switched off when it is not needed. It also makes financial sense. Firms which switch these lights off when they are not needed save on their energy bills.
 
The government should monitor the intensity and concentration of the street lights in the evening and monitor other brightly lit advertising billboards.
 
Emily Leung Choi-yan, Po Lam
 

Kitty Lui 4B

Teach young people to think creatively 
 
Hong Kong nowadays lags ­behind other developed economies in the fields of science and technology, because young ­people in Hong Kong are not encouraged to think in a creative or innovative way.
 
The blame for this rests with the education system. In local schools rote-learning is dominant with students being forced to memorise passages from books.
 
This does not encourage them to think for themselves. Things have improved a bit with the introduction of liberal ­studies, but that does not tackle the problem of lack of creativity.
 
I believe the government should follow the example set by Finland and Estonia and ­promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.
 
The objectives of STEM ­education are to prepare youngsters for the future needs of ­society through learning ­activities that require knowledge and skills across all the four disciplines so that they will ­develop the necessary capability to solve problems, and be innovative and creative.
 
Learning how to use scientific methods can help them solve real-life problems. This is better than memorising all the facts in textbooks without really ­knowing what they mean.
 
With more students trained under STEM education, an increasing number of young ­people will join the workforce able to make a positive contribution to the innovation and technology sector and the personnel shortage problem will be solved.
 
Kitty Lui Sze-ki, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 16, 2016
Sammi Lo Wing Sum 5D

Roof gardens not only way to go green 
 
Many buildings have rooftop gardens. The aim is to have a greener future and lower urban temperatures.
 
This trend has slowed down with the collapse of a rooftop at a sports hall at City University.
 
Now people have expressed concern that they are not safe.
Another way to reduce urban temperatures is to make use of natural wind and reduce our reliance on polluting energy like electricity.
 
In this context we need to consider the whole issue of ­pollution and how to reduce it. Having homes with large ­windows allows in more natural light. This reduces the need to switch on lights during the day.
 
Also, if we want a greener society we have to tackle waste at source. Direct charges for users based on the polluter-pays principle can effectively help ­reduce waste.
 
Sammi Lo Wing-sum, Sai Kung
 

SCMP July 15, 2016
Ko Ching Nga Mary 5E

Writing a timetable can help cut stress 
 
I agree with correspondents who say that teenagers should aim for better time management in their lives.
 
People talk about the stress young people face from school and parents. I also think that far from relieving stress, ­playing computer games can ­actually exacerbate that threat, especially if they spend too long on computers and smartphones.
 
Being on computers for long periods can have negative side-effects, such as tight shoulders.
 
For anyone using these devices it comes down to time management.
 
You may have the intention of ensuring you are better organised, but you have to carry through that intention and so many of us do not.
 
When it comes using mobiles and computers, people need to have a timetable and stick to it.
 
They must write it down, be realistic about what they can do and stick to the schedule they have planned.
 
If they are able to do this then I ­believe if they do suffer from stress, they will find that this stress is reduced.
 
If using computers for entertainment is part of the timetable that can help reduce stress, because you are limiting the amount of time you are playing such things as computer games.
 
However, it is important to limit the time you spend on these ­devices and to recognise the importance of your own health and developing interpersonal relationships. 
 
Mary Ko , Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 8, 2016
Li Chun Yin 5E

Help abusive parents with counselling 
 
Earlier this year, it was revealed that shelters taking abused children are often full to capacity and some have pointed out that the government has no long-term strategy to help these children.
 
Providing foster care and a small-group home environment are two options when it come to helping these vulnerable children.
However, they are not absolute solutions. We have to look at the causes of abuse. Often, it comes down to parents finding they are unable to cope with the stress they feel in their daily lives.
Many of the reasons are economically based, with the pressure caused by these families living in poverty. The parents ­often have to work very hard in menial jobs for a poor wage. Sometimes they take out their frustrations on their children.
 
The government should offer more financial aid to low-income families to help them cope.
 
It should also be trying to ­offer these adults more chances to find work and get some ­training so they can learn new skills and get better jobs.
 
NGOs should be ensuring there is sufficient counselling available, so that these parents know there is somewhere they can go to seek help. Counsellors can help them learn how to deal with their stress and not hurt their children.
 
Our children are the future of society.
 
We must ensure they are protected.
 
Andrew Li, Tseung Kwan O
 

SCMP July 6, 2016
Kary Chan 6A

Real concerns over universal pension pleas
 
The annual Earth Day in April gives us all a chance to celebrate the beauty and wonder of this planet.
 
Hopefully, it can raise our awareness of the need to protect it. In recent decades, global warming has aroused wide ­concern among various circles. Many people now argue that the time is ripe for everyone to make changes, while others still do not understand the urgent need for action.
 
We live in a global village so we all have to take responsibility to protect the earth. Too many of us take the planet’s finite natural resources for granted. We must learn to love and protect it.
We should try to ensure that we preserve these resources and natural wonders for the next generation to enjoy. And we should not be too selfish and abuse what we have. The selfish attitude of some people causes immense damage to the environment. Youths of today should think of youths of the ­future.
 
The environment is inextricably linked to all walks of life. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
 
This will lead to rising sea levels, and an increase in the occurrence of severe weather events.
 
We have to grasp the nettle and deal with the problem now. 
 
Kary Chan, Tseung Kwan O
 

Cherry Yeung 5A

Public housing woes call for better remedy 
 
I refer to the report (“Public housing waiting time now 4.1 years as observers say government has failed to deliver”, ­August 12).
The housing problem is still a controversial issue in Hong Kong. According to the Housing Authority, families need to wait an average of four years to get into public housing.
 
This shows that the increase in supply cannot catch up with the substantial increase in ­demand in the short term.
 
Although the authorities are working hard to offer more flats, they face challenges such as public opposition.
 
Also, they need to get approval from different agencies to rezone and reclaim land. All these obstacles lengthen the waiting time.
I agree that the government should work harder on rezoning and reclaiming land so as to shorten the waiting time. However, many Hongkongers living abroad have public housing flats in Hong Kong which they have rented out. The government should clamp down on those owners as it is unfair to local citizens who are queuing for flats.
 
There is no doubt that the government should modify public housing policies and always keep people informed about regulations so as to eradicate any loopholes.
 
Cherry Yeung, Tseung Kwan O