The 'write' stuff
WHAT would the devastated ozone layer say to you if you happened to meet it far up the sky? Would it be furious and disgruntled because of what human beings have done to it, or would it look upset and concerned, worrying about its fate? Twenty-year-old Tang Mei-ping's creative essay depicting an inspiring encounter between a human being and the ozone layer - which appears as a flat creature high up the sky - impressed the judge of the Young Post Pilgrims Essay Competition, making her the winner in the 17-21 age category.
Mei-ping won a three-week trip to England to attend an English course with students from all over the world.
'Our environment is deteriorating. Human beings do not seem to be doing anything effective to alleviate the problem. They are only making the situation worse.
'If 'ozone' was a creature that could speak, I really wonder what it would say to us if we saw it in the sky one day,' said Mei-ping, who is studying translation at Baptist University.
In her 400-word essay, Mei-ping encounters 'Ozone' while taking a trip on a large Ferris wheel that lifts humans into the clouds for a touch of clean air.
There, she talked to the angry creature, who described humans as 'creatures of cruelty'.
'Under my shadow, they are protected everyday, but humans are not grateful to me. On the contrary, they have made a lot of weapons to kill us,' 'Ozone' tells her.
But, as Mei-ping points out, this need not mean the end of the world. If everyone contributes in some small way, we could make our earth a better place to live - for ourselves and for poor 'Ozone'.
'We must start by changing our way of living, like using fewer plastic bags and polystyrene boxes. From there, we can pass the message to other people.' In the 13-16 age category, 15-year-old Hung Lai-sze won first prize for her piece entitled 'I saw it happen!'. Lai-sze tells of a girl's experience of witnessing how time has 'stolen' her youth.
'I always wanted to write a story about how fast time flies. I read the topic of the competition and it just struck me,' said the Heep Yunn School fourth-former. She tells the tale through conversations between a grandmother and a young girl.
'The grandmother was telling the child about a thief who stole the most precious thing from her life - the thief was 'time'. It steals youth from every individual,' she said.
'Many youngsters bury themselves under piles of books and notes, but they forget that they should 'live' their young life.
'We should enjoy ourselves and live life to the fullest. There is far more to do than just study,' she said.
Lai-sze is going to live up to that promise.
She will spend three weeks in England with young people from other countries improving her English, learning about British culture and having a good time.
The two winners will head off on their adventure later this month.
The programme was sponsored by British Airways, Venture English Courses Ltd and Pilgrims.
The winning pieces will be published in the Young Post during the next week.