Students get taste of hunger

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 January, 1997, 12:00am

A hunger banquet was organised to give students at St Paul's Co-educational College a taste of what it was like to live in a country which did not have enough food.

About 100 schoolmates and 15 teachers took part in the lunch, organised by the school's Geography Society.

Everyone had to pick a label on which a country name was written, then check whether the people living in that country were rich or poor.

At first we were very excited. Unfortunately, the countries we selected were Afghanistan and Nicaragua. Both were classified as 'low-income countries'.

We were given a piece of plain bread and a cup of water. To be honest, we were rather unsatisfied with our fate.

We became quite jealous when we saw that those who had picked 'high-income' countries were enjoying pizzas, fried noodles, fruit and ice-cream.

Even the 'middle-income' students' lunch-boxes were rather tempting to us.

We were not the only unlucky ones. More than two-thirds of the participants were regarded as 'low-income' citizens.

After the banquet, we had an interesting discussion, led by the chairman of the Geography Society.

We realised the main cause of hunger in the world was poverty and uneven distribution of wealth, rather than insufficient food supply, natural disasters, over-population or just laziness on the part of some peoples.

We learnt that about two-thirds of the world's population was in a state of hunger, which explained why most of us had to starve at the 'banquet'.

We also found out that poor countries do not have enough resources and capital and that it would be difficult for them to make improvements by themselves.

On the other hand, Hong Kong people are used to living a good life.

We complain when we do not receive as much as we are used to, without considering the starving people in other parts of the world.

We were lucky to be born here.

Through the hunger banquet, we understood better some of the issues about hunger and we have become more sympathetic to people in low-income countries.

It was a meaningful and unforgettable event.

Rita and Stephanie are pupils of St Paul's Co-educational College