Writing about issues
Columnists get to express their opinions
Student Columnist of the Year Carmen Chan Ka-man, a sixth-former at Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, has always liked to write but what particularly pleases her is the freedom enjoyed by a columnist.
Inspiration for her article 'The Three Species in this World', was derived from an ongoing donation campaign to raise money for the school's development.
'Unlike doing school essays on given topics, this time I could decide what I wanted to write,' said Carmen, who is in the process of writing a novel which she has only shown to her friends.
Her participation in the competition also gave her a chance to engage in a creative activity outside school, she said. 'I am quite satisfied with my article, my teacher only made a few minor changes to it.''
Carmen said, however, that her biggest passion in life was to be a fashion designer rather than a writer.
First runner-up Phyllis Cheng, a Form Four student at Heep Yunn School, sought inspiration from things around her and by talking to senior students.
'Writing that column 'Online Pirate' gave me an opportunity to think about various issues. It was not too difficult considering we don't often do it in school,' she said. One of the major benefits while working on the column was getting to know some of senior girls in her school, one of whom persuaded her to write the column.
'We discussed various things while working together on our school's paper, like the design and other production issues. I am more interested in writing, however, than the production process,'' Phyllis said.
Maria Chan, the second runner-up, is another keen writer who has a passion for languages. She spent two years learning Latin and completed a French for beginners course.
Maria said she was pleased to have had the chance to write a column in a foreign language. 'I enjoyed the great deal of freedom I was given, and the length required was right for me.'
The sixth-former said the topic she chose 'Travel with English' had to do with her dream of travelling around the world. But she believes reading provides a cheap alternative.
'You can read about various cultures and places in books. That is why I think learning English is important.'
Judging this category was SCMP columnist Kevin Sinclair, who said in his summary that Carmen's column was very interesting, Phyllis had a good concept and Maria chose a strong topic.