Gadgets inspire winning articles
Judging for the South China Morning Post Student Linguist of the Year Award was conducted last week. Candidates were asked to write an article about thir favourite gadget. The candidates were of a high standard and the judges had a difficult time deciding on the winners. Therefore, two special awards were added in recognition of the students' efforts.
Michelle Lo Ka-man
St Paul's Co-educational College
Gadgets are spies' and special agents' must-have items, from Tom Cruise's deliciously explosive chewing gum in Mission Impossible and teenage super-spy Alex Rider's exotic refracted light detectors to James Bond's ultra-dangerous leaser-beam Swiss watches.
Unfortunately, I'm no secret agent working undercover to save the world, so don't expect me to be armed with impressive, crafty gadgets.
I prefer to stick with my pen. This simple writing tool can be a very cool gadget!
I suppose you'll be gasping in disbelief, shocked or even traumatised, but sometimes simplicity is the key to everything.
My pen is smooth, slender and streamlined. Beautifully crafted and transparent, you might portray it as a silver barracuda fish poised in the ocean currents, glistening under the dappled sunlight.
Besides being intriguingly glamorous, my favourite gadget is also quite useful. The ball point is sharp yet delicate, allowing you to create smooth, agile curves with great flexibility and ease.
A pen can help you explore the creative and exhilarating world of design.
You can sketch freely and endlessly as it guides you along a winding path of shiny black ink.
And my pen would accompany me in the most mundane classes, as we dabble around the lifeless sheets of our textbooks.
Gadgets should be handy, pocket-sized or well-camouflaged. My gadget fulfils those criteria. I can take my pen wherever I go. It can lie inside my bulging pencil case, hide inside my jacket pocket or fit into my jeans.
Life can be quite boring without fun and action; a little mischief will do us a lot of good.
I guess almost everybody must have poked you on the back during class, or you must have tried to wash the suspicious ink stains off your sleeves! Yes, this innocent-looking pen is the true, behind-the-scenes culprit. Its rear may be round and blunt, but its head is pointed, sharp and colourful.
My pen is my most important gadget because it can be so simple yet so mischievous. It is now nestling in my hair as I turn it into a part of my hairstyle.
Alex Yeung Chee-yu
Sha Tin Government Secondary School
What happens when two unrelated words - 'palm' and 'top' - get together? Palmtop, right, on top of your palm. The PDA is my first favourite gadget - its power is not confined to my palm.
In fact, it extends to every part of the globe we live in.
This fascinating device, commonly regarded as a communication gadget, has a variety of benefits and incorporates the Global Positioning System (GPS). Actually, my PDA has saved me a lot
of trouble every time I get lost in the crowd.
With the GPS, figuring out the location of a specific building or avenue is simply a click away. It will have more impact once I obtain a driver's licence.
Apart from helping to direct me, the PDA can also let me know what I can do.
My PDA, which I bought recently, includes most of the functions of a mobile phone and helps me to manage my study time.
Thanks to technological advancement, I can simply scroll the 'pages' up and down, helping me to take note of important events I may have forgotten.
Another benefit of the PDA, which many people hardly anticipated, is its entertainment value. It includes games, music, movies and many other forms of leisurely activities.
Of course, I also use my PDA to chat with my friends through instant messenger.
More importantly, its link to the World Wide Web allows prompt transfer of documents and files.
Unless you take maximum advantage of the facilities available at your fingertips, the sharing of resources and information seems nothing special at all.
But downloading an online computer game and playing with people from around the world, you will be truly aware of how the PDA fully utilises the linkage between far-away regions.
With the PDA, seeing is believing.
The PDA is not just a combination of mini-computer, mobile phone and paper.
When I use a PDA I automatically become a small but indispensable part of the facilitation of e-communication.
The flow of information is beyond our expectations, and uncharacteristically fast.
What's happening thousands of kilometres away simply require a few seconds to reach your palm, without encountering geographical barriers.
Nothing is impossible when you are holding a palmtop ...
In the cyber-world that we live in today, most youngsters crave electronic
devices as a past-time or a form of entertainment.
When you enter the bedroom of a typical teenager residing anywhere from a cosmopolitan city such as Hong Kong to the tranquil outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand, you'll be astounded at the sight of shelves containing countless CDs, VCDs and DVDs.
Also, cable wires will likely be covering every inch of the floor and the shrill ringing tone of a mobile phone may be heard.
Yet, with such a plethora of electronic gadgets before me, I choose to leave such extravagance behind and pick a simple yet elegant gadget as my favourite companion: the pen.
No doubt this would surprise most people. Seen as a functional object with little intrinsic value, pens can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Whether you're at school, at work or even relaxing in a luxury resort in the middle of nowhere, this object can be found.
Although common and apparently mundane, I believe that the pen has far more value than being a simple means to fill out forms.
Always with me in the classroom, my G-2 Pilot Pen has watched me grow and develop over the years.
Through its guidance and hard work, I've struggled through many hours at my desk and come out in one piece from the exam hall.
Even when I'm working away at dawn, my pen is there to keep me company, scratching away, ready to continue working when I am. Yet, my pen is not only work and no play.
When I am sick of writing, staring at it or playing with it allows my mind to wander and frees me from the monotony of whatever I might be doing.
The pen's aesthetic beauty - with its delicately inscribed characters and symbol - is a heaven-sent gift.
With the G-2, I can share my boredom, joy and sorrow. I can describe my travels with curves, lines and dots - the vision from my dreams.
Although education and the beauty of words are important to me, I give priority to the concepts of equality and justice.
This may not seem relevant, but if you think about it, isn't the pen a form of fairness and a symbol of equality?
Treating everyone of all races and religions with the same respect and the same loyalty, the pen is clearly an accomplice of justice.
It transcends all boundaries and work with people of different nationalities; it advocates peace, acceptance and unity.
The PC may be a popular form of communication and enjoyment today, but for me, nothing will ever outdo the pen.
As a tool that shapes language, or merely as an object of desire symbolising peace and acceptance, the pen will always remain my loyal companion, my favourite gadget.
Bryce Alexander Kam Tsun-man
German Swiss International School
In modern society, with globalisation and the promulgation of multi-national organisations the need for communication and knowledge has become overwhelming.
To facilitate this, humans invented a gadget that has fast become my favourite - the laptop computer. Ubiquitous as this may seem, the laptop is useful, powerful and even entertaining on many levels.
First and foremost, the laptop's ability to stay connected to the internet regardless of its position is remarkably convenient. As the well-known phrase goes, knowledge is power.
On a local scale, a student such as myself with access to the internet can perform numerous tasks much more conveniently. I do not have to go to the library for research. I simply type key words into a search engine to find the information I want.
On a global scale, a laptop helps people stay abreast of current affairs, especially given the speed at which news develops. With a laptop, all this knowledge is available regardless of whether the user is in a tropical rainforest or in the middle of a metropolis such as Hong Kong.
Furthermore, the laptop is a powerful means of communication. With the invention of such programs as MSN messenger, even the most taciturn can became the most convivial.
In addition, the laptop and internet can break language barriers, in particular with such technologies as translation and bilingual websites. Somewhat like the old-fashioned telephone, the laptop enables users to stay in touch with many other users simultaneously.
Personally, the laptop has given me significantly more freedom. It allows me to be aware of important economic and social issues, to access a bottomless trough of information and to improve my social and personal relationships.
Furthermore, the laptop can also provide entertainment. Technology has enabled multimedia forms, such as DVDs and songs, to be played on a laptop. From picturesque scares in the sound of music to despicable characters in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the laptop can provide it all.
For students and workers alike, the laptop also provides word processing functions and publishing programs that enable users to save time. Such programs as Microsoft Word can be transferred, edited and printed at the click of a single button.
Despite all these advantages, the laptop and the internet do have its drawbacks. For instance, certain programs can be overly complex and errors could lead to loss of data.
But these problems encourage keen laptop-users like myself to further explore information technology. After all, no device can be perfect.
In essence, the laptop has become my favourite gadget because of its incorporation of everything I need into one machine. From information about current affairs to playing entertaining video games to completing a school assignment, the laptop truly empowers its users.