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The evolution of a responsible student
Seven years ago, when I was a Primary Six pupil, I thought life was easy. Being an only daughter, I didn't have many responsibilities. I was like a princess at home.
However, life changed when I entered secondary school. Academically there were setbacks, and socially there were quarrels with classmates.
All of a sudden, life became harsh and hard. But thanks to my class teachers, I've been able to get through my difficult teen years.
I've learned to be optimistic and responsible for my own life. Over these past seven years, my school has helped me develop a good attitude to life.
One of my teachers said: 'You have a good outlook on life, but you also need a good academic record to realise your dreams.'
I have tried to learn to be a good leader by studying the great German statesman Otto von Bismarck.
Studying science subjects has taught me to be objective. I now know the difference between rational thinking and sentimental thinking.
Studying has helped me discover my inner self. I have learnt to deal with difficult situations, and I have become more mature.
Money alone cannot make you happy
I was struck by the letter, 'Think about your relationship with money' (Young Post, August 17). I agree with the writer, who says that 'many wealthy people are focused entirely on bringing in more money'.
Many rich people, because they are so focused on making money, are not very happy people. They spend all their time working to increase their wealth and spend little or no time with their family and friends.
Money alone cannot make you happy. You also need your family and your friends.
Parents have no right to deny their children the happiness of family life.
Everyone wants a complete family. Divorce is not a matter for the parents only. It also involves the children.
Parents have a duty to take care of their children's physical and mental health. Couples should give each other support and help sort out family problems.
Before thinking about divorce, couples should try to see their problems from different angles. They should give their children and their children's future their fullest consideration.
A brilliant mind
It's incredible that a nine-year-old has entered university.
The recent news about math prodigy March Boedihardjo being admitted to Hong Kong Baptist University to follow a degree course amazed Hong Kong people.
But I wonder how good an idea it is to expose so young a child to a university campus.
My first thought is that a child of nine does not have the maturity to handle university life. There will be a big gap between March and the other university students. He may feel awkward about interacting with people who are at least 10 years older than him.
Moreover, March will lose out on the experiences enjoyed by other children his age.
On the other hand, we can all be inspired by this outstanding student and his amazing gifts.
March has a brother who enrolled to study at a university in Oxford at the age of 13!
I hope both students will have a wonderful life at university.
Maggie Wu Pui-kwan
Leung Shek Chee College
Trees and more trees
The collapse of a part of a 200-year-old 'king' banyan tree in Kowloon Park last week has sparked concern for the city's old and valuable trees.
Three years ago, the government made special note of 527 old urban trees. The government website mentions their height, age and size, but nothing about the state of health of these trees.
It's worrying that 180 of these 527 trees have concrete slabs at their bases, covering their roots. Some of these trees are showing signs of dying.
I feel very sorry for a certain tall tree growing near an MTR station. Branches have been cut so they do not get in the way of buses passing by. The trunk goes straight up, and there are branches only on one side. The tree looks lop-sided. When the government department trims trees, they should consider the overall look of the tree.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is holding a Green Hong Kong Campaign. The government spends large amounts of money every year to plant new trees, but the public does not seem to care too much about preserving trees.
The LCSD should make a detailed evaluation of all these 'champion' trees. Anything harmful to a tree or obstructing its growth should be removed.
The health of every tree should be checked and action taken when trees 'fall sick'.
We live in a concrete jungle. We want more trees than buildings.
Ada Mok Chan Wai-yu
POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School
It's best to be open
Many teens resist face-to-face talk with their parents. They prefer talking when they are engaged in other activities, such as shopping, hiking and so on.
In such contexts, important personal revelations come out sounding casual and incidental. This way, teens save face.
With these teens, the truth does not come in a transparent package.
My advice is to be as open as possible with your parents.
Nayak Satya Sidhi
Delia School of Canada
Say no to smoking
Teenagers are under great pressure from studies, and as a result many of them have taken up the bad habit of smoking.
There are many things we can do to stop this trend.
First of all, parents should be patient with their children. They should understand and support their children when they are in a bad mood, or even when they lose their temper.
Meanwhile, the government can do something to prevent the teen smoking problem from getting worse. For example, it can impose a unit tax on cigarettes.
Youngsters suffering from the tobacco habit should make an effort to break it.
They can seek help on the hotline called Youth Quitline (tel: 2855 9557).
Teen smokers must try their best to kick the habit and change their lifestyle. Smoking is dangerous, and nothing is more important than good health. So, from now on, start saying 'no' to smoking.
Alice Ng Shuk-mei
Leung Shek Chee College
Help poor families
The Hong Kong government should do more to help poor families. It could help the family members find jobs, and give the children a subsidy to buy their textbooks.
Elderly people should not be allowed to earn a living by collecting cardboard boxes in the streets.
Poor families could be given octopus cards so they can travel for free. Children from poor homes could be given a free education.
Meanwhile, these poor people should make the most of the help they get by working hard.
Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary School