No second chance with death penalty
The death penalty has been a controversial issue for many years.
Supporters of this most severe form of punishment say it deters criminals and provides justice for the victims. For the opponents, capital punishment is a 'dead end', with convicts having no chance to reform and lead a new life. I prefer life imprisonment to the death penalty which is irreversible.
Everyone makes mistakes and people forgive us. We can also learn from our mistakes.
So why don't we give an opportunity for criminals to improve themselves?
With the death penalty, it's all over and their families suffer in the end. Although life imprisonment is a costly option, it relieves the offenders' stress and grief, and they get better mentally.
I strongly agree with the saying: 'To err is human, to forgive is divine.' Although a person may be guilty of a serious crime, we have no right to take away a human life.
Supporters may say the death penalty is the only way to reduce crime. However, according to statistics, there's more violent crime in the United States - which uses the death penalty - than in Britain, where there's no capital punishment. It proves that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent.
In conclusion, I think capital punishment is not a good idea and should be abolished.
Betty Leung Wing-po, Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary School
Truth is not always beautiful
Do you always speak the truth? Have you ever felt guilty after telling a lie, especially to your parents? I think almost everyone has lied at least once in their lives. I read a book recently in which a teacher thought truth was beautiful. But people rarely agreed with her.
One day, she met a boy who could only speak the truth. At first, she was delighted but later on she found out that the truth was not always beautiful. Sometimes it is necessary to lie in order to please another person.
Telling a lie could even save a person's life. For example, if a son of an old woman dies suddenly, it's not a good idea to tell her the truth immediately. She might have a heart attack.
I am not saying lying is a good thing. We should consider the situation first and then think about what to say.
So it is important to think before you say or do anything.
Although the Sichuan earthquake happened about three weeks ago, I am still shocked by the scale of the sudden disaster.
But we can learn a lot from this tragedy. I was inspired by a victim of this catastrophe. He said he was lucky to survive, and would now concentrate on achieving his dream.
Life is unpredictable and therefore he wants to do something more meaningful.
In my daily life, I mostly focus on conflicts among my classmates and my emotions. This really hinders me from achieving my goals.
From now on, I'll try to do my best and show my love to others.
Plea to help needy
Our school organised a tour to a charity organisation where we played a game which mirrored the lives of poor people in Africa.
We had to work very hard to manufacture goods - like paper bags - and sell them. With the money, we could pay our rent, and buy food and other necessities.
But life is not a bed of roses - sometimes we have to sell our goods at a low price. The money we earn is not enough to fulfil our needs. When we get sick, we can't go to a doctor and may eventually die.
This happens every day in developing countries. In Africa, there will be one new HIV infection every six seconds, with many of the victims being children.
In Hong Kong, we don't realise how lucky we are and waste our resources.
So, please be grateful for what you have - money, chance to learn, books, clothes and all the other things - and at the same time help the poor, spreading your love around the world.
Kayla Tong Pui-shan, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College
The Sichuan earthquake brought out the best in humans irrespective of where they are from.
People donated millions of dollars to help the survivors, while the rescuers showed great courage in pulling victims from the debris despite the threat of aftershocks. I think everyone has a kind heart and we don't want to see others suffering.
Let's all join hands and help the quake victims.
Recently, I read a news report about a coffee shop that refused to serve a customer who had a physical disability.
There are several ways to educate the public about discrimination. Firstly, parents can teach their children that they should not look down on the disabled.
Secondly, schools can offer some lessons on discrimination, such as racism. They can also organise talks or stage exhibitions on the topic.
Finally, the government can enact laws to prevent discrimination. Offenders could be fined or sent to prison.
I think the Equal Opportunities Commission can do more to help eliminate discrimination. Celebrities, who have a great influence on teenagers, can also join the campaign to get the message across to the public.
The world would be more wonderful if there is no discrimination.
Hung Hiu-po, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School