PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2008, 12:00am

Help shoppers cope

'Shopaholic' is a new word which has entered our vocabulary in recent years. It describes a compulsive buyer, especially one who shops when they are sad or stressed.

But shopping is not a solution to anything.

Compulsive shopping actually creates more problems, as these shoppers are likely to be in debt and neglect family and friends.

Compulsive shoppers are more likely to develop mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

I think the government should set up hotlines to help shopaholics, and teach them alternative ways to overcome their problems.

In a shopping paradise like Hong Kong, this move is essential.

Dan Chau, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

Dictionary denial

A lot of people don't like looking words up in the dictionary. But I believe it's vital to expanding your vocabulary.

People complain using a dictionary is time-consuming and not very productive.

But if you check a word, you will not only remember the correct spelling, but also learn to use it correctly and discover related and other useful words.

Take a couple of minutes to check the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of words, and your written and spoken language and general understanding will improve.

Karen Lau Yuk-sau

Stand by our man

In 2004, Liu Xiang became the first Chinese man to win gold in an Olympic track and field event. He became a national hero and the pressure was on for him to succeed this year.

However, he was forced to pull out of the hurdles race this year because of severe pain from an injury.

The whole country was in shock and many people were in tears, including his coach.

It's a shame he was not able to defend his title, but people shouldn't focus on this.

What's most important now is for Liu to recover. Hopefully he'll be able to return to the track soon, but his health is the priority.

Some people are concerned he will lose his corporate sponsorship.

But, even though he was unable to compete this year, he is still a great athlete and a Chinese hero. It's doubtful sponsors would abandon him.

We should dry our tears and support Liu as he recovers. Hopefully he'll be back on top form soon.

Yuen Hei-tung, King Ling College

The path to success

I recently watched a TV programme about the Chinese female gymnastic team.

Apparently some of the girls start training as young as three years old. Many of them leave home and stay at special training schools for several years.

As there are only six places on the Olympic team, the girls need to work extremely hard to go to the Games.

Despite all the controversy over her age, Jiang Yuyuan performed to the best of her capability. She smiled throughout and demonstrated true Olympic spirit.

Even though she did not win, she didn't give up.

Her behaviour reminded us how important it is to work hard, even when we are struggling. The journey is more important than the destination, after all.

When you see athletes, don't just judge them on their performance. Remember how hard they work to get where they are.

Ivy Lee

The present is a gift

It's important to us to learn from the past. If we don't, we might make the same mistakes again.

This will prevent us from succeeding at school or in our careers. By looking at things that went wrong in the past, we can ensure the future is brighter.

Planning for the future is also important. If we don't have plans and goals, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves. By planning for the future, and foreseeing any problems, we can avoid such hurdles and achieve our dreams.

If we manage to learn from the past and plan for the future, we will be happy and successful in the present.

Cheung Pui-yee, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College

Open your heart

There is a famous saying in English: No man is an island. This means everyone needs friends. None of us can survive absolutely on our own.

Sometimes our friends may do or say something to hurt us. This makes us build a wall around our hearts to protect ourselves from future pain.

Sometimes you may argue with a friend, and decide not to bother mending the relationship.

But these attitudes are not solutions.

We need to trust, treasure and forgive our friends. We need people we love, and who love us, near us.

Don't close yourself off to your friends. They are there to help you.

Mandy Lam

Appreciate life

I think complaining is unhealthy.

So many people in Hong Kong complain about things and people but don't appreciate their blessings. They only see the bad side of a situation.

When people are complaining, they feel angry and this makes their faces ugly. This reflects what's going on in their minds and their hearts.

But if we appreciate life's good things, this will be reflected in our appearance and our health. People who appreciate life are generally happier, healthier and more fun to be around.

So look on the bright side of life. Complaining isn't fun or healthy.

Alice Luk