PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 October, 2008, 12:00am

Take your chances and avoid regret

We should seize every opportunity in life because we never know what is going to happen in the future.

A chance we let slip through our fingers may only occur once in our lifetime. Then, when we look back, we may feel sad and angry about our carelessness.

It is surely better to make sure we seize our opportunities and do not have cause for regret.

Agnes Tam, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Miracles will not replace hard work

A priest once explained to me what a miracle is.

'It's a reward,' he said. 'You did something good and honest and God praised you. When you got into trouble, he helped you with a miraculous event.'

Initially I trusted this explanation completely because I am a Catholic. However, I misunderstood its meaning.

Even though I did not prepare properly for my exams when I was in Primary Five, I achieved good results.

This led me to believe in miracles and I did very little work the next year. When I then did badly in my next exam I felt very unhappy and foolish. It was a trap.

If you want the best basketball technique or want to play a musical instrument well, then constant practice is required.

God praises people who help themselves: 'You try your best, let God do the rest.'

Jeff Lee Wai-fung, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Be happy by valuing what you have

I heard a short fairy story about a child who was always crying.

His shoes were so worn and dirty his friends often laughed at him and teased him about them.

Then one day he met a person who did not have a foot. The child stopped crying.

This story aims to encourage people to value what they have and not feel unhappy because others have more.

Simone Lau, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Plastic bags should not be banned

If the government bans plastic bags then how will customers take home their shopping? You could suggest customers bring their own bags with them, but what if these are torn?

Compared to paper bags, plastic bags are strong, light, durable, cheap and water and chemical resistant. They use less energy and chemicals to manufacture, and many studies comparing plastic and paper shopping bags show plastic bags have a lesser overall effect on the environment.

Plastic carrier bags can also be reused as trash or bin bags.

By weight, plastic makes up about 11 per cent of Hong Kong's solid waste, while paper makes up about 35 per cent.

Also by weight, plastics contain as much energy as petroleum or natural gas, and much more energy than other types of garbage. This makes plastic an ideal fuel to burn to make steam or electricity.

Ikra Gilzar, California School

Beating discussion group nerves

I was worried before a recent oral English session because I did not know anyone in my group. How could I possibly do well with my trembling hands, rapid heart beat and breathing difficulties?

The four of us faced one another with a mixture of nervousness and eagerness.

I stuttered at first but as we took turns to speak and comment on each other's opinions, I began to feel much more comfortable. There was some 'dead air' when none of us could think of anything to say. But then someone had a new idea, and we started to discuss it.

I think I was lucky to be in a group with students willing to contribute their ideas. This gave me more confidence.

I still don't really enjoy oral sessions but I think I can improve my abilities with more and more practice.

Fabiola Wong, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School