PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 January, 2009, 12:00am

Talk your way to academic success

Taking part in debates helps students develop their speaking, thinking and listening skills.

To become a good debater, you need to have knowledge of current events and other topics.

Debating not only helps younger students with their school work, it also prepares them for secondary school, university and adult life.

Shoaib Hussain, California School

Feeling embarrassed is a crying shame

People feel embarrassed to cry in public. They worry it will make them seem vulnerable.

But if we see someone crying, most of us would not think it's something to be ashamed of.

We would probably just want to understand their problem and make them smile again.

So, if people don't mind us crying, we shouldn't be embarrassed about it.

Crying can be good for us. It can release the emotional and mental pressures we're feeling.

If you cover up your desire to cry, your emotions will build up inside you until you explode. Then you could become very angry.

Stopping ourselves from crying doesn't do us any good. So, next time you want to cry, just cry.

Penguin Wu

Discount goods that are no bargain

Because of the economic problems the world now faces, thousands of shops have started to offer discounts to their customers.

But, although there are usually some real cuts in prices, often these bargains come with a lot of conditions.

So, the cheaper products may only be available in limited numbers. Or the low price may only be available for a limited time, or may be only on weekdays.

Some businesses are using the world's economic problems to try to trick us into buying their goods.

It is dishonest to pretend something is a bargain when it isn't.

Fortunately, some businesses behave in a fair and honest way.

At the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, products such as shampoo and chicken essence were on sale for HK$1.

Anthony Kwan, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Don't let makeup hide your beauty

Nowadays, almost nine out of 10 girls we see are wearing makeup. Teenagers, especially, think they have to wear makeup.

I don't want to stop people wearing makeup, I just wonder if these girls really need to wear it from such an early age.

Young girls don't have lines and wrinkles on their skin. At our age we are naturally pretty.

It is true we can look prettier with a little makeup, but not if we wear too much.

Agnes Tam, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Happiness begins at home

At home we should be able to share our happiness and let out our stress.

But if we are not getting on well with our family, we should do something to improve the situation.

Firstly, we can make sure we spend more time together. When we have some spare time we should think of ways we can use it to develop our family spirit.

Picnicking, hiking or having a barbecue are fun things we can do as a family. And when we are together, we can take the chance to listen to each other's feelings.

Secondly, we should forgive anyone in our family who does something we don't like. Don't get angry and shout as this will only make things worse.

Everyone has made mistakes and has done things they later felt sorry about. We should try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine how they were feeling.

Remember, a happy family life makes life better.

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