PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 May, 2009, 12:00am

There's more to life than just money

Often the more money we get, the more we want. But money is just a tool for us to achieve our goals. It is not the ultimate thing in life.

Sadly, too many people today have lost their direction and put a premium on chasing money.

I think the financial crisis should remind us to have the right attitude towards wealth. Not only should it lead us to reconsider our goals and things we can do in the future, it should also remind us to rethink our jobs and look for the value in our lives. A meaningful life is not merely about chasing wealth. Happiness, gratitude and satisfaction are more important.

The financial crisis has been a good time for me to think twice about my career and my future. I've also thought a lot about what I will study at university. And instead of money, I've been thinking about following my hobbies and interests.

Mo Po-ying, Tin Ka Ping Secondary School

Meeting a famous novelist

On March 16, I had the good fortune to meet novelist Margaret Atwood at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's English department. The writer was visiting Hong Kong as part of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2009.

The Canadian author and poet has been a winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and has been shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize five times, among many other honours.

I was struck by what a deep thinking woman she was, and how hard-working too, with a large body of work. She made me feel that she had a deep understanding of life.

If I were to ask her a question, I would ask her why she chose to be a writer. I am curious about why she became a writer and kept on writing for so many years.

I think writing is lonely work and not easy. Writers face possible financial problems, because it is not a job that brings in a stable salary. Less and less people read books, and it must be hard to find readers. The more I think about it, since meeting Atwood, the more I realise how difficult it must have been to achieve success.

Nicola Lee Hau-yi, the Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Remember the true meaning of respect

Sometimes teenagers get the feeling their parents are not listening. When that happens, we might feel as if they don't understand us and don't realise how we really feel.

But, we need to put ourselves in other people's shoes. We should think about whether we really give any thought to their deepest feelings. I think real communication is about the unconditional acceptance of others, with care and understanding. Basically, what I am talking about is respect.

For example, it is not easy to accept someone whose personality you dislike. But if we try to understand their past, then we can acquire the power to accept and respect them.

So, next time you feel like your parents are not listening and you are misunderstood, give a thought to whether you are really showing respect to others and listening to them.

Kwok Tin-lap, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School

Learning English is not difficult, it's fun

Many people say that learning English is very difficult, but I don't think so at all. I think it's fun.

I like learning English because it is the international language. If you go to other countries, you probably won't know their local language, but English can help you to communicate with people all over the world.

When I'm learning English, I always listen to how other people judge my efforts and I always read a lot of extracurricular books.

Be brave and try your best. English is worth the effort and you will have no regrets in the end about your hard work.

Wong Pui-on, Methodist Lee Wai Lee College