PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2009, 12:00am

Debating under another identity

I recently participated in an interesting debating competition.

Normally, we debate either for or against a motion we have no personal background in. But in this competition we had to debate for or against a motion under an assumed identity, such as the chief executive or a legislative councillor.

Debating is a good way to improve our critical thinking, oral skills and research abilities, and assuming a role enhances students' creativity. This is because I cannot simply express my ideas but have to think about how the chief executive or a councillor expresses their ideas. I need to change my wording, my tone and my point of view to fit the style of the character. It puts me in somebody else's shoes, which I am not used to.

Tannyson Mok, Hang Seng School of Commerce

Think before you use the word 'sorry'

We should only say 'sorry' when we really regret doing something. An American survey showed that over 70 per cent of people didn't feel any guilt when they said 'sorry', which makes saying it meaningless.

If we just say sorry to score points with people, we are not learning from our mistakes.

Chris Szeto, PLK No 1 W.H. Cheung College

Carry out more tree inspections

Two trees recently fell on two taxies in separate incidents, but an inspection had suggested both of the trees posed no immediate danger and had not been infested by termites.

I think the drivers were lucky because they suffered only minor injuries. But I am angry with the officials because the accidents happened all the same. They must realise that many things can change in a few days, especially during rainy weather and there will be a lot of rain this month.

I think inspections should be held more frequently during the rainy season. Taxi drivers also need to be careful about where they park. It is good that the government cares about providing a green environment by planting so many trees but I wish they took better care of them afterwards. The authorities should ask for expert opinions before they plant trees along roads and pavements.

Macy Lok, Our Lady of the Rosary College

The pros and cons of 12 years' education

Since September 2008, the government has adopted a 12-year free education policy. Students in government or assisted schools can study from Primary One to Secondary Six free of charge.

This policy has many advantages. Firstly, students from poor families have the chance to get a full education. This will help them get better jobs.

Secondly, it will reduce the financial burden for families. At present, parents in Hong Kong spend quite a lot of money on their children, and this policy will reduce costs.

Thirdly, with a better educated general public, we will see more economic development.

But, on the other hand, the 12-year free education policy will increase the government's expenditure. It may lead to higher taxes and the government might spend less on things such as medical welfare. Also, it is a waste of government resources when it comes to lazy students who do not study hard and only waste time at school.

But in short, the 12-year free education policy's advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and I personally support it.

Wong Wing-kit, SKH Tsoi Kung Po Secondary School