PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 March, 2010, 12:00am

A breath of fresh air in busy Hong Kong

Many people think cartoons are not good for teenagers and make them more introverted, but I disagree.

First, cartoons give teens breathing space and help them relax. It is easy to get burnt out in this competitive society. Animations give us a way to escape from the harsh realities of this world.

Secondly, in this world full of greed, we are always on the lookout for people who might take advantage of us. We don't treat our friends with honesty and sincerity.

But most characters in cartoons are pure and simple. They set good examples for us. They're like a breath of fresh air.

Thirdly, teenagers can learn communication skills from animations. Teenagers who seldom talk may have problems expressing themselves or may lack confidence. Watching animations can help them improve their inter-personal skills.

I think animations are beneficial to both the mind and the body.

Mak Hok-kan, Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School

A friend in need is a friend in deed

Friends are very important in our lives, but there are many kinds of friends.

Some are real friends. When you have problems, they try their best to help you. When you are sad, they are glad to listen to your woes. They want to cheer you up.

Other kinds of friends just want something from you. When they get what they want, they will not care about you or want to have anything to do with you anymore. So be careful when you make friends.

Tiffany Tsang, Chinese YMCA Secondary School

'No smoking on the street'

I think Hong Kong should extend its smoking ban to the streets.

It is a fact that smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke are detrimental to our health.

First, the number of smokers would definitely go down. If smokers could not smoke in most places, they would likely quit.

Despite the smoking ban implemented in 2007 in public indoor areas, the number of smokers has not dropped. Smokers cluster on the streets to smoke.

Secondly, extending the smoking ban to the streets is the best way to improve air quality.

Smoking is an annoyance to non-smokers. I agree smokers have the right to smoke, but not when it's harmful to others and pollutes the air.

I also suggest that the government set up workshops and therapy sessions to help smokers quit.

Extending the smoking ban is the perfect solution for smokers who want to quit and for non-smokers who'd like to breathe fresh air.

Lai Yee-hung, Tsung Tsin College

It's important to learn Putonghua

Hong Kong is a globalised city. Many people believe English is the most important language because the majority of well-paid jobs require proficiency in English.

But Putonghua is gaining influence. Because of our strong economic ties with the mainland, Putonghua has become another prerequisite for a good job. Also, many Hongkongers are grabbing work opportunities on the mainland.

Many parents send their children to learn Putonghua to increase their competitiveness in the future.

However, English remains an important language for Hong Kong, as we conduct business with countless foreign firms.

Many parents send their children to EMI schools so they can learn better English, which is the key to future success.

I don't see a problem with sending children to EMI schools, but schools must offer lessons to help students learn Putonghua. Teachers could use Putonghua to teach Chinese and Chinese history. But it's important that teachers have mastered Putonghua skills.

Chan Ho-yan, SKH Li Fook Hing School