Why the retirement age should increase
Fewer babies are born in Hong Kong and people live longer thanks to advances in health care. Because of that soon we will be facing an economic problem. Hong Kong's workforce is set to drop in future, but the number of elderly people requiring government aid and medical services will grow.
One way to cope with this problem is to increase the retirement age and provide training to elderly people to help them carry on working longer. This can provide a stable workforce and also sustain personal development. The government should encourage companies to employ older people in return for tax cuts and subsidies.
We must begin setting up long-term plans to tackle this problem as soon as possible.
Grace Luk Wing-shan, YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College
An extra year of college will be great
I think the plan to increase the length of undergraduate studies from three to four years and allow students to study a range of topics in their first year before choosing a major will have great benefits.
I believe the extra year will help students obtain a good grounding in general knowledge before they have to limit their studies to a specialised subject. Baptist University, for example, will launch 170 new courses on general studies. These will include important subjects like history and civilisation, debating skills, logic and so on. They will help students improve their knowledge in several ways.
In addition, general study will also let students discover where their true interests lie. They will be able to choose courses freely from a wide range of available options.
Although Baptist University has already agreed to the plan, to be implemented in 2012, many other universities remain undecided. I believe they should support general studies instead of early specialisation.
The New Senior Secondary Curriculum provides students with only six years of study in secondary school. Often this is not enough time for them to develop their abilities for university study. An extra year of general study at college will provide a great opportunity for students not only to increase their knowledge but also to get used to study methods and educational atmosphere at university.
Isaac Kai, Methodist College
Let drivers run their engines in idle
The new government plan to restrict the use of idling car engines for environmental reasons is a welcome development to normal citizens. But it is an unenforceable plan that will harm bus and taxi drivers. Its aim is to reduce air pollution in Hong Kong by banning the use of idling engines to cut back on exhaust fume emissions.
I think the law would do more harm than good. Many taxi and bus drivers will be forced to sit in traffic jams without air-conditioning as their vehicles' engines will have to be turned off. A minibus driver died while sitting in the hot cabin of his vehicle with the engine turned off in early July.
We also need to consider the great costs of enforcing such a law. That money might be better spent on other ways of reducing pollution. For example, it might be invested in equipping cars with catalytic converters, a pollutant-filtering system, or else in some of the brand new low-carbon technologies from the recent Shanghai Expo.
It is a pity that the Hong Kong government wants to use such laws to govern people's choices. The answer lies in adopting more green technology on a wider scale. The government should make more and better use of such technologies to tackle environmental pollution.
Mason Lung, Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College
Being a blood donor is a worthy thing
Many seriously sick people may have to wait for important medical procedures because of a lack of suitable blood for transfusion. We should all do our best to help them.
Donating blood can save lives. Some people don't want to donate blood for fear that their health might suffer. That is an unfounded fear. Blood donation is an easy procedure. It causes only mild discomfort. Yet it can do great good for people who need new blood supplies.
Any healthy person between the ages of 16 and 65 qualifies to be a blood donor. After donating blood, you will feel better knowing you helped someone who needed it.