It's not wrong to celebrate Christmas
I do not think there is anything wrong about celebrating Christmas ('Time of joy or a wasteful indulgence?', Young Post, January 11).
Just because Western holidays are not celebrated on the mainland, this does not mean that they are a bad idea, or that mainlanders should be discouraged from celebrating Christmas. It is a religious festival which is celebrated around the world and should be an official holiday - even on the mainland.
Christmas is not a waste of time either; it is an event that is full of joy when families get together and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
In addition, I don't think there is too much overspending in terms of buying gifts. We buy presents for people as a kind of blessing to them.
Noelle Chiong, St Paul's Convent School
Job hunting proves ever more difficult
It is increasingly difficult for graduates to find suitable employment. There is so much competition for jobs now, compared with 10 years ago, that a university degree is a basic requirement.
My teacher says we must complete at least two master's degrees for a good chance to find work because things are so bad.
The proposed introduction of an hourly minimum-wage rate of HK$28-HK$30 has led to another problem. Employers have solved the problem of having to pay people more money by cutting back on manpower, so there are fewer job openings now.
There may also be competition between young and older staff. Younger workers may resent their more senior colleagues who are receiving a higher salary. And older staff, on the other hand, may fear losing their jobs to younger rivals, who will not be paid as much.
Companies must address these concerns to help improve the working environment in Hong Kong.
Matthew Zai Chun-yip, Kau Yan College
Tougher laws on drink-driving timely
Amendments to road safety laws came into effect a week before Christmas. During the festive season, motorists are more prone to risk the deadly mix of alcohol and driving. Changes were needed and there was a huge public uproar over the fatal Lok Ma Chau accident in January 2009, in which six men were killed by a drunken truck driver.
Penalties were increased for driving with more than the permitted blood-alcohol level and a new offence of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, with a maximum penalty of seven years' jail, was introduced.
Physical impairment and psychological trauma suffered by the victims would be counted in this new offence. Six types of drugs, including heroin, cannabis, and cocaine, were listed in the new law and the maximum penalty would be increased by 50 per cent if these drugs were found in a driver's blood or urine.
A three-tier system raised minimum drink-driving penalties according to a driver's alcohol levels. At tier three, after say 12 glasses of beer, a first offender would face a minimum disqualification from driving of two years - up from three months. Refusing a breath test without reasonable excuse would have the same consequences.
Drastic disqualifications are an effective deterrent as people with money can easily pay heavy fines. Yet the government must do more to educate people all year round.
Kiki Cheong, Tuen Mun Catholic Secondary School
Sometimes 'less' is better than 'more'
Nowadays, many parents arrange various extra-curricular activities for their children. For example, a child can study calligraphy on Monday, German on Tuesday, piano on Wednesday and so on. Yet is it necessary to learn these things?
Parents usually think their children can be well-equipped for the future by doing many activities.
Yet if children participate in too many activities it can be counterproductive because they may not be able to focus on their studies. During puberty it is important girls get plenty of rest and do not get too tired. Sometimes, less is better. If a child learns only one kind of skill, he or she can perform brilliantly by focusing on it.
Daisy Chiu, STFA Tam Pak Yu College