PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 March, 2011, 12:00am


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Music should not be another subject

Music is a universal language. It often plays a very important role in social, religious and political ceremonies worldwide.

I have been playing the piano since I was five years old and I still enjoy it. I also played the euphonium but stopped after three years. I think music is very important to our lives. This is because we can listen to it anytime, anywhere.

If I am upset, music helps me to relax. It may be a simple melody, but each individual will experience different emotions.

Many parents in Hong Kong want their children to learn music from an early age. They believe it will help them get better academic results, and enhance their self-esteem.

I have my doubts. I think parents are missing an important point. Have they ever asked their children what they really think about learning to play a musical instrument?

Children should enjoy music. If it becomes another 'subject', they will soon be bored.

I am lucky that my parents have not forced me to learn music. I play the piano because that's what I want to do. Sharing music with my friends and family is very important to me.

I hope everyone will learn to appreciate music.

Ico Cheung Ho-ying, Jockey Club Ti-I College

Be grateful for our freedom

In the past few months, there have been huge demonstrations all over the Middle East. The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were toppled because the people were suffering.

In my opinion, the protests reflected their desire for a better life. There's a lesson to be learned from this: people will one day rise up against cruel dictators.

In Hong Kong, we are lucky to have a stable society. We respect human rights and have a lot of freedom so there's no need to cause any trouble.

But we should protect our freedoms and ensure a better future for the people.

Ho Wai-sze, Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Kwai Chung)

Handouts better than MPF idea

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has decided to give HK$6,000 to every Hong Kong permanent resident over the age of 18, under a revised proposal announced recently.

His original plan was to inject the money into MPF accounts, which was criticised by many people.

I think most Hongkongers will support his latest proposal. Tsang has acted wisely because even poor people will benefit from the cash handout.

As for the MPF injection, younger workers would only be able to collect the money after they retire. This is unfair because they need the money to cope with the soaring prices. Also, unemployed people would not benefit.

So I am very happy that Tsang withdrew his proposal and decided to give the money now.

However, we should not ignore the drawbacks of giveaways. Hong Kong could be faced with a budget deficit in the next financial year.

The government should be careful not to make people too dependent on handouts.

Lo Yam-kwan, Pooi To Middle School

It's now or never on pollution

The United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, last year agreed to limit a rise in world temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The participants also decided to set up a US$100 billion 'green climate fund' to help poor countries tackle global warming.

The world's top emitter, China, promised to cut its greenhouse gases, although developing countries would not be punished for failing to reach their targets.

Rapid industrial development around the world is adding to worsening problems of air pollution and global warming.

I am glad to see our country is developing rapidly. As a result, the people's living standards are also improving.

But the central government should create a better living environment for its people.

Even though they are becoming richer, will they be happy living in a polluted place? I don't think so.

It is selfish for countries to think only about short-term benefits.

Our planet is facing a severe threat which calls for immediate action.

Tiffany Yu Yik-tung, Leung Shek Chee College