PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am


The important habit of saving

Recently, my business accounting and financial studies teacher taught us the importance of saving.

First, she distributed a worksheet and told us to write down our monthly income. Then we had to subtract our expenses. I was surprised to learn that I scored a deficit.

At the time, I found it hard to save anything because I spent all my spare cash on entertainment, such as going to the movies, shopping and buying magazines. There was usually nothing left to put in my piggy bank.

Later, I was reminded of the Chinese idiom 'be prepared before it rains'.

Although money can't buy everything, it is still important. We should save our own money for future use instead of asking our parents for it.

We also need to set aside a sum for emergencies.

So now I make it a habit to think twice before buying things and keep an eye on what I spend on entertainment.

We can accumulate quite large amounts through saving. But it does require time, discipline and patience.

Koon Mei-lee, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

National curriculum must be impartial

The Hong Kong government is conducting a consultation on whether to include the national curriculum, i.e. that of the mainland, in primary and secondary schools, and if so, what should be in it.

This has sparked a wide-ranging debate, with many points of view being offered. I would like to see the national curriculum introduced as soon as possible.

First, it is ridiculous that 14 years after the handover, there is still a lack of national identity among us. The mainland is not familiar to many locals who call Hong Kong their home. This is not a happy scenario. Therefore, a national curriculum is necessary to boost our sense of belonging to our motherland.

Second, with China's rapid economic growth, none of us can avoid at least some sort of involvement with the mainland. We need to learn as much as we can about its economic and other systems. So the introduction of a national curriculum would also enhance our competitiveness.

However, I oppose propaganda or any attempt to brainwash students. Our democracy and freedom of speech is a precious asset, and the main difference between Hong Kong and the mainland.

I hope issues like the June 4 incident would be treated impartially and in depth by a national curriculum, so future generations could learn from history and think about our most important values.

A national curriculum would benefit Hong Kong as long as it was fair and unbiased.

We have already wasted 14 years. The government should not hesitate any longer.

Justin Tang Ho-man, Carmel Secondary School

Who sets standard for normality?

How do we define 'normality'? The dictionary says it's 'a situation where everything is typical, usual and something you expect'.

Then I realised normality is a quality that a group possesses. Within a group, the largest number with a particular quality is defined as 'normal'. On the other hand, the smaller group with the absence of that quality would be called 'abnormal'.

But we don't often think about whether 'normality' is a good thing. What if it is the 'normal' group that possesses an undesirable quality? As a result, those labelled 'abnormal' would not be abnormal at all, but actually normal, in the eyes of civilised society!

A more distinct example is cyber bullying. Who has the knowledge to define what is normal? Who has the right to attack those who others claim are abnormal?

In this fast-paced city, everyone is striving for their position in society, trying to fit in where they truly belong. But not everybody fits into the same mould.

The truth is, even if their characteristics are superior to those who are 'normal', nobody wants to be called abnormal if it means they won't be accepted.

So whenever you come across someone who is different from you, don't insult them by saying they're not normal. None of us has the right to judge. Just give him a warm welcome and say: 'Hey, you're special.'

Jasmine Leung, Heep Yunn School