PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2011, 12:00am


Cage homes a serious problem

I read the article 'Cage homes worse than living on street', (SCMP, May 24) with interest.

Conditions in these cubicles are appalling. There is no privacy; everyone there lives in a small area with their possessions.

Such living conditions are also harmful to people's health. Hygiene and ventilation are very poor, as there is a lack of windows and air-conditioning. An Indian scholar who is an expert in urban development said the living environment in cage homes was worse than the Indian slums.

What's even more unbelievable is the cost of these tiny dwellings. The rent per square foot is actually far more than that of many luxury flats in Hong Kong. This is ridiculous.

The government must really consider reducing the time people have to wait for public housing. A long-term solution is for the government to build more housing schemes. In the short term, the government should consider providing more subsidies to cage dwellers so they can find better homes.

Naomi Li Wing-chun, Pooi To Middle School

Thank you for guiding me

I would like to express my gratitude to my teachers for their kindness. This term, I have often consulted them after class and asked for help on my weak areas. Their patience and support really helped my studies.

Mr Yeung is one of the best maths teachers at my school. He didn't teach me this year, but he still helped me, even if I had a lot of questions. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a teacher as hard-working as Mr Yeung.

I also want to thank Mr Ko who teaches Form Six biology and is in charge of several school clubs. He is always busy with his work but, like Mr Yeung, spends his free time helping me, even if he has only 15 minutes to spare. He not only simplifies complicated information, but also encourages me to work harder. His enthusiasm and kindness have inspired me to put more effort into the subject.

The dedication and support of my teachers will not be in vain, as I will try my best to repay the debt of gratitude to them.

Phoebe Ma Ka-yan, Shau Kei Wan East Government Secondary School

Healthiness reveals your true beauty

Many teenagers think being slim means being beautiful. Some even skip meals to stay thin. But if you don't eat enough, you will become malnourished.

What's worse, some teens take pills which are supposed to help them lose weight, but are actually harmful to their health. Many of them, especially girls, take extreme measures to stay thin. This is worrying.

I believe advertising is partly to blame. By featuring beautiful celebrities, adverts for slimming products and programmes suggest the thinner you are, the more successful you will be. They don't mention that these people have a team to help them achieve their 'perfect' image. Teens want to look like their idols, and these adverts tell them all they need to do is be thin.

Youngsters also often suffer from low self-esteem. If someone is told she is fat, she'll lose confidence.

Of course, some children are heavily overweight and need to lose some pounds. It is important to know a healthy weight for your size and build. And if you do need to lose weight for medical reasons, expert advice is essential. Weight loss should occur through a healthy diet and exercise, not pills or starvation.

The government should work with schools to promote a healthy self-image.

Being slim does not automatically mean you are beautiful. In my opinion, the kinder you are, the more attractive you are. And the healthier you are, the more beautiful you appear.

Leung Wai-man, POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School

Communicate well

Some students think oral exams are not very important. But the ability to express yourself orally is very useful. We all have to talk to others, whether it's presenting a project, giving a speech or just discussing work with our colleagues.

What's more, most employers look for workers who can communicate confidently.

We should take our oral exams more seriously. Communication skills are crucial.

Elle Cheng Tsz-lam, The YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College