Short stories help us improve our English
A student from my school posted a blog entry on the school intranet saying the 'short stories' elective course does not prepare students for the HKDSE English exam. He says studying a grammar book is more useful and thinks we should get rid of the subject and ask teachers to drill us in grammar exercises instead. I disagree.
I believe the course encourages us to be more creative, and has improved students' standard of English. It is very useful for students to learn different adjectives for describing feelings, atmosphere, appearance and personality, such as used in short stories.
The course helps students to improve their reading skills.
We have to take part in group discussions, which improves communication skills. We also learn about different parts of stories, such as plot, character development, dialogue and the importance of the opening and closing sentences. We can use such techniques in our writing.
Such a course improves our ability to analyse and think logically, too. Yes, it may not directly improve our exam results, but it will enhance our all-round English skills.
Chris Wong Choi-yan, Po Leung Kuk Ma Kam Ming College
Park's decision on whales a wise one
I am pleased Ocean Park decided not to import six beluga whales.
The whales had already been caught in the wild and were being held in a marine facility in Russia. A four-year study had found that a limited catch each year from the Okhotsk Sea was sustainable.
Public opinion was deeply divided over importing the whales.
I did not support the idea. People are increasingly concerned about conservation - looking after the planet and its inhabitants. So how can catching these whales help conservation?
Whales should be allowed to live in the wild - and be free to swim where they wish - rather than being trapped and forced to live in a small tank in a Hong Kong theme park.
Rico Lee Sheung-wing
Villagers should get lawyer, settle issue
In large protests in Lufeng, Guangdong province, villagers from Wukan ransacked a government office and clashed with police last month. They claim officials and developers illegally seized hundreds of hectares of community farmland for construction.
I feel sorry for the villagers. Most live off the farmland left to them by their ancestors, yet often they have no documents to prove ownership.
If I was one of the villagers, I would not rush to any conclusions. I would want to talk to a lawyer and organise a meeting with people from all sides so we could get to the truth of the matter.
I hope the central government works hard to find a good solution to the dispute soon.
Sharon Yeung Shan, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School
Let's be moderate in our expression
Many people these days express their feelings in aggressive ways.
This even applies to young children, who are frequently heard using foul language. when they are upset or angry. Parents should teach them to be more self-disciplined.
Some teenagers use unsuitable methods to voice their discontent. Countless teens create Facebook fan pages to insult and criticise classmates and even teachers.
Some adults also take radical action to try to protect what they say is the public interest. Their aims are acceptable, but they must tone down their actions. We should co-operate with the police, who just want to maintain public security. In fact, peaceful protests need not cause conflict between citizens and police.
Everyone has complaints, but they should be expressed properly.
Keith Cheng, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School
Protect rights of poor and hungry
Human rights are not just words on a page. But if humans are entitled to be protected from poverty and hunger, and free to say what they believe, why are thousands of people suffering and dying: one every five seconds? Why are people condemned and prosecuted for expressing what's on their minds?
Countries should not forget the rights of those impoverished and discriminated against.
Christy Tam, Good Hope School