PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2011, 12:00am


How about cheaper fares for students?

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen proposed introducing a HK$2 flat fee for elderly passengers on MTR trains and public buses on any day of the week. He wants to encourage the elderly to spend their retirement in more varied ways.

There is another group of residents who are in need of discounted transport - the students.

With ever-increasing transport fares, travelling expenses pose a financial burden for parents. Many students travel across districts to attend school and such costs are inevitable. New Territories residents who go to school on Hong Kong Island may spend up to HK$40 daily. This is beyond the amount low-income families can afford.

The MTR gives students a discount of around 50 per cent on some fares, but bus companies offer a half-fare only to children under the age of 12. Secondary school and university students get no concession at all.

Whatever their age, most students have no income and rely on their parents for daily expenses. Why do only young children benefit?

Needy families can apply for a transport subsidy scheme. But many people avoid asking for social welfare as a matter of dignity.

Some may say reduced fares will encourage teens to hang out more often and focus less on studies. If that is a concern, the discount could be applicable on weekdays only. If it undermines the profits of bus companies, the government should be willing to invest in our young people and subsidise the discount.

Are there any other reasons not to give students cheaper bus fares? The chief executive should not wait for his successor to tackle this issue.

Sunny Hor Tsz-ching, Tsuen Wan Government Secondary School

Stop and help people in distress

Recently, a young girl on the mainland was run over by two vehicles but many people walked by without helping.

It makes me very sad that people appear to have no conscience and could leave others to suffer even. If I were passing by and someone needed help, I would surely help.

It seems the reason for such apathy is a fear of repercussions, such as legal costs or even jail. A young man who helped an old man who had fallen down was taken to court by the person he helped.

In the end, the girl was pulled to safety by a rubbish scavenger, who called for help. Sadly, the toddler later died. Like the scavenger, we should offer help without a second thought. She probably felt what she did was a natural reaction and did not think she was a heroine. That was why she refused to accept money from the city's mayor.

This incident reminds us not to be apathetic. Even though only one person helped the girl, it means our motherland still has hope.

Lee Kam-yee, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Image in a locker

I refer to the Young Post article, 'A locker to call my own', (October 18).

I think a special locker reflects one's image. Though lockers are the first taste of privacy at school, they are public at the same time. They are visible to any passer-by, and therefore an ideal platform to show off. For example, your bedroom may be worthy of an interior design catalogue, but unless classmates see pictures of it, no one will know.

In America, schools allow students to freely design their lockers. Students there have the freedom to create, while we face lots of constraints that block our ideas.

If I could decorate my own locker, I would install a fingerprint detector. I'd also divide it into three parts: one for putting textbooks, another for comics and the third for sports gear such as a football or basketball.

Timothy Chan, Christian Alliance S. C. Chan Memorial College

Getting a good sleep

I used to have difficulty sleeping, especially when there were special activities the next day, such as the school's sports day or a picnic. I would feel too excited the night before to be able to sleep.

I realised I could become sleepier by controlling my breathing. By inhaling softly and exhaling strongly, I can fall asleep in a few seconds.

But I also have a terrible problem - talking in my sleep. My mother said I once sat up suddenly on the bed and said: 'Look over there, look over there,' and my eyes were open. I couldn't remember that at all.

So, I don't watch exciting TV shows before bed, so as to avoid having nightmares. These solutions really solve my sleeping problems.

Kelly Cheung, SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School