Secret to writing well lies in learning to think and feel

Many teachers think they're teaching writing when in fact they are teaching only grammar. Photo: Nora Tam

Why can't Hong Kong students write well in English? I've been asked this question so many times that I've long given up trying to come up with an answer and have learnt instead to look at the issue from a different perspective.

Monday, 24 December, 2012, 8:33am

See if you have the write stuff

'The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it'

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) - British politician and novelist

Writing is something most of us do every day in some form or another. But do we do these following actions as well?

Write all about it

What do these verb phrases mean?

25 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

An architect with a song in his heart

In ancient China, poetry was like song: Tang (619-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasty poems were often accompanied by music and performed at banquets and other gatherings. They were meant to be appreciated for their rhythm and sound as much as for their content and, as such, they frequently rhymed.

13 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Writing legibly still counts

My son's handwriting is terrible and he is in Primary Four. I know things have changed since I was at school, but surely neat writing is still important.

4 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Warp speed

Is it unforgiveable, not to mention fraudulent, for students to hire ghostwriters to write undergraduate essays? It is. But, then again, so is the multibillion-dollar college admissions industry that helps students get to universities, which many are probably underqualified to attend. And what about the tutoring industry that helps students with homework?

22 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Straight from the heart

It's that time of year again when romance is in the air. Despite the trend for all things do-it-yourself, composing love letters is not the 'hip' thing to do any more. A lot of the reason stems from our awkwardness about expressing our emotions, especially when it involves a particular four-letter, er, word that begins with 'L' and ends in 'E'.

14 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

We need to bust the ghostwriters

Improvements in higher education have, ironically, played a part in the growth of the trade in fake credentials. As employers ask for ever-higher qualifications, dodgy organisations known as degree mills have stepped in. They have capitalised on Asia's rapid growth to globalise a market for unearned and unrecognised qualifications. This is a case of buyer beware.

12 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Who wrote the essay?

HONG KONG - Students condemned the hiring of ghostwriters after a Hong Kong-based company was found selling academic papers to university students worldwide.

An investigation by the South China Morning Post found that online business Ivythesis has for 10 years been supplying students from as far afield as Africa and the Middle East with essays - for HK$125 a page.

7 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Anger at online essay service

Lawmakers are calling for police to investigate the 'unforgivable fraud' of a company based in Hong Kong that sells academic papers to university students worldwide.

6 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Academic ghostwriting a 1 billion-yuan industry

The problem of students paying someone else to write their academic papers is all too familiar on the mainland - and it is being driven by a thriving industry.

The companies providing such services via the internet offer round-the-clock customer service and a function to track the progress of the essay being written.

6 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Key strategies help unlock creative minds

My son is quite a good writer and likes reading, but he tells me he really dislikes creative writing. He puts very little effort into it, and his stories and poems don't reflect his writing ability. Does this matter?

5 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Greet expectations

It's the last shopping day before Christmas, and the clock is ticking. Luckily for the complacent, forgetful and downright slothful among us, we still have time to send a Christmas card.

23 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Who said it?

I love it when new kids come to the office to ask questions. I am very proud to pass on what graffiti is

Ken, importer of spray paint and graffiti teacher

China was overheating, so some of the slowdown you've seen in China ... is understandable. Approaching 2012, they might have some additional space to expand

18 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Tag team king ensures his future is in the can

KDG's first graffiti was a tag hastily written at night on the facade of the New World Renaissance Hotel (now the Renaissance Kowloon) in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1998. Fast forward 13 years and Ken (he wants to keep his full name private) is one of the three owners of Dirty Panda which, behind the tagline 'Keep your hands dirty since 2002', is the main importer of graffiti spray paint in Hong Kong.

18 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Artistic impressions

We are no strangers to risk-taking. Just look at our volatile stock market and you'll see what I mean. Yet, when it comes to the arts, this city is uncharacteristically coy.

20 Nov 2011 - 12:00am