HONG KONG is not only nearing the end of the century, but with 1997, also the end of an era. But for a group of youngsters, who painted an optimistic picture of life in the years to come, the hand-over may just be the beginning of a new and happy chapter. 'It will be the Hong Kong I have always dreamed of - a prosperous, peaceful and unpolluted Hong Kong,' said 14-year-old Chan Hoi-yan, the junior secondary champion in the 'My City of Vision' painting contest. Jointly organised by the Architectural Services Department, the Education Department, the Information Services Department, the Planning Department and the Urban Council, the contest was aimed at promoting youngsters' awareness of the growth and future development of Hong Kong. It attracted over 1,700 entries from 126 primary and 95 secondary schools in the territory. 'The entries displayed a great sense of dedication and a variety of artistic talents,' said Edward Pryor, the chairman of the organising committee and Principal Government Town Planner. Hong Kong is seen at its happiest in Hoi-yan's piece - with a red sky full of pigeons, attractive apartments and recreational areas, a modern airport and a huge safari park surrounded by a clear, blue sea. 'I started to think about the future of Hong Kong when I heard about the construction of the new airport and the plight of the white dolphins. 'I want Hong Kong to be an unpolluted and peaceful place; where people do not have to confine themselves to their tiny little flats and where everyone has a decent place to live,' she added. The third-form student from Helen Liang Memorial Secondary School said she was positive and optimistic about the future of the territory. 'I am pretty confident that Hong Kong will continue to be a prosperous and nice place to live, but for problems such as pollution, we still have a long way to go,' said Hoi-yan. Echoing Hoi-yan's views, Milly Wong Suet Yuk of St Paul's School (Lam Tin), the winner of the first prize in the upper secondary category, said: 'I am sure Hong Kong will be more prosperous after 1997 and it will continue to attract people from other countries.' Her painting featured a grand clock with money signs representing its hands. 'It represents Hong Kong people's lifestyle. For them, time is money,' said the champion. She also gives an insight into the cultural, geographical and religious life of the people of Hong Kong through a variety of images such as the Buddha, the clock tower, a Chinese opera, dim sum, the neon lights, and the Heng Seng Index. 'Hong Kong is a place where East meets West. It is a well-developed industrial and trade centre, and I believe that it will continue to prosper in the future,' she said. Lionel Goh Cher-huan of Singapore International School was the champion in the primary category with his painting depicting the territory's future buildings, factories, roads, trains, cars, tunnels. Sandy Fung Mei-ling and Jessica Lee Ka-ying of Sacred Heart Canossian College won the second and third prizes in the junior secondary section, while Christine Shum Yin-yan of St Paul's School (Lam Tin) and Kitty Chan Tsz-chung of Sacred Heart Canossian College grabbed the first and second runners-up awards in the upper form section.