A Chinese essay competition encouraged youngsters to express their innermost feelings in writing. Organised by the New Territories Region Outstanding Students' Association, the competition was open to all secondary students in Hong Kong and drew more than 100 entries. Senior students - from Forms Four to Seven - wrote on the topic 'If I had a second chance', while 'My first time' was the topic for juniors - Forms One to Three. Winner in the senior section, Yeung Mei-yee, of St Francis Xavier's School in Tsuen Wan, described her shameful encounter with an elderly woman in her neighbourhood. The fifth-former said she regretted bitterly having turned her back on the hawker who was selling flowers on the street, when the woman approached her for a glass of water. She wrote: 'Despite being rejected repeatedly, the old woman kept on asking others help. But nobody seemed prepared to go out of their way for her.' Mei-yee became racked with guilt over her selfishness when the old woman finally vanished into the rain, 'cold-shouldered by cold-hearted people'. The 16-year-old urged more concern for the elderly in society. She said: 'If I could have gone back in time, I would have helped that old woman without giving it a second thought.' Tung Nam-sin, 15, a Form Two student at Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School, won first prize in the junior section for her account of the first time she visited her 'home village' of Hangzhou on the mainland. Nam-sin said every time she looked through her photograph album, she recalled her memorable first trip. Although she was only eight years old at the time, her memories were still vivid, she said. Outstanding graduate of Madam Lau Kam Lung Secondary School of Miu Fat Buddhist, Joanne Chu Shiu- man, who chaired the competition, said they aimed to encourage the younger generation to put their thoughts and feelings into words. 'It gives them an opportunity to reflect on their lives,' she said. Now a first-year law student at the University of Hong Kong, Ms Chu said she was delighted by the enthusiastic response to the competition and the high standard of entries. The New Territories Region Outstanding Students' Association was founded in 1992. The essay competition was the first of the organisation's activities for this year. It is planning a three-day training camp for 50 secondary pupils later this year.