Young writers show promise

TWENTY-TWO budding young writers who took part in the Hongkong Tertiary Institutions English-Writing Competition displayed a high degree of creativity.

The competition was aimed at cultivating interest in English writing and providing opportunities for creativity among students.

It was divided into junior and senior groups, with each further divided into poetry, prose, short story and argumentative writing categories.

Although response to the competition was far from satisfactory, adjudicators found some of the entries ''looking every inch products of professional journalists''.

Other than tertiary students, a number of secondary students also showed their talent in the language.

Bart Wong, 19, a Form 7 student of the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Yuen Long District Secondary School won first prize in the junior prose section.

Bart, who is interested in the public affairs, tried to discuss the Vietnamese problem in his story ''Written Statement of a Vietnamese Boat People''.

Before writing the story, Bart gathered material by interviewing his Vietnamese neighbours in the camp.

''What they impressed me most was that no matter how bad life is in the detention camp, it is much better than what they have experienced in Vietnam,'' said Bart.

Moved by their fate, Bart hoped to give their predicament prominence by writing the story in the first person.

''It is very inhumane to repatriate the boat people compulsorily,'' he said. ''I personally support the Government and its voluntary repatriation policy.'' Another winner, Simon Wu Chi-kuen, a law student at the City Polytechnic, won first prize in both the senior short story and argumentative writing sections.

Simon was surprised with the results because among his three entries, the poem, which he felt to be the best, failed in the competition.

''In the poem Red , I talked about what the colour meant to me in the political sense,'' said Simon.

A graduate of the HKU English Department, Simon has been a teacher in a secondary school for several years before returning to read law.

Adjudicator Mr Philip M. H. Yu said Simon's story ''Ah Ping'' showed his mastery of the language and ''an ability to move the readers into a sober reflection on the much-discussed problem of student suicide''.

Simon also won first prize for his article ''Hongkong Should Have Full Democracy'' in the senior argumentative writing category.

''I think Hongkong is basically ready for full democracy but for its historical anachronism, it is trapped,'' Simon said.

The prize presentation was held at HKU recently.