Brain Game: What is something small that you think should be banned? (Round 5)

  • Our weekly writing competition starts with 10 participants, who are eliminated one by one based on your votes – who will you choose?
  • In this round, contestants share what they would ban, such as spoilers, misleading advertisements and smoking
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Which of these annoying things should be banished forever? Graphic: Shutterstock

Read through the responses to this week’s Brain Game prompt, and choose which answer you like most. Based on your votes in the Google Form below, we will eliminate one person from the competition.

Contestant 1

Spoilers – information that tells you what happens in a television series, film, or book when you haven’t seen or read it yet. These are terribly annoying and frustrating.

For many people, not knowing the story or the ending makes the experience much more enjoyable. They like surprises, tension, uncertainty and freshness. Knowing what’s going to happen takes away the enjoyment and spoils your mood.

For example, in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the two former Spider-Man actors unexpectedly appear, which was a big surprise for fans. Imagine how they might have felt if they had seen or read about it on social media before watching the film.

Contestant 2

While walking along a street, you probably see huge posters on shop windows telling you about great deals. But after walking in, you may find out that the discounts do not apply to the items you want.

It’s the same for online shopping. We have to pay attention to the small print to avoid being misled by advertisements and paying more than we initially expected. What’s more, shops often claim a “sale” is for a limited time only. But when you revisit the store a few weeks later, there may be even bigger discounts on offer.

Sneaky discount promotions that exploit consumers should be banned. We need simple and clear descriptions of sales; no more vague slogans, please!

Contestant 3

Some say that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in the US. This is called the “butterfly effect”. Put simply, this saying is meant to show that seemingly unimportant things can lead to significant results over time.

Likewise, a small act like littering can cause serious environmental consequences in the future. Litter causes pollution as chemicals may find their way into the soil and freshwater sources, and this can have a big impact on human life. In fact, 60 per cent of water pollution is attributed to litter.

Trash, such as plastic bottles and bags, kills wildlife, in particular marine animals. Reportedly, some 100,000 marine animals die after being entangled in or digesting plastic litter. It can also cause global warming as the burning of rubbish produces harmful greenhouse gases.

So it’s time to put an end to littering and save our planet.

Contestant 4

Cigarettes should be banned. We are often deceived by their plain look, yet their side effects can be deadly. Smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease and many other illnesses. Ironically, many people nowadays are aware of the health hazards posed by cigarettes, but they still become addicted to smoking.

Some people say smoking helps to relieve stress, but they are only seeking momentary enjoyment. Research has shown that smoking actually increases one’s anxiety and tension, making it counterproductive.

Smoking is a frequently overlooked issue that deserves to be treated more seriously. If cigarettes were banned altogether – not only in some public places under current laws – countless lives could be saved.

Contestant 5

I would ban the use of plastic straws because they destroy the environment. Plastic straws are non-biodegradable, meaning that they can’t be naturally broken down, so they are a cause of pollution.

Most of them end up in landfills or oceans, where marine animals may easily mistake them for food. Eating plastic straws could kill them or cause them to choke. Also, plastic straws are too small to be recycled because they could jam the recycling machines. Even alternatives like paper straws are bad for the environment.

A ban on plastic straws can be a first step in a campaign to reduce single-use plastics. We should stop using straws to save our planet.

Contestant 6

Cigarettes. Even though some people may think that smoking is “cool”, it really isn’t. According to the World Health Organization, more than seven million people worldwide die from smoking-related illnesses every year – roughly one every five seconds.

Innocent pedestrians walking past smokers may also get sick from second-hand smoke, especially in crowded places like Hong Kong. Second-hand smoke can cause numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent asthma attacks.

Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 per cent. I would ban cigarettes for sure.

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