The next generation's concerns: Young Writer's Competition 2016 (Part 2 of 3)

 

For this year's Around DB and Life on Lantau Young Writer's Competition, students were asked to write about a particular issue in their respective communities, a theme that evoked some insightful and emotional commentaries, as seen through the eyes of its youngest members.

Before the finalists' works are released for voting on Saturday, we'll be sharing a selection of entries online, including those of the three runners-up. Their stories provide a glimpse into the lives of the next generation who will, in just a short amount of time, take the reins and determine our future.

Congratulations to all the participants!

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by Pihla Antila, Year 8, DBIS

I am concerned about the amount of sports facilities available to the public. In Discovery Bay, we only have school gyms and recreation clubs which have expensive membership fees. This isn't very useful for people who don't go to those clubs often or who can't afford to pay the membership fees. On top of this, physical exercise is extremely important, and if we had more sports facilities then this would encourage people to do more sports.

First of all, this would benefit the whole community as we don't have a full sized pitch, or a gym etc. For example, iGym (a gymnastics class/group in Discovery Bay) has to hire the gymnasium from Discovery Bay International School (DBIS), but since DBIS uses the gym straight after school, they can only start the gymnastics lessons at 5pm (which means it ends really late). Also, it would benefit everyone to have a gym (open to the public) for people to rent out when they would like to play inside sports. As well as that, they could be places where kids/teenagers hang out when they have nothing to do. Some teenagers need places to hang out, and if more sports facilities would be built, they could meet their friends there. This would also support exercise for teenagers who might prefer to be at home on the newest technology.

Secondly, it would boost the number of people who do sports. Some people who maybe think that they don't like sports or they aren't good at it, wouldn't pay extremely high prices to be a member of the recreation clubs, just to play the sport once or twice. It would encourage more people to be fit and start doing exercise. Physical Exercise is extremely important for maintaining good health as it releases lots of endorphins, which make you feel happy. This would make a better community as well, where people are more likely to be in a good mood and willing to help others. Isn't this what we want Discovery Bay to be like?

It might cost a lot, however it will be worth it in the long term, since people would be able to use the sports facilities all year round. Also, you would be able to slowly gain the money back, as lots of people would be renting the gym (for an example). Even at a reasonable price, it definitely wouldn't take very long to gain the money back.

The people in Discovery Bay sometimes say "I'm not a member of the recreation/Siena club because the fees are so expensive. I don't even go there often!" or "I only use the workout equipment there, the membership fee is if you use everything there. But I don't, so I should be able to pay when I want to go there, but not a monthly membership fee." This would lead to them buying their own equipment into their own apartments/houses. It would be a better option to just build a gym or a pitch, so that the community doesn't need to buy their own treadmills, basketball hoops etc. into their own gardens and homes.

To conclude, I think that more sports facilities in Discovery Bay would benefit the whole community. It would give everyone a place to do sports for a reasonable price, motivate people to do sports and give teenagers and kids a place to go with their friends. Exercise is extremely important, and more sports equipment and facilities to rent out would encourage Discovery Bay residents to do more sports, leading to a happy, healthy community.

The Mixing Pot
by Chockle, Form 2 YHKCC, (12 years old)

As I lower myself into my chair to start the day’s work, an immediate sight greets me. Just outside is construction work, in full swing, for a series of bridges and tunnels, twenty-six miles in length, between the three cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macau. It snakes across the bay, with no immediate purpose to it being made visible; it is an eyesore, for work has progressed for more than four years, and not one part is complete. The plan had already been attacked by problems concerning its impact on the environment in the beginning, and now filibusters in the Legislative Council, which prevent the bridge from being funded satisfactorily, are raging on. Neither has stopped the construction from racing on, as if in pursuit of a pipe dream, this being the complete bridge by the end of 2016.

A more pressing issue concerns some old friends, the dolphins. Before the work began in 2012,we(my family) would go on boat trips each summer in the area around Tai O. We were always accompanied by a playful pod of dolphins; as a kid I always shouted at the dolphins : ”Jump Higher!”- and they did! They continued in such a fashion that ,as Grandpa saw it, might scare them. So he asked me to stop, and I had to. He, after all, commanded much respect, and while he loved me dearly, there were some boundaries to what might be done. But at the time I simply did not know what to do, having felt that the dolphin(s) had jumped higher for the simple reason that I played with them!

So it continued each year. For four, even five years, our main summer enjoyment was to be derived from the trips to meet these pods, frolicking about the warm waters of the Pearl River’s mouth. Their days were numbered, though…

The outing of 2014 was one whose memory will be burnished in my mind for years to come. This was when the bridge started to give the shape of snaking across the bay at an acute angle, and the work had left the bay a murky concentration of filth. The dolphin population had long been on the wane, but now was visibly dying out. On the said outing, we did not so much as see one live dolphin; the gruesome sight of a mangled and barely alive calf still haunts me to this day. The loneliness of the day was compounded by the very recent loss of my grandfather, a pivotal figure who we all looked up to, just as most of Lantau’s 88 000-strong population generally shows much respect for the dolphins off Tung Chung and Tai O.

The government, to counter opposition, has claimed that the marine reserve in Lung Kwu Chau will accommodate the dolphins, but the waters there are no better than those off Lantau, due to the construction works. Their plan to set up a new marine reserve after completion of the bridge does little as the area is already too polluted.

So what else is left to be said, perhaps in favour of the bridge? Well, contrary to popular belief, the dolphins of Lantau (S.chinensis chinensis) are not unique to Lantau, and can be found all over Southeast Asia, so even if pollution kills off the original population, the species can be returned to the north of Lantau; those dolphins that were born elsewhere now live in an increasingly polluted ocean, so should be able to cope with the situation in Lantau.

There exist obvious benefits for most humans in the three cities (there are over eight million.) I hate to admit this, but the profits from the benefits of HK’s legal system now relate mainly to mainlanders. As I write these words, more are entering for tax-free grey imports of food, business opportunities free of red tape and corruption, and non-biased education. They now play an increasingly large part in HK’s economy- too large for some. The symbiosis, as much as I dislike it, is one without which HK cannot survive. Thus the dolphins shall have to wait (to my disappointment.) Better than to potentially leave the economy a smouldering wreck.

Tung Chung is our home
by Nguyen Thu Uyen, Form 4, YHKCC (15 years old)

Tung Chung was once known for its humble fishing village, imposing forts, tight-knit community and the love for animals. Everything that was magnificent and positive about Tung Chung is about to be torn down, disintegrated and turned into overpriced flashy tourist traps and hotels.

The government has no regard for the residents living in Tung Chung or the animals that inhabit the area. First they drove the native pink dolphins into hiding if not dead, then removed the shops we adore such as Dymocks and the extensive foodcourt that has a blend of the fusion Tung Chung offers. (Illegible word) also decides to remove the cinema that residents use to build an extension to the glitzy high-end shopping centre. No longer is it a convenient area for us to settle down and wind back. But a one-stop tourist attraction.

Tung Chung offers wildlife both from the mountains and greenery to the beautiful Tung Chung river. I highly doubt they are going to last long if the government keeps adding new estates to the community. All there will be are shops most people in Tung Chung wouldn't be able to afford. It is no way convenient for us to travel around, but it was worth it as the community was so accepting and beautiful, no one wants to leave. We encourage tourists to come and explore Tung Chung with us but if it is going to takeover our livelihood then it is so atrocious.

We already have an amazing amount of tourist every day and we live peacefully as our way of life was not interrupted. But the government is solely focusing on the benefits of the tourism instead of the residents happiness.

I am concerned that the younger generation could never experience the true essence of Tung Chung if the government will be blinded by money and profitability instead of preserving the agriculture and heritage of this truly handsome part of Hong Kong. If that comes true, Hong Kong would lose everything beautiful about it, as Tung Chung and Lantau incorporates everything Hong Kong is: culturally diverse, loving animals, stunning landscapes, gorgeous beaches and urbanisation all rolled in one. Truly the soul of Hong Kong.

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by Kavita Rajbhandari, Form 4, YHKCC (15 years old)

I am deeply concerned about the situation in which Lantau is in and I think that some things really need to be sorted out.

UA Citygate, one of the few places in Tung Chung where you can have a relaxing weekend with your family, hang out with your friends or simply just watch a movie when there’s nothing else to do. You may be wondering “Why would she care about whether or not the cinema’s torn down?” Well… here’s why.

Over the years, I’ve made a lot of irreplaceable memories there. Now that it’s about to be closed down for good, it feels like part of my memories have been ripped out of my brain and tossed in the trash. This cinema is the only one in Tung Chung, so if it gets torn down, we’ll have to go and find some other place to watch a movie. The cinema in Tung Chung is really convenient for a lot of us because we don’t want to have to travel all the way to Tsing Yi just to watch a film. NO THANKS! Also, they’re supposedly turning it into a hotel. We already have Novotel which is perfectly fine. Plus, I don’t think we want more tourists invading Tung Chung, do we? I didn’t think so.

Another downside is that they got rid of the Dymocks bookstore. I went to go and buy a book as a Christmas present for my friend one day and when I got there, I noticed that it was gone. Yes I’m aware that there’s a library right next to Citygate, but that’s not the point. The point is that maybe some people don’t like borrowing books from the library and instead want to have their own books. Maybe they don’t like (sort of) second hand books. You never know where those books have been. They could’ve been dropped in the toilet, for all you know.

These past couples of days, I’ve noticed that Discovery Bay has become quite smelly. On Sunday, my family and I went for a mother’s day brunch in the excelsior hotel. On the way back, we took the ferry from Central to DB and as we got closer to Discovery Bay, I saw big, brown blobs of disgusting stuff in the sea. I realized that they were pieces of rubbish that were thrown in. This is stopping people from going swimming in the sea and making the whole area REALLY SMELLY. Some of us just want to have a nice day chilling at the beach, but the horrible stench of seaweed and vomit is scaring people away! I even saw a tiny dead fish washed up on the shore. I know, GROSS!

Some large industrialists are dumping toxic waste into the sea. Let me start off my saying they’re killing tons of fish, and more importantly, THE PINK DOLPHINS. You know how many people go to Tai O to see the pink dolphins? TONS. If toxic waste and just rubbish in general is being tossed into the sea, how are the dolphins going to survive? Their natural habitats are being destroyed. There are perfectly good rubbish bins all around, so STOP LITTERING! You’re killing our eco-system with oil spills and trash.

Remember when your mum used to say “Go out and get some fresh air.”? How are we supposed to do that if the air’s completely polluted? Nowadays, way too many people in Lantau are driving cars and using other forms of transportation, which emit a ton of harmful gases. Pollution is a very severe problem and it can affect peoples’ health very badly. It’s your community, you can either choose to protect it or destroy it. Let me just say that you’re not only killing the environment, you’re slowly killing YOURSELVES.

I CANNOT stress enough how frustrated and angry I am that the fate of our community is based on certain peoples’ poor ethics.

Stay tuned as the runners' up entries are posted tomorrow, followed by the finalists' works on Saturday, of which you can vote for the winning entry!

The Around DB and Life on Lantau Young Writer's Competition 2016 is made possible by Epicland, Hogbites Pork Snacks, Wild West Beef Jerky, and Bundu Biltong.

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