I am writing in response to the letter "Charitable idea" (Young Post, November 30). I think charity work should be compulsory for secondary school students.
Today Hong Kong students are always busy with homework and tutorial classes. Their daily routine is waking up, going to school, returning home, taking private lessons, doing homework and then sleeping. This is very boring. They can contribute to society by taking part in voluntary work.
Students should know how to get on in society. Volunteering will help them to become more caring and be determined to change society.
Elly Chan Yin-lai, Ko Lui Secondary School
From the Editor
Thanks for your letter, Elly. I have to agree with you that students need to get some experience outside of school. It is awful to think that Hong Kong students are raised like hothouse strawberries, shielded from all contact with broader society, thinking only about themselves and their grades.
Growing up like this would definitely stunt their emotional growth, and while their grades might look good on paper when they leave school, they will be wholly inadequate to deal with any challenges life throws their way.
All religions tell us to treat others as we would wish to be treated, and nowhere can this be more important than in service to those who need it.
In our Student of the Year competition, we have a special category for Community Contributors, and coming into contact with these wonderful young people has been inspiring, not only for the judges but for all who meet them. But what has been interesting is that many people who are committed to serving others feel that they have gained far more than they have given.
As children become adolescents and move towards becoming adults, they don't need to be looked after all the time; they can actually start looking after others. Some people do this when they adopt a pet, and are responsible for its health and training. Others, though, might choose to do it through service. To never do this closes off a vital part of a teenager's personality, and stunts their spiritual growth. So for their own good, students need to be involved with the good causes in Hong Kong.