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SET 1 Section B

A. You have 1.25 hours for this paper (which is allocated 18% of the total subject
mark).\
B. It is suggested that you spend some of the time on planning and proofreading.
C. Write legibly and make neat corrections wherever necessary.
D. DO NOT USE YOUR REAL NAME IN ANSWERING ANY OF THE QUESTIONS.
If you wish to use a name to identify yourself, then use ‘Chris Wong’.
E. Write about 500 words on ONE of the topics.

1. Some parents in Hong Kong were unhappy about the changes to the medium of
instruction that the Education and Manpower Bureau imposed on primary and
secondary schools. Consequently, they opted to send their children to
international schools rather than Government schools. You think this trend is not
beneficial to society, parents and students.

Write an essay explaining why you oppose this trend. Discuss the effects of the
trend on society, parents and students, and give reasons to support your argument.

The Education and Manpower Bureau has introduced a number of changes to primary
and secondary schools in
Hong Kong. Not only are teachers and school administrators frustrated by the changes,
many parents are unhappy too,
particularly about those relating to the medium of instruction. Consequently, they
have opted to send their children to
international schools rather than Government schools. In my opinion, this trend is not
beneficial to society, parents and
students.

The first disadvantage of this frend is that the competition for school places is
becoming keener. There are
approximately forty thousand international school places for primary and secondary
students in Hong Kong. However,
many corporations are finding it difficult to secure places for the children of their
expatriate staff. This is because
many of these places are being taken by local children who are returnees from foreign
countries or whose parents
distrust the education provided by local schools.

The second disadvantage is that local parents have to pay high tuition fees for their
children to attend international
schools. The school fees range from six to twelve thousand Hong Kong dollars per
month, which is very expensive.
Besides, parents also have to pay for the extra-curricular activities and study trips,
usually to overseas countries, that
students in international schools participate in. This really gives the parents a huge
financial burden.

The third disadvantage is that local students may have a difficult time adapting. They
have to use English in their
lessons but their English may not be good enough. If they do not speak English at
home, they may have difficulty
communicating with their teachers and other students at school. Chinese students
may form cliques and talk to each
other in Cantonese. As international schools do not teach English grammar and
vocabulary the way local schools do,
Chinese students may not get the opportunity to study English intensively in school. At
the same time, they may not
receive adequate instruction in Chinese subjects.

To summarise, enrolling children in international schools rather than Government


schools has many disadvantages.
Not only is the competition very keen, but parents have to pay a lot to enrol their
children, and Chinese students
may have difficulty adjusting to life in an international school. Therefore, I urge
parents to consider carefully before
sending their children to international schools.
2. Violent video and computer games are reputed to have a negative effect on your
children and teenagers. It is thought that these games desensitize users to
violence and may be a contributing factor to the increasing trend of bullying in
schools. Critics of these games have suggested banning them for people under
the age of 18.

Write an article for the school magazine expressing your view EITHER for OR
against this suggestion. Give at least three reasons to support your view.

Many children come into contact with computer and video games at a fairly young
age. In some families, children
as young as three already know how to play video games. Although playing these
games with family members can
strengthen family relationships, they can also desensitise users to violence. Some
educators and social workers suggest
that violent computer and video games may be a factor contributing to the increasing
trend of bullying in schools.
Critics of these games propose banning them for people under the age of eighteen. I
strongly agree with them.

My first reason is that some computer or video games contain unethical content. For
example, in one popular game,
the player takes the role of a criminal who was betrayed by his girlfriend in a robbery.
He needs to commit a lot
of crime to recover his status with the gangsters before getting his revenge on her.
Some players say they get great
enjoyment from this game because it allows them to act in ways that are impossible in
real life. However, the moral
of the game is wrong. These illegal and unethical acts are not defensible just because
they are fantasies that happen in
virtual reality.

My second reason is that some games increase players’ urge to kill. In these games,
players must kill robbers,
terrorists, monsters or even policemen to complete their mission. Many players enjoy
these games because they do not
have to use their brain. They just rely on their instincts to automatically shoot anything
that moves. Even if they are
killed in the mission, they know that they will have another chance because it is only a
game. In fact, the US army uses
similar shooting games to train soldiers for combat. In other words, military experts
agree that shooting games can
desensitise players to violence and that is why they use them to train their soldiers.

My third reason is that some games desensitise players to the consequences of


violence. In fighting games, players
select a character for themselves and an opponent to fight. The character must use all
his or her skill to knock the
opponent unconscious. Each character has his or her own style of fighting and
signature moves. The most popular
characters are those that are the most resilient or the most powerful. Some players
even try to imitate the fancy kicks
and punches of the characters in real life. This may be particularly dangerous for
young children who cannot tell
fantasy from reality. When young children imitate the fights in these games, they can
easily injure themselves or others
without realising the consequences.

To summarise, there are so many negative effects of violent computer or video games
on young people, particularly
in providing unethical ideas, increasing players’ urge to kill and desensitising players
to the consequences of violence.
I strongly agree that violent computer or video games should be banned for people
under the age of eighteen.
3. More and more people are using the Internet as their primary means of social
interaction – chatting, playing online games, documenting their lives in a weblog,
or reading and commenting on other’s weblogs. Although users argue that the
Internet is a good way to make new friends, psychologists argue that heavy
Internet use can lead to isolation, and should not be seen as a substitute for real–
life social interaction.

Your teacher has asked you to write an essay discussing the advantages and
disadvantages of social interaction via the Internet. Write the essay, ending it by
giving your own opinion.

The Internet has become such an important part of many people’s lives that they
spend hours each day chatting with
friends or playing online games. More and more people write online diaries, or weblogs
for friends to read and
comment on. Although the Internet may be a convenient way to interact with others,
some argue that it can never be a
substitute for real-life social interaction. In this essay, I will examine both sides of the
issue.

The first advantage is that it is convenient and inexpensive. Users can contact their
friends any time they want because
computers with Internet access are available in many coffee shops and even major
MTR stations. With the inexpensive
broadband Internet access in Hong Kong, users do not have to worry about paying a
lot to get in touch with friends.
They can even use Internet messenger programs to talk to their friends or relatives
overseas if both have the necessary
software installed.

The second advantage is that it provides an opportunity for people to share their
creative work. Interestingly, many
are willing to share their inner thoughts and feelings when they post on the Internet.
Not only that, many even upload
photos or have music they composed to share with others online. For example, a
number of popular songs in the
mainland and Hong Kong were distributed online long before they were noticed by
major music companies. In this
way, people actually learn more about each other through the Internet.

Now that I have looked at the advantages of interacting with others via the Internet,
which include convenience, low
cost and the opportunity to share work, I will examine the disadvantages. These
disadvantages concern identification
and losing touch with reality.

The first disadvantage is that people can hide their true identity on the Internet. A
popular comic strip once made fun
of this by drawing a dog typing on a computer keyboard. In fact, many users make up
a new identity when they make
friends online and deliberately mislead their new friends. In fact, there have been
several cases in which young girls
were kidnapped or hurt by people they met online. No wonder a number of web sites
warn parents to closely monitor
who their children talk to on the Internet.

The second disadvantage is that people can lose touch with reality when they are
online. Perhaps the extent and
variety of information available attracts users’ attention so much that they find real
people and things unattractive. In
some extreme situations, users have been known to lock themselves up in their rooms
and rely solely on the computer
to connect them to the outside world.

The issue of whether the Internet fosters or hinders social interaction has both
supporters and critics. The supporters
believe that the Internet provides a convenient and inexpensive platform for users to
share their lives and their creative
works. The critics argue that users may be misled by others and lose touch with the
real world. After examining both
sides of the issue, I personally have to agree with the critics. Although there may be
many advantages to interacting
with others via the Internet, the potential dangers are too great to be ignored.
4. Each year, local universities admit a small number of non–local, mostly mainland
Chinese, students into their undergraduate programmes. Since the
implementation of this scheme, professors and employers have given positive
feedback on the quality of the students. Plans have been drawn up in each
university to increase the proportion of non–local students to ten per cent of the
total student population.

Write an article for your school newsletter expressing your view EITHER for OR
against this proposition. Give at least three reasons to support your view.

Since 1999, local universities have been admitting a small number of non-local, mostly
mainland Chinese students
into their undergraduate programmes. Since the implementation of this scheme,
professors and employers have given
positive feedback on the quality of the students. Plans have been drawn up in each
university to increase the proportion
of non-local students from all over the world to ten per cent of the total student
population. I absolutely agree with this
proposition and I have three reasons to support my view.

First, it gives local students more opportunities to practise speaking a different


language. This will improve their
communication skills. Although most local university students are confident speakers
of both Chinese and English,
they seldom have the opportunity to practise speaking Putonghua or English to native
speakers of each language.
Making friends with native speakers will give them more opportunities to engage in
social conversations to prepare
for their future work. This enriches the regular language curriculum of the university
and increases local students’
competitiveness in the job market.

Second, it helps them gain a better understanding of different cultures. As local


students have more opportunities to
interact with students from other countries, they will increase their understanding of
the different thinking and working
styles of other people. For example, they may learn from their Japanese classmates
how to pay serious attention to
detail and from their Spanish classmates how to balance study and play. Through
cooperation with each other in
projects, they will also learn how to give well-rounded solutions to real-life problems
based on each others’ strengths.

Third, it helps to improve the reputation of local universities in the world. Although
local universities rank high
among world universities, the major source of students is from Hong Kong. In terms of
diversity of student population,
which is one criterion often used, Hong Kong ranks fairly low. If local universities
attract students from all over the
world, not only will they improve their rankings further, but they can also introduce
new blood into the student
population. When local students work alongside other students who are equally
talented, it can motivate them to learn
from others’ strengths and do better. In this way, a win-win situation could result and
benefit both students and the
universities as a whole.

To summarise, many benefits can be gained if local universities admit more non-local
students into their undergraduate
programmes. This scheme can give local students more opportunities for language
practice, give them a better
understanding of other cultures, and improve the reputation of the universities.
Therefore, I strongly support this
scheme.

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