Cathay Pacific International Wilderness Experience 2005 is coming

This programme receives generous sponsorship from Cathay Pacific Airways and has been a great success in past years so the Federation, again in partnership with Cathay, will organize the 11th event in the series between July and August 2005. The Federation would like to thank Cathay Pacific warmly for covering most of the expenses involved in the trip, including the cost of air tickets, course fees, accommodation, meals and ground transport in South Africa. Since its inception in 1991, the programme has attracted over 450 students to take part. As in previous years, more than 50 delegates from 15 countries in the Asia Pacific region will have the chance to take part in an educational safari, to appreciate the natural scenery and vegetation and to learn more about environmental protection. Moreover, the participants will be able to learn something of their respective cultural traditions. Full details about the programme is available on the website at

Gala Premiere: Star Wars Episode III 17 May

The Federation is proud to announce the Gala Premiere of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on the evening of Tuesday 17 May 2005. We are grateful to Kentac Investments Limited for the privilege, two days in advance of the worldwide general release on 19 May. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for our Headquarters Redevelopment Project. We are honoured to announce that Mr. Frederick Ma Si-hang, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury and his wife, Mrs. Linda Ma, Mr Li Gang, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, and well-known Canto-pop singer, Mr. Leo Ku will be our Guests of Honour. We are sure that this eagerly anticipated episode of Star Wars will have wide appeal in Hong Kong and hope that the premiere will generate much favourable public attention. We wish to mobilize support from every sector of the community and invite all would-be sponsors to purchase special ticket packages. Please do get in touch with Miss Ada Cheng at 2123-9598 for full details.

Many thanks to Power Logistics for supporting the Young Ambassadors

The Hong Kong Young Ambassador Scheme is jointly organized by the Tourism Commission and the Federation and enjoys encouraging feedback every year. The Federation is very grateful to Power Logistics, our generous sponsor for printing costs in 2005 and 2006. With such sponsorship-in-kind, we can produce extensive printouts for large-scale promotional campaigns to spread the message of hospitality to the community. This year, 230 young ambassadors will undergo 3 weeks of intensive training on how to receive tourists at Hong Kong's various attractions. We are sure that with adequate resources and the enthusiastic participation of these Young Ambassadors, the programme will be able to nurture young people as Hong Kong's representatives around the world. We would welcome further partnership proposals warmly. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Ms. Elaine Chan (Partnership Office) at 2123-9598.

Series of activities for HK Advanced Level students

In mid-May, a series of activities for students who have completed their Hong Kong Advanced Level Examinations (HKAL) will be organized in a joint effort by the Federation with MingPao. Free workshops on university admission interviews and seminars on career planning will be organized for about 300 F.7 graduates. Professional counselors and human resource experts will be invited to share their views with these graduates and offer some useful advice on interviews and job-related work experience. The program aims to meet the education and employment needs of the students, providing a chance for them to become better equipped for future challenges.




Creativity for Learning and for Life
Creativity is so important today, both in education and for daily life. It is the vital turning point of development and self-esteem. It is about making unexpected connections and pushing at the limits of learning. Today's children need to be encouraged to be creative, to make the imaginative leap that allows them to solve problems without the fear of criticism. The potential for creativity in a 5 year old is 98%. It drops to 30% by the age of 10 and is down to 2% by the time we are adults.* That is why we must help them meet this challenge while they are young.





Federation programmes like The Hong Kong Odyssey of the Mind Programme (OMP) do precisely that. OMP encourages students to use divergent thinking to solve problems. It involves hands-on, practical work to put imaginative ideas into practice. The integration of theoretical and applied skills learnt in the classroom with creative brainstorming by the teams gives the students pleasure in learning and self-confidence from having worked things out for themselves.

OMP began in Hong Kong with just four schools 8 years ago. Since then, 20,000 young people have taken part and this year 140 schools and youth centres enrolled. The Education & Manpower Bureau and The Hong Kong Institute of Education support us in this endeavour and we are fortunate to have sponsorship from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Northwest Airlines.

Over the years, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has supported many youth projects. The Odyssey of the Mind Programme is one of the Trust sponsored programmes which offers opportunities for our young people to express themselves creatively. I am pleased to see more and more teams from different schools and youth centres take part in this programme to develop their lateral thinking and innovative problem-solving skills. I believe, the more enlightened the young minds are, the brighter the future will be for Hong Kong.
Mr William Yiu, Executive Director, Charities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club
*from Toward the Creative Society. Next Generation Forum, January 2000.

Congratulations to Lung Hang Youth S.P.O.T.
WExplorer, the Lung Hang Youth S.P.O.T. youth members' production team, represented the Federation in the "Anti-Crime 90 second short clips Competition", which is jointly organized by Kowloon West Regional Crime Prevention Office and Kowloon West Youth-Care Committee. The team won two prizes, namely Champion and 2nd runner-up, making good use of their creativity and their high quality video-shooting techniques to produce clips that spread the important message of how to fight crime.

Reopening of modernized Jockey Club Jat Min Youth S.P.O.T.
The Federation is proud to announce the reopening of our modernized and newly renovated Jockey Club Jat Min Youth S.P.O.T. It now offers better-equipped facilities and the required resources for quality youth services. A housewarming event will be held on 30 April 2005 and we have invited several guests of honours to celebrate with us on that day.

Felix Wong Youth Improvement Award Ceremony in July
Schools and school social workers have been invited to send in nominations for The Felix Wong Youth Improvement Award. The awards ceremony will take place on 16 July 2005 at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. It gives formal recognition to local secondary school students who have made great efforts to overcome hardships or misfortunes. This year, approximately 20 students will be selected for the award which includes scholarships to pursue personal development. For inquiries, please contact Miss Lam at 2395-0161.

Mind games to hands-on: a creative combination
The Form 3 girls from Marymount Secondary School took on the problem of creating and performing an audiovisual dream scene for this year's Odyssey of the Mind Programme competitions. The imagined dream had to contain a monster that could change in character, making a crazy but happy dream into a nightmare. The monster also had to perform certain mechanical tasks.

Sounds easy? Just think about it. First, they needed a workable idea. Creative minds went to work. Mythical, literary figures and cross-cultural icons were considered and discarded. In retrospect, they agreed that coming up with a joint, creative idea to start work on was the most difficult part of all.

'When disagreement and problems arose we had to make compromises' said Nicole,'…learning how to do that was not easy.'

'We weren't very familiar with each other to begin with as we came from different classes' said Cindy,'but after a couple of weeks working together things got easier and we really started to work as a team.'

It would have been hard enough work for seasoned team players. For a newly formed group tackling such a complex problem this was a real achievement. First they decided on their monster - a hair salon boss in a place called Live Town. And in that name came a stroke of genius. It all started in a Physics class on the subject of reflection.

'LiveTown' thought Stephanie,'…turns into EvilTown…'

With a little imaginative twist, she turned a lesson about mirror images into a verbal anagram. This kind of cross-disciplinary, divergent thinking is the essence of OMP.

Then came a series of twists and turns. The team developed their schizoid robot boss into a figure who started by giving free shampoos to tourists then turned into a nightmare monster who shot the entire population. All of this involved mechanical and manipulative tasks for the robot that the girls had built. When they and their coach told us about the construction process we realized what a momentous hurdle it had involved. Not only did they need to work out how to make the robot move, they also had their very first experience handling basic tools - a saw, a screwdriver, a hammer and nails. Of course, the girls' handiwork classes had given them nothing of the kind. Just needles and thread, paints and fabric.

'This was an amazing, rare thing for me to see', said their coach Mrs Cheung. 'They learned fast from their mistakes and weren't discouraged. Most of all they really enjoyed the learning process, handing tools for the first time and realising what they were capable of. Girls rarely get such a chance to be both so adventurous and so practical.'

Interdependence and teamwork - that was the primary message the girls gave us about their experience of OMP. If teenagers can learn at this stage of their lives what it means to be a contributing member of a working team it bodes well for their future.

'We've been through many ups and downs throughout the process. Definitely we learned a lot and the thing I treasure most is our friendship. I feel as if we are in the same family as we all care about each other so much.'

The team will go to the US for the World Finals in May where they will meet teams from countries all over the world including Europe, Canada, Japan, China, UK, Singapore and West Africa. In reflecting on this prospect, the girls captured the very ethos of OMP in just a few words:

'We were astonished to hear we were the champions. We'd never thought of getting a prize' said Cindy. 'Our aim was just to enjoy the process and think creatively to work out solutions which would work’'said Stephanie.
























What gets kids talking?

The top topic for school children is classroom bullying. This was revealed by a study of 8-14 year olds at Hong Kong schools done by the Boys'& Girls' Clubs Association at the end of last year on a large sample of 23,296 students. Asked what they were most interested in, bullying easily beat bloodworms, politics and crocodiles.

Just a year earlier 11 teenagers from a secondary school in Sheung Shui were charged with posting a brutally violent video, which showed teenage thugs in school uniform, on the web. Moreover, bullying does not only happen in schools. The practice continues in tertiary educational institutions, especially during orientation. At that level, it gets a new name: 'hazing'. No wonder that young people fear it and want to find out about it.

Hong Kong is not unusual. The figures from the US are much more detailed, and very worrying. There, 30% of students in secondary school are involved in bullying - either as perpetrators or victims. One in four American kids has been bullied and one in five admits to having been a bully. Bullying and similar antisocial behaviour is seen increasingly as an important contributory factor in youth violence outside school and is linked with many behavioural problems.

In the UK there is a new, high-profile weapon that can be used against bullies - of all ages. It is called an 'antisocial behaviour order' (ABSO) and is a civil sanction that can be issued to anybody over 10 years old. Over half of all those issued go to 10-18 year olds. If Hong Kong had a similar system perhaps bullying would be less likely to make headline news.















Mobile menace or marvel

Two surveys of mobile phone ownership were done recently. One* showed that 29% of all Hong Kong children aged 6-15 own mobiles. This is the highest figure in Asia. It compares to 90% ownership in the same age group in the UK and 50% in the US. The other survey, done by **Ming Pao Daily News, reported that 67% of the under 18s in Hong Kong own mobiles and 25% of them are under 13 years old. HK adults, on the other hand, have at least one mobile each - the highest figure in the world.

Early this year the latest mobile phone scare hit the press with news of heightened risk of ear and brain tumours. Use of mobiles by the under 8s was especially targeted. In Hong Kong, the number of cases of brain cancer has tripled in the last 10 years and doctors are pointing the finger at mobiles.

The risks are not only to health. Young people regularly lose their phones or have them stolen. They also run up big phone bills and get into debt. On the other hand, parents see mobiles as a form of security. Use of the phones for tracking children is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and there is no question of the tangible convenience and benefits of the mobile phone in keeping in touch with home. The big question is how to weigh up the risks versus the benefits. For the moment, the jury is still out.
* South China Morning Post 19 March 2005
**Ming Pao Daily News 22 February 2005



Fathers, TV and the family

Leisure time is precious - whether you are a student, a working mother or father. The big decision is what to do with it. A recent survey* of 511 parents in Hong Kong with at least one primary-school age child at home examined the issue. Most mothers spend more than eight hours with the children whereas fathers spend less than 3 and a half hours per day with them. Fathers prefer to watch TV or read the paper it seems.

Many children will probably join dad to watch the box as soon as they have finished their homework - the other activity that fathers regularly join in with. The average child watches 3-4 hours of non-educational TV a day in the US, including 20,000 commercials a year. How could dads set a better example? One possibility is to give their kids the option of doing something else with them instead - playing, reading or kicking a football around. If it has to be the TV because of lack of energy, then discriminate viewing is the answer. If the kids are teenagers, they may not be interested in the same programmes as their parents but at least this is a time when bonding might take place. Unfortunately, mum is likely to be in the kitchen.

.Parents' Working Hour and Parent-Child Relationship, a study by the Committee on Home-School Co-operation of the Education and Manpower Bureau, February 2005.



Young people's views on job seeking process

On 20 March 2005, the Federation's Youth Employment Network released the results of a survey about young people's views on job seeking. The survey was conducted on site at last November's Youth Job Expo in Northwest Kowloon when 232 young people were successfully interviewed. It found that young people from low income families encounter greater pressure during the job seeking process with 15.4% indicating that transport costs are their largest item of expenditure. Some of them turned down invitations for job interviews because they lacked resources.

The Federation therefore suggests setting up a youth job-seekers' fund to provide assistance for the underprivileged in order to ensure that this group will not be deprived of job opportunities because of lack of means. The Federation also thinks young people need to know how important it is to spend plenty of time preparing for job interviews and planning career goals although another point highlighted by the survey was that most of those interviewed did not pay much attention to serious preparation such as mock interviews. On the positive side, 25% of those interviewed agreed that parents play a prominent role in the job seeking process and the Federation encourages such parental participation.


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