2022 DSE English Writing Question 7 (Sample)

7: Learning English through Drama

As part of your drama class, you played the role of the hero and the villain in different plays.

Write an entry in your drama journal. Reflect on which role you preferred playing and why.

From Villain to Hero

Last year, I started taking English literature as my elective course and studying drama was part of the course requirement. My drama teacher said that the best way to study drama was to act out the plays. So I was required to play the role of hero and villain in different plays we were studying as our assignment. I played the role of Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice and the role of Joker in The Dark Knight. Though I enjoyed playing the character Darcy as he was a fine noble man, I found playing the character Joker very demanding and stimulating.

I preferred playing a villain character because I believe that in order to make my dream of becoming an all-rounded actor come true, I have to put my acting skill to test and stretch it to the limit. Personally speaking, it does not take me much effort to play a hero character as I embrace the universal values of courage, goodness, kindness and love in real life. However, since I am not used to being a villain in real life, I would like to dare myself to play a villain character in order to enhance my acting skill to a professional level and to get closer to become a successful actor.

Moreover, I want to know more about human nature, especially evil. Despite the fact that I am well aware of good, I seldom have knowledge about darkness and evil. By tapping into the mind and heart of a villain character, I am able to gain a better understanding of what evil exactly is and how evil takes shape which enables me to prevent myself from falling into the trap of being a villain in real life. 

Another thing is that in real life, we have many chances to be a hero but we rarely risk our life being a villain. Things as small as giving a helping hand to an old lady crossing the road,  opening a door for a wheelchair-bound person or doing volunteer services for the sick, the poor or the disadvantaged are already deemed as an act of a hero. However, most of us generally won’t choose to be a villain in our daily life because being a villain will very likely lead to serious consequences under the rule of law in the modern society. No one will dare to run the risk of being convicted or sentenced to imprisonment in the court and spending the rest of life in prison. Therefore, since, in reality, most of us won’t behave like a villain, only under a pretend setting, that is drama, will I be able to have a chance of experiencing the complex mind and psychology of a villain character as well as the evil and the darkness inside. 

What’s more, playing the villain character appeals to me personally because I want to be a hero in real life. As Chinese saying goes “If you know yourself and your enemy, you can fight a hundred battles without defeat”, by putting myself into the shoes of a villain, I can better understand them and thus will more likely to fight against them, save the world from destruction and bring faith and hope to the humanity in real life.  

2022 DSE English Writing Question 5 (Sample)

5. Learning English through Social Issues

The following comment appeared in the editorial of Hong Kong post.

Young people today lack interest in traditional art forms such as lion dance, calligraphy or the art of tea drinking.

You are the chairperson of your school’s Heritage Club. Express your views by writing a letter to the editor of Hong Kong Post.

Dear Editor,

Recovery of Traditional Chinese Cultural Heritage

I am writing in response to the editorial of Hong Kong post on 1 April 2022 commenting on young people’s lack of interest in traditional art forms such as lion dance, calligraphy or the art of tea drinking.  As a chairperson of my school’s Heritage Club, I think that the phenomenon is owing to three major factors: the many other substitute activities that young people find more appealing, the preference of parents for study in the spare time and the Government’s lack of respect and support for traditional Chinese cultural heritage. In my opinion, should the Government promote these traditional art forms to the public and encourage the young people to participate in these activities, they will definitely be attracted to the treasure of our traditional Chinese cultural heritage.

A recent survey revealed that nowadays, young people prefer extracurricular activities such as sports and music to traditional Chinese art activities. Young people find that playing sports like swimming and football and playing musical instruments for an orchestra are more exciting and rewarding as they can take part in local, regional and even world events and competitions if they are talented and competent. It is easier for them to become famous if they have won awards or medals. On the contrary, traditional Chinese art activities lack the interactive, collaborative and competitive dimension. For example, calligraphy and the art of tea drinking are more of personal cultivation and social function. Young people may find it too quiet and boring.

Moreover, parents prefer their children to study or extracurricular activities that benefit their further study and future career development. Despite academic results, sports and music are widely recognised by schools as favourable to  students’ admission. However, traditional Chinese art forms lack general recognition which is unfavourable to students’ admission. As a result, without practical incentive, young people thus lose interest in these activities.

To raise the general status and recognition of traditional art forms among young people, the Government should take the lead to promote these traditional art forms by organising exhibitions, live shows or workshops at schools or museums to educate young people about the many advantages of practising these arts forms and the rich history, meaning and spirit behind. For example, lion dance is a kind of martial arts that requires body and mind coordination and is very important politically and culturally as it helps bring good luck, fortune and blessings to people in Chinese New Year. As for tea drinking, it is a kind of Chinese culture that plays an important role in enhancing communication and socialization among people. In addition, the Government should encourage schools to accept these traditional art forms as a good consideration of student admission. It will surely provide incentive for young people to practise these art forms.

Last but not least, the Government can provide funds and subsidies to small businesses or social organizations that engage these traditional art activities to support their initiatives so that they can really become part of our daily life and hence, our culture. As explained above, with the wholesome support of the Government, as the society as a whole are more aware of the great importance and the rich history of traditional Chinese cultural heritage, young people will no doubt change their mind and become more interested in these art forms. 

Yours faithfully,

Chris Wong

2022 DSE English Writing Question 6 (Sample)

6. Learning English through Poems and Songs

The musical group Nine Dragons has asked you to help promote them by writing a bio for their website. The bio should include background information about the group, style of music and plans for the future.

Nine Dragons — All you need to know

Nine Dragons is a rock band from Hong Kong formed in 2021. It is composed of five boys and four girls named Adam, Anson, Jeremy, Louis, Stanley, Annie, Christina, Emma and Victoria accordingly. All of them participated in the music talent show Hong Kong’s Got Talent at ViuTV in 2020 and won many cheers and applause from the audience. Taking this opportunity, they signed with World Records and released their debut song Warrior on 1 November 2021 which was very well-received. Their second single The Origin of Time won widespread recognition and topped the Radio 903 song chart for two weeks. 

As the members of the band are quite young, aged between 20 and 26, Nine Dragons carries a symbol of youth power which refreshes the current aging Hong Kong music industry. Their style of music is mostly pop rock, with Adam as the drummer, Louis and Emma the electric guitarists and, Jeremy and Victoria the lead vocalists whose voices are idiosyncratic. Apart from being vocalists, Anson, Annie and Christina are also composers and songwriters. They write captivating melodies and catchy poetic lyrics that communicate mainly love and life and resonate with many hearts of Hong Kong youngsters. Each member has his or her own special contribution to the music.

In the near future, Nine Dragons has some breakthrough plans. They would like to try and play different genres of music, for instance, hip hop and dance music, to add rapping and breakdancing elements to their performance.  They would also like to produce new music through experimentation and improvisation. This significant move will definitely establish themselves a unique identity and position themselves a distinct standing in the music industry. 

As Nine Dragons is becoming more popular, the band has decided to do a series of live performance at the Central Harbourfront in the forthcoming Christmas holiday. Tickets will be sold at all 7-Eleven convenience stores and via this website on 25 and 26 November 2022. The price would range from HK$700, $500 to $300. If you are a die-hard fan of Nine Dragons, you will regret should you miss their first amazing live show!

Moreover, Nine Dragons is now making plans to debut individually and release their own singles in order for each member to have a chance to do his or her own signature music to engage with their own respective fans. This move is going to bring about many inspirations to the music industry. Stay tuned!

2022 DSE English Writing Question 2 (Sample)

2. Learning English through Popular Culture

You are the host of “Teen Chat”, a YouTube Channel that explores a wide range of topics from a teenage perspective. Write an article for Teen Magazine about why you started this channel and what you have learned in the process.

Teen Chat — A Teenage Channel

Teen Chat is now a very popular YouTube Channel among young people. It aims to give a voice to the youth in a society where the voices of teenagers are usually unheard and subdued. In recent years, the suicide rate among teens has been unprecedentedly high. A recent survey reveals that many teenagers feel hopeless about the future and that they feel helpless about many problems facing them such as social expectations, intergenerational difference among family members, school performance, peer pressure, bullying at school, to name a few. It is alarming that the pillars of the future are so desperate that they have no choice but to resort to suicide. In view of the depressing situation, I have started the channel to explore various topics and issues from the youth perspective so that it resonates with teenagers who will then feel empowered.

As a host of “Teen Chat”, I have learnt that most of the teenagers need so much to be listened to and to be understood by the adults, especially their parents. Having an intensive interview with teenagers from various secondary schools in Hong Kong, I realize that teenagers seldom have quality conversation with their parents over topics that are intimate to them, plus they usually find themselves being ignored and misunderstood by their parents.  For example, when it comes to what to study at the university or what career to choose after graduation, it often leads to heated argument and even violent conflict between parents and their children. An interviewee named Joyce revealed that her parents would not have an open conversation or discussion with her over her decision to study fine art at the university. Even Joyce tried to convince them that she had shown artistic talents and abilities in various art competitions, her parents would not listen but insisted that she was chasing some unrealistic and nonsensical dream. They not only rejected her decision but also threatened her to study business and finance; otherwise, they would not pay for the school tuition fees. Joyce felt disregarded and helpless. When I retold the story in Teen Chat, many viewers commented that they were facing similar problem and feeling upset about their parents being nonchalant towards their dreams.

Moreover, I have found that almost all teenagers are weak and fragile psychologically and in need of acceptance and encouragement, especially their parents and teachers and classmates.  Most teenagers revealed that under the result-oriented learning atmosphere which put so much emphasis on correctness, they were very afraid to make mistakes because they would be scolded and rejected by their elders and would be laughed and mocked by their peers. For example, an interviewee named Jess from a famous secondary school revealed that as she was not quite good at science subjects compared to her peers, she was very afraid of being asked to answer questions by science teachers during class and felt very ashamed each time after learning that her answer was wrong in front of all her smart classmates. Because of the many mistakes she had made and her poor results in science subjects, she felt that she was not worthy as she was looked down upon by her teachers and classmates. She had lost confidence almost in everything she did. When I retold the story in Teen Chat, many viewers commented that they were quite upset about the fact that instead of giving guidance and encouragement to them, how few chances the adults would give them and how easily the adults would give them up when they had made mistakes or had not performed or behaved well as expected . 

The Youtube Channel Teen Chat has not only attracted the society’s attention to teenage voices but also raised the awareness of the society of the difficult situations faced by teenagers and their concerns. Consequently, the Government has initiated and rolled out various plans and measures in support of teenagers in terms of education, social welfare and health. Teen Chat has finally achieved its ultimate aim.