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