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2009.04.18   Speech by Assistant Director (Libraries and Development) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr LEE Yuk-man, at the Prize Presentation Ceremony of "423 World Book Day Creative Competition in 2009" on "China Today"

Distinguished guests, principals, teachers, and students,

Welcome to the prize presentation ceremony of 423 World Book Day Creative Competition.

The 23rd of April is the World Book Day designated by the United Nations.  In support of the initiative, the Hong Kong Public Libraries has made it an annual practice since 2004 to organise a Creative Competition around this time of the year. With its varied themes and forms, the Creative Competition encourages students to broaden their reading scopes, develop diversified perspectives of thinking, and take to writing to express their feelings and opinions, thus cultivating a habit of reading and an interest in writing in the long run.

What has reading to do with writing? To put it in a computer context, reading is input and writing is retrieval. Whenever we read, we input new data into our brains, be they new knowledge, new points of view, new words and phrases, or new ways of expression. A poor reader is short on input and therefore has limited data for use in writing. A good reader, on the contrary, has built a huge database at his disposal when he writes. So, the more you read, the better you write.

What makes a piece of writing a truly good and timeless read, however, is not as much its being informative as its being insightful. It is no different in life. What supports our stand and carries us forward is not as much the hard facts we know as the personal wisdom we draw from them. For this reason, we organise this World Book Day Creative Competition not only to promote extensive reading, but also to help students widen their horizons, engage in active thinking, and map out a bright future through reading.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. To tie in with the celebrations, we have taken“China Today" as the theme of the Creative Competition in 2009 to help participating students gain a deeper understanding of modern China. Participants were required to choose their own relevant reading and then express in the specified forms their opinions and feelings as a multi-approach study of China today. We received nearly 1300 entries from over 200 schools. From the entries we see in our students a keen awareness of current affairs, and in their skillful and persuasive accounts of China’s developments today we find some most innovative ideas. They serve as good examples of creative writing.

The success of the competition owes much to the enthusiastic support of the principals, teachers, and parents, as well as participation of the students. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to them all. My thanks should also go to the adjudicators from the Education Bureau, Hong Kong Teacher-Librarians’ Association, Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, and Hong Kong Reading Association for taking time out of their busy schedules to decide the winners for us.

Lastly, I hope that our students will continue to learn and care about our country and society. Keep on reading and writing, for it will help develop your independent thinking, till you acquire the knowledge and wisdom it takes to be the future pillars of Hong Kong. Thank you.

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