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MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
How does supporting fair trade reflect the sense of identity
of global citizens?
1. With reference to the above sources, what do you think are the factors driving people
to purchase fair trade coffee? (6 marks)
Introduction These are some factors driving people to purchase fair trade coffee:
Answering
steps
 Signal
word
 Topic
sentence
 Evidence
 Summary
First, some people know that the coffee bean farmers are treated
unfairly and think that they should bear the responsibilities of global
citizens. According to Source A, coffee bean farmers in
developing countries have always been exploited by multinational
enterprises while fair trade has protected the workers in those
countries and their livelihood. Fair trade also aspires to reduce
environmental damages and contribute to the building of societies
Argument 1
which are sustainable and just. Some people have a great sense of
identity as global citizens and think that they are responsible for
improving social injustice, taking care of disadvantages groups and
maintaining social justice. As purchasing fair trade coffee can
improve the coffee bean farmers’ lives to contribute to the building
of societies which are sustainable just, they would purchase fair
trade coffee.
Second, consumers in rich countries hope to ‘feel better’ by
Argument 2
purchasing fair trade coffee. As consumers in rich countries know
that purchasing fair trade coffee can help farmers in developing
countries, they then choose to purchase it. However, they have not
deeply thought about whether this system can really help those
farmers. According to Source B, as the fair-trade certification system
was created, more and more fair trade products have been
introduced to the markets and the certification organisations have
made money through the system, which has in turn created burdens
for the farmers. The consumers in rich countries know that they are
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.1
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
the exploiters. They think that they can help the farmers and make
themselves ‘feel better’ if they purchase fair trade products. They do
not care about the lives and conditions of the farmers genuinely.
The reason for the consumers in rich countries to purchase fair
trade coffee is just to reduce their sense of guilt as exploiters.
Conclusion
People purchase fair trade coffee as they think that they should bear
the responsibilities of global citizens and they want to ‘feel better’.
(Or other reasonable answers)
2. ‘By participating in global issues (like fair trade), Hong Kong people’s sense of
identity of a global citizen will be enhanced.’ To what extent do you agree with
this view? (8 marks)
Agree to a large extent
I agree to a large extent that Hong Kong people’s participation in
Introduction global issues can enhance their sense of identity of a global citizen.
My explanation is as follows:
Answering
steps
 Signal
word
 Topic
sentence
 Evidence
 Summary
First, Hong Kong people’s participation in global issues can
raise their awareness of other disadvantages groups in the world.
For instance, participating in fair trade can let them understand the
plight of farmers in developing countries. According to Source A,
many coffee bean farmers in developing countries lack market
information, have no bargaining power against multinational
enterprises, and have always been exploited. In the course of
Argument 1
participating in fair trade, Hong Kong people can understand the
difficult conditions encountered by these coffee bean farmers and the
benefits which a relatively fair trading system can bring them. For
example, the higher selling price of fair trade coffee can increase
those farmers’ income and drive local community development.
Therefore, Hong Kong people will realise that supporting fair trade
can in fact help those coffee bean farmers which have always been in
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.2
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
a disadvantaged position to get out of the plight of constant
exploitation. They will thus realise that their local consumption
behaviour can indeed affect the livelihood and welfare of farmers
living far away in developing countries and that everyone all live in
the same ‘global village’. They will therefore gradually recognise
themselves as a member of ‘global citizens’.
Second, Hong Kong people’s participation in global issues can
enhance their emotional tie with the disadvantaged groups living on
the other side of the world. For instance, in the course of
participation, they may feel sad about the income of coffee bean
farmers being exploited and workers in garment factories having to
work in poor working environment. They may feel hopeful and
Argument 2
satisfied as fair trade may bring hope to the local community. They
realise that these disadvantaged groups can indeed stir up their
emotions even they are thousand miles away. They hope that they
can fight for a society with greater justice for these exploited groups.
Such emotion tie has become their driving forces for constantly
participating in some global issues. They are like shouldering a
sense of responsibilities and missions to fight for a fair and just
society. They think that these should be the responsibilities which
people should bear as a part of the world, which has in turn
enhanced their sense of identity as a ‘global citizen’.
However, some people have doubted the effectiveness of
Argument 3
participating in global issues, thinking that it may hinder the
building of Hong Kong people’s sense of identity of a global citizen.
For example, in Source B, the fair trade certification system has
not successfully helped the producers to get rid of poverty. The
certification system has also created burdens for farmers as agents
earn money during the course. Eventually, for every US$1 spent on
a fair trade product, the revenue that the country of origin obtains is
only US$0.03 more than the price of other non-fair trade products,
or even only those high-level coffee bean farmers or farm owners
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.3
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
can benefit from it. Take people’s participation in some relief
donation activities for another example, some charity organisations
were found to take the donation for other uses, and eventually
people’s donation in fact cannot help those people hit by disasters.
Therefore, for Hong Kong people who were originally
enthusiastic about supporting disadvantaged groups, they will feel
even more disappointed or will only treat participating in fair trade
as an act of self-comforting to make themselves ‘feel better,’ which
fundamentally cannot help them to build a sense of identity as a
global citizen.
Frankly, participating in some global issues does have its
inadequacies. However, it may not necessarily hinder the building of
a sense of identity but may even raise people’s sense of missions.
For instance, after the fair trade movement was introduced, Hong
Kong people have since realised the relationship between local
consumption and the disadvantaged groups in developing countries.
Counterargument
Once that sense of identity emerged, even current actions have
inadequacies, such would not undermine the objective awareness
which has been built in people’s mind. It may even become the
driving forces for people to search for ways of improvement, such as
comparing the practices of different cooperation associations, to
support systems which can effectively help the farmers. Some Hong
Kong people may even carry a greater sense of missions as they see
the defects in the current system, thinking that they can and should
bear great responsibilities on these issues, which can in turn further
consolidate their sense of identity as a global citizen.
Therefore, if we treat our participation in global issues as an act to
Conclusion
support and care about the welfare of people in other countries, such
initiative can then enhance participants’ sense of identity as a global
citizen to a large extent.
(Or other reasonable answers)
Agree to a small extent
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.4
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
I agree to a small extent that Hong Kong people’s participation in
Introduction global issues can enhance their sense of identity of a global citizen.
My explanation is as follows:
Answering
steps
 Signal
word
 Topic
sentence
 Evidence
 Summary
First, if the Hong Kong people who patriciate in global issues
encounter system failures, they will just feel increasingly helpless
towards the unfair systems in the long term or start to have the idea
of giving up. For example, according to Source B, the fair trade
certification system has not helped the producers to get rid of
poverty and has created burdens for farmers as agents earn money in
the course. Eventually, for every US$1 spent on a fair trade product,
the revenue that the country of origin obtains is only US$0.03 more
than the price of other non-fair trade products, or even only those
high-level coffee bean farmers or farm owners can benefit from it.
Argument 1
While even for those expensive and famous brands, some are also
accused of exploiting workers in ‘sweatshops’. These will make the
Hong Kong people think that they fundamentally have no way to
help those disadvantaged groups. Such negative and pessimistic
attitude will make them feel hard to bear or even make them refuse
to bear the responsibilities of a ‘global citizen’. They will instead
emphasise that they are only ‘local consumers’. They will rather
only think about the prices and brands and ignore the plight of
people living in the developing countries. No matter how ideal and
appealing those fair trade ideas sound, such also cannot help them to
build a sense of identity as a global citizen.
Argument 2
Second, whether participating in global issues can establish the
sense of identity of a global citizen depends on Hong Kong people’s
attitude. For example, fair trade has become a trend in recent
years, if Hong Kong people only purchase fair trade products for
fashion or showing off on their social networking platforms and
have never genuinely considered the situation and needs of the
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.5
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
disadvantaged groups, the sense of identity as a global citizen and
the relevant emotional tie will fail to be built. As also pointed out by
Source B, some consumers in rich countries only purchase fair trade
products to make themselves ‘feel better’ and have not cared about
whether the fair trade system can really help the people in
developing countries. These Hong Kong people all do not care
about the needs of the disadvantaged in other regions genuinely and
building a sense of identity as a global citizen is difficult for them.
However,  some people think that participating in global issues
can raise their awareness of other disadvantaged groups in the
world. For example, participating in fair trade can let Hong Kong
people understand the plight of farmers in developing countries.
Argument 3
According to Sources A, currently, many coffee bean farmers in
developing countries lack market information, have no bargaining
power against multinational enterprises, and have always been
exploited. In the course of participating in fair trade, Hong Kong
people can understand the difficult conditions encountered by those
coffee bean farmers and the benefits which a relatively fair trading
system can bring them. Then, they will thus realise that their local
consumption behaviour can indeed affect the livelihood and welfare
of farmers living far away in developing countries and gradually
recognise themselves as a member of ‘global citizens’.
But such is in fact not the case as most global participation has in
Counterargument
deed failed to increase their understanding of relevant issues. For
instance, the majority of the people participating in the Ice Bucket
Challenge just did it as it was trendy. They do not have much
knowledge about the conditions of the patients suffering from the
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and may not continue to care
about the issue or make continuous donation after they participated
in the challenge. The effectiveness of Hong Kong people’s
participation in global issues in increasing their understanding of
relevant issues is doubtful, not to mention its effectiveness in
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.6
MPEP-MCE Senior Secondary Liberal Studies
Module 2 Hong Kong Today
Theme 3 Topic 5
DSE Practice
enhancing their sense of responsibilities and sense of identity as a
global citizen.
Conclusion
Participating in global issues may not be able to reach the purpose of
fulfilling the responsibilities as a global citizen. It may not be able to
enhance the tie between Hong Kong people and people in other
regions and may not be able to raise Hong Kong people’s
understanding of them. Therefore, I think that participating in global
issues can enhance participants’ sense of identity as a global citizen
to a small extent.
(Or other reasonable answers)
© Ming Pao Education Publications Limited
Marshall Cavendish Education
P.7
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