Posts Tagged ‘2010’
While I was packing for my long journey to the UK, I stumbled upon a trove of old debating notes with some interesting artifacts. One of them, featured below the list of motions used at the Asian Schools Debating Championships 2010 in Manila, Philippines.
R1: Why Can’t We Be Friends?
THW not allow women to discriminate sperm donors based on ethnicity
THW abolish single sex schools
TH supports the registration of child sex offenders who have already served their full sentence
THW charge parents of children who commit suicide with negligence
THW allow victims of climate change to sue polluting countries
THW prosecute HIV/AIDS patients who have unprotected sex without telling their partners
Read the rest of this entry »
NOTE: While writing this post, an interesting observation came to mind. The many highlights of my year, as recognized in this post, also popped up on a regular basis in the annual list of ‘Top Post of the Year‘.
The start of this decade, the year 2010 can most accurately called a year of transition. It may have lasted only for 12 months, but it sure fells like I’ve done a heck of a lot of stuff in that time.
By the start of the year, preparations were in full swing for WSDC 2010 in Doha, Qatar. We had long hours of preparation, debates and meetings, often going from 5pm to 10pm in our little SIS hide-out. But we nevertheless felt quite prepared as we set off for Doha in Feb 2010. WSDC itself was a joy and an honor as can be gathered from my WSDC Reflection. We didn’t get to the quarters, but lost gallantly to Australia in the Octo-finals and everyone on the team ranked in the top 50 speakers. Coming in 45th in such a competitive and tough year was delightful. Many thanks to Annette, Ben, Heather, Prakash and Greg who taught me so much.
10 months later in Dec 2010, I transitioned from Team Hong Kong to Team Wales and once again, I’ll hopefully be blogging all the way to WSDC 2011 in Dundee, Scotland.
Domestically, I was able to graciously bow out of HK Debating with sweet victory in the Grand Final of the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition after loosing out in 2008-2009. We also saw the beginning of the Hong Kong Schools Debating Council in April 2010 with the website http://hksdc.wordpress.com still going strong after overtaking PaulLau.com in about half the time.
It was just before the Sing Tao finals that I received an unassuming phone call notifying me that I had been accepted to UWC Atlantic College in the UK, sparking the biggest transition of this year, and certainly of my life so far.
Despite this, I still had my remaining IGCSE exams to finish, themselves stretching from late April to late May. I had to wait all summer for the results to come out. When they did, they didn’t really come as a surprise with a string of poor runs together with the odd gem. It was a tough pill to swallow, but by then I’d had the IB to worry about.
That was because I was many miles away in South Wales, starting at Atlantic College. By all counts, it hadn’t been an easy transition. I’d been studying at South Island School for a full five years now and the things that the time has build are things not easily replaced. My last moment with the class of 2012 was a Dinner Dance 2010. It not only marked an end, but featured a first, the first time I participated in a ‘dance’, if you can call it that.
Goodbye Hong Kong. 10 years is a long time, but I enjoyed every moment of it! I'll be back in December. See you all then!—
Paul Lau (@paullaucm) August 20, 2010
2011 will see fewer changes and a whole lot more of building upon existing structures. Hopefully though, it will be just a colorful as 2010.
We’ve just turned a corner and now are in 2011. PaulLau.com is now 16 months old and still going strong with over 23,000 views and over 180 posts. 2010 was my first full year of blogging and featured all the expected ups and downs. Here’s a round up of the top posts of 2010.
Notably in 2010 was the WSDC 2010 series covering the 2010 World Schools Debating Championships in Doha, Qatar which featured 29 posts and stole 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th spot in this Top Posts of the Year list. Whether a result of reader interest or just because it was the most common topic on my blog, debating related posts took 7 out of the top 10 and 15 out of the top 20 posts of 2010.
1. 2010 World Cup Broadcasting [1ST ALL TIME]
This post came out in March, when the issue was gaining considerable media attention. Interestingly enough, come May, the issue was the topic of the Sing Tao Grand Final (see the 10th Top Post). The issue may have been resolved for now, but it won’t be until 2014 before we know if the stations have truly resolved similar disputes.
2. WSDC – Final Rankings [3RD ALL TIME]
Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this post was the culmination of more than a weeks of debating. It brings together the team and individual results of the 2010 WSDC and by-in-large drew to a close WSDC 2010 for PaulLau.com
3. The Story Behind Football Shirt Swapping [4TH ALL TIME]
During my IGCSE Media Studies revision, I stumbled upon a New York Times Article that detailed the story behind the tradition of Shirt Swapping in Football.
4. WSDC – Results [5TH ALL TIME]
Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this post had the immediate results following the Closing Ceremony. It helped provide instant information before the WSDC – Final Rankings post (see the 2nd Top Post) replaced it.
5. UWC Principal Personnel Changes [6TH ALL TIME]
Shortly after Neil Richard’s ‘resignation’ was announced, there was a lot of furor within UWCs around the world about Principal resignations, changes and departures. As a result, I summarized the 3 principal changes at LPC, AC and MI.
6. WSDC – Break [7TH ALL TIME]
Part of the WSDC 2010 series, it took a while for me to calm down after learning that HK would break into the Octo-finals. But once I did, I was able to posts the full break, frantically copied down during a few tense minutes at the WSDC 2010 Break Night Party.
7. WSDC – Round 1-4 Team Results [8TH ALL TIME]
Part of the WSDC 2010 series, the results after round 1, 2, 3 and 4 representing the mid-way mark at WSDC 2010.
8. WSDC – Final Draw [9TH ALL TIME]
Part of the WSDC 2010 series, this is one of the few top posts related to the run-up to WSDC 2010. Indeed, many readers were first notified of their countries draw through this post.
9. Hong Kong Schools Debating Council [10TH ALL TIME]
After many frantic hours of work, messaging and coding on wordpress, me and Heather finally managed to cobble together the HKSDC website at http://hksdc.wordpress.com. The website and the organization, the Hong Kong Schools Debating Council was successfully launched in April.
This Grand Final was not only my last Sing Tao debate, it was also my last debate in Hong Kong and for South Island School. It capped a wonderful journey that really began at the Sing Tao Grand Final in 2006 and ended on the 4th May. Thank you to everyone that I’ve had the joy of sharing the journey with.
11. Tabbing Software
12. HK Bid for 2023 Asian Games
13. WIDPSC Day 1 & 2
14. 10 Things to do if you Finish Exams Early
15. WIDPSC 2010 – Lithuania
16. WSDC – Quarter & Semi-Final
17. WSDC – Round 3 & 4
18. WSDC – Aus vs HK Octofinal
19. WIDPSC 2010 – Results
20. Chinese Sport School System
Firstly, the first WSDC 2011 Newsletter 1 was released but it doesn’t seem to have been emailed to the WSDC community nor has it been publicized. To read or download the WSDC 2011 Newsletter 1, click here. Alternative, you can read the embedded newsletter below.
Some key points from the Newsletter are:
- The CAs are Beth James and Andrew Marshall
- The CAP will include Taimur Bandey (Pakistan), Dan De Kadt (South Africa), Hayah Eichler (Israel), Eirianna Kouri (Greece) and Malcolm Smart (Scotland)
- Cultural events will likely included a practice dance session, a barbecue at the University of Dundee and participation at an Ifthar
- An Edinburgh Day will most likely be held on the Saturday, coinciding with the Edinburgh Festival
- Team Cap of 44
- Bursarial Aid available to cover registration fees of debaters only
- Registration fee at £480
Secondly, When visiting http://www.dundeeandanguschamber.co.uk/uploads/documents/The_Business_September_2010.pdf, I came across the following statement on WSDC 2011.
The World Schools Debating Championship is coming to Dundee in 2011. This prestigious event, which was inaugurated in 1988, is the premier international event for schools debating, and was last hosted by Scotland in 1991. It is taking place from 16th to 26th August and will bring 350 debaters, adjudicators and coaches to the city. Teams from 40 countries will participate in eight preliminary rounds, all to be held before audiences of pupils in Dundee secondary schools. The event has already attracted support from the City of Dundee Development Department, the University of Dundee and the University of Abertay Dundee. As the pinnacle of achievement for young debaters, the tournament is covered by national and local media outlets around the world. To find out more about the event and how your organisation can support it, visit http://www.wsdcdundee.com
A few things caught my eye
- While the bid document indicated 320 spots open for registration, it seems as early as September, there was talk of bringing “350 debaters, adjudicators and coaches to the city.”
- No previous indication was given as to the team cap, but this statement indicates that “teams from 40 countries will participate in eight preliminary rounds”.
- However, the first newsletter seems to top even 40, announcing a 44 team cap.
- It also invites individuals to “visit http://www.wsdcdundee.com”. The site, despite being owned by the Dundee City Council, does not seem to load any content no-matter how hard I try. In reality, the majority of the content is at http://wsdctournament.wordpress.com/.
- While nothing on the site can be viewed currently, the site’s URL is used for emails. For example, emails regarding the registration process are directed to email@example.com while the Chief Adjudicators can be reached at CAs@wsdcdundee.com
It won’t ever happen, but whether you just want a laugh or actually contemplate whether this might happen, its a good read.
In Oslo’s city hall the peace prize was yesterday plonked on an empty chair, a bizarre but moving gesture which – as the Nobel committee’s chairman explained – reinforced the case for honouring the absent laureate Liu Xiaobo. Locked up in his country, the Chinese democracy activist is one of several winners to have been barred from claiming the prize in person, but this was the first award since Carl von Ossietzky’s where it was not possible for a relation to do the honours instead, a shaming comparison for Beijing, since he was up against Nazi Germany.
The first thought is that this will make the Chinese sit up and think; the second, sadly, is that the news will be distorted by the media of the People’s Republic, which are so censored that Liu’s name is hardly known. Through the prize, the world has found a means of telling China to change; the more demanding next step is to find a way of making it listen, and so here is an idea. China does not exist in splendid isolation, but prospers by engaging globally – trade figures only yesterday showed exports rocketing by 35% over the past year. With all this commerce comes correspondence, and foreign currency that builds up in Beijing’s bank-vault-busting reserves.
If all those nations that weren’t bullied into boycotting the ceremony agreed to put Liu on their notes and stamps, then the Chinese people would grow curious to find out more about him. As for the authorities, they would face a choice – between refusing the world’s message and refusing its money.
This post is written in support of Blog Action Day 2010, the 4th year where bloggers around the world join together to debate, brainstorm and raise awareness around an international issue. This year’s issue is Clean Water.
I’ve been at AC now for nearly 2 full months. And one of the weirdest things about living in the UK is that its tap water can be drunk. Having come from Hong Kong, I was used to the daily toil of having to boil water, clean out old water bottles and the pour the boiled water into containers to use for the day. Now in the UK, people could just as well have drunk straight from the tap. I am still not exactly used to this. But that’s beside the point. Despite the ease of finding drinkable water here at AC, even in the middle of nowhere, I still see people walking around with plastic water bottles that they’ve brought from our nearby town, Llantwit Major.
Currently 3.6 million people die each year because they don’t have clean water to drink and every day 4,000 children younger than 5 die from preventable, water-borne diseases. At the same time, in the last 10 years, per-capita consumption of bottled water in the U.S. has doubled to an average of 200 bottles per person each year.
In Hong Kong, I know for a fact that the majority of people are still perfectly fine with buying Watsons or Vita water. There’s nothing wrong with that per-say. But as amongst the most financially conscious cities in the world, it would seem to be amongst the most stupid financial decisions we make.
Tweeted by UWC Great Britain : http://twitter.com/#!/U_W_C_GB/status/25606886444
Student Councils are a common feature in most modern schools. They are an almost certain part of the HK school scene and at South Island School were considered an important part. But what should be noted is that in almost all these instances the actual impact of student council is fairly small. In many local schools, Student Councils or Student Unions are merely joking for positions that look good on CVs. Even where they have an actual role, it is often devoid from school policy and unrelated to the teaching or policies of the administration. That was certainly the case many times during my studies at SIS. Although admittedly, as an international school, SIS was already significantly better in listening to the students.
Moving 7 hours away to the UK, I wondered whether the Student Council would function in much the same way. It had been billed as being more representative and better listened to. And this logically fit into the more student orientated and independent approach taken by Atlantic College. But given a deluge of changes since the last academic year, I was unsure how important the Atlantic College Student College actually was.That was part of the reason why I went to the student council meeting on the 30th of August 2010. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular meeting, there were approximately 16 members with 2 from each of the 7 houses (I’m in Morganngy). But what surprised me were the seriousness of the discussions. From internet hours to food, induction and carol units, the issues discussed were issues that truly affected the student population day in, day out. And contrary to other times, there were no mundane issues being discussed.
If the induction to Atlantic College could be summarized in a few words, they would be hectic, crazy and packed. From the moment we woke up at around 6:45, we were hustled and bustled from one location to another in a desperate attempt to cram everything that was required to get us ready and working at AC into just over a week.
After a mad 3 days of camps, we were given less than a full nights sleep before we were thrust into a large series of subject talks. Going through each subject group in turn, we had exactly five and a half hours before we had to finalize our subject choices. After much agonizing over Peace and Conflicts vs. Politics, consideration of Further Maths and the dilemma of Physics and ESS, I wound up walking into my academic consolation and leaving less than a minute later.
It turned out that if you don’t change any of your choices from what you initially submit in your preliminary form, all you do is walk in, say just that and then walk out again. It seemed that rather than having a massive conundrum and problems with the choices, I had breezed right past.
That was until I got an email requesting I visit the man in charge of our academic timetables. Read the rest of this entry »
At Atlantic College or rather the United World College of the Atlantic, first years have to arrive at school in mid August and second years about a week and a half earlier than us. In my opinion, the school had better have a good reason to justify that early arrival. Thankfully, they organized an induction program for us.
After a harrowing bus ride from Heathrow to the school, we were given a rowdy welcome with pots and pans, megaphones and lots of enthusiastic students. It was to be perfectly a little intimidating, especially when you know little to no one around you. Thankfully, we were quickly found by the others in hour house and ushered to our new accommodations. We were told by our second years that it was a school tradition that they carry our bags and luggage, but I suspect it was nothing more than a good excuse, or maybe they were brain washed by their second years as well.
Nevertheless, we quickly found our dorm and house and pretty soon when the second bus load of people came along, we were the ones crying out load and scaring the **** out of some other people. We had considered creating a tradition of having first years carry first years back to the house, but when we found our fellow and missing dormmate to be a tall lanky Dutch, we decided against it and instead grabbed and stole his luggage from his grasp.
Change is never an easy thing. And I’m not referring to that in a political sense as is normal on this blog, but rather on a more personal level. Going from somewhere safe and sound to somewhere foreign and unknown is a difficult step to make, especially when you are doing it alone. I had anticipated this to some extent, but it never really hit me until my plane had actually left Hong Kong when I thought to myself ‘This is it. I’m actually leaving. I’m actually on my own. No mom to go to. No friends to rely on. Just me against the world.’
Of course, that moment didn’t come until well after midnight. Although we boarded the plane at the Hong Kong International Airport on time, we got delayed for over an hour due to ‘busy Chinese airspace’. We couldn’t do much about it. After all, we’d already gotten on the plane. It wasn’t until 1:32 when we finally took off from the North Runway and I realized as I looked over lantau and disneyland that I was leaving, gone, my life never to be the same again.
Many strange things happened along the way. As we were inching across the tarmac and overtaken by about 10 planes, I saw a row of private jets parked a little way off from the terminal. None seemed particularly special except all of them had their own staircase to the entrance. It wasn’t until I came to the last one that I saw something familiar. Red and blue stripes and a load of stars. Written on the side of that private jet was ‘United States of America’.
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