Debating the decisions

From in《The Student Standard》15 April, 2010

Debating the decisions

The quarter-final of the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition was held on 27 March. Eight schools’ debating teams gathered at Raimondi College to fight for a semi-final place.

MARYMOUNT Secondary School and La Salle College were the first two schools to book their place in the semi-finals. The early session of debates developed into heated battles with Diocesan Girls’ losing out to Marymount Secondary School. The two schools went head-to-head on the motion ‘The government’s decision not to go ahead with the reconstruction project on Wing Lee Street does more good than harm’.

Right after that, La Salle College knocked out St Paul’s College when the schools debated the motion ‘The government should impose a mandatory annual medical check-up for professional drivers’.

In the second session, South Island School came out on top against Stewards Pooi Kei College, followed by Diocesan Boys’ School winning a hard-earned victory against Good Hope School when they argued the affirmative side of the motion ‘Hong Kong should establish a competition law’.

South Island School and Stewards Pooi Kei College debated the motion ‘Government allocation of land for private universities development brings more good than harm’ resulting in a brilliant and engaging performance.

The teams demonstrated excellent logical thinking skills as well as superior debating skills. Although Stewards Pooi Kei College, the opposition team, cited a great number of local and overseas examples, the affirmative team managed to fend off their articulate arguments with quick responses, brilliant interrogative skills and straight-to-the-point attacks.

Great learning experience
DEBATERS from the South Island School team presented their points in an orderly manner with great confidence in a powerful display. The three-minute speech made by each debater was a culmination of days of hard work.

“The topic is very technical… We had to consult a lot of documents and we had to do a whole week of research just for these few minutes,” South Island School’s Tiffany Chung told The Student Standard after the match. “The debate was very engaging on both sides… we tried to keep calm and focused on the issues of the debate while not getting ourselves wrapped up in emotions.”

Her team’s captain Paul Lau ended the debate with a brilliant summarising speech. Picking out flaws from their opponents’ arguments, he rained down on them a series of questions to weaken their spirit. With great confidence and charisma, Lau began his speech: “Today at the start of the debate I asked a very simple question. With the government allocation of land, a policy that has already been implemented, were the effects good or bad? On one side we told you it was good… first they [opposition team] told us we should support existing public universities. Then they said we should support existing private universities like Shue Yan. We’re not sure what exactly they want to support.”

Ivan Siu, South Island School’s first speaker, also commented after their win that “there was much interaction between the two teams. It was probably a pretty entertaining performance to the audience. Both the opposition team and us did a pretty good job, I think, although we all have different debating styles – some fast, some slow and some aggressive. And I think these are what we debaters should have learnt”.

A good Liberal Studies activity
QUITE a number of students who took part agreed that the debates are great for Liberal Studies, just like the slogan of the competition says: The best Liberal Studies activity for the talented.

Shruti Agarwal, captain of the Good Hope School team said: “We had to spend a few days making sure we actually understood the topic. But now at the end of the debate we can successfully talk about competition law.”

Stewards Pooi Kei College’s captain Dennis Ng said, “We learnt about the private university issue before the debate but we didn’t really give much thought to it. We didn’t even have a stance on it. But the competition forced us to have a stance and gave us a chance to think deeper.” Agreeing with what he said, teammate Roxana Li pointed out that debates like these also help them to think on both sides of an issue.