Sing Tao

Year in Review

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.

My home away from home - Morgannwg


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.

When one door closes, another opens. And so in late August, I transitioned many miles, from HK to the UK to begin my studies at UWC AC

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.

Top Posts of the Year

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.

10. Sing Tao Grand Finals 2010

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.

Honorary Mentions

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

Island School Debate History

Island School are historically known to have been quite good at debating, to put it lightly. Lead by the legendary Mr. Chris Forse who was also a driving force behind the current Hong Kong Model United Nations. Island School are the first team to win a “trio of victories” in 5 years with exactly one year between each win. (the other school is South Island School) Island School won the Sing Tao Debating Competition in the academic years 85-86, 87-88 and 89-90. Although the school’s debating victories have dwindled in the past few years, its powerful legacy still remains in the record books.
Recently, while researching, I stumbled across the following excerpts written for the Island School Alumni Yearbook by the man himself, Mr. Chris Forse, detailing Island School’s debating success in the 1980s and the 1990s.

(more…)

25 Sing Tao Semi-Final 37 March 2010

Sing Tao Grand Finals 2010

25 Sing Tao Semi-Final 37 March 2010

Sing Tao Semi-Final (Same team as Grand Final)

As night began to fall on the 4th of May, the conclusion to yet another six month campaign for the Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition Championship, the biggest of its kind in Hong Kong, remained up in the air. The stage was set, the lights switched on and the seats filled at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, as a young South Island School and a confident looking La Salle College strolled onto the stage with Diocesan Boys School as chairperson and timekeeper. In what would turn out to be the youngest and most contentious finals of recent times, history was to be made.

On the one hand, La Salle College aimed to become only the 5th school to win back-to-back championships and successfully defend the trophy they had won last year. Interestingly, there were three new faces on stage led by national team member Griffith Cheng as captain. The team remained unchanged from the semi-finals with Nicky Anto and Donald Lam as 1st and 2nd speaker respectively.
The proposition South Island School also featured national team member Tiffany Chung as 1st speaker. Ivan Siu returned as 2nd speaker in the team led by captain Paul Lau (that’s me!) who holds the record as the youngest Grand Final participant whether as floor-speaker (Year 7, Primary 6) or as a debater (Year 9, Form 2). Despite being the only member of the 2008 SIS team, the entire squad was looking to recapture the cup that had been lost last year to become only the 2nd school to grab three championships by winning every other year. Following Island School’s victory in the 2nd, 4th and 6th edition, a win for SIS would cement its position as amongst the best debating teams in Hong Kong after winning the 21st and 23rd edition.

The two teams clashed on the motion that “The FIFA World Cup matches should be broadcast live, on free to air television, free of charge”. The ensuing battle had SIS arguing for the status quo citing the low coverage of Pay TV and need to widen access to the FIFA World Cup on a local and global scale. The opposition, coached by national team coach Greg Forse, argued against a change in policy, nothing the ineffectiveness of a new policy. They also looked at the availability and culture of public viewing in Hong Kong alone as reasons why people didn’t need free to air World Cup broadcasts, especially when it would bankrupt FIFA. SIS countered in the free debate, arguing that FIFA hadn’t gone bankrupt despite having free-to-air as a majority of TV broadcasts in 2002, an event that LSC’s captain Griffith called an exception. In his conclusion, Griffith returned to his opening statement, appearing to challenge the definition arguing that the motion implied some form of change. In the debate’s last speech, Paul quoted FIFA”s contract with broadcasters saying that the proposition had correctly argued for the motion and the status quo.

(more…)

Schools square up

From http://www.singtao.com/debate/index_e_oldnews025.html in《The Student Standard》10 May, 2010
Written by Andrew Ho

Over 170 teams, six months, countless hours and hundreds of debate motions went into this year’s Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition. But there could only be one winner. South Island School defeated defending champions La Salle College in the final showdown.

THE final of the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition was held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai last Tuesday. The final motion was: The FIFA World Cup matches should be broadcast live on free-to-air TV stations free of charge. The affirmative team was South Island School and the opposition was defending champions La Salle College.

At first glance many thought the motion wasn’t even debatable as, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to watch World Cup matches for free? The defending champions, charged with opposing the motion, had a serious fight on their hands if they were going to repeat their triumph of last year. Both teams convincingly delivered their messages.

(more…)

La Salle and SIS to compete in Grand Final

From http://www.singtao.com/debate/index_e09_006.html in《The Student Standard》21 April, 2010

La Salle and SIS to compete in Grand Final

The finalists for the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition have now been confirmed after South Island School and La Salle College beat their opponents in the semi-finals stage last Saturday.

  La Salle College and South Island School will enter the Grand Final of the competition on May 4 after triumphant victories over their opponents during the semi-finals stage held at Ying Wah College last Saturday.

  Both teams will enter the English Section of the Grand Final – to be held at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Wan Chai, on May 4 – to fight for the coveted title of the best English debating team in Hong Kong.

  The Hong Kong government’s policies were taken apart by the students in these semi-final debates. First up were La Salle College and Marymount Secondary School debating whether the government should relax the income limit for the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS).

(more…)

Sing Tao 2010 – Grand Final

2 teams remain standing after months of preparation, debates and speeches in the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition. After 3 rounds, the quarter finals and the semi final competitions, the teams that will progress into the Grand Final have been decided.

In the Semi Finals held today, La Salle College beat Marymount Secondary School on the motion ‘The government should relax the income limit for the Home Ownership Scheme’ 3-0 with Griffith Cheng snatching the Best Speaker award. South Island School beat Diocesan Boys School 2-1 on the motion that ‘The extension of repayment for the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme does more good than harm’. Paul Lau of SIS was the Best Speaker

This means the grand finals of the 25th Sing Tao Debating Competition will be between La Salle College and South Island School. La Salle will attempt to defend their title with the second consecutive championship, a feat completed only by 4 other schools. South Island School will attempt to become only the second team to win it 3 times in 5 years with exactly 1 year between each championship.

Affirmative : South Island School
Opposition : La Salle College

Grand Final

Grand Final Draw

Grand Final Tickets

This years Grand Final will again be held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium on the Tuesday 4th May, 2010. Interested parties can get tickets for the Grand Finals in the following methods.

(more…)