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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
After 4 months of hard work and 4 rounds of debates in that period of time, the field of teams fro the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition has been whittled down to just 4 teams.
Marymount Secondary School hope to make history with their first Grand Final appearance in recent times. La Salle College will try to make history repeat itself with their 2nd Grand Final appearance in as many years. If they succeed, South Island School will make their 3rd Grand Final appearance in 5 years. Not to be outdone, Diocesan Boys School who won the Chinese Section last year, will hope to repeat the feat this year in the English section.
The Sing Tao Draw
The decision as to who makes the Grand Final will fall onto the hands of yet unknown adjudicators. What we do know is that on 17th April 2010 the 4 teams will face-off at Ying Wa Girls School. The details of the 2 contest are :
After two months of battling through a field of almost 60 teams, the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition has be whittled down to 4 teams who are still in the running for the cash prize, the championship amongst other awards. This following the quarter-finals at Raimondi College.
The winners are highlighted in BOLD
Group A : Diocesan Girls School vs. Marymount Secondary School
Group B : La Salle College vs. St. Paul’s College
Group C : South Island School vs. Stewards Pooi Kei College
Group D : Good Hope School vs. Diocesan Boys School
The Semi-Finals are as follows
Semi-Final 1 : Marymount Secondary School vs. La Sallee College
Semi-Final 2 : South Island School vs. Diocesan Boys School
The winner of the semi-final will progress to the grand final.
After two month of battling through a field of almost 60 teams, the 25th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition has be whittled down to 8 teams who are still in the running for the cash prize, the championship amongst other awards.
The Quarter Final will be held on the morning of the 26th March 2010 at Raimondi College, 2 Robinson Road from 9:00 am to 1:20 pm
The debates are as follows :
Group A : Diocesan Girls School vs. Marymount Secondary School : The government’s decision not to go ahead with the reconstruction project of Wing Lee Street does more good than harm
Group B : La Salle College vs. St. Paul’s College : The government should impose a mandatory annual medical check-up for professional drivers
Group C : South Island School vs. Stewards Pooi Kei College : Government allocation of land for private universities development brings more good than harm
Group D : Good Hope School vs. Diocesan Boys School : Hong Kong should establish a competition law
The first team is affirmative and the second team negative.
The winner of Group A will debate the winner of Group B to fight for a spot in the Grand Final. The same will occur with the winner of Group C against the winner of Group D.
It has been a bad habit of the South Island School Debating team, but we always seem to manage to debate against government policy or public consensus. In fact, we’ve been opposition for the past two years straight in the Sing Tao Debating Competition. Recently, we competed in the Bar Association debate competition, arguing against removal of Double Jeopardy, and falling victim to emotional stories and that completely sidelined logical argumentation of debating. Unspurisingly, as is now preditable by now, something pops us a while later that totally kills or opposes our cases. Here it is :
The Law Reform Commission’s Double Jeopardy Sub-committee is seeking public views on its proposal to relax the rule against double jeopardy in exceptional circumstances.
The existing rule prevents a person who has been acquitted of an offence from being tried again for the same offence.
According to the consultation paper released today, where “fresh and compelling” evidence subsequently comes to light in respect of a serious offence, or where the original acquittal is the result of perjury, perversion of the course of justice or the like, the rule against double jeopardy should be relaxed.
Sub-committee chairman Paul Shieh said the existing rule provides certainty for the individual who has been tried, but it is unsatisfactory from the community’s point of view when it allows a person to escape justice and punishment when new and compelling evidence pointing to his guilt has emerged subsequent to the acquittal.
“Such situations may arise where, for instance, DNA evidence is uncovered, or where an individual admits his guilt after acquittal safe in the knowledge that he can no longer be prosecuted. Public concern in a number of other jurisdictions about the effects of a strict application of the rule has led to proposals for, or the adoption of, changes in the law.”
Power to quash an acquittal
The sub-committee recommends empowering the court to make an order to quash an acquittal and direct a retrial where:
* there is subsequent revelation of “fresh and compelling” evidence against an acquitted person in relation to a serious offence of which he was previously acquitted; or
* his acquittal is “tainted” (that is, the acquittal involves some interference with, or perverting of, the administration of justice, such as perjury or interference with witnesses, in the previous proceedings which contributed to his acquittal).
A number of safeguards have been incorporated to ensure that the power to quash an acquittal will not be abused and that the scope of the relaxation will be narrowly tailored to the legitimate purpose of pursuing and convicting the guilty. The safeguards include:
* the proposed reform will apply only to serious offences;
* the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be needed before law-enforcement agencies can reinvestigate an acquittal case;
* only the Court of Appeal will have the jurisdiction to quash an acquittal and order a retrial;
* new evidence which could have been found by law-enforcement agencies acting with reasonable diligence will not meet the threshold of the “fresh and compelling evidence” exception;
* before quashing an acquittal and ordering a retrial, the Court of Appeal must be satisfied that it is in the “interests of justice” to do so;
* prohibitions on publication apply to protect the identity of the accused to prevent prejudicial publicity from affecting the fairness of any retrial; and
* the prosecution will have only one opportunity to apply for a retrial in respect of any particular case that originally resulted in an acquittal.
Appeal mechanism continue
“The recommendations do not concern the quashing of a conviction by way of appeal. The existing law in Hong Kong already provides for procedures and mechanisms for a convicted person to appeal against his conviction, and for the court’s power, in some circumstances, to order a re-trial following the quashing of a conviction.
“The recommendations concern only the quashing of an acquittal, which the courts are presently powerless to do because of the rule against double jeopardy,” Mr Shieh said.
Click here for more details of the proposal. Comments and suggestions on any issues discussed in the consultation paper should reach the commission’s secretariat by May 31.
In addition to WSDC, both the local competition held matches with the 3rd prelim of the Sing Tao and the Grand Final of the Bar Association Debating Competition.
The 16 debates of the 3rd preliminary round were held on the 27th Feb 2010. South Island School progressed with a well deserved victory over Island School, landing itself a Quarterfinal spot. DGS, DBS, La Salle and St. Paul’s College all won their respective matches, making it into the Quarterfinals. The Quarterfinals will coincidentally be held on the 27th March 2010.
In the Bar Association Debating Competition, the DGS vs. SIS Grand Final was also held on the 27th at Hong Kong University. The lively debate engaged on the relative benefits and problems of double jeopardy and whether a second trial should be permitted. Ultimately, despite the close debate, DGS won 3-0 with summarizes Jody Luk (DGS) awarded Best Speaker.
With regards to the other international competition the WIDPSC 2010, the Hong Kong trials took place a few days before WSDC at South Island School. The Hong Kong World Individuals Debating and Public Speaking Championship team that is bound for Lithuania is :