ESF pupils come up with the Baccalaureate goods

From the SCMP Jul 10, 2012

Of the few pupils who achieved perfect scores for the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams this year, one in 10 came from Hong Kong. Of the 109 students who achieved full scores of 45 marks on the global IB exams – considered one of the toughest pre-college exams in the world – at least 12 of the top achievers were from Hong Kong.

English Schools Foundation (ESF) students continued to achieve strong results this year, with the number of students achieving full marks increasing to nine from four last year. Local direct-subsidy schools the Diocesan Boys’ School and Creative Secondary School, each had one student get the full score in their first year administering the exams. Victoria Shanghai Academy also had one pupil with the top score.

“We are proud of the hard work we’ve put in,” said Deep Vaze, the only student from the ESF Island School to earn a perfect score. Vaze credited his score to the competitive and supportive atmosphere created by his teachers and classmates. He will be studying at Harvard University in September.

The other top scorers from ESF schools were Cindy Ling, Hedy Man Pui-ying, Rupert Phillips and Edward Tam Yuk-wang from King George V School; Calvin Po, Anahita Sharma and Ronald Yip from South Island School; and Sarah Chan from Sha Tin College.

Defending champions triumph again

From in《The Student Standard》26 May, 2011
Written by Jonathan Chong

South Island School beat Chinese International School to emerge victorious at the 26th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition (English Section) last Friday

THE Grand Final of the inter-school debating competition was held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium (伊利沙伯體育館) on May 20. The motion for the day was: ‘The MTR should withdraw the Fare Adjustment Mechanism’. The defending champions, South Island School (南島中學), were in favour, whereas Chinese International School (漢基國際學校) were against the motion.

  Tiffany Chung, the captain of South Island School, confidently strode up to the front of the stage in her black high-heeled shoes like a high-powered businesswoman and asked the audience, “How many of you took the MTR coming here today?” She was loud, forceful and jabbed her finger at the audience like an irate schoolmaster dealing with a naughty schoolboy.

We are the champions

From in《The Student Standard》22 May, 2008
Written by Wendy Wong

South Island School reclaims debating crown in exciting final, writes Wendy Wong
THE applause and cheers of than 1,500 students, teachers and parents were part of the reward as South Island School (SIS 南島中學) fulfilled its dream of recapturing the English debating crown it lost last year.

  South Island defeated Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School (SGSS筲箕灣官立中學) in the Grand Final of the 23rd Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition on May 16. Victory was doubly sweet because the team’s first speaker Paul Lau (劉俊文) – at 13 the youngest participant in the tournament – was named the competition’s best debater.

  Sixty schools took part in the annual tournament which was spread over five months. South Island said it was very happy to have won again.

  ”We feel great as it’s a really good and tough competition to win,” said Prakash Sanker, the team captain.

Dark horse pulls off an emphatic win

From in《The Student Standard》12 May, 2006

AFTER nearly six months of cut-and-thrust debating, the ultimate winner of the 21st Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition finally triumphed in the grand final on 5 May.

Rather a dark horse until the middle of this year’s championship, South Island School (SIS) crushed the dreams of Ying Wa Girls’ School, last year’s 1st runner-up, to triumph in the 2006 championship after the two-time defending champion St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong was knocked out in the preliminary round.

And the 2011 Sing Tao champion is…

And the Sing Tao champion is…

South Island School once again emerged victorious in the Grand Final of the 26th Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition, successfully defending their crown whilst also taking home the Best Speaker prize that eluded the team last year.

Proposing the motion that ‘the MTR should withdraw the Fare Adjustment Mechanism’, the South Island School debate team was lead by Captain Tiffany Chung, the only remaining member from SIS’s victorious team just one year earlier. Joining her on stage were two of last year’s floor speakers, Pavan Hegde and Saharsha Karki.

Listening to Children: A critique of a school-student relationship

My article from

Children should be seen but not heard

– 15th Century English Proverb

The old English proverb may have been around since the 15th Century, but just because it’s ‘tradition’ – a word whose meaning is itself unclear – doesn’t mean it’s a ‘tradition’ that should be upheld. Rather, like all other practices, it is something the each and every one of us should consider for ourselves. It essentially calls for children to make themselves presentable, but to keep quiet about their thoughts and opinions. For a lack of a better term, I would say this way of thinking is bollocks; or for our American friends, bullocks. The clearest case-study is the place where we spend almost a quarter of our day; or in the case of UWC AC which is a boarding school, all day; the school.

During my twelve years of education in four separate schools, I have seen a range of different approaches to student inputs in the way the school operates. True enough, student involvement at a primary level has little if any significance or effect. I would be the first to admit that I can’t even remember the issues that were brought up at Student Council while I was in primary school, despite me having represented my class for three of my four years there. Quite simply, the vast majority of students do not have the knowledge and ability to contribute meaningfully to the school’s operation when they are barely eleven. Certainly, having structures such as a Student Council is a hugely beneficial learning experience for students, but the reality of it is that there is little that they can contribute.

The thing that scares me is when this approach is extended into secondary schools. It’s easy to say that we are only one year older, twelve instead of eleven. But that creates a paradox where we will always be only one year older and never reach the imaginary level of mental capacity to take an active part in the school’s decision making process. No transition is ever smooth, and the process of growing up will take time, maturity will certainly not be ascertained overnight, but NONE of that means that we won’t reach the level needed to contribute meaningfully to the school management.

Student Councils are the most commonly cited avenues for student voice, but it isn’t and shouldn’t be the only forum. During my time at SIS, I was invited to interview potential new staff members for the posts as head of section, vice-principal and principal. That a student interview panel was even created is a commendable act that is testimony to how much further SIS has gone compared to other educational institutions. Whether our written comments were actually seriously considered is another question. On most occasions, the final decision was in line with our comments. However, I vividly recall one time when we voted heavily against a vice-principal candidate only to find out a few weeks later than he had been selected.
(more…) 3.0

[tweetmeme source=”@paullaucm” only_single=false]Today, reaches a new chapter in its life. There is a new visual look and all the pages have been updated with new information. This is the 3rd generation of after having gone through a second major revision recently.

In much the same way, my life is also undergoing a major revision with a version 3.0 soon to reappear. After Canada and Hong Kong, I’m now moving to the UK to further my high-school studies.

I am told that the internet connection and access in Southern Wales is poor. Despite this, will not die off. In fact, it will be an even greater unifying force. Though there will be fewer posts, a more personal dimension documentation my experience will join the current array of debating and general commentary on news issues of the time.

Happy Blogging,
Paul Lau (Website Owner, Creator & Subject)

ASDC 2010

[tweetmeme source=”@paullaucm” only_single=false]Not to be mixed up with the African Schools Debating Championships, the Asian Schools Debating Championships organized by De La Salle University have recently opened their invitation to participants.
I was part of a 9 member team that attended ASDC 2009 which despite the long, lengthy waiting, was an exceptional debating experience with as many debates as possible crammed into a day.

In keeping with the purpose of the ‘ASIAN’ Schools Debating Championships, amongst the only webpage completed at their website was the organizers plans for the ‘ASIAN HIGH SCHOOLS DEBATE COUNCIL’ ( which sets out further details. Perhaps after having strongly established ASDC as an important event, DLSU can begin to aid in the process of having the competition tour asia on a yearly basis, thereby expanding its reach and bringing different countries to the field.

Website :
Email :

From the organizers


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.


Schools square up

From 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.