Stewards Pooi Kei makes it to the semi-finals while defending champions are eliminated after a tough battle. Wong Yat-hei reports
Stewards Pooi kei College
Stewards Pooi Kei College knocked out defending champions TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College after a tough battle in the sixth round of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition.
The debate was held at Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School on December 1. The motion was: Hong Kong is taking care of its tangible cultural heritage.
Both schools used government policies and current issues to support their arguments.
Pooi Kei's debaters, who supported the motion, emphasised the government had taken steps to protect the city's cultural heritage by allocating more funds and setting up the Cultural and Heritage Commission.
Second speaker Matthew Lo Kin-wing said: 'The government's attitude towards cultural heritage has changed. It has done a lot to educate the public [about the importance of protecting our cultural heritage]. It is taking action now.'
Matthew Lo King-win in action
Kap Yan responded by saying the government is not doing enough and is putting profit over conservation.
Second speaker Sharon Cheung said: 'The demolition of Queen's Pier is a prime example of the government's [utter disregard] for cultural heritage. The government educates the public on cultural heritage, but when it comes to pulling down a building with cultural value, the public has no say. It is the government that has the power to decide.'
Pooi Kei's Roxana Li Hay-ton said she was thrilled they beat the defending champs. 'It was really close. We presented our opponents with a challenge. They had better organisation, but I think we did a better job with our presentation.'
Roxana Li makes her point
Roxana said their coach expected them to enter the semi-finals - and now they have to deliver.
'This win has certainly boosted our confidence and we hope to go further than the semi-finals,' she said.
Adjudicator Perry Bayer, native English-speaking teacher at CCC Ming Kei College, saw a huge improvement in both teams compared to the previous rounds. 'The debate was fantastic and of a very high standard. I am deeply impressed. Debaters on both sides were able to give strong rebuttals and had great interaction with the crowd,' he said.
Bayer was especially impressed with the performance of Kap Yan's first speaker, Amanda Lam.
Amanda Lam in action
'She speaks like a legislative councillor in a meeting ... maybe some day we will see her in Legco. Her rebuttals are very strong and she is able to use good examples to support her point,' he said.
The competition has entered a crucial stage, with eight teams battling for a place in the semi-finals. With Pooi Kei already through to the last four, three spots are still up for grabs, and some fascinating battles are in store for debating fans.