War of words over reality TV

War of words over reality TV

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Wong Yat-hei
Ying Wa debaters Michael Yu Siu-man (right), Alex Leung and Ryan Ho won the fifth round of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition. Photos: Wong Yat-hei

Ying Wa College wins the latest Nesta-SCMP face-off, writes Wong Yat-hei

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Wong Yat-hei

Home team Ying Wa College defeated HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School in the fifth round of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition on November 26.

The schools argued the motion 'Watching age-group-approved reality television shows is a good way for teenagers to learn about human relationships'.

Ying Wa, which took the against position, argued reality shows did not reflect reality at all. The team maintained the shows were edited for dramatic effect and did not reflect the truth about human relationships.

'Reality shows are carefully edited for dramatic effect,' said Ying Wa sixth-former Alex Leung Kwan-yat.

'They are drama under the camouflage of reality. They do not present the whole picture so they are not a good way to learn about human relationships.'

HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School countered that reality television shows were not as predictable as soap operas, making them entertaining and good to learn from.

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Asia Lee, debating for the HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School's team.

Wong Cho Bau speaker Calvin Lee said reality television was healthy, family programming.

'It brings positive values to viewers,' he argued, citing the case of American Idol, which he said showed that hard work pays off.

Despite losing the debate, Wong Cho Bau made a spirited argument, and more than 10 students from the school made the trip to Ying Wa to support the debaters.

Jim Kapernaros, native English-speaking teacher at Lions College and adjudicator of the debate, said he thought both sides did a wonderful job in terms of their use of the language and their arguments.

'Both teams are to be congratulated for their performances,' he said.

'They were able to present their arguments with examples and explain their points of view clearly. The range of vocabulary and expressions used was also impressive. In the end, I decided to go with the against side because I think that they did a better job of addressing the audience.'

Ying Wa debater Ryan Ho Chi-wai said his team had spent a lot of time brainstorming.

'We wanted to make sure we had a complete understanding of the topic,' he said.

'We decided to classify television shows in terms of good entertainment or a good way to learn and bad entertainment. We built our arguments on those grounds.'

The Ying Wa debaters said they realised the importance of having strong evidence and being able to present it clearly.

'We spent a lot of time doing research and collecting evidence to support our point of view,' said Ryan.

'After that, we had to think of ways to present the information in a manner that could be easily understood by the audience.'


If you'd like to enter a team in the next Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition, which starts in January, contact Debating Co-ordinator Stan Dyer at debating@nesta.hk

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