The latest Nesta-SCMP face-off sides with tradition, writes Timothy Chui
Stewards Pooi Kei College (SPKC) edged out home team Kwok Tak Seng Secondary School (KTSSS) in the fourth round of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition earlier this week. The motion was: fung shui is a waste of time and money.
Both teams performed well in the 25-minute, three-round contest on Wednesday, which was won by SPKC who argued that fung shui is a philosophical pillar of Chinese culture. KTSSS' stand that fung shui was simply repackaged common sense did not win them the debate, but team anchor Vincent Tso claimed the runner-up prize in the best speaker category.
KTSSS team (from left) Vincent Tso, Frederick To and Philbert Poon
Team anchor Dennis Ng Wai-hei of SPKC won the best speaker award. Dennis' team argued strongly that fung shui has been a great influence throughout Chinese history and culture. Teammate and first speaker Ronny Au Long-yee pointed out its legacy from room layout to city planning, while taking the moral high ground that no one should condemn another's belief.
Second speaker Matthew Lo Kin-wing argued that fung shui led to the preservation of forests on the mainland, adding that its philosophy of balance and harmony was a welcoming message in a world ravaged by war and violence.
The final blow was delivered by Dennis in his team's final delivery, which was 'very destructive of the negative's case', according to debate adjudicator Perry Bayer, a teacher at CCC Ming Kei College.
'The affirmative's job is to build up the case and the negatives really have to destroy it. They [SPKC] had a good destroyer in Dennis. Very folksy, very dynamic when he came out,' Bayer said.
Dennis Ng (below left) gives the winning speech
Putting forward the best argument for KTSSS' affirmative team was second speaker Frederick To, who argued that a lack of regulation led to abuse. He pointed out that fung shui 'master' Tony Chan Chun-chuen had managed to wheedle eccentric billionaire widow Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum out of HK$2 billion.
Frederick also mentioned former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's aversion to living in Government House for fung shui reasons, forcing taxpayers to cover his daily commute to work. Team member and first speaker Philbert Poon likened the practice to witchcraft, adding the Bank of China's fung shui-tolerant architecture had led to taxpayers paying an expensive landscaping bill in the form of trees to deflect 'evil energies'.