First-timers show their skills in debate over services for the disabled, writes Wong Yat-hei
HKMA David Li Kwok Po College beat Ying Wa College to enter the final of the 10th Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition earlier this week. It was an impressive performance by HKMA who are taking part in the contest for the first time.
The semi-final was held on Wednesday at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui. The motion was: 'Hong Kong is taking care of people with disabilities.' Ying Wa took the affirmative position, while HKMA argued against the motion.
HKMA's Cherry Tung was named best speaker for her strong rebuttals and convincing speech.
HKMA's Cherry Tung
'Despite participating for the first time in the Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, our team was confident that we would win,' said HKMA team member Vivek Manglani. 'We knew Ying Wa was a really strong opponent. It has a very famous debating team. There was definitely pressure on us and we are happy to have won.'
During their research, HKMA debaters said they were shocked to find there was so little support for people with disabilities in Hong Kong. 'The situation in Hong Kong for disabled people is surprisingly bad. There is huge room for improvement. This debate has motivated me to do more volunteer work to help them,' Vivek said.
HKMA's Virpal Kaur
Tanya Kempston, one of three adjudicators at the debate, said the performance by both teams provided 'great, early evening entertainment'.
'I see a wonderful future in public speaking for these young speakers, one day perhaps in the Legislative Council,' Kempston said. 'Both teams debated intelligently, carefully and confidently. The debaters did a great job in having eye contact with the audience and only referred to their cards briefly.'
the Ying Wa College team
Adjudicator Karen Margetts said both teams did a good job researching government policies and the situation regarding the disabled. However, she advised them to focus more on the human aspects. 'With the words 'taking care' being included in the motion, I expected to see teams mentioning volunteers, families and community efforts in taking care of people with disabilities. I would have liked to hear more about the human aspects in the debate,' Margetts said.
Before the debate, representatives of the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association (Nesta), the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), senior coaches and adjudicators from secondary schools and universities took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce HKJC's sponsorship of the competition and launch the 11th competition.
(From left) debating co-ordinator Stan Dyer; Manager, Public Affairs (Corporate Services), HKJC, Catherine Choi; Nesta chairperson David Stead; Deputy Editor of the Post, Cliff Buddle; and Young Post Editor, Susan Ramsay, at the launch ceremony
In the final, HKMA will take on Stewards Pooi Kei College or Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School, who will meet in the second semi-final on Tuesday.