Debate contest nears peak

Debate contest nears peak

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Dennis Ng, of semi-final winners Stewards Pooi Kei College, was very pleased with the performance of his team in front of a 200-strong crowd. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Semi-finalists speak on green energy and the economy in front of a large crowd, writes Wong Yat-hei

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Stewards Pooi Kei College
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Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School

Stewards Pooi Kei College defeated Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School in the second semi-final of the Nesta-SCMP Inter-school Debating Competition earlier this week.

The contest, jointly organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post, is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. It was held on Tuesday at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui. The winner will meet HKMA David Li Kwok Po College in the final next month.

The two schools debated on the motion: "Boosting green energy production is a win-win solution for problems in the economy and environment." Hoi Ping argued in favour of the motion while Stewards Pooi Kei took the negative side.

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Cherry Kwan, of Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School

Adjudicators felt Hoi Ping was not able to define key terms such as "green energy" and "win-win situation" clearly, allowing the opposition to take their argument apart.

Judge and teacher Jeff Bell said: "The affirmative [team] was not able to narrow down the definition of key terms, while the negative [side] made use of solid examples to strengthen their argument."

Karen Margetts, another teacher on the judging panel, thought both teams did a good job presenting their arguments. "All the debaters spoke clearly, at a good pace and in a convincing tone," she said. "They were also able to make use of questions to make their arguments more persuasive."

She gave the edge to Stewards Pooi Kei because she felt they were the more cohesive team. "The debaters on the negative team were able to reinforce what their teammates said. They displayed great teamwork and presentation skills."

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Roxana Li from Stewrads Pooi Kei College

Perry Bayer, another teacher-adjudicator, said both teams should cite sources when using statistics and facts to make their arguments more credible. The debate attracted a crowd of more than 200, including students, teachers and debaters from other schools.

Dennis Ng, of Steward Pooi Kei, said he was very pleased with his team's performance. "It was the first time we had spoken in front of such a large audience. We were able to relax and put on our best performance. We will try our best to win [the final]."

Dennis said being on the negative side had originally been a slight disadvantage, but the failure of the climate conference in Copenhagen helped their argument. "Our team was able to pick up a lot of evidence from there to support our arguments," he said. "We stated that the economy is a higher priority."

The grand final will be held on March 5 at Baptist University's Shek Mun Campus in Sha Tin. If you'd like to watch, contact debate co-ordinator Stan Dyer at debating@nesta.hk

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