Pui Tak Canossian College
Ying Wa College is just one step away from the crown after defeating Pui Tak Canossian College in the semi-finals of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition.
The schools met last Wednesday at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui, debating on the motion "Hong Kong is taking care of animal rights". Ying Wa was the affirmative side.
Before the debate, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the 12th edition of the competition which features 128 teams, the largest-ever number of participants.
The debate was adjudicated by David Walker, native English teacher at Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School, Christine Xavier, native English teacher from Ying Wa Girls' School, and Mary Garland of South Island School.
Walker praised both teams, saying they had the courage to speak in front of a big crowd. "The debaters spoke with passion and power and were able to maintain good eye contact with the crowd. They made very good use of changes in pace and tone [during] their speeches," he said.
Ying Wa kicked off the debate with definitions of key terms in the motion which impressed the adjudicators. Garland said: "The definition was clear, reasonable and fair. It allowed the negative team to pick it up right away. Both teams had a strong team line and knew clearly where they were heading to."
Ying Wa suggested the Hong Kong government had put legislation and other measures in place to protect animal rights. Ying Wa's first speaker, Jonathan Chu Lok-ting, said: "The recent case of Hong Kong people condemning a sushi chain store for bidding for a bluefin tuna - which is an endangered species - showed that people care about animals. More and more restaurants are also taking shark-fin soup off their menu."
Pui Tak fought back, saying the laws on animal protection are outdated and Hong Kong is the global trading centre for shark fins.
In response, Ying Wa admitted there are flaws in the current legal system, but they said the government is doing its best to protect animals.
The school's third speaker, Martin Ho Pak-lam, said: "Limited resources have made it impossible to protect all animals but Hong Kong is leading the way in Asia in terms of animal protection legislation. Unlike Hong Kong, it is legal to consume dog meat on the mainland, while the Japanese won't be breaking any laws if they eat dolphin meat."
Martin, a Form Six student, was named the best speaker.
In the final, Ying Wa will take on the winner of the debate between Hong Kong Chinese Women's Club College and TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College.
In the second semi-final on February 16, the two schools will tackle the motion, "Hong Kong is taking care of its elderly", with Chinese Women's Club as the affirmative side.
The grand final will be held on March 8 at Hong Kong Baptist University.
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.