The great debaters

The great debaters

Two strong rivals are preparing to square off in a great argument - the Nesta-SCMP grand finals

The stage is set for a great argument: in the grand finals of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College will face off against Ying Wa College.

In the semi-finals on February 16, Kap Yan defeated Hong Kong Chinese Women's Club College. The schools met at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui, with more than 180 students and teachers in attendance.

The motion of the debate was "Hong Kong is taking care of its elderly", with Chinese Women's Club taking the affirmative and Kap Yan the negative. The debate was adjudicated by three native-English speaking teachers: Perry Bayer from CCC Ming Kei College, Tom Derbyshire of Stewards Pooi Kei College and Barbara Robson of St Antonius Girls' College.

Bayer praised both teams for their excellent preparation. "All of them did a great job rebutting and showed that they knew the topic well," he said. But the adjudicators felt the negative side was stronger in delivery and better able to connect with the audience.

"The difference between a good debater and a very good debater is the delivery," Derbyshire said. "A very good debater is able to get the audience to believe what he or she is saying."

The negative side argued that the government was not doing enough: medical services are far from sufficient since the elderly must wait extremely long periods for treatment. Similarly, the waiting period for housing is very long. And the lack of a pension scheme created many woes for the city's elderly, they argued.

The third speaker for the affirmative, Sharon Shiao Wing-yan, a Form Five student, argued that the lack of a pension scheme was due to the low tax rate, but this was not well accepted by the adjudicators.

Bayer said, "Saying the government is not able to afford pensions is like handing a loaded gun to the negative side."

Peony So Sin-man, a Form Six student and the second speaker for the negative side, was named the Best Speaker. Bayer said, "Peony was able to make use of strong emotional words to impact the audience. She also made very good use of gestures."

The Grand Final Debate of the 11th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition will be held from 4.45pm to 6.45pm on Tuesday, March 8, at the Academic Community Hall at Hong Kong Baptist University in Kowloon Tong.

Those wishing to attend please contact co-ordinator Stan Dyer, at debating@nesta.hk. The motion is that the "tiger mother" approach is a good way to bring up teenagers in Hong Kong.

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.

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