POCA Wong Siu Ching Secondary School edged out Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School (CSWCSS) by just one point in the second round of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition. They tackled the motion "Hong Kong is taking care of mainland immigrants arriving here since 2006".
The debate took place on May 11 at CSWCSS, with Wong Siu Ching taking the negative stance.
Adjudicator Amanda Chapman, English teacher from Ying Wa College and chairwoman of the Native English-Speaking Teachers' Association (Nesta), praised both teams. "I am impressed with the research, the way debaters put their arguments together and the teamwork. I take my hat off to you," she said.
Jerry Cheung Shing-ho, the first speaker from the affirmative side CSWCSS, gave an emotional speech drawn from personal experience.
"I am a new immigrant who arrived in 2008. I took up adaptation courses in the community centre to learn English and local culture and was able to adapt to life here. I believe that Hong Kong offers equal opportunities for new immigrants," the Form Four student said.
The third speaker, Terry Cheung Long-chin, a sixth-former, said: "The movie Night and Fog [Tin Shui Wai dik ye yu mo] inspires locals to think about hardships faced by new immigrants. We need to be realistic about helping new immigrants."
Faced with a list of pro-immigrant policies put forward by the affirmative side, Wong Siu Ching fought back by questioning their effectiveness.
The second speaker for the negative side, Nicole Choi Ka-hsuan, a Form Five student, attacked the opposing team's argument on equal opportunities by pointing out that new immigrants received lower wages than Hongkongers and 86 per cent of surveyed locals admitted discriminating against them.
In the end, Wong Siu Ching grabbed victory by just one point. Terry Cheung Long-chin of CSWCSS was named best speaker.
The contest is organised by Nesta and the South China Morning Post.