In round six of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition division three debate, STFA Tam Pak Yu College matched up against Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School to tackle the motion "Hong Kong isn't doing enough to take care of its poor". Tam Pak Yu took the affirmative view and Sam Yuk the negative.
The debate took place last Tuesday at STFA Tam Pak Yu College, with Arianne Wassermann, an English teacher from CCC Kei Yuen College, and Michael Reeve, an English teacher from Fung Kai No. 1 Secondary School, as adjudicators.
Tam Pak Yu was given the edge because of its better presentation and stronger team line.
Wassermann praised Tam Pak Yu for being able to present statistics clearly. "The affirmative's first speaker, Alice Cho, gave good statistics and told of the high Gini coefficient and the widening wealth gap. The third speaker, Leonie Mak, gave a clear summary and clarified the team line, something that Sam Yuk wasn't able to do well," she said.
Reeve also said the affirmative team had a clearer strategy.
The negative team used the word "hope" often in their debate, providing a chance for the affirmative to attack their case. The first negative speaker, Kelly Chui, said Hong Kong is doing enough to tackle poverty, and hopes it can break out of the current situation.
Emily Mak, of the affirmative, rebutted: "Can 'hope' give one food and water?"
"Emily's rebuttal was really powerful. She had a really clear and confident delivery," said Wassermann.
Reeve suggested the negative side could have provided more numbers to support their case. "Kelly Chui said Hong Kong is a progressive city with no poverty. More statistics would have been better," he said.
Wassermann advised speakers to round off large figures to make the presentation smoother.
The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association (Nesta) and the South China Morning Post.
To join 140 other school teams in the 13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, e-mail Stan Dyer at email@example.com before the January 13 deadline. There are only a few places left.