CUHKFAA Chan Chun Ha Secondary School and Po Kok Secondary School battled in the second round of the 13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition. The schools debated the motion: "Hong Kong is a great place to live." Chan Chun Ha argued for the motion and Po Kok was against it.
The debate took place on May 7 at Chan Chun Ha and was adjudicated by Wendy Ng from Po Leung Kuk 1984 College.
The schools raised a range of points to try to convince the audience of their side of the argument. The affirmative said one advantage of Hong Kong is the 12 years of free education, but the negative argued there are fundamental issues with the education system, which focuses mostly on memorisation.
When the affirmative was challenged about the expensive yet poor living conditions in Hong Kong, they responded that rents charged to public housing tenants is affordable, and overall property prices are manageable. But the opposition was not convinced.
"Hong Kong is a class-based society. The rich can afford a good education and live in a good environment but the majority of the people are struggling to make ends meet," rebutted the third speaker for the negative, Form Five student Ben Chan Chi-yuen. "University places are highly competitive and there are few jobs for non-degree holders. Even those who have jobs receive low pay."
The affirmative also failed to address attacks on the city's pollution and income disparity, which led to their defeat. "It was a tough decision. The affirmative had good rebuttals and presentation; the negative had better time management and stronger arguments," said Ng. "I gave the edge to the negative by a slight margin of three points."
The adjudicator thought the first and third speaker for the affirmative were nervous, and neither first speaker provided a clear team line.
The second speaker for the affirmative earned praise for her strong rebuttals, but Ng said she didn't manage her time well. "I think she spent too much time rebutting and left too little time for presenting her own arguments. But she is a confident speaker and I enjoyed listening to her," said Ng.
Ben was named the best speaker. "He spoke in a persuasive tone. He had strong arguments and good time management," said Ng.
The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.