Buddhist Tai Kwong Chi Hong College and Concordia Lutheran School went head to head in the Division Three semi-finals of the 13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition. Tai Kwong Chi Hong won the debate which was based on the motion: "Space is the final frontier."
The team from Tai Kwong Chi Hong comprised Form Five students Steven Lo Chun-er and Tony Lam Tsun-hei, and Yeung Tsung-yu, from Form Six. They agreed with the motion.
Form Six students Mila Pang Hiu-kam, Jodu Chung Kit-sze and Duke Chan, representing Concordia, argued against the motion.
The debate took place on Monday at CCC Mei Kei College. The adjudicators were Perry Bayer, from Mei Kei, Elizabeth Peterson from Po Kok Secondary School, and Jeffery Bell from HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School. They agreed that both teams did a good job challenging one another's arguments. They said the debate made for an entertaining and hard-fought battle of wits.
The affirmative side argued that space exploration projects have brought great benefits to medicine and technology. The negative side countered that much of Earth, like the bottom of oceans, had yet to be explored.
In the end, the adjudicators decided to give the edge to Tai Kwong Chi Hong. They said the team presented a clearer strategy and better understanding of the motion.
"The affirmative's team line, 'Knowledge is power', was clear and easy to follow," Bell said. "I think the negative's team line was too long and complicated. The affirmative side was very clever with the motion.
"When the negative suggested that the ocean is also a place to explore, they said both space and ocean exploration can be done together, which is a clever trick to use in a debate."
Peterson reminded speakers to state clearly what areas each speaker is going to cover at the beginning of the debate.
Bayer told students not to rely too much on note cards. "Many debaters had prepared rebuttals for the debate. Try not to read the cards but speak from the heart."
The third speaker from Concordia, Duke, was named the best speaker of the debate.
In the other semi-final, the team of Form Six students from Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School - Vicky Lo Yuen-yue, Ducktree Fung Tak-tse and Renee Tong Pui-yau - lost to Wendy Lee Kwan-yee (Form Five), Ty Shun Chun-pan (Form Three), and Tanzela Qoser (Form Six), from SFTA Yung Yau College.
The Division Three final between Tai Kwong Chi Hong and Yung Yau will take place on December 4 at the Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui. The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.