'Keep homes for Hongkongers'

'Keep homes for Hongkongers'

Better organisation and a closer connection with the audience wins the day for CSS

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(Left to right) Hayley Anne Thomas, Andrea Hui and Gordon Choi Ga-chun of Creative Secondary School (affirmative).
(Left to right) Hayley Anne Thomas, Andrea Hui and Gordon Choi Ga-chun of Creative Secondary School (affirmative).
Photo: Nora Tam/SCMP

Last September the Hong Kong government announced a pilot programme to implement the "Hong Kong land for Hong Kong people" project on two land parcels in the Kai Tak development area.

The idea behind the project has earned the support of political parties and members of the public.

Whether Hong Kong land should be for Hong Kong people has been a much-discussed topic.

Debaters from Creative Secondary School (CSS) convinced the adjudicator that Hong Kong land should be for Hong Kong people in a debate on the motion "Only Residents Should be Permitted to Buy Housing in Hong Kong".

The debate was a Round-Three contest in the 14th Nesta-SCMP debating competition between CSS and a rival team from St Paul's School (Lam Tin).

The CSS team, arguing for the motion, were Gordon Choi Ga-chun, of Form Four, Andrea Hui (Form Three), and Hayley Thomas (Form Four).

The team from St Paul's, arguing against the motion, were Carol Law Ka-yin (Form Four), Parmeet Kaur (Form Three) and Jennifer Chan King-sheung (Form Four).

The affirmative side raised evidence that housing prices in Hong Kong have skyrocketed, making it impossible for locals to own a home. Limiting foreign investment in the property market, however, can help prices return to affordable levels, they said.

The team also condemned greedy foreign investors for seeking profit at the expense of Hong Kong residents.

The negative side rebutted, by saying that not allowing foreigners to invest in property in Hong Kong would discourage people from visiting the city, which would reduce tourism revenue.

However, this point was shot down by the affirmative side, who dismissed the connection between housing needs and tourism. "People do not need to buy a house in Hong Kong in order to visit," said Hayley.

Adjudicator Ian Sanderson, debating coach from TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College, gave the edge to the affirmative side because they had a more organised argument and connected better with the audience.

"The second and third speakers from the affirmative side made good connections with the crowd," he said. "Andrea, the second speaker, made good use of rhetorical questions."

However, the debate saw five out of six speakers going over the time limit. Sanderson advised speakers to prepare more than one version of their speech so they could switch to the shorter version if their time was running short.

"Remember that anything said after time is up is not counted. The adjudicator will stop listening," he said.

The debate was held at Creative Secondary School, in Tseung Kwan O, on January 31.

The contest, which is sponsored by The Edge Learning Centre, is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.

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