A way with words

A way with words

Stewards Pooi Kei and Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce take honours in battle of the debaters

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Stewards' Sarah Tse, Isaac Sham and Natalie Cheung celebrate collecting the trophy.
Stewards' Sarah Tse, Isaac Sham and Natalie Cheung celebrate collecting the trophy.
Photos; Edward Wong/SCMP
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Stewards Pooi kei College

Students from Stewards Pooi Kei College proved they can come up with a good argument when they defeated CCC Kei Yuen College in the 14th NESTA-SCMP Debating Competition for Division 1A yesterday.

The topic was that young people in Hong Kong are growing up in a society that encourages negative attitudes towards people from the mainland.

CCC Kei Yuen College fifth formers Maxine Law Man-sum, Sakura Lee Ka-yee and Zachary Tong Chun agreed, while Stewards Pooi Kei College students Natalie Cheung Ka-yiu, Isaac Sham Tsz-hin and Sarah Tse Hiu-ching disagreed.

The Pooi Kei students challenged their opponents to prove that everyone in society was encouraging negative views of mainlanders.

It proved to be a very effective strategy because it was impossible to prove negativity in all cases.

Adjudicator City University professor Graeme Lang said Kei Yuen had take a risk by making "negativity breeds negativity" as their team theme. "The statement is not necessarily true, negativity can breed positivity," he said.

All speakers earned praise from the adjudicators for their confident presentation.

"All debaters listened and responded very well to the argument of their opponents," said teacher Tom Spencer, of Law Ting Pong Secondary School.

Sarah Tse of Stewards Pooi Kei was named the best speaker. "She demonstrated an ability to think on her feet," said adjudicator Eleanor Jones, a NET teacher.


Hoi Ping's champion debaters Tony Fung, Angel Li and Raymond Chung.

In Division 2A, Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School defeated Stewards Pooi Kei College to win the championship debating the same topic.

Saturnia Hung Sze-long, Michelle Lo Yi-to and Sherry Au Mei-yan of Stewards agreed society encouraged negativity towards mainlanders, while Hoi Ping's Raymond Chung Ho-chun, Angel Li Ching-yu and Tony Fung Tin-long disagreed.

Stewards Pooi Kei College made use of a metaphor by comparing Hong Kong people's negative attitude to mainlanders as a spreading disease. Lang advised debaters to be careful when using metaphor in their arguments. "In this case, disease is not related to the topic. It is risky for them to use such a metaphor," he said.

Spencer gave the debaters credit for clear delivery. "It was a well-paced debate. Nobody was trying to squeeze in too much information and I had no problem following the speeches," he said.

Hoi Ping's Angel Li was named best speaker of the debate.

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.

The other adjudicators were Jessica Niles DeHoff , of University of Hong Kong, and John DeHoff , US vice consul.


You might also like:

- Meet the 12 finalists of the 14th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition and see what their preparation and expectations are for the big day.

- CCC Kei Yuen College are through to the grand final of the Division One A after defeating Carmel Secondary School.

- A local school's decision to scrap textbooks helps students to learn English effectively.

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