Entering the big hall in City University, I knew that the debate competition was about to start. Participants sat on the stage side by side, waving to their parents and friends in front of them. They all seemed very excited rather than nervous. I could tell that they were all well-prepared and experienced.
On my way to the annual Nesta-SCMP Debating Finals, I thought it would be a fierce competition where all the participants would fire aggressively against their opponents for the sake of winning. But in fact the debate was conducted in a peaceful and professional manner.
There were two separate debates to argue on the same topic: Young people in Hong Kong are growing up in a society which encourages negative attitudes towards people from the mainland.
In the first debate, the teams focused on whether Hong Kong people have a negative, positive or neutral attitude toward mainlanders. Both teams backed their points with adequate information and figures. On one hand, some Hong Kong people donated money to the mainlanders during disasters and support the democracy activities in mainland. On the other hand, some of them were influenced by viral news and videos on the Internet and attack mainlanders all the time.
For the second debate, I like the way that the first speaker of each team made clear elaborations on the topic. Their words impressed me very much. Also, each team had a central idea that all three speakers from each side debated for - “negativity breeds negativity” and “no system-wide encouragement” respectively.
Although the two debates were about the same motion, I found them both to be unique, stimulating and educational. The students provided creative and sensible details to support their stands.
As usual, there can only be one winner in the debate competition. I felt that all the debaters performed very well. They were confident speakers who made frequent eye contacts and displayed proper body language to grab the attention of the audiences. In addition, they all showed that they are clear and firm on their positions. I thought it was an excellent competition.
I have not participated in a debate before. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had the chance to get proper training and practice. But yesterday I learned that debate is really good and fun. It helps students develop critical thinking and analytical skills. I admire the participants very much.