|By Alex Chan, La Salle College|
The country's leaders, past and present, came up for discussion at the final of a public speaking contest among students.
One of the participants, Fernanda Lai, was asked: 'If I had three minutes with Premier Wen [Jiabao] , what would I say?' Fernanda's eloquent speech about pandas being used as 'diplomats' landed him in the first runner-up position in the junior section.
Fellow competitor James Chung evoked the name of Mao Zedong when asked which historical figure he would like to meet. His brilliant answer earned him the second runner-up prize.
The pair were among 12 finalists, out of 2,200 contestants, who competed in the Standard Chartered English Public Speaking Contest. Each finalist spoke on a chosen topic for three minutes on Friday and then underwent a gruelling question session. Natalie So Tsz-ching and Karen Chan Kar-wun, both from Diocesan's Girls' School, won the junior and senior divisions respectively.
Contestants in the senior section were asked: do celebrities have the right to privacy? Ho Wai-wong said celebrities had absolutely no privacy as they had given it up when they entered the public eye. Wai-wong also said that the public should take some responsibility. For her speech, she received the merit prize.
Natalie Sit, another merit prize recipient, said people should control their curiosity. Celebrities revealed personal information to win fans and gain fame, she noted.
All the finalists were admitted to the Sir Eli Yips English outreach programme. Karen Chan will represent the city in the International Public Speaking Competition in London next month.