Defence of one-child policy wins day

Defence of one-child policy wins day

Solid research by both teams made the Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition semi-final exciting


Alex Fung, Grace Chung and Jonathan Chan from TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College compare notes during the semi-finals of the 12th Nesta-SCMP debating competition.
Alex Fung, Grace Chung and Jonathan Chan from TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College compare notes during the semi-finals of the 12th Nesta-SCMP debating competition.
Photos: Felix Wong/SCMP
TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College

TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College is now one step away from grabbing the champion's title in the Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition after holding their ground in the semi-final on Tuesday against CCC Kei Yuen College.

The schools debated the motion that "China should abandon its one-child policy", with Kei Yuen being the affirmative team and Kap Yan taking the negative stance.

The debate was adjudicated by Deborah Warton, English teacher from Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School, Des Moriarty, English teacher from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, and Peter Ball, English teacher from The HKSYCIA Wong Tai Shan Memorial College.

Both teams earned praise for the content of their arguments.

"It was hard to separate the two in terms of matter," Moriarty said. "Both teams did a great job with research and presented their arguments clearly."

Kei Yuen said the one-child system was a restrictive policy that resulted in low-fertility rates and would lead to problems such as an ageing population and lower economic growth.

Kap Yan saw the policy as a family planning issue that should be kept for the development of the country. "Resources are limited. A lower population will ensure there are more resources to nurture children," said Kap Yan's first speaker, Form Six student Alex Fung Cheuk-wang. "The people of China are the most educated among the developing countries. Controlling population means a more educated society with fewer poor people."

The affirmative pointed out that the policy violated the human right to reproduce, and compelled women to undergo cruel, forced abortions. The negative team rebutted this argument, saying abortions were caused by Chinese traditional values, which favoured boys, and had nothing to do with the one-child policy.

The affirmative team raised several points concerning the downsides of the one-child policy, but the negative team consistently came up with reasonable explanations for the need to keep it. This led to their victory.

Form Six student Grace Chung Cheuk-yan, the second speaker from Kap Yan, was named the best speaker. "She had good pace and volume and maintained eye contact with the audience," Ball said. "She spoke in a convincing manner and ended her speech nicely with a rhetorical question."

Warton reminded the debaters of some important presentation skills. "Speaking too loudly does not necessarily mean you are speaking with passion," she said. "Dialling it down a little will help present your ideas more clearly." She also reminded contestants to speak slower and give fewer points, so the audience could absorb their ideas.

Kap Yan will now meet Diocesan Girls' School in the grand final of the debate on March 6 at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.

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