SKH Chan Young Secondary School beat Ning Po College to be crowned Division Three champions in the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition on Tuesday.
The event, held in the auditorium of Mariners' Club in Tsim Sha Tsui, was packed with supporters from the two schools and students and teachers who want to learn more about debating.
Students and staff at the winning school, in Sheung Shui, rushed to congratulate the team. The champions will receive their trophy during the Division One grand final at Hong Kong Baptist University on March 6.
The teams debated the motion: "Occupy Wall Street protest movements do more harm than good."
The team from Ning Po, in Kwun Tong, supported this claim while Chan Young argued against it.
The three English teachers adjudicating the debate were Christine Xavier, of Ying Wa Girls' School, in Mid-Levels, Peter Ball, from The HKSTCIA Wong Tai Shan Memorial College, in Kowloon, and Mark Malby, of Cheung Chuk Shan College, in North Point.
Ning Po said the Occupy Wall Street movements were rebellious and destructive to society. But Chan Young's rebuttal described the movements as examples of democracy at work, leading to a more equal world.
Form Four student Kimmi Kei Kam-yan, Chan Young's second speaker, referred to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr to support her team's stance. "The marches led by Martin Luther King Jr successfully raised awareness of civil rights and helped America establish civil rights laws," she said. "Occupy Wall Street movements could have similar effects. It certainly raised awareness of the issue of inequality."
Ning Po disagreed with such a comparison, arguing that Occupy Wall Street movements have no leader and no distinctive goal.
Although Ning Po presented powerful arguments, they were criticised by adjudicators for speaking too rapidly. "The affirmative speakers spoke quickly and packed loads of information in their speeches," Ball said. "Listening to them was like surfing in a tsunami; at times it was hard to get hold of the words they were saying."
Chan Young's team were praised for their delivery. "Speakers from the negative side made good use of dramatic pauses and spoke [at an] excellent pace," Malby said. "Their delivery was clear and confident."
Despite Ning Po's loss, its third speaker, Form Five student Justin Ma Yu-kit, was named the best speaker. Ball said: "His rebuttals were great and he did a good job getting the audience involved. He also ended his speech nicely with a rhetorical question."
Malby said both teams' arguments could have focused more closely on Occupy Wall Street movements' impact on Hong Kong, where demonstrations took place.
The Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and South China Morning Post.
For further details, go to http://www.nesta.hk/debating.php