After several rounds of hard-fought debates, SKH Chan Young Secondary School came out as the champion in Division One of the 13th NESTA-SCMP Debating Competition.
The debate took place yesterday at the Mariners' Club at Tsim Sha Tsui. The schools debated the motion that "Reducing air travel can make an impact on the environment".
The team of Form Six students from St Joseph's College, Eugene Kwan Yu-hin, Waylon Chan Wing-lun and Thomas Fung Ho-kwan, supported the motion, while the Form Five trio from SKH Chan Young Secondary School, Mavis Lum Wing-shan, Kimmi Kei Kam-yan and Nicola Wan Shun-yu, opposed it.
The debate was adjudicated by Jeff Bell of HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School, Gina Green from the Education Bureau and Professor Nick Thomas from City University of Hong Kong.
The affirmative side said that air travel should be reduced because planes emit a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, harming the environment.
The negative side rebutted that reducing air travel is not feasible because it is the only means of efficient transportation across continents. They claimed new technology would soon be developed to reduce the carbon emission of planes, and mankind should take a proactive approach towards reducing emissions, rather than phasing planes out.
Professor Thomas said that both sides had put together excellent debates and both deserved to lift the trophy. "Both teams demonstrated a very high academic level, and did a great job presenting their cases and giving rebuttals. Their analysis of the motion and use of voice is also impressive," he said.
"In the end, we decided to give the edge to the negative team, because they had a more complex understanding of the issue."
Bell gave some advice to both teams on how to improve their speeches. He advised both teams to keep their team line short and catchy so that it would stick in the minds of the audience. He also suggested speakers round up figures when presenting statistics, so their message is easier to understand.
Thomas, the third speaker for the affirmative, was named the debate's best speaker. "Thomas was selected as the best speaker because he is able to release himself from the routine structure of rebutting, presenting the case and then summing up in a debate," said Professor Thomas.
The champion team received a cash prize of HK$4,000, and the best speaker was awarded an air ticket courtesy of Turkish Airlines.
The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and South China Morning Post.
In the Division Three final of the debate competition, schools debated the motion "That land rail travel should replace passenger air travel as the major transportation across continents."
The team from SFTA Yung Yau College, Wendy Lee Kwan-yee, Form Five, Ty Shum Chung-pan, Form Three, and Tanzela Qoser, Form Six, beat Steven Lo Chun-er, Form Five, Yeung Tsung-yu, Form Six and Tony Lam Tsun-hei, Form Five, from Buddhist Tai Kwong Chi Hong College. Tony was named the best speaker of that debate. The debate was held at the same venue on December 4.
Thomas Fung receives the award for best speaker from Turkish Airlines' Phillis Ho.