Hong Kong Taoist Association Wun Tsuen School beat Ying Wa Primary School in the Nesta 4th Primary Debating Competition Grand Final yesterday.
Ying Wa’s Alfie Zhu Ching-yan, Ronnie Chang Long-hei and Kieth Kwok Pak-hei debated the affirmative of the motion “Hong Kong is a good place for children to live”, while HKTAWTS’ Joanne Marie Weston, Ammarah Khan and Rableen Kaur, took the negative side.
The adjudicators were City University of Hong Kong, Department of Asian and International Studies Associate Professor Nicholas Thomas, EDB Regional NET Co-ordinator Peter Broe and Nesta Secretary Perry Bayer.
The affirmative team held a strong case line, saying although there is no such thing as a totally utopian society; the Hong Kong government is doing its best to get there step by step. A main focus of first speaker, Alfie Zhu was the educational support provided to children by the government, and free education provided for those in need was a valid point to be made. Yet, the negative team was well prepared and Joanne Marie Weston began her rebuttal, “You say that Hong Kong has a high policy of education however why do principals, teachers and EDB employees decide to have their children study abroad?”
The negative team continued to present arguments revolving around environmental safety issues, in particular pollution; not only air, but also light and sound. Still, Ying Wa had answers and presented examples for how the government is planning to eliminate these negatives, including building a recycling plant. They also cited the city’s extremely low crime rates.
Ammarah presented a new issue, surprising the audience and adjudicators. “Mother’s day has just passed, the most confusing day in Hong Kong. Do we thank the lady who gave birth to us or the lady who cooks, cleans and washes behind our ears? Yes, a domestic helper.” This point managed to flip the focus of the debate entirely onto the stress faced by parents and their dependency on helpers in Hong Kong.
Towards the end of the debate, Rableen – named best speaker – began her speech with a powerful quote which went down well with adjudicators, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” – Nelson Mandela.
The debate was held at the City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong.