The Hong Kong Secondary Schools Debating Competition wrapped up last Thursday at City University with HKMA David Li Kwok Po College winning the Kowloon district championship and Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College being crowned the champion for the Kowloon and New Territories district.
In the Kowloon grand finals, the schools debated the motion that the third airport runway is vital for Hong Kong's future. The team from Kwun Tong Maryknoll College - Form Three students Michael Yuen Fung-man, Oswin Ho Hei-yin and Boris Hong Yu-kiu - supported the motion.
Form One student Deepmala Dhakal, along with Preeti Tariq and Sarneet Saran, both in Form Three, of HKMA David Li Kwok Po College, were against the motion.
Maryknoll built their case on the economic benefits that the third runway will bring to the city, saying it will create jobs for the Hong Kong's logistics and aviation industries.
Their opponents argued the money spent on building the third runway could be used in other ways to benefit the city. The debaters suggested the money be used to help the poor and to implement green projects to improve the city's environment. They also said the congested air space in the Pearl River Delta would not allow the proposed new runway to be fully utilised.
Adjudicator Steven Lee, the coach of Heep Yunn School, praised the winning team for their strong content and easy-to-follow presentation. "They did a detailed analysis on how different stakeholders would be affected by building the runway, so they questioned whether it is necessary to build it," he said in his comments.
Sameet was named the best speaker of the debate.
In the Kowloon and New Territories grand final, the teams debated whether recently enhanced immigration measures are key to attracting young talent to the city.
Form Five students Ann Cheung Chun-lam, Grace Cheung Hua-nong and Phoebe Chan On-so of Ying Wa Girls' School agreed with the motion. Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College teammates Rai Adarsh and Thomas Chung Yui-hin, both Form Five; and Brandon Wong Jun-fung, Form Four, opposed it.
The adjudicators were impressed by Ying Wa's presentation on the importance of boosting the city's labour force by attracting young talent overseas, but in the end, they were convinced by speakers from Laws Foundation that there are various unfavourable factors for Hong Kong to attract overseas talent. "Po Leung Kuk was able to give a more all-round perspective on the issue. They mentioned political factors, low-income and cultural difference will turn overseas talent away," said Lee.
Thomas was named the best speaker of the debate.
Adjudicator Bruce Mackie, the coach at Valtorta College, added that he was impressed by the passion and style of all the speakers, although "the debaters did not try to cover as much ground as possible within the time limit, which is a common mistake among students. Their use of stress and intonation and fluency was excellent."
The third adjudicator was Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed, former Pakistan international debating team coach.