Teamwork speaks volume in law debate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 12:00am

To encourage teenagers to develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, an inaugural debate, titled 'Talking about law on stage', was held earlier this month.

Sixteen secondary schools took part in the competition, which was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Young Legal Professionals Association (HKYLPA) and Radio Television Hong Kong.

The team from St Teresa Secondary School, who spoke against the topic 'Rule of law is more important than democracy in securing social stability', won the debate.

Team leader Cheng Yuen-yue, was named Best Debater, the first time she had won such an honour in an open debate.

'I have been debating for more than four years,' the Form Six student said.

'The award gives me and my team members a lot of encouragement.'

The 17-year-old girl emphasised that debate was not limited to talking on stage - teamwork was essential for success.

'We had only one week to prepare for the debate. Our 'information team' had to search for all related information within a short time and select the most useful information for the debaters so that we could have a better understanding of the topic,' Yuen-yue explained.

She was full of praise for the team's consultant barrister, Jonathan Ah-weng, who gave the students valuable tips.

A lawyer was assigned to each school team in the competition.

'He helped us to think critically and provided us with useful legal knowledge which broadened our horizons,' Yuen-yue said. 'In the past, most debate topics were related to school life.

'But this time the topic was about society - rule of law

and democracy - which raised our concern over current affairs.'

Mr Ah-weng said exchanging ideas with the students was a valuable experience. He encouraged them to learn debating techniques. 'It [debating] trains you to react promptly and to think more critically, which is especially important to young people,' he said.