Heep Yunn debaters win trip to US

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2006, 12:00am

Heep Yunn School beat 42 local and Macau secondary schools to win the Inter-School English Debating Competition - Hong Kong and Macau.

The theme of the competition was anti-drug abuse.

The event was organised by Youth Outreach and the Drug Awareness Committee of Lions Clubs International District 303, with support from the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau and the Harvard Club of Hong Kong.

It aimed to raise young people's awareness of the effects of drug abuse and preventative measures.

After a series of fierce debates, the championship went to Heep Yunn School's English debate team, who competed against St Joseph's College in the grand final.

The motion was: 'A law should be passed to make parents responsible for their teenage children's drug abuse behaviour'.

The winning team not only won a cash prize of $10,000 but also a free trip to the United States.

They will attend the Lions Clubs International Convention, visit Harvard University and Boston Police Bureau, and take part in another round of debates against a US team.

Addressing the prize presentation ceremony, Commissioner for Narcotics Rosanna Ure Lui Hang-sai said the government emphasises getting young people involved in anti-drug campaigns.

'[The debaters'] participation helps build community responsibility in preventing drug use and raising awareness of the threats posed by drugs to other young people,' she said.

'But young people are not just passive recipients of knowledge about drugs. [As we can see], the active involvement of students in preparing for this debate has enhanced their knowledge of the topic.'

She hopes the students will make good use of the knowledge they've gained and share it with their friends and families.

She said their influence, especially among peers, could be very powerful.

They could use that influence to steer their friends away from drugs, she said.

'Peer influence is often quoted by young drug abusers as the main reason to try drugs. But, on the contrary, peer influence can in fact also be a positive force.'