Points of view on the local poverty issue
In the sixth round of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, TWGHs Kap Yan Directors' College eliminated Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School to earn a spot in the semi-finals. The schools met on December 7 to debate the motion: 'Hong Kong is not doing enough to take care of its poor.' Kap Yan were the affirmative side, with Hoi Ping taking the negative stance.
The adjudicators were Jeff Bell, English teacher from HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School; Betty Bownath, English teacher from YWCA Hioe Tjo Yeong College; and Azeem Ebrahim, English teacher from Diocesan Girls' School.
Kap Yan built their case around examples of how the poor are mistreated and discriminated against.
On the other hand, Hoi Ping argued that the government has already done its best to help the poor and it would be unrealistic to allocate more resources.
The adjudicators decided to give the edge to the affirmative side.
'The affirmative team presented their case strongly. They were persuasive and believable. Their arguments were nicely organised as they were able to clearly list the difficulties faced by the poor,' said Bownath.
This year, speakers are allowed to speak for four minutes and 15 seconds, 60 seconds more than last year.
Bell thinks the extra minute of speaking time allows speakers to present more information. But they have to focus on presenting attention-grabbing materials, not bombard the audience with too much data. 'Speakers have to present the data and make it stick. The affirmative did a good job with that, using examples that we can relate to, like the poor eating expired canned food and living on HK$62 a day. These are statistics that we can feel,' he said.
Despite their defeat, Hoi Ping earned praise from the adjudicators for good teamwork. Their third speaker, Angel Li Ching-yu, was named the best speaker.
'All three speakers from the negative stuck to the team line and made reference to each other. [My] advice for them is that they should cut down on the statistics of how the government helps the poor and explain more about the point that they want to make,' said Ebrahim.
The Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.
If you'd like to join 140 other school teams in the 13th competition, please e-mail competition co-ordinator Stan Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is January 13. There are only a few spots left.
For more information on the Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, visit www.nesta.hk/debating.php