Is HK really a great place to live?
Hong Kong's virtues as a great place to live were up for debate last Thursday when St Mark's School and True Light Middle School met in the second round of the Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition.
Speaking for the motion 'Hong Kong is a great place to live', the team from True Light painted a rosy picture of the city, saying it was one of the world's safest places.
They said Hong Kong was a stable place socially, economically and politically.
St Mark's countered by saying that Hong Kong had a serious pollution problem and a huge income gap.
They said economic growth in Hong Kong only benefited a small portion of the population. With property prices soaring, a lot of people lived in poor, congested conditions.
'It is true that Hong Kong has one of the world's freest economies but only the tycoons are enjoying the results of economic growth,' St Mark's Form Three student Gordon Lee Mang-hei said.
St Mark's attacked their opponents for only listing the city's advantages and for failing to come up with a standard indicator to show how living in Hong Kong was great.
They backed up their negative position by pointing out that Hong Kong had a low ranking on the global happiness index.
They also said statistics indicated that one in seven people living in Hong Kong were unhappy, suggesting that the city was not a great place to live.
True Light responded to the pollution point by saying the government had taken action by introducing minibuses and taxis fuelled by liquefied petroleum gas to help ease the problem.
But the True Light speakers failed to effectively address the income inequality point, which eventually led to their defeat.
King Ling College teacher Bonnie Ma was the adjudicator for the debate.
Ma praised both teams for their effort to research and find relevant examples to support their arguments.
But Ma said both True Light and St Mark's failed to use their rebuttals to attack the main arguments of the opposing team.
Ma also advised the debaters to speak more slowly.
The first speaker for St Mark's, Form Two student Katy Or, was named the best speaker of the event.
The contest is in its 13th season and organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.