THE issue at stake was the relevance of debating itself, and the four debaters of Diocesan Girls School (DGS) eloquently convinced audience and judges that the art form was decidedly ''no waste of time''.
With well-argued points and sharp retorts, the girls fought off opponents King George V School (KGV) to win the 1993 Inter-School Debating Contest.
Organised by the Hongkong Joint School Debating Society, the event was held in the Academic Community Hall of Baptist College last Sunday.
The contest was in two parts. Island School and La Salle College took part in the Runners-Up Debate, arguing on the motion ''Moderation is the best policy'', while DGS faced KGV in the Championship Finals. The championship motion was ''Debating is a waste of time'', with KGV proposing.
In their strong opposing arguments, the DGS team cited persuasive examples of how debating had its many uses. The only ''waste'' was that it was ''time-consuming'', said one of the girls.
If debating was a waste of time, people would not be still meeting daily to talk on important matters like Hongkong's legislation, the airport issue, and so on, pointed out the team captain.
The KGV team, for its part, produced plenty of facts that suggested debating was in fact a sterile pastime.
But at the end of the battle of words, proving the whole debating exercise had been well worth everyone's time, it was the confident DGS team that triumphed.
The winning team comprised Janine Cheung Yuk-yin, Hilda Luk Hiu-wah, Shaheeda Mohamed and Karen Chan Kar-yan.
After the contest, Hilda, Shaheeda and Karen told Young Post that the KGV boys had a high standard of debating and they had not expected to win.
They also said that this year the teams had only five days to prepare, unlike in the past when the organisers allowed 14 days.
Team captain Janine, Form 6, thanked her parents for giving her a ''good start'' in spoken English.
When she was small, her parents would play English tapes forer listen to. They also gave her plenty of English books to read.
''I have learnt to write a speech in 30 minutes before a debate, and work in a team under pressure of a deadline,'' she said.
Janine and KGV captain Vidarshi Karunaratne both received best speaker trophies.
Island School won the Runners-Up Debate, thus coming third in the contest.