Pui Ching Middle School and Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School, who faced off in the first round of the 12th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition, tackled the motion: 'Pseudo models phenomenon is a cause for concern in Hong Kong.'
Hoi Ping, the negative side, came out on top in the debate which was held on March 14 at Pui Ching Middle School. Barrie Bidmead, a native English teacher from Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School, was the adjudicator.
Pui Ching said the photos of pseudo models are slightly obscene and they receive extensive media converge which is a cause for concern. The affirmative side's second speaker, Form Four student Alexandra Szeto Sien, said: 'Pictures of pseudo models are widespread and easily accessible to children. This may cause children to disrespect females and encourage girls to show off their bodies instead of their talents.'
Hoi Ping, on the other hand, blamed the media for their exaggerated reports about pseudo models. Form Six student Alanas Tsang Wai-yan, the school's second speaker, said: 'The media is exploiting pseudo models to boost sales numbers. Pseudo models are normal people with normal jobs. Society is overreacting, and a lot of it has to do with the media. The media is the cause for concern, not the models.'
Third speaker, Phoebe Wong Hoi-lam, also a sixth former, said there is no proof that pseudo models have harmed society. 'There is no rise in cases of sexual harassment and pseudo models have not been linked to any lowering of social moral standards,' Phoebe added.
Bidmead gave the edge to Hoi Ping because of their stronger presentation skills and more persuasive arguments. 'I think the negative [side] was talking to me instead of reading to me when they presented their case. They did a great job getting the audience involved,' he said.
Bidmead said Pui Ching did not present their team line clearly. 'Speakers from the affirmative [side] had a lot of content but they spoke too quickly and read too much from the note cards,' he said.
The motion was tricky, added Bidmead, who praised both teams for their efforts. 'Pseudo models is a difficult topic. There are not many statistics for both sides to use. Debaters have to use their feelings and impressions which adds to the degree of difficulty,' he said.
The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.