Stewards Pooi Kei College (SPKC), the runner-up of the 10th Nesta-SCMP Inter-School Debating Competition, has advanced to the next round of this year's event. The hosts beat Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College in the fourth round of the competition last Wednesday. The motion was: "Facebook enriches our social life."
Adjudicator Stan Dyer, a native English teacher from Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School, gave the edge to SPKC which took the negative side.
Dyer noted that they were able to hold on strongly to their team strategy and put up convincing examples.
"The negative side had a clear team line and all three speakers were able to follow it closely," he said. "Each speaker reinforced their team line in their speeches. They demonstrated excellent teamwork. They also had some very convincing evidence to support themselves."
Both teams offered a different definition of the word "enrich" from the motion.
Chan Sui Ki argued that Facebook enriches social life because users are able to make more friends and enhance their interaction with others.
In response, SPKC said "enrich" means to improve the quality of something, but Facebook only improves the quantity of users' social life. The social networking site allows users to have hundreds of contacts but it has done nothing to boost their quality of social life.
First speaker for SPKC, Anna Ho Cheuk-yan, said: "It is true that Facebook increases the quantity of people users know but the quality is not improved. Users have hundreds of contacts on Facebook, but how are they supposed to have in-depth interaction with them? Users meet lots of people but the relationship is not deep at all."
They also criticised Facebook for violating the privacy of users, causing cyber-bullying and diminishing users' social skills as they spend time in front of the computer rather than meeting friends face to face.
Chan Sui Ki rebutted, saying back in the old days pen-pals never met face to face, but they still managed to connect. The school's third speaker, Louis Ho Shing-yue, emphasised it is the users, not Facebook, who are responsible for their actions. He said the word "enrich" has nothing to do with quality or quantity because it is an abstract concept.
SPKC's third speaker, Benedict Kung Ho-yan, wrapped up the debate, saying people cannot connect by switching on a computer. "Despite people connecting to each other on Facebook through sharing of photos and videos, people still meet in real life to take pictures. The connection made on Facebook has no real feeling."
The contest, now in its 11th year, is jointly organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post, and is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.