2013-14 Rotary Inter-School Debating Competition

Concluded with a Resounding Success

For nearly three months, 30 secondary schools competed in 29 rounds of debate before four of them could successfully grab the top three prizes on Sunday 18 May 2014.  This portrays the milestones of the 2013-14 Rotary Inter-School Debating Competition – an annual event that the 8 Rotary Clubs in Area 8 of District 3450 jointly hosted while the Sing Tao Daily was the media partner.  Interestingly, DG Eugene Fong and the then AG Albert Poon (RC KE) were amongst the pioneers who launched the maiden competition five years ago.

The Debating Competition aims to arouse students’ interest in local affairs and care about the society.  The participating students would then be able to broaden their vision, strengthen their analytical ability, and sharpen their articulating skills.  The competition format models on the Sing Tao Inter-School Debating Competition, which has been around for over two decades.  The Rotary platform presents an additional opportunity for debating competition for those eager students who somehow missed the top titles in the Sing Tao Competition.

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Population Policy is the theme of the debate this year while that of the previous years were Anti-Drug, Environmental Concerns, Housing and Poverty Alleviation.  The Competition was financially shouldered in different scale by the Rotary Clubs of Kowloon East, Kowloon West, Kowloon Northeast, HK Financial Centre, Kowloon Tong, Kwun Tong, District 3450 E-Club and Kowloon Northwest.

Under the steering of Area 8 AG Eugene Yau and the advice of DAG Gabriel Li, a bunch of willing Rotarians formed the Organizing Committee, headed by Victor Lo (KE), to drive the Competition forward.  To this end, Angela Shing (Kln Tong) wasted no time in securing 93 Rotarians and other fellows, from different professional background, to adjudicate in the debates.  Jimmy Lau (HKFC) had to share useful tips with the judges so as to set a standard of adjudication.  The expertise of the Department of Social Work & Social Administration, HKU and the HK Council of Social Service was drawn to frame dozens of debate motions.

The debate sessions were administered by almost a hundred of voluntary students, after they received guidance by Wing Leung (KW), to ensure compliance with the guidelines and time restriction.  The Lok Sin Tong Ku Chiu Man Secondary School and the ELCHK Lutheran Secondary School kindly spared out their classrooms, assembly hall and various facilities for setting up the debate venues.  The laborious logistical tasks behind the debate sessions were all diligently undertaken by over 50 volunteers from our Rotaract and Interact Clubs.  They worked under the coordination of Warren Wong and Quincy Chung (HKFC) as well as the persistent oversight of Lawrence Tsui (KE) despite he had to hop on crutches due to an unfortunate leg fracture recently.

The Grand Final day saw the Ace Masters of Ceremony, Angela Shing (Kln Tong) and Andrew Siu (HKFC) apply innovation to introduce the debate rules visually.  To our great honour, Mr. Matthew Cheung, GBS, JP, Secretary for Labour & Welfare kindly graced this important occasion.  Mr. Chan Kwok-ki, IDSM, Director of Immigration; Professor Yip Siu-fai, Department of Social Work & Social Administration, HKU; Mr. Cliff Choi, Business Director of HK Council of Social Service; Mr. Lai Ting-yiu, CEO and Chief Editor, Sing Tao Newspaper Group Ltd. and DG Eugene Fong tirelessly fulfilled the functions of the Judge Panel.

The two finalists demonstrated all their might in articulating their views and defending against challenges.  This thrilling process was cooled down subsequently with a wonderful performance staged by very talented amateur singers, Kimmy Leung and Diks Lau. On announcing the final results, St. Mark’s School, the Champion humbly remarked that it was just beyond expectation.  Pope Paul VI College came second while the 2nd-Runners-up went to Shung Tak Catholic English College and Pui Kiu Middle School. The smart trophies they joyfully captured were the able procurement of Cassy Cheng (E-Club).

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This meaningful Debating Competition could not have concluded with such a resounding success without the committed and selfless collaboration and cooperation of so many parties. The application of orderly debate, with supporting rationale and facts, is what should be advocated to address differences in a civilised and modern society these days.  Let’s join hands to keep such a healthy practice alive ever!

Victor YK Lo
Chairperson, Organizing Committee for
2013-14 Rotary Inter-School Debating Competition