• World Schools Debating Championships 2020 – Best Speaker
  • German Swiss International School – Head Student (2020/21)
  • 2019 World Mathematics Championships Qualifier – Black Medallist
  • 2019 Senior Schools Debating Competition – Best Speaker
  • International Competition for Young Debaters 2018 – Champion

After six years of debating and having been Champion in the 2018 International Competition for Young Debaters at Oxford, I started to wonder if I was done. The motions were getting harder, the issues more complicated, and I felt that they were beyond my ability to analyse. The more I researched them, the more I felt the answer laid in a book, and it was not my own ability to reason. My conviction that I could not tackle these motions was a self-fulfilling prophecy. In prep, I would sit, confuse and panick, and in the round I would underperform. A few months later, the pandemic hit Hong Kong. I had been chosen as part of the Hong Kong National Debate Team again for the World Schools Debating Championships 2020, with 340 debaters from 68 countries; but we had to train online as our coaches could not travel. Even then, we were not sure the tournament we were training for would take place. While I was disappointed by this, it helped me change my perspective on debate. With casual online debating, the pressure to find the right answer and build the perfect case lifted. During conversations in prep about all the unconventional arguments we could run and the spirited back-and-forth of rounds, I fell back in love with debate. Debate was never about finding the solution in a book, although research is valuable. It is about how you engage with all the different solutions out there. It is about weighing value systems and balancing benefits with risk. Everything is a grey area, which makes it challenging, but also exciting. I wanted to share this perspective and passion for debate with younger students. Now, I lead our school’s debate club and run local tournaments to give students across Hong Kong the opportunity to compete against and learn from their peers. Debate gives students an awareness of the world around them and their place in it, and the skills needed to engage with that world responsibly. By building cases, they learn to come to their own conclusions on issues like immigration law or education policy, and defend them logically. By rebutting the other team, they learn to be healthily sceptical of what they read in the news. By receiving constructive feedback, they learn to recognise when they are wrong and how to better their judgement for next time. Regardless of how long or intensely these students choose to debate for, these are skills they will hopefully carry with them into their jobs and roles as citizens; I know I will.