A debate speech


Good morning ladies and gentlemen,


Today’s motion is “Country parks should be turned into sites for housing in Hong Kong”. Before I deliver my speech, let me address some comments raised by the affirmative team.


Our opponents pointed out the housing problems faced by many low-income families. They presented various statistical evidence and examples to prove that a large number of residents in Hong Kong are living in terrible environments such as sub-divided flats and cage homes. They suffer problems such as insufficient open space, psychological trauma and even fire risks. Ladies and gentlemen, we do not deny that these problems desperately need alleviation, but this does not necessarily mean that country parks should be turned into housing units to solve these dwelling problems. As my second speaker had already told you, many more methods could be used to address Hong Kong’s housing pressure. The problems brought by cramped living environments could definitely be solved by urban renewal. By pulling down old flats and replacing them with modern ones, residents could live in much better environments. Also by rehabilitating old residential areas, these areas could be planned more wisely and effectively to address the needs of those poor residents. Therefore, this argument does not stand.


Ladies and gentlemen, country parks have high values for society as a whole as well as fields of education and research. There are also alternative solutions to alleviate housing pressure. I’m now going to conclude today’s case with three letters: S-E-A, sea.      


The first letter ‘S’ stands for society. Country parks are highly beneficial to society. As tourism is one of the pillars of Hong Kong’s economy, it is of paramount importance for the government to maintain our competitiveness in attracting tourists. As mentioned by the first speaker, a large number of foreign tourists visit Hong Kong for the spectacular views at the country parks, and appreciate the variety of life forms in Hong Kong’s country parks. Therefore, the preservation of Hong Kong’s country parks means the protection of overall social profits. And also, as illustrated by my first speaker, country parks are essential in maintaining the public health of society. During the photosynthesis process of trees, the air quality of Hong Kong could be raised because trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This in turn is beneficial to our society’s overall health condition. Therefore, country parks should not be turned into housing sites.


The second letter ‘E’ stands for education and research values. As mentioned by my first speaker, various ecosystems and habitats are present in our country parks. They exhibit different forms of life and are good textbooks of how organisms interact with the environment. Many of these life forms are even present only in Hong Kong, such as Blank-faced Spoonbills. These are precious materials to educate the public about concepts such as sustainable development, and biologists and geologists could study them. Therefore, it simply makes no sense to turn these country parks into housing units.


The last letter ‘A’ stands for alternatives. Ladies and gentlemen, our opponents kept talking about the acute dwelling problems and saying that turning country parks into housing units is the only way out. But is this the truth? As illustrated by my second speaker, there are three alternative ways to combat housing problems, urban renewal, reclamation and new town development. If we do not want to relocate residents, we can implement the four ‘R’s in urban renewal, ‘Redevelopment’, ‘pRservation’, ‘Rehabilitation’ and ‘Revitalization’. These measures could make undesirable living problems. If we relocate residents, we can either reclaim new land or develop new towns so that more residential units could be built. These also tackle housing problems. Therefore, we don’t see any reasons why country parks are to be sacrificed.


Ladies and gentlemen, country parks have high social, education and research value, and are not the only way out. Therefore, today’s motion must fall. Thank you.