English major student excels in public speaking competition
07 Jun 2021
Michael Chong Yat-tsun, a second-year student of the Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature programme, won the championship title in the university category of the “21st Century Cup” National English Speaking Competition (Hong Kong Region) organised by China Daily in May.
Under the topic “Protecting the blue planet”, Michael talked about the problem of ocean pollution from different perspectives at the Competition. He will represent Hong Kong and join around 70 elite students from more than 20 Mainland regions in the 26th China Daily “21st Century‧Coca-Cola Cup” National College English Speaking Competition, which is due to be held this summer.
Michael’s passion for public speaking was sparked by his experience of participating in the English debating team at his secondary school, where he learnt a lot from his talented teammates and teacher-advisors. The process of preparing for competitions took his public speaking skills to the next level. His fondness for cartoons and YouTube videos since he was a child has nurtured in him a love of English, and it has had a huge influence on him as he moved on to do public speaking. Now, he has continued his passion for public speaking by serving as an executive committee member of the HKBU Model United Nations Club, where he competes in overseas conferences with participants from around the world.
As the sole representative from the Hong Kong regional final to compete in the national championship, Michael is deeply grateful to his teachers at HKBU for their full backing, and he regards the Competition as a precious learning experience. “It will be an invaluable opportunity to broaden my horizons by witnessing the outstanding performance of candidates from all around the country, and it will be great to exchange our experiences of public speaking,” he said.
Dr Sarah Lee Sze-wah, Lecturer of the Department of English Language and Literature who has been coaching students from the Department for the Competition, said that public speaking is an essential skill for students, and the excellent performance of students like Michael adds to the recognition of HKBU in the Greater China region.
“Under a liberal arts education, public speaking is an important means to train students’ thinking abilities and communication skills. It enhances their ability to reason, to persuade others, to present one’s own worldview, and to engage in dialogue with people from different backgrounds,” said Dr Lee.
Participants of the Hong Kong Region Competition were nominated by their affiliated tertiary institutions, and they were shortlisted by an expert judging panel based on video entries submitted by the participants. After the semi-final competition, the five finalists were required to give a four-minute prepared speech and a three-minute impromptu speech, followed by a two-minute question-and-answer session.