The Government is committed to repurposing older buildings that have outlived their original purpose. The former Fanling Magistracy represents one case.
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) Leadership Institute successfully applied to utilise this Grade 3 historic building through the Government’s revitalisation scheme.
After it opened in the first quarter of this year, it now co-ordinates numerous events and courses with the goal of nurturing the city’s youth.
Last month, the institute conducted the first moot court summer camp which attracted the participation of about 60 high school students.
HKFYG Leadership Institute Programme Manager Jacky Yeung described it as a win-win situation. He said they hope to provide innovative activities for the youth by combining the building’s historical background while also allowing youngsters to cultivate their talents.
“We would like to hope that the participants can understand more about the legal system in Hong Kong as well as to nurture them in order to develop their future careers in the legal field.
"We also hope through all these trainings, students will develop their confidence and sense of collaboration.”
The institute invited the Hong Kong Schools Mooting & Mock Trial Association to assist in the planning and participation of some activities. In turn, students learnt about Hong Kong’s legal system and prosecution process, and received training in public speaking.
Moot court competition is the main event. In the mock trial, a barrister played the role of the judge, while the students acted out the parts of the prosecutor, defence, defendant and witnesses.
One of the participants is Sonia Wong who wants to be a future lawyer. She became interested in the summer camp after her friend recommended it. She feels the camp has helped her with reaching her career goal.
“The camp gave us a lot of opportunities to meet with different barristers and judges. By chatting with them, we learnt about the requirements to become a lawyer. They told us the most important thing is enthusiasm rather than relevant knowledge.”
Another participant Chris Chung represents the defence in the moot court competition. He admitted he was nervous acting out his role.
“We were very frightened in mock court because the practice of law involves many details. We had to be very clear with the words we used. We couldn’t use them in a wrong way. Also, we had to listen to the arguments of the other side very carefully to see if there were vulnerabilities. The competition helped train our ability to listen to others.”
The Leadership Institute organises diversified activities that include training in leadership programmes and problem-solving as well as mock debate motion workshops.
It also offers three guided tours for the public every week. It especially encourages high school and tertiary students to take historic building tours.
Secondary school student Airy Cheung is one of the tour guides. She participated in the training course last summer and it helped to improve her story-telling skills and communication with strangers.
Airy lives in North District. Whenever she is free, she uses that time to enhance her tour guide prowess. As a result, she has accumulated a lot of experience and said she feels more confident.
“As a secondary school student, it is a great challenge for me to lead tours continuously. When I first became a tour guide, I was scared. Gradually, I found that as long as I was relaxed and practised more, I would be able to build up self-confidence and talk to people with ease.”
The institute hopes that through its quality and valuable leadership training, it will result in long-term benefits for the community as it works to shape students into future leaders who contribute to society.