Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keeping in Touch with The Debate World

Debating is one of those things that I've dabbled in for quite some time and have a pretty fair fraction of love for it. It has been awhile though since my last proper debate tournament, the last one being the Datuk Wira championship in 2008. The internal debate league between the four Houses here in KY hardly counts though I'm very much involved with the Debate Club.

We decided to send a team to the UiTM National Novice Debate 2011 this weekend and Yaya, Tariq & Rayhan were the debaters while I came in as an adjudicator. We did pretty well with 3 wins out of the 5 preliminary rounds but it wasn't enough for us to break into the octofinals. With 80+ teams participating from various public universities and private colleges, the debates were pretty intense considering the fact that we were all novices.

Coming in as an adjudicator was something new altogether for me. When you signed up as an adjudicator for this tournament, you either become a trainee, a penalist or a 'Supreme Adjudicator'. Despite my zero adjudicating experience, I was put as one of the penalists probably due to my debating experience before this and adjudicated all 5 preliminary rounds. As an adjudicator, I got to see the bigger picture of the motion by hearing views from both sides. But there came a time where the clashes were head-on and the arguments were either messy or strong on both sides that it became hard to decide on the winning team.

In one of the rounds, I was put together with the Chief Adjudicator of the tournament and one of the seasoned debaters to adjudicate the debate between IIUM and KLIUC (if I wasn't mistaken). Talk about the big guns yaww! I did feel intimidated sitting in the same room with these people but I think I managed to pull through alive. Hehehe. My favourite round was the last preliminary round where I was promoted to become the 'Chair Adjudicator' and the motion was about setting a minimum wage in Malaysia. Yes, minimum wage was one of the sub-topics in AS Economics. Mr Conquest's Economics lessons came pouring in that time. Thank youuu, Mr Conquest!

Saw plenty of familiar faces at the tournament. There were the debaters and trainers whom I used to work with in IIUM and the debaters whom we used to go against in secondary school tournaments. These former secondary school debaters either grew taller or fatter (oopps!) but definitely more polished. Familiar faces from SMKDJ were there too; Keefe, Sophia, Abhi, Elena, Leannza, Siew Sanz, Marc etc those people whom I used to see everyday in school but not anymore.

Ohh, and the Grand Finals was between Sophia's team (HELP College) vs Keefe's team (Sunway College). 4 out of 6 debaters of the Grand Finals were from SMKDJ. How cool was that?! Ahh, DJ debaters. The debate trainings and experience we had back that in school still followed through all the way till now. Sophia's team ended up winning the tournament and all of them were on the Top 10 list of Best Speakers.

This weekend had been a very exhausting yet a great one. Put on new (adjudicating) shoes, bonded with KY's debate team and Ms Rena, met new people and familiar faces, rejoiced with former schoolmates and found out how much of a massive maze UiTM Shah Alam was. I am not as passionate and enthusiastic about debating as some other hardcore debaters but I would never want to be disconnected from the debating world. This weekend was a good way to keep in touch with the world and its people.

Till then, I guess it's back to the books.