Debate: Arau Open 2010

UMP debaters (English & BM) participated in the Arau Open Public Speaking & Debating Championship (AROPSDEC) recently organized by UiTM Arau (Perlis) on 20-22 May. The CA was Dr Omar Salahuddin & in the seminar organized before the preliminary rounds, he mentioned that the standard of debating has dropped among Malaysian institutions, it was time to stop the jaguh kampung mentality & to expose our young debaters to the REAL level required in competitive debating.

The tournament was different on several levels:

1. Only 1 motion was released per round, as opposed to 3 motions in usual tournaments...Probably to exert pressure on teams to focus on what were relatively, well, pressing issues ATM.

2. I'd the feeling that the teams & the judges are very new to the Australasian debating style; I saw new faces & many familiar faces were not around. It was heartening to see that these new faces were enthusiastic about the tournament.

3. I suspect that many judges failed to analyze the principles of the debate & focused instead on mechanism. This is unfair to teams who DID debate & focused on providing explanation on principles as is expected.

4. A very clear adjudication briefing reminded us that both matter & manner were of equal importance, & tips were given on how to conduct a fair adjudication. Briefings like this are, IMO, rare in local tournaments.

The motions were:

Round 1 THW force priests to marry or leave the holy order

Round 2 THW take guns away from the Malaysian police

Round 3 THW endorse the nuclear option in Malaysia

Round 4 THW prosecute the executive board members of oil companies for environmental crimes

Round 5 THW mandate airlines to weigh passengers with their baggage

Quarters THW not protect Greece's economy

Semis I forgot the topic :p

Finals THW command South Korean armed forces to seek reprisals against North Korea

UMP English teams won 3 out of 5 preliminary rounds; unfortunately our margin points were not enough to help us break into the quarters. Nevertheless we did achieve the objectives of our participation:

1. Learn the Australasian debating style
2. Improve on point elaboration & manner
3. Improve team dynamics
4. Enjoy Perlis!
It was a great experience for me, because I got the chance to spend time with my debating family & to try my hand out at adjudication. I'm proud that our teams did well & we're more inspired to do well in future tournaments! :)

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