Debating 101: MADPP Inter-Class Debating Tournament 2016

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If a year ago I were told I was going to participate in a debating tournament, I would laugh at that possibility and brush it aside with firm certainty that I would never get myself into something as vocal as that. Alas, when my English Lecturer informed us of our activity for that week, I was full of dread and fear- I was never the type of person to speak up and express myself- at the prospect of debating. However, I am in debt to her for making us do it as I learn a great deal of things, not only in the sense of debating about also in handling stage fright and also, conquering my own fear.

First of all, my teammates deserve a whole lot of credit for their enthusiasm and cooperation. I am so lucky to have them as my fellow comrades, as we would never have made it as a team if it were not for our teamwork. The stuff that they say about teamwork is key to success is definitely true. Without a firm Prime Minister in setting the parameters of the debate, defining our scope and asserting our stance, our team would have a weak opening. Without a strong Deputy Prime Minister to rebut the Head of Opposition (HO) and explaining two substantives of the government team, our team would be fighting a half lost battle. Without a confident whip, our arguments would be weakened if we fail to rebut all the points given by the opposition team. Thus, without having me to delve deeper into the technicalities of debating, I am sure you get the importance of teamwork in debating.

Debating also taught me to be prepared for anything. If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Likewise, if the cunning government team sets an extremely narrow scope with zero loopholes in their mechanism, you just have to be prepared to catch that curve ball! Under these difficult circumstances, expect to fell a slight increase in heart rate due to adrenaline rush. Nevertheless, when you cannot find flaws in the opponents’ arguments, detect or rather devise your own loopholes against the opponents seemingly making their stance weaker by scrutinizing on the smallest details that they have failed to acknowledge. Trust me when I say this, no argument is 100% fool proof, every arguments have loopholes and it is our duty to point out these weaknesses in favor of our own motion.

Last but not least, it is expected of you to fight for and defend a position that you probably would be against to any other day of the week. In the event of such misfortunes, the first step in handling that confliction with our personal stand is to realize that fighting for a position that you would not normally agree to is actually a blessing in disguise. A smart man once said that there are two sides to a coin but a wise man realized that there are actually many more. Thus, if we were to be too fixated on one initial perception, our judgments would be clouded even before we started debating. Our mind would automatically block out any new perspective that can broaden our ideas and alas, more the shame as we fight for a motion that we do not truly have faith in. We cannot expect to convince members of the hall if we cannot even convince ourselves that what we are fighting for is what we truly believe in.

All in all, if I have a time machine, I would definitely go back in time and force myself into debating, even if it meant dragging myself kicking and screaming. Debating is a vital skill that I think everyone should develop. Like all skills, it can be polished and improved. Debating makes for a more courageous person, a more effective and persuasive speaker and ultimately a more open minded person, which I honestly think is one of the greatest perk of debating.

 

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When asking for P.O.I

As always, thank you so much for your time.

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When denying any P.O.I

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