When some leave highschool, they let go of things they once loved. Cheerleaders store their pompoms in the cupboard while prefects hang up their ties and blazers. Where ever they may go, priorities become the word of the day.
Slackers promise to be studious in college and for a short month at best, books aren't left alone long enough to gather dust. But like the one person you will find yourself always loving, the activities that were once the centre of their lives call them back and attempts to escape are rendered moot.
Despite having been in college for only slightly over a month, it seemed natural to want to go back to debating. Various times, I contemplated letting go entirely to focus more on A-Levels but over and over again, I became reminded of how much I loved doing it.
For starters, thanks to the Ee Fen, the new president of SKDUDU (Sri KDU's Debate Union), Jocelyn and I returned to our former school to debate for the mock round for the club's first mini-tournament. Admittedly, we were mad rusty but it reminded us of how much we loved debating.
It was then that the idea of competing in National Novice Debating Championship 2012 first took shape.
Over the weeks, as deadline for registration approached, problem after problem emerged. We were poised to send two teams, comprising of ex-Seafield debaters and Sri KDU alumni, but in order for us to break, we needed to send an adjudicator each. When that problem was solved, the team I was in with Zhengs lost our first speaker due to her other prior commitments. We then subbed in our adjudicator as the first speaker but that didn't work out as well and due to his own reasons, he then had to pull out of the tournament.
That left Zhengs & I one debater and one adjudicator short.
After sourcing around, we finally got lucky when an interested debater & adjudicator offered to be part of our team.
We THEN found out that we could only send one team because we were late to register. T.T
Eventually, due to the noble sacrifice of some debaters, we sent a team that was the amalgamation of Seafield and Sri KDU debaters as well as two adjudicators to Novice.
To be honest, I was reluctant to participate in the tournament because I was so accustomed to being with Jocelyn & Celine in a team that imagining recreating the wonderful dynamics we had seemed impossible, especially in under a month.
However, with Kaelan & Zheng Xi, my new partners, we created our own dynamic.
Training wasn't the smoothest with everyone having other responsibilities to attend to but we did it thanks to Sam and Alvin, who adjudicated and debated with/against us.
When the competition finally came around, we had practiced a total of under 10 times and were very unprepared. Still, we went in hoping for the best.
It was our first debate competition after high school and seeing the names of prominent debating universities on the match-ups was definitely nerve-wrecking!
Throughout the debates, it was disheartening to realize that after the roughly 7 month gap from our last debate competition, we had all gotten so rusty! At one point, a moment that really discouraged then eventually motivated me (it makes sense!) was when an adjudicator that had seen me debate in high school said, "You were once a threat."
It was such a good wake-up call to want to do better and admittedly, I have a long way to go to become a threat at varsity level but I hope to get there one day! *looks off into distance dramatically*
But I digress!
After 6 long preliminary rounds, we broke 10th to the Pre-Octos with 5 wins!
It was already miles above our expectation since we had only been practicing together as a team for under a month. In fact, I only become acquainted with my third speaker for a month at most!
At the Pre-Octos, we were matched against the team from HELP University College to move onto the Octofinals with the motion "THW would punish people who poach critically endangered animals on par with murderers". As the government, the motion was left standing and were in the top 16 teams in the tournament!
At the Octofinals against the UNIMAS team (if I'm not mistaken) that broke 7th with the motion "THW allow marriage to non-human objects/creatures", we were once again the Government and by a 2-1 split, we moved onto the Quarter-finals!
Being in the top 8 teams of the tournament had far exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, our lack of general knowledge bit us right in the butf for the motion "THW leave monitoring Syria to the Arab League".
First question: WHAT ON EARTH WAS HAPPENING IN SYRIA?!
We were on the Opposition bench and I'd like to think we did a decent job for a motion which we had no clue of. At one point, we thought it had something to do with nuclear energy! *ashamed*
We lost out to International Islamic University by a 2-1 split, but went home in high spirits nonetheless.
Our achievement as quarterfinalists in as a varsity tournament would not have been possible without Alvin and Sam who not only supported us wholeheartedly, but became the adjudicators so we would have a chance to break, trained us by adjudicating and debating Iron Man (all three speeches done by one person) against us, and drove us there / stayed with us till late at night to prep with us. :') You guys make me so feel so lucky to be in Taylor's.
I consider it such a privilege and an honour to be debating alongside Kaelan and Zheng Xi who not only allowed me to be ridiculously hormonal, but were patient and brilliant fun to be around. You guys were wonderful partners and thank you for making my first debating-with-males experience a memorable one.
Cliches aside, National Novice was a reminder of the long way I have to go as a debater and at the end of the day, was a huge motivation for me to keep doing this - to keep trying to improve.
ABRUPT END WITH LALA PICTURE, Y'ALL!