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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cross Country Surprise

What an amusing week this has been! The wonders started working on Monday during the BM interclass debate. We were up against 3 Angsana in the Mala debate finals. They were represented by Azmeera, Siti and Sarah Fong while 3 Batai was represented by Melissa, Jhia Yim and Ishwin. If you looked at the points, we were actually very prepared to lose. The motion itself was bias again : "Anti-drug Campaigns Are Not Effective". I mean, it's pretty obvious it's not helping much, what more effective? And furthermore, the Proposition (Angsana), was really confident in presenting their points. We totally lost hope after Sarah's speech since their points were so strong. Eventhough Ishwin's rebutts were really strong, it could not cover up all the other damages done by the Prop.

But wait!

What was this nonsense? One of the adjudicators signalled something to Gwen, the Proposition's reserve. Suddenly, Gwen went over to her team and started discussing fervently. Our class, stunned by her act, kept shouting at Wan Jyn, our reserve, to run up the stage to help our members (oh, he was busy talking with friends in the audience...). We thought it unfair and ridiculous for the Proposition to be able to have such a caring reserve while ours was, well, a little off the edge. During the Reply Speech, no one was paying attention at all as we all guessed Angsana was the winner.

So you could guess that we got quite a shock when "Usul hari ini ditolak", direct translation being "The motion today is rejected". Apparently, Angsana lost no thanks to their debate structure. Oh well, at least Batai made up for the other debate. (Actually, when the adjudicator signalled something to Gwen, she was actually asking Gwen to move the microphone, not join her teammates for their brain-numbing discussions).

The English debates were held on Thursday. Form 4 before the Form 3 one. After begging our Maths teacher, Madam Tan, to let us see the debate, she finally gave in. At first, only 5 people were supposed to see the debate, as Natasha had made a "special request". But then, Madam Tan was too kind for once, and asked who was interested to see the debate. One by one, hands sprouted from homeworks like little mushrooms until it was 3/4 interested. We ended the dilemma by forcing all those more interested in homeworks to go down and watch the finals. Poor them.

All we saw was the 2nd half of Josephine's speech up to Shu Wen's. We missed Ghee Ken, Jeremy and the Reply Speech. No offence, but there wasn't really much hope for the Opposition team, Cengal, consisting of Josephine, Elisha and Jeremy. Their (another) bias motion was "Teenage Romance Should be Prohibited". At the rate they're going, they can't defeat the motion. Seriously, blame teenagers parents Alfie Patten (13) and Chantelle Steadman (15) for giving birth to their child one week before the finals. They have become the superstars of the debate held. Let's have a round of applause here.

Although there are many things to say against the motion, poor Opposition couldn't come up with those. It's probably possible to use what last year's national champion (Neal Tan, yay!) said, with a little twist : Just because teenagers have relationships doesn't mean they have to end up doing "it". It's as if you're determining their fate or something. Alfie and Chantelle are just archetypes of immature people. If all or most relationships end up like that, then shouldn't DJ be teeming with teenage mothers?
(I would appreciate corrections rebutts to what I have just said. Thanks.)

Balau won in the end. Congratulations to them. As a serious team, they deserve it.

Oh yeah.......that reminds me. It's Scrabble Season!!! Let's rejoice!!
(No, actually, that's not a good thing. It means all my days start at 3.30 now. Nuts.)

And....did I mention fellow scrabbler Ghee Ken got a secret love letter? Haha. Congratulations, buddy. (You hypocrite!! No wonder you underperformed during your speech as Proposition!!)--

Actually, it was a prank by Shu Wen and I. Happy April Fool's in advance.
After brainstorming with my joke book, I finally came up with a great April Fool's prank. At 12.30 in the morning, you start laughing like a maniac (in my case, Daffy-laughing). Either that, or you start singing a nursery rhyme with a baby voice. You'd be responsible for your country's record for mass evacuation.

Speaking of country's records, I went to 1U today and there was a yoyo competition going on. I'm now able to claim that I saw a guy break the Malaysian record of the Speed Challenge. It's a challenge whereby you're supposed to complete 10 tricks in the fastest time possible. The previous record was 13 point something seconds. This guy, Alif, completed it in 12.22 seconds. Pro.


The paragraphs above the red and blue line were very random. Let's stick to something solid.

Throughout the whole week, we had little quizzes to "threaten" our intelligence. One of the funniest quizzes was the Geography quiz. Seeing that the quiz was about world geography, it really did threaten most of my classmates intelligence. After the quiz, we had to take one of our classmate's paper and mark it. Their answers really had something "magical" about them.

Man, some people just don't know that the Forbidden City is synonymous with China. To one guy, the Forbidden City existed in Greece. To another girl, it was in Brussels. There was this sad fellow who thought the Taj Mahal existed in Pakistan. To some others, Angkor Wat is in Vietnam. Someone thought the Grand Canyon was in Italy. Silk Road was "definitely not in China" for some.

Oh, before you make any conclusions, listen to the big bomb. I hope you know where Rome is. Ever heard of the Colosseum? If you have, give yourself a pat on the back. Want to know why?

My school claims that the Colosseum is located in Greece. Hallelujah.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Seconds to Disaster

I caught the adjudicator, Pn Tan, saying those fateful words before our debate. She favoured the Proposition more, who defended the motion "Youths of Today Have Too Much Freedom".

"Actually, we don't even need to judge them. We already favour the Proposition. I also judged their class in the preliminary round. They were good.....I like them".

In case she hadn't noticed, adjudicators are not supposed to take sides. I'm not sure about the student adjudicator, Sophia, though. I really couldn't believe my ears. I know I wasn't the only one to hear her statement. My English teacher, in charge of the whole debate event, caught those words too. She of course told her to be fair and "give us a chance to speak". Now, what does that tell our Opposition side? Don't hope for too much.

It started off with their "Prime Minister", (first Proposition speaker), Josephine. Just as I had predicted, she mentioned about the "messy" statement. "......were given too much freedom until they got themselves involved in murder, rape.......", to which I promptly rebutted that the freedom given is not beyond the law and that their facts were wrong. I don't think the adjudicators got my point, though.

Pn Tan's handphone rang halfway through my speech and of course I couldn't stop. That'll be nuts. The worse thing was that I was pointing out about the paradox of freedom at that time. Crap, that point was meant to cancel out almost all the Proposition's points. It works something like "the freedom given that makes you "happy" actually traps you in your mind and you become hostage to the habits you cannot break". So, that pretty much sums up everything on our side. Whoever it was who had the guts to call her was really at the wrong place at the wrong time. It basically screwed up the debate.

Anyway, Natasha's brother who sat behind the adjudicators, said we did a good job as I got "really good comments and marks". Looks like signalling the "great" sign was such a good idea. Maybe it inflated our egos? Couldn't be (for my case, that is). I heard the judge said she wasn't on our side, so......yeah. Not sure if the rest heard, though.

Both second speakers Natasha and Jeremy kept their cool. No drama here, except that I think this was where things started to go very wrong for us. We 3 speakers agreed that no one got our rebuttal (I hope you did), so Natasha had to re-emphasise our point. I think this was one of the choices which might change the course of the debate. Natasha was slightly overtime. And apparently (I think NO one was paying attention to dear Opposition), this time, everyone had the "lost" look on their faces when Natasha reinforced our rebuttal. She paraphrased my sentences, so I think they were lost on the fact that they "couldn't find any relation whatsoever" between what we both said.

Both 3rd speakers had weak spots. Kelly spoke of irrelevant points whereby youths are "free to eat whatever they want to". I'm not sure how this relates to the bigger picture of freedom, but it's clearly got the thumbs up from the judges. Sha Lynn laughed in her speech, but I don't think that was such a bad thing. She also experienced a nervous breakdown but reactions were different this time.

She's well-known for her sense of humour and distinctive voice, so when she broke down, instead of banging our heads in frustration (Opposition's reactions) or staring smugly at each other (Proposition), we all nearly bursted laughing together with her. It would have been a good thing too, since she would have "touched the hearts of the audience". But screw everyone's half-half reaction. I was grinning and banging my head at the same time, not knowing what to do (What the heck was I doing???). Judges had amused expressions and the Proposition was laughing along with her, out of sarcasm or genuine joy, I do not know.

The major screw-up came during the Reply speech. Another bad decision was when all 3 of us Opposition speakers agreed on re-emphasising our rebuttal. I could say I was really shaking this time. Even the papers I was holding were quavering. I just couldn't control my hands. Suddenly, my mind went blank. Thoughts of "we're going to lose" raced through my mind. Everything went haywire and unorganised. I stated my rebuttal and put in one sentence which would eventually prove that these adjudicators were really not listening to us, maybe because of the psychological effects on "bias-ness". Our rebuttal would cancel off all the Proposition's points and they had to pay attention to what I was going to say. Well, FINALLY, they did.

When the judges commented about us, guess what they said? We lost out on being unorganized, having "abstract points", lacking statistical analysis and "adding a new point in our Reply Speech". I could have fainted on the spot. Being unorganised is something truthful and we know that. Our POINTS??? God, the only reason the points were abstract was so that they couldn't rebutt us easily. And they COULDN'T, that's the thing!!! Gosh, after a conversation with Timekeeper Darren, I realised that our points were simple, easy to understand but hard to rebutt. Hey, if Darren can get it, why can't our senior and a teacher get it? He could even understand our rebuttal! The statistical analysis thing was so fake and I couldn't sworn I'd kill myself because I found out about this global website which showed that only 18% of youths around the world think that they have too much freedom. Unfortunately, I made the stupid mistake of not incorporating it in our speeches.

Okay, support those comments all you want, but our NEW POINT in the Reply Speech??????? You've got to be kidding me!! It's not a new point, it was repeated THREE FREAKING TIMES. What does that come to show? Not paying attention!!!


Overall, I think I screwed up the most eventhough my speech was considerably "good". Amazingly, we could've won and I might stand a chance as best speaker again if my Reply Speech wasn't a mess and the adjudicators could understand my simple, meaningful rebutt. Yes, 3 Cengal deserved to win. I won't deny that. I'm just denying my decision-making abilities. And that's the main reason I broke down after most debators left, not because Cengal won against us.

If only my Reply Speech wasn't a mess, if only I had inserted the statistical analysis in our speeches, if only I could break my words down into simpler English so that others can understand what I was trying to convey.

Now, I probably won't get a chance to debate next year since my father thinks I'm wasting my time debating and my mum thinks my head is shrinking. So......there might not even be a next year in my case. I live for debating and I just love rebutts, provided that people understand my foreign babbles.

Oh well, I love geese and ducks (excuse the random statement). They're a great example of my unpredictable character. Happy all the time and get all emotional suddenly. The great thing is that, after the emotional breakdown, we "flap our wings violently" and then "continue swimming" as if nothing happened.

Time for brain-cleaning now. (I don't "brainwash". It's implies using chemicals to clean your brain).


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Better Future

...................We just polished up our speeches 10 minutes before the real thing and all 3 debaters were feeling the pressure. Sha Lynn kept disturbing the Belians, our opponents. "What if our points are all wrong???" I kept saying. Well, it wasn't that wrong.

"Mr" Jeffrey Goh, the school's target of harassment, was amazingly chosen by the host to be the Chairperson. He kept pronouncing my name wrongly until I felt that he should go back to kindergarten to learn how to differentiate between a "U" and an "I". Heck, my name wasn't even written in cursive. The Timekeeper was Sze Teng. Unfortunately for her (and us), a timer wasn't prepared. So, she had to use someone's watch and bang the table to signal that time's up.

Proposition's speakers were Kean Lyn, Zi Ying, Emily and Thiam Joo. Man, Thiam Joo was freaky. Apparently, he was smiling throughout the whole debate at the "ghost in the middle". Maybe he knew something we didn't.....or maybe we Oppositions were just too comical. Or he just couldn't contain his evil grin when we all stammered and broke down.......

Opposition speakers were me, Natasha, Cassandra and Sha Lynn. You can call us clowns because we're last minute workers. We didn't bother memorizing our speeches and our hand movements were too vigourous and violent. Someone could've died of a lame karate chop if they stood within our vicinity. Our "advantages" include having nervous breakdowns, terrible eyesight and no understanding of what our opponent says. Very good.

Natasha once told me : "Whatever happens, we must not get Pn Magdalene. She's really strict..........". Introduction; she's the teacher in charge of our school's national champion debating team. This disturbing trend has been going on for more then 10 years. TEN years of coaching the national champions. CONSECUTIVE champions, let me add. (Yes, our school is the school of debating nerds). Heh, we got her to judge us. D-day.

The debate
Our motion was "Science stream guarantees a better future" (That might explain the stupid poll some of you answered). My team opposed the motion. The points we got were quite "normal". But putting all those points into a thought-provoking speech was really difficult. We kept deviating from the topic. My final point came up 30 minutes before the actual debate and I was going nuts trying to put the sentences together to make some sense. Luckily, my nutcase head thought that much, because our team managed to put off the point that "science contributes to the world and our comfort". Thinking about it, every progression we make is destroying our planet as well.

I actually lost my head when I started off my rebutt speech because the Proposition's points were quite ambiguous. Worst thing was that I couldn't read neither Natasha's nor my own handwriting!! So, I just rebutted one teeny point which didn't really have much influence on the outcome of the debate. Luckily, there were no other memory lapses when I presented my points. Points are the most important (to me, that is).

Natasha nearly lost herself halfway in the middle of her speech. But she was great because her pauses weren't that abrupt and jerky. She was overtime, however. The Timekeeper didn't bang the table one minute before the time limit!!! Crap. It would be so interesting to see someone banging tables during a debate. This was our only chance--wasted!

Cassandra was expected to end the debate with a big bang. She started off well. Very well indeed. 3rd speaker of the Proposition, Emily (Chye) had finally made the statement my team wanted to hear.

"Science stream students have a wider range of jobs to choose from. We can
always drop to the Arts stream anytime......................."

Joy, oh joy. We stared smugly at each other and let Cas do the honours.

"If you say Science stream guarantees a better future, then why on earth would
you want to drop to the Arts stream?"

Kudos to you, my sadistic brain, for thinking up of this sadistic remark. This is clearly the Proposition's strongest point (the rest weren't really threatening our intelligence). And we rebutted it with our strongest rebutt!! Yay!!

Unfortunately, Cas had a nervous breakdown halfway. Luckily, she had already shaken the Proposition before she immersed her head in total oblivion.

Nothing much about the Reply speech except the fact that only our team knew about the summary speech. As the first speaker, I had to do a shaky reply speech. Proposition, unaware of the speech, made 3rd speaker their hope. The judge said she didn't mind, since it was our first time.

After we finished everything, we guessed we were so screwed. All 3 of our speakers had nervous breakdowns whereas the Proposition was very steady. Pn Magdalene then gave her not-so-good comments about us.

First of all, both teams didn't have the structure of a debate. I refuse to elucidate on this matter lest some sneaky folks copy this out of this blog.

All in all, the ?????? goes to Batai.

The WHAT???? Suddenly, everyone had mixed reactions. Natasha punched the air, Cas and Sha Lynn buried their faces in their hands. Whether they did that out of joy or sadness, I could not tell. The Proposition's faces were stoning.

...........And the best speaker goes to *my name*.

WHO?????? Then, I had to ask around to confirm what I heard and who won the debate.

I'm not rubbing salt into anyone's wounds, but


It took me a long time to realise that. But now, I'm going crazy again. We're up against Cengal now. And our hopeless topic isn't helping us much. No ideas came to flood our thoughts. All our creative juices leaked out of our ears. Sigh.

One good thing that happened in this mess is the fact that Science and Maths exams are on my birthday. 2 favourite subjects.....what could be better? Not having any exams on your birthday.

What a good future we all have. (By the way, I'm taking the Science stream because it guarantees me a better future!)


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