Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I miss debating.

Assalamualaikum w.b.t :)

yes, the title says it all. I miss debating. No, let me rephrase that. I FREAKING miss debating.

Oh wait, who wanted to drop debate last year? wasn't it you, Sofia?
who kept telling herself that she couldn't wait to get out of school? Wasn't that you, too, Sofia?

Wait, don't you go to school like 5 times a week nowadays to ""train"" the debate team?

How ironic. Almost as ironic that my mom teaches marine biology but won't let me get a diving licence. Almost. ((she has reasonable reasons, of course. Perhaps it isn't a definite no, but a not yet))

what was I talking about again? oh right, debating.

I was first introduced to debate in 2009. I was a junior (Form One) in SMKA Tok Jiring (recently changed to SMKA Dato Haji Abbas) back then. I don't remember how it started, exactly, but I remember staying at school after classes and even going to school at night. The teachers were so committed. I was so lucky to have them teach me and guide me, especially because I was totally new to debating. Thank you, Teacher Wan Hanizah, Teacher Normala, Teacher Dayang and Teacher Rosidah. Thank you for giving me the chance, and putting faith in me to represent the school. It was an all-girls team, and the other girls were my seniors by 3 years, haha! Kak Aishah, Kak Raihan, Kak Aina and Kak Afini, thank you for the teamwork and memories. Thank you for treating me like a sister. :') ((emotional moment lol)) I'd say debating with them was the sweetest memory I have from that school.

I was also lucky enough to be able to continue debating after I transferred schools to SMK Kompleks Gong Badak. It wasn't awesome, though. It lacked... everything. Teamwork, determination, etc. It was as if we were participating in the competition because we had no choice. Hmm, we could have done better. Oh well, let bygones be bygones.

After I entered SM Sains Sultan Mahmud (SESMA), it was back to business. This time, the stakes were higher. I've blogged about my experience debating for SESMA here so I'm not going to elaborate further. too bad I didn't have the chance to write about last year's competition :(

I fell in love with debating from the very beginning. I mean, people had to listen to what I have to say, and I get to prove people wrong hahahaha! ((they're probably the wrong reasons but let's be honest here :P)) Of course, there are other reasons why I enjoy it. For me, debating is pretty much arguing, only in a very professional and civilized manner.

Debating has taught me a lot. I think for me one of the things that I have to be careful about is maintaining composure, since I have anger issues. Most of the time it's not even anger, it's just over-competitiveness, over-enthusiasm and wrong voice projection technique (Whoops). Basically, it's lack of self control. But that's the thing, it's not about forcing people to believe you, but to persuade people. You can't shove your opinions and beliefs down people's throats, but you can 'educate' them through reasonable arguments and facts. This applies in arguing in real life, too. Raise your arguments, not your voice.

Another thing debate has taught me is that there are multiple ways to approach a certain issue. There are two sides of a coin, and there are pros and cons to everything. Kak Aishah used to say that debating causes multiple personality disorder (specifically bipolar) because you have to go through the good and bad of an issue, and you will find things that contradict each other, and sometimes contradict with your own opinions, too! Debate requires a lot of research. It's not enough to have an opinion. You need legitimate facts to support your argument. Only then you can be convincing. I think debating has somewhat affected my way of thinking. I think it has also inculcated a habit of wanting to oppose things and disagree with people, which can get very annoying sometimes.

Of course, in most debate tournaments more points are allocated for 'style' (no, it does not mean you need to wear designer clothes nor does it mean you have to attempt a fake English accent) than substance. I don't think it's smart to practice more on 'appearing intimidating' than actual arguing. You'd be surprised on how many people appear intimidating, with their voice projection and body posture, but if you listen carefully to what they're saying, it's nonsense. As they say, empty cans make the most noise. Of course, individual debaters have their own style, and teams have their own strategies. This is just an opinion. I'm not saying that presence is not important at all, in fact, it is immensely crucial. From my observation, even if you seem confident but your arguments are weak, it's very risky. Once your opponent find your weak spot, you're pretty much doomed. Likewise, having strong arguments and cold hard facts but failing to convince people won't do you much good, either. So, in conclusion, you need both. But for me, if I have strong arguments, then I will be more confident. Personally, I have never actually practiced on being 'psycho'. Perhaps the little bits of anger which escaped was enough. Haha! Oh well, all to their own. Just, don't get intimidated easily.

I don't even know where I'm going with this post anymore. This is supposed to be somewhat of a recount, not a how-to-debate. Hahaha.

SESMA will be the host for the Hari Kecemerlangan Sekolah Berasrama Penuh kali ke-41 (#HKSBP41 on Twitter) this year (Basketball, Bahas and Debate). We're hoping to do great this year, both in hosting and participating.

Alhamdulillah there is a very kind-hearted and determined woman (parent, specifically) who was willing to find sponsorship to hire debate trainers. Thank you Aunty Ave for everything! Hopefully we'll make you proud and can reciprocate all that you have done for us.

It all started when Aunty Ave contacted me and asked me to train the juniors, but I don't feel qualified to do that, let alone be paid for it so I contacted Abang Syafiq, a guy who I first met in a debate match back when I was in form one. With his help, now we have  three trainers (including him). Four, if you include me. Thanks Abang Syafiq, Abang Syahmi and Kak Nad for all the help. I don't know what I would do without you. Thank you for your time, and for putting up with me and my nonsensical shenanigans. Hahaha! We're in this together. Hopefully we can help the ducklings to become great debaters. Yes, we call the debaters 'ducklings'. Affectionately, that is. As in you-are-my-ducklings-and-I-am-you-mama-duck kind of way. It all started last year when the debate team would walk around the school compound and the juniors would be trailing behind the seniors, hahaha!

I hope I can continue debating in university/college. InsyaAllah.

On another note, SPM 2013 results will be announced on 20th March, which is in 16 days.
Please pray that I (and my fellow SPM-leavers) get good results, get a scholarship, and get into a good higher-education institution. Jazakallah khair :)

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