OVER 250 students from 16 Asian countries recently had their elocution and thinking skills put to the test at a debate tournament that was held online for the first time since its inception in 2009.
Having battled it out with other participants at the preliminary and elimination stages, a trio from Chung Ling Private High School, Penang, clinched a spot at the open grand finals of the Asian Schools Debating Championship (ASDC) 2021 held on Aug 15.
They were pitted against Nepal’s Nirupam Khanal, Rodin Bantawa and Sirish Joshi.
After five rounds of face-off, the Nepalese team were crowned champions, having produced a four-one win over Malaysians Sim Yang Ming, Bernice Tan Jia Xin and Wayne Ooi Jia Jie.
The top two teams took home cash prizes of RM1,500 and RM1,000, respectively, courtesy of Way of Life Consolidated Education (WoLCE), which revived the tournament in partnership with Epsom International School after a hiatus of four years.Nirupam, who was named Best Speaker at the event, expressed his gratitude for the scholarships awarded to the team by WoLCE for their participation.
“Without the scholarships, we would not have been able to compete at this tournament at all,” he said in a press release.
He attributed his team’s win to the adjudicators who, he said, helped improve their performance through their feedback.
United Asian Debating Championship 2020 Best Speaker and ASDC 2021 chief adjudicator from Japan Kanan Ishizaka said the tournament provided an accessible debate platform for students from all over Asia.
“It created a unique and fun experience for many individuals, especially with WoLCE’s provision of scholarships,” she said.
WoLCE chief executive officer Vishal Sidhu said embracing change and adaptability in an ever-changing environment is the key to thriving in this new normal.
“As an institution, we are focused on exactly that with our educational events and training programmes currently offered over Zoom,” he said.
Participants at the tournament, conducted in the Asian parliamentary style, were divided into two categories – open and novice – and were required to undergo six preliminary and five elimination rounds.
In each round, they were given three motions to choose from on a consensus and had 30 minutes to prepare for a seven-minute speech each.
The debate topics covered subject matters such as law, science, art, media, economics, international relations, philosophy and sports.