Friday, March 23, 2012

CADC: A Legacy of Excellence

NYP’s Current Affairs and Debating Club’s (CADC) recent win at the Inter-Poly Debates Competition could not have been more poignant. It was the club’s 12th victory and a momentous occasion for the alumni coaches, the seniors and the new members.

It also seemed like the perfect present for NYP’s 20th Anniversary.

After two days of gruelling competition, NYP’s team A, consisting of Kanna Paramatheva, Marcus Ng Aik Wei  (both from School of Engineering) and S Prabu Dev (School of Chemical & Life Sciences) brought home the trophy for an unprecedented 12th time.

Business as usual. The CADC is victorious again. (From left to right:  S Prabu Dev, Nazmus Sakib, Kanna Paramatheva and Marcus Ng.

The team swept the tournament with an undefeated 3-0 result. The win was further sweetened by Kanna Paramatheva winning the Best Speaker (Series) Award.

Discover NYP speaks to the winning team to learn more about their recipe for success and what this means for the club’s legacy.

The Alumni Coach – Coming back For Victory
For Nazmus Sakib, one of the club’s three Alumni coaches, victory was sweet vindication.  Sakib was a former CADC member and graduated from NYP in 2009. But even though he made it to the finals of the competition, he never won the first prize.

Instead of lingering on this, he moved on and when asked to return as an alumni coach in 2010, he jumped at the opportunity.
Sakib is described as the 'Good Cop' by the team for his approachability, jovial personality and contrasting coaching style to Pirakash (another alumni coach).
“I’ve always like NYP and I’ve always had an affinity for it,” he said.

He credited NYP’s “family environment” for the CADC’s phenomenal success. He said that the coaches are close and there is a strong sense of tradition in the club. The flipside of maintaining tradition is the pressure it places on newer members.

“I have lots of fun coaching them,” he said, “and even though we hoped to win, we (coaches) never expressed our wishes  to the team because some of them were nervous and we didn’t want to pressurise them.” But he acknowledged that even though the coaches never communicated any expectations to the members, some may feel obligated to continue the club’s winning ways.

Fortunately expectations were met this year albeit with some anxiety.

“The way they announce the results is done to create some suspense. So instead of saying who won, they’ll say  ‘The Motion falls’. So when the results were announced, both teams needed time to process the meaning, but once it sunk in we were very happy!” He said with a laugh.

The Other  Alumni Coaches
The team affectionately described Pirakash as the 'Bad Cop' for his to-the-point and tough coaching style.
CADC respectfully refers to Joey Pang as 'The Oracle' due to his extensive knowledge and experience. Joey has represented Singapore in international debating competitions and is recognized as a powerhouse in the local debating scene.
The Senior Debater – FINALLY Getting His Due
Though Sakib was humble and cautious about the team’s chances, for senior debater, Kanna, victory was never in doubt.

He was the leader and only senior member in the three-person team.

This year's results will give Kanna (center) even more accolades from his time at CADC.

He said that, “There was no pressure. It wasn’t about whether or not we could win. I felt confident, because I’ve debated for a long time and we won last year.”

For Kanna, who graduates from NYP in May, this year’s competition was especially meaningful because he won the “Best Speaker Award”.

“Finally!” he exclaimed with a laugh.

But when asked to pin-point his team’s success, Kanna was quick to attribute it to his coaches and teammates.

He said that he felt no pressure from the coaches and that they were always objective about how they could do better. Having alumni coaches was also a boon because it provided continuity and familiarity as generations of students came and went.

Kanna added that that the environment allowed them to become friends outside of NYP, and it was helpful that his friends understood his quirks.

The Unlikely Upstarts
Kanna’s teammates,  Prabu and Marcus, were the wildcards in the team. Both first-year students were unlikely candidates for a champion debating team.

In fact, Prabu did not even consider debating when he was searching for a CCA. He was more interested in the IT Club and soccer. But he was approached by a CADC member and decided to give it a try.

Marcus was another unlikely candidate. He was a scout in his secondary school, Raffles Institution,  - a CCA vastly different from the adversarial nature of debate.

Marcu Ng - From scout to champion debater.

Both men were quickly put through the paces under the careful tutelage of their seniors and coaches but it wasn’t smooth sailing. Prabu said that initiation into the club was difficult because they tended to make “logical leaps” due to their inexperience.

But despite the tough training and rigorous debates, Marcus says that the club is a great place to make friends. “There’s always lots of joking around and even when we debate heatedly, there are no sore feelings.”

The new members will have their hands full as recruitment for the next generation of CADC members begins soon.

Sakib said, “We want to attract the right kind of people; it’s a competitive CCA, so we’re trying to find more like-minded individuals.”

Kanna added that a love for debating is a must. “A high level of commitment is important. If you love debating, you’ll always find a way to get better.”

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