Monday, July 21, 2014

Interschool Debate Finals: And the Winner Is.....


The showdown between Germany and Brazil produced one of the World Cup’s final game that everyone is bound to remember. But the month of July 2014 holds a significance of another kind for the School of Business Management.

It was on 9th July 2014, a normal day in Nanyang Polytechnic, with the exception of the North Wing of the Campus where the finals of the Inter-School Debate Competition was going-on. The two teams were defending a topic that has been trending in the News and Social Media: Should only Locals be allowed admission to Universities in Singapore? 



The Inter-School Debate Competition, which runs annually, included teams from SHS, SCL, SBM and SEG for this year. On 28th June 2014, the four teams battled it out and the finalists emerged to be SBM Team B and SHS Team A.

During the final showdown, the SBM team (opposing the topic) argued that foreigners should be allowed admission to Universities in Singapore as it would help foster a challenging learning environment for all students. The SHS teams (proposing the topic) defended the motion, saying that the admission of foreigners removes the opportunity for hardworking Singaporeans to gain a University education. This led to SBM’s rebuttal that the foreign intake was far too few in numbers to displace large numbers of Singaporeans.

SBM elaborated that removing the foreigners will have an adverse effect on the quality of our tertiary education, and a lack of foreigners would deny locals the opportunity to learn about other cultures and think from differing points of views. However, SHS said there were overseas trips to learn from. SBM pointed out the ineffectiveness of exchange programmes as most students tend to prioritise fun and shopping on these programmes.

Each debate included eight speeches delivered by two teams of three members each. The first six speeches were eight minutes in duration, and each team finished up with a four-minute concluding speech.

The tactics that they used were intriguing, almost like soccer players trying to tackle their opponents to get control of the ball at every possible opportunity. However, in debating, using quick yet logical thinking and attacking loopholes in your opponents’ arguments, can prove to be a match winner, and the SBM team took the lead over SHS in that sense..

On a lighter note, the competitive nature of the event left an impression of fear on Wei Qiang, a second year Ambassadorial team member, who was there to host the event. He said that debating was not his cup of tea and jokingly added that he would “never marry anyone who was a debater.”
From left: Sonia Motwani, Tan Yao Kun, Prabhmeet Kaur
with Student Affairs Director Mr Chua Gim Peng
SBM’s team comprising experienced debaters Sonia Motwani, Prabhmeet Kaur and Tan Yao Kun have excelled in several local and international competitions. SHS was headed by third year student Khairunnisa Jumat and newcomers Llyod Ang and Tricia Kaur. Even though SBM won the competition, it was Khairunnisa who clinched the “Best Speaker” Award.
Team SHS consisted of (In blazers)
Khairunnisa Jumat, Llyod Ang Wei Xiang and Tricia Kaur
According to the adjudicators, NYP alumnus Julius Tan and Harrold Lim, practice and team work usually triumphs over talent. Preparation and building rapport with fellow team members is also crucial because time is limited during the debate.

Debating definitely opens the mind, and vocal chords, as diverse ideas are ferociously discussed while communication skills are developed. Very much like extreme sports, such as white water kayaking, debating involves split second decision making that could affect the course of the game and, perhaps, deceive the opponent into giving in to your argument. It is definitely something we wouldn’t mind trying out. What about you?

By Calvin Loh, Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology, and Pavani Jeyathasan Krishnan, Diploma in Accountancy & Finance
When Pavani is not attending lectures or tutorials, you would probably find her browsing through books at the Library.  Other than reading and writing, she also enjoys foreign films and television shows.


Mathematics and Science has always fascinated Calvin. Now, at 17, he is trying to understand  numerous concepts in these fields of study, while indulging in English Literature as a hobby.

1 comment:

  1. This article was seriously well written. Such a fun read!

    ReplyDelete