Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Debate Journey: Last Part

13th April, Third Debate

“Yesterday was the past and cannot be change, tomorrow is a shadow that cannot be seen, today is a gift that is why it is called the present.”

I brought new hope today. Hope that everything is going to be fine. Hope that yesterday’s incident wouldn’t happen again. Hope that there is still hope to win.

Got another text message from Nafeesa, at 5 o’clock in the morning. She asked me to wear any kind of attire I want. Today is the “poyo day”. We debate and relax.

Great! A green T- shirt, a tracksuit and one of the things I love most, a jacket. It looks cool on me when you have a closer look. Wonder what the others are wearing.

The SRI Ayshen’s were all smart today.

“You got to look smart, to win smart!” said Syed. They were wearing their school uniforms with blazers.

At the moot court (the place we eat) I meet up with my teammates. I was surprised to see how they chose their clothing. Iman and Syazwani, still looked as if they were from a “Sekolah Ugama”. Both wearing a white “tudung labuh” and a long sleeve long T- shirt (which I now know is called a blouse). They even have those Islamic writings on their blouse like caliph or “iman inside”. Nafeesa on the other hand took a different fashion. She still wore a “tudung labuh” but wore something which looked like a Jacket for girls. Teacher Mai followed her fashion. Only Kak D wore a plain “Baju kurung”.

Three debates in one day. Dream on Fakhry cause today’s going to be a tough day.

Our first debate. We were Government (finally) VS MRSM Kuala Berang. Motion: THW ban corporal punishments in schools. In the quarantine room Nafeesa asked Syazwani to find the meaning of corporal. It seems both Iman and Nafeesa doesn’t know what “corporal punishment” means. It means physical punishment. I quickly scramble for my database I made. In it was a full fact about all the topics that has been debated. Luckily there was something about corporal punishment for children. How cool is that, a page for victory. Nafeesa was impressed. We made our point’s base on the database. Iman got the point “effect on student” while I got the point concerning “effects holistically” and more about our solution: counseling.

The debate was smooth. Iman made a great base for our arguments. I did what I had to do. And this time there’s no papers from Nafeesa. I even made a humor about how a boy with white clothes goes to school and comes back with red clothes. Even the judge laughed. However neither I nor Iman talked about the story of “the pencil”. It was the perfect story that could fit into our debate. Iman was mad at me of course. She said she purposely left that story so that I could tell it. How thoughtful, but I don’t do well with stories.

Nafeesa made her usual rebuttal. No comment there. And when Iman made her reply speech, she ensured our victory in that round. We won of course. With a comment from the judge to not overdo the debate. A boy wearing white clothes and coming back with red ones is too much. Kak D even told us how great we were in this debate. She even got a glimpse that Iman got Best speaker. How cool is that.

At the moot court, we didn’t take the judge’s advice to seriously. We laugh, we talked, we overdid ourselves. The “Mi hun” was too delicious for me to resist. I took double plates.

Fourth Debate, 1.35pm

The forth round started as quick as I could say it. The theme this time was Media. Brace yourselves. Last year we lost with MRSM Taiping with this theme. And it cost us a lot. I remember Iman pronouncing an actor’s name incorrectly.

Our chosen side was government VS MRSM Pasir Puteh. The motion was THW limit airtime given for foreign entertainment. The quarantine room bustled with my laughter. Nafeesa made up a funny Chinese show which we called “the black and white hat”. I was supposedly to say how entertainment shows like this should be limited because it has a low percentage of viewers and a bad response. Even though we made it all up.

During the debate, Iman argued how our local entertainment shows are already qualified as great and we should only choose the best foreign programs so that we could learn from the best. The speaker from the opposition said that foreign programs are great, entertaining and educational that we don’t need to limit. She questioned Iman’s mechanism on what type of shows we are going to broadcast. Certainly, the opposition hasn’t been taking notice of Iman’s speech. It’s the best and only the best programs. When I stood up that was what I certainly rebutted on. Nafeesa as usual gave me more points via paper. I almost laugh at how I showed the programs like “the Black and White hat” we created was not good and had low viewers. It sounded really funny when you want to spoke of something that never existed, especially for someone who doesn’t usually lies. And guess what? I’m the only boy in the room. All of our adversaries were girls, so the term “last man standing” comes quite handy.

I got knock out by the opposition quite hard. I think they couldn’t think up of rebutting any of my points so they attacked my grammar, saying that what I said didn’t fit in English; they even attacked my mispronunciation of “foreign”. So what! That doesn’t prove anything. Iman made a reply speech saying how wrong it was for the opposition to attack my grammar and pronunciation. It seems everyone started fighting over some stupid “foreign” pronunciation.

We lost that round. Wait, how did we lose? It seems our judge has been debating in her own head and didn’t listen to a single thing we said. On the judges feedback we made a note that the judge stinks and shouldn’t become a judge in the first place. Huh, in your face! Last year MRSM Taiping, the year before RMC, it seems the Media theme doesn’t like Maahad a lot.

That’s it! Two wins is not good enough when you’re the one being hit. The next debate we have to win. Or else we could say so long to the dream of winning and just dream on. And I don’t do well in dreaming.

Fifth Debate, 3.30 pm

The fifth round is about to begin. Nafeesa said to brace for Politics. Politics are hard, one because you don’t know what in the world will come up, two because when they do, it’s sometimes hard ones. The big screen flashed, showing the words HUMOR. The whole room gave a huge cheer and applause. YES! That’s what I won’t! Now today will be a complete humor day. From clothes turning from white to red, then “the Black and White Hat”, now this. Nothings more great to fill this day.

Even the three motions were dumb and illogical. I remember them all. 1. THBT the opposition should win this round. 2. THBT debating is a waste of time. 3. THBT Donald Duck should put on a pair of pants. What? Letting the opposition to win? And Donald Duck putting on pants? How ridiculous is that? And debating is a waste of time? Things just got better.

We were government (again) VS SMK Taman Melawati. We chose the motion: Donald Duck should put on a pair of pants. The quarantine room was filled with more laughter than ever before. Our laughter. We discussed that Daisy wouldn’t marry Donald because he’s not wearing any pants, and that Mickey is more popular than Donald because he wears pants. Mickey even has his own TV shows like Mickey Mouse club house and House of Mouse. We even invented a mechanism. It was so silly.

When the debate started my dad and Asyraf was present. Iman started the stage with an argument that Donald wasn’t popular enough. So he should put on a pair of pants which she defined as putting on something to cover your bottom. She even said that Superman wore pants and he wore double to become extra popular. The whole room burst into laughter. The debaters from Taman Melawati, didn’t laugh. It seems their tactic was not to laugh at our jokes. Their good at it.

The first speaker of the opposition wasn’t as funny as Iman. Iman was better. The first speaker kept on saying that Donald duck was hot so that was why he didn’t want to wear pants in the first place (hot as in hot, not the heat hot). She then said that Donald was created a hundred years ago and the fact that he still exist means that he is popular enough. As if.

Her speech was perfect for my rebuttals. Firstly I said how Daisy doesn’t like Donald because he never wore pants and even with the fact that both were still arguing during there hundred years relationship. Then I said how Donald duck has just influence his nephew’s that they are also not wearing pants. The influence is so severe that any kind of duck character is not wearing pants! And that if we don’t do something it’ll also influence the society to not wear pants. Hah.

The second speaker of Taman Melawati made a lousy comeback. He said that Donald duck likes to go commando (I’m not sure what that meant, it must be something stupid). Then he said it was Donald’s right to wear pants or not. I quickly POI him and dared him to open his pants if there is any rights in it. Huh, in your face. Everyone got in a state of shock. The girl next to him looked like she wanted to be someplace else. I was hoping he did though; it would make the debate more interesting. But he didn’t open his pants. He said that he needs to respect the house and by opening his pants he would only bring unnecessary chaos. Jack pot! Iman, Nafeesa and I all stood up. POI!!!!We were ready to kick him hard. He just said the death word by clashing his own points! Nafeesa quickly scribble that point down. She got the POI and she really kicked between his pants hard.

By the time Nafeesa wanted to give her speech everyone was in utterly silence. No one laugh at her jokes and everyone was listening to her as if she was a prophet. However, as much as she liked it or not, she nailed down the coffin for Taman Melawati and ensured our total victory!

By the time the third speaker of Taman Melawati spoke the damage was already sever. He didn’t seem liked a whip and he even stop his speech early. No complains there.

This debate round was the best ever. Not only we won but we also got ourselves some laughs in the process. The difference between this humor debate and last year’s was infinite. I never had seen a better humor debate. Even Asyraf praised us for that debate and told us to “keep it up”, something which I knew you only heard from his mouth only once in my lifetime.

I got word from my dad that the SRI Ayshen’s made a total laughable debate, even though they lost. They said that by allowing Donald duck to wear pants the stock market for pants will increase and that is something good for countries developing for pants. How funny is that?

And to make things better, Teacher Mai said that she would bring us around town to celebrate. She’s the best debating teacher for students like us. There was only one thing that disturbed me. The key to the room was with me, how were the others going to get in to the room?

Celebration! 6.00pm

First destination: Eye of Malaysia. I never thought I would actually come to this place. We were at the Eye of Malaysia! The biggest wheel in Malaysia! We got there via Teacher Mai’s car. There was a park there and a huge lake as far as the eye could see. There were a lot of people who were jogging and exercising around the park. Iman made a joke that I should jog too because I was the only one wearing sneakers. I replied by saying that jogging is not that good for someone who has asthma, maybe I should just throw her into the lake and let her have a swim. Swimming is good for Asthma I told her. It was more of a clash than a joke.

We walked until we reached a crowd. They were watching a man part magician part balloon maker. It seems the man didn’t support Manchester United. We got face to face with the Eye of Malaysia. However, we couldn’t get on it, I don’t think any if us were willing to spend our money for it. Pity, I would really like to get on it and see one of the girls shout like hell. And I’ll also take the chance to toss Iman off board from that height; it would be a laugh, for me.

Thank God Syazwani had one of those cell phones that could take pictures. I thought this experience was just all memory. I and Nafeesa did a “posing maut”. Iman, Syazwani, me, Nafeesa and including Teacher Mai took photos with the Eye behind us. It was one of those times you couldn’t forget.

Next destination: Starbuck Café. Teacher Mai treat us with a special dinner at Starbuck, she’ll pay. I didn’t want much, just double “Mi Hun goreng”. Nafeesa got the “Nasi Goreng” special. Teacher Mai asked me whether I wanted Tom Yam or not. Sorry, can’t eat spice teacher. Teacher Mai seems to make a mental note on what I can and cannot eat.

The time was 7 o’clock. It was already Maghrib. My hand phone rang; it was a call from Asyraf. Wonder what he wants. Asyraf utterly shouted at the hand phone. He was mad for not giving the key to my roommates, and now they were stuck outside. How in the world could I have forgotten? Teacher Mai said we would find a mosque first then she would send me to my room.

After prayers Teacher Mai dashed the gear. Alhamdullillah, we made it to IIU before 8 o’clock. Now the only thing was to find my room. It was harder than you think. IIU was like a maze and going threw it without any sign was impossible. After an hour I got another phone call, this time from Azri. He asked me to be quick. I replied, saying to him to stay at a mussolla or at the café. I’ll pay for it.

Thank heavens. We found a brother whom will take me to my room. Teacher Mai was relieved to hear it. She, including the rest of the girls was bored and stress out just going around IIU hopelessly. I hope they don’t get lost themselves.

Back in the room, the others weren’t angry at all for my lateness, just relieved that I made it. Especially when I was the one who paid for the drinks.

14th April, Sixth Debate

It was 7 o’clock in the morning. We were late. Nafeesa has been sending me a half of dozen of messages trying to wake me up. Today, I wore a “baju PRS”. Yesterday’s celebration I think we overdid, because we were so late that we had to get on a van to get to court room (we as in the SRI Ayesha debaters and me). And by the time we got to the moot court I only got a light breakfast. Some bread and a hot “teh limau”.

In the court room, I saw that many people were lithely exhausted or lost of hope. Maybe because they thought that they already lost the debate. But my little brother was different. Even though the SRI Ayshen debaters got five rounds non stop lost, it seems it had little effect on them. They kept arguing whether or not they should win in the previous debate rounds. And who would go up on the stage to receive the prize during the end of the debate. They certainly have high hopes. Iman was proud of them. She said she wouldn’t stand a chance if she got five losing rounds. Nafeesa even helped cheered them up.

Now there are only two more preliminary rounds left. Nafeesa said we need to win both if we want to make it to the octo finals. And to make things even worse the last two debate rounds are silent rounds. Silent round debates were just like any ordinary debate, just the fact that the results will be given at the end of the final round and there were no comments from the judges, meaning no judge feedback. And worst of all, the politics and economy debates hasn’t come up yet. Maybe we’ll meet them on these silent rounds.

I spoke to soon. Legislative Politics. I don’t need to understand what the first word meant; the second just gave it away. Teacher Mai said that legislative was something to do with elections. The motion was: THW make Electoral Candidates take and Aptitude Test as a Prerequisite. We were opposition VS SMAP Kajang. Finally, another “Sekolah Ugama”, I was beginning to worry we were the only ones who had the huge “A” on our schools.

During quarantine we thought “what in the world were we debating on”? Syazwani quickly scanned the dictionary and got the “easier meaning” for the motion. The motion was actually: THW make Election candidates take a national test before joining the elections. For once I thought we were debating on science and electrical.

My stomach didn’t felt ok that morning. It was one of those stomach aches that will disturb your entire life. I didn’t want to go to the bathroom now. It would jeopardize the debate.

SMAP Kajang seems to get a head start. They knew what the motion was and used it into their favor. The first speaker said we need intelligent electoral candidates, the test will ensure that they are intelligent and not dumb. He also said that you can’t enter the elections if you don’t take the test. He seems right, for once. Considering that he is twice my height and has a booming voice in the debate room.

Iman rebutted by saying that test does not show the quality of a leader. So the mechanism she proposed was that the people becomes the judge. The people were the one who could choose who can and cannot be in an election. After all that was democracy. She also said that aptitude tests are not efficient, that candidates could easily deceive a test, like you reading a book just for a test and not for the real thing.

My stomach wasn’t good during the debate, especially when I spoke. It hurt so much that during the debate I got so emotinonal and shouted at the third speaker of SMAP Kajang, she was so terrified that after that she never gave any Poi’s after that. I talked about how a test is only base intellect and what a leader needs is wisdom. I had an easy time differentiating the two concepts. I read it all from “Public Speaking for Dummies”. By the time I finished my speech I had to dash to the toilet.

It seems that the debate paused for my long absents. How thoughtful of them, waiting for me after everything that happened. Nafeesa made a clean sweep whip. These “amateurs” from SMAPK are no match for Nafeesa. She emphasized more on the wisdom intellect thing and got more rebuttals on the “people being judge” point.

Iman didn’t want to give the reply speech. She never liked politics, never knew why. I got up and with the fact that we were fighting another “Sekolah Ugama” I used one of those cool introductions I used in MTQ. I though it would sound great at first, but at one point I knew this was a stupid idea. Stupidly, my mouth already burst the words out. Nafeesa gave the “you’re a fool” look. Iman looked like all the light was drained from her. And worst of all, in the audience Asraf looks like he wanted to punch me.

The silent round ended with, well, silence. Sister Afifah just gave a smile and quickly dashed to the court room to give our marks away.

By the end of the debate, Nafeesa, Iman and Asyraf said the “what the hell where you doing back there”. But Asyraf wasn’t as mad as before, he asked how Iman and I got good points during the debate; it was just Nafeesa’s help in writing the points that help us so much. Asyraf said to Nafeesa to keep on writing for us, it’s a great strategy.

Final Preliminary Round, 11.10am

It was now the end of the preliminary rounds. Finally, this year I debated a lot and it change a lot of me. Last year I just debate half the time and the year before I never debated, so it was like hell for a first timer to debate seven rounds in a row. The last round was quite obvious to all of us, Economy. What makes economy debate so tough is that you got to know who gives and who takes, and after that you would also have to know if it was better to give or to take at the moment. Our final opponent was SDAR, this time we got opposition. The motion was quite simple when you hear it: THBT Free Trade is an enemy of the Environment. It was a good thing we were the opposition. I couldn’t think up of anything if we were the government.

We made our points in the nick of time, with a huge illegal help from Asyraf. And the database helped us a lot. Our opponents were all boys and one had a slight Irish ascent.

Iman didn’t seem quite confident with her points. It seemed like she couldn’t grasp the idea of what the debate was. Nafeesa gave one of those cheerful- happy looks to help out Iman’s confidence. It didn’t help much and she kept repeating points. Thank god by the fifth minute Iman brought up the pace. One of the SDAR boys POI’s her and after she answered it she seemed to “finally understood” what the debate was. She talked a lot about the FTA agreement where members of FTA (free trade association) vows to not harm the environment during free trade are in process. She ended her debate with rebutting the point about the car emission which was trade using free trade. Just in the nick of time.

Nafeesa gave me the points on paper as usual, no time to argue on that. I just used the points on whatever she gave me. Point 1: FTA helps in the trading of technology that could help in saving the environment. Point 2: The car emission incident in the Middle East is not caused by free trade because free trade is only involved in trade and not in the usage of the product. Everything was straight to the point and Nafeesa kept passing new points every minute I said.

Nafeesa speech was a complete laugh. It seemed like she brought the humor round to the economy round because she kept on making jokes. There was a joke about her and the judge wanting to have the same color of clothes. Iman kept asking why she now was joking and didn’t joke during the humor debate. A simple “I don’t know” came from Nafeesa. Then it was Iman’s first time in making a reply speech for economy, usually she’ll pass it to me but now she looks confident and ends the debate.

Finally it’s over! The preliminary rounds are over and we learned a lot, from teamwork to becoming a great debater and finally trusting in Allah’s decision. Even if we didn’t breakthrough the top 24 we still had a great time.

The Results, 2.45pm

We’re in the court room, waiting for the results of the silent rounds and who would go into the octo rounds. Iman and Syazwani were busy writing some unknown language and talked more about Korean dramas and actors. Girl stuff is what it is called. Nafeesa was busy talking with Teacher Mai on what happened from the first day we came until now. I could hear the SRI Ayeshen’s proudly saying that they will get to the octo’s. One thing was in common, everyone was both anxious and nervous for the results. The court room was busy with the anticipation of every participant.

The committee step into the court room, one of them had a laptop that had the results.

Cross your fingers, I don’t think it’ll look good.The results were in and it surprised everyone. Ranking first was SMS Kuala Selangor. STAR was rank 6. And most important of all with 5 wins rank 12 was us, Maahad Hamidiah!

Iman went uproar. She kept on saying “we won economy” “we won politics”. Syazwani was cheering with Iman. It was Syazwani’s first year, she must feel great. Nafeesa had the widest smile of all. It was her last year and we just won five rounds in the preliminary, it was a record for all of us. Even Asyraf congratulated us. At the other side of the room, the SRI Ayeshen’s didn’t make it to the knock rounds. They were disqualified. Nafeesa help cheer them up. It was there first year she said, and at a young age they have accomplished a lot. The alumni’s of SRI Ayesha (which was me and Nafeesa) made the SRI Ayesha cheer after four years with all of them. They really had a strong will and they have the potential to learn so much, this is not there last year, and just like me, this was just the beginning.

Teacher Mai hugged every member of the team excluding me; she congratulated us but said to us to stay focus because now things just get tougher. The knock rounds have begun.

Knock-out rounds

Double octo Finals, 3.00pm

The knock- out rounds have begun, and because we didn’t got the top 8 ranking we had to go through a double octo round. Ranking 24 to ranking 9 will fight each other to get to the top 16 teams and fight the teams ranking 1 to 8.

As soon as the theme was shown on the screen, the whole room fell into silence. The theme was Malaysia. So, what’s interesting that happened in Malaysia that you could make a debate? It was something really unexpected: THBT Proton and Perodua should merge. We were government VS SIGS. Not SIGS again. I really hated them for making us lose and most of all about the pronunciation “foreign”.

It’s pay back time!

In the quarantine room, neither I nor Nafeesa couldn’t get a single fact about Proton and Perodua. I didn’t take notice on what happened in the nation. Not even the database had anything about it. Maybe this was harder than I thought. Of course Nafeesa got some cool mechanism about merging them, but that’s all.

Syazwani then started telling us about what was happening in Perodua and Proton. One of the things she said was that the Savvys car made by proton was a cheap junk that had to be brought back to the mechanics because there was a leakage problem. Thank God we had Syazwani! It seems like we have a car fan with us. With Syazwani’s knowledge of the cars, Nafeesa was able to build a complete case for Iman. And before you knew it, the judges came in. It was time to debate and I haven’t even finished my points!

The debate has begun and Nafeesa was rallying me with points for my speech. She made her usual “quick writings” and handed over to me as fast as possible. Meanwhile, Iman was speaking and building our case. The mechanism was simple; we wanted Proton and Perodua to merge on the basis so that they could compete globally. As neither Proton nor Perodua has ever reached that goal, the only option was to merge. Two heads are better than one. She even gave a metaphor on how our school and SIGS debate team could merge in which we could create a greater debate team.

SIGS retaliate by saying that if those two companies merge then both will want the last profit for themselves, and who would be the boss once merge, both companies will keep on fighting each other so that they would get the last penny. She’s got a point there.

Well now it was my turn to speak, and I really wanted to take revenge on SIGS for kicking us at the previous debate that I accidentally called the second speaker “short”. I don’t know how it came out, it just did. And to hush everything I quickly continued. Nafeesa gave the “you fool” look and Iman had the “what did you said?” look for once. I rebutted a lot of there points after that, and then all the debaters of SIGS kept on trying to POI me. Whether they just want to disrupt my speech or kick me hard I didn’t know. In my points I said that Perodua and Proton needs to merge because then they can share there professionals. Bringing up the fact that Savvy was trash, but if Perodua and Proton merge these things wouldn’t happen in the first place and the company will be able to get to the goal which is create an international car in the market. We even got the idea of the name of the new company once it had merged: Pro-2, double profession, double the product. It sounded quite cool.

During Nafeesa’s speech, she quickly helped hush the thing that I just said by telling to everyone how she too is short and all those things. She made a quick rebuttal on the opponent’s points. Then she fused up about how proton and Perodua will merge they will make a better car. Proton will make a pink car and Perodua will make a car with wings and if combined you’ll get a pink car with wings. Everyone laughed.

The debate ended with a “pink car with wings” in all of the heads of the judges. Teacher Mai pointed out that there are companies that merge and become better. We could have used it. It seemed we miss a lot of points in this debate and the only thing I could count as a point is the “pink car with wings” concept.

Before we could say more the results have just came in. Fingers- cross. The chairman went in front of the room. The results is that the motion………….STANDS. We won! Both Nafeesa and Iman went to SIGS and congratulated them for the debate. Iman even helped apologize to the girl I just mock. Even though they lost, the SIGS debate team was still happy for us and promised to cheer for us in the upcoming round. Our debate journey hasn’t end……yet.

Octo- Finals Round, 5.15pm

In order to determined who would be OPP or GOV each team would have to send someone to flip a coin with the opponents team. We got Government again VS MRSM Shah Pekan. The motion: THBT HIV screening test for pre-marital should be mandatory in Malaysia. That was long. And we almost got the motion written wrongly (my fault of course). The only reason we chose this motion was because it was the easiest to understand than the other two motions, the other two motions were so long that I couldn’t remember what it was.

The speakers of Shah Pekan were good. When Iman brought up the case the first speaker Poi’s her and Iman almost went clashing her own points. Shah Pekan was really good in disrupting our case. They kept on asking questions such as “what would happen if you don’t do a screen test” “why pre-marital” and “what would you do if that person got HIV”. And they were also fluent in English that it made my hairs freckled just hearing their speech.

Nafeesa made a great comeback and saved our skins. She was the better speakers so far and whether or not did the judges notice, she had to bring up some new points because these Shah Pekan’s couldn’t stop asking. She wrote down some of those points on to my reply speech and hoped that the judge wouldn’t notice the change.

The third speaker was very fluent in her English she was almost like Nafeesa and she was able to bust out Iman’s and my points with more questions. By the time I made my reply speech, I finally caught the idea of my points and elaborate them with success. Like Nafeesa, I also had to bring up some new points. I just hope we would get out of this in one piece.

It was almost impossible to believe. The final results: we WON! With a 2-1 in our favor. The judge said we won because the opposition never actually brought a counter proposal to the problem we brought up. There was an Indian judge that gave the 1 to the Shah Pekan’s because we didn’t build a strong case. She said to us to build a strong case before we enter a debate and all the questions must be answered by the first speaker beforehand.

Then it came to me: We broke the record! We made it to the quarters for the first time in Maahad’s history after three years entering! Asyraf was proud of us and said he would be willing to give anything to us for switching places. Nafeesa was already proud for all of us for coming this far, it was her last year and we have done so much. Iman was the happiest; her strong will gave us the all the spirit to win, even though she was sick. Syazwani was the best substitute debater we ever got, a lot of her help got us this far, especially the double octo round. And for myself, I didn’t do much; what surprised me is that even though in our school there were better debaters than me e.g. Asyraf, Atiqah and Arif, but they never manage to get this far, so I was indeed very, very lucky to be there, because as much as I could say it, I didn’t do much, I just helped out wherever I can and I almost made our team lost.

But what was most important WE MADE IT TO QUARTER FINALS!

15th April, Quarter Finals!!!!!!!

Yesterday the BM debate team didn’t got through the knock- out rounds and lost early. And guess what? I got a late visit from my senior debaters. Arif, Shukri Asyraf and Amarul, all came to my room. Thank god they bought there own sleeping bags, except Amarul he slept on a spare bed. We talked a lot, laughed, made jokes and gossiped. We slept late that night.

But I got up early today. Everyone else in my room was still sound asleep. Even the building seemed still asleep. I think I’m the only one here who’s going to quarters. Today I wore a white “Baju Melayu and black pants”. I never thought that we would actually go to quarters at first when I woke up. I thought it was all a dream.

It seems like I was the only one at the bus stop that time, so I took the opportunity to sit at the front, next to the driver. The bus driver talked a lot with me, he asked how was my experience here and how did I made it to the quarters, for me lucky I guess. The others will be following shortly; they said they wanted me to finish the quarter final’s quarantine period.

I met up with the others at the moot court. Iman, Syazwani and Nafeesa all wore black “jubahs” with a white tudung. As we arrive at the court room, there was this man who said that the seats in front were reserved for those who entered the quarter finals. So what, Nafeesa said, we were in quarter finals. The man seemed surprised and asked us what team we were debating against, no one told us you know. He was really annoying so we moved to another seat, very far away from him. And you want to know what? It seemed our old friend here was actually reserving the seats for his own team. So much for him, Nafeesa felt like wanting to kick him.

We flipped the coin. We were government again VS MRSM Balik Pulau. We got wind that Balik Pulau actually defeated STAR during the preliminary round. Iman went like “What?” when she heard that. Even the motion was disastrous: International Politics. This time, she looked like she wanted to vomit. Nafeesa looked prepared and for me, these were the motions that Asyraf warned me about, when they come out they come out hard he once said. Luckily I came prepared; my database contained a lot of information about international issues, from Iran’s nuclear program to South Korea’s Missile institute, whatever gets out, we won’t be standing still.

THBT UN should form Electing Commission’s for troubled Nation’s. We raced to the debate room in less than five minutes. It was huge. So huge, we had to use a mike to debate. It was like one of those room’s that you see in TV where lecturer’s gives there speech. In the room Nafeesa was discussing with Iman on what mechanism we wanted to do. I looked in to my database. There were two words I was looking for, troubled countries, and Election. Then it came to me: Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had a record of bad elections. The dictator, Robert Mugabe always win through corruption and killing the opposition, and the country was really in trouble, with the economy crisis on the country it fitted the description. I showed it to Nafeesa and she concluded that the term “troubled Nations” we would define as countries in Africa because it had a bad election process and is full of troubled countries. Syazwani brought out information about the UN and why it was credible enough to form this process.

One of our judges was the Indian women from last night and the man who tried to hush us was also our judge. During the debate, Iman still had her “Political Problems” and spoke very fast. Of course, she still emphasized on our mechanism and why we point out “trouble nations” as African countries but she didn’t emphasize much on the African Countries. MRSM Balik Pulau notices that and attacked with an array of questions. They had the same battle style of Shah Pekan. I should have known, MARA must have been supplying the same debating trainer for all of there schools. There first speaker said that the UN wasn’t credible because both China and Russia wouldn’t agree to this process. These two countries weren’t actually democratic and would stop anything that has to do with democracy, they said.

That just gave more work to me. I had to emphasize back the process of the UN forming Electing Commissions. Thank God they didn’t make a counter proposal. The process was simple. The UN would choose a number of people to supervise the election and if they found out that the people in the election are not worthy they’ll start back the election. We said we don’t want another “Robert Mugabe”. And yet again I also forgot to emphasize on the reason behind the African thing Iman forgot.

Nafeesa also had trouble in her speech. It wasn’t like it was a complete disaster; it was just that her rebuttals were more over than before. She even went to the point of saying that we should sanction China. Sanction China? That’s impossible! Back at the audience, Asyraf made the “stop talking” sign to her. It was a good thing Balik Pulau didn’t took notice on that too. And like me and Iman, Nafeesa also joined the team by forgetting to emphasize on the African thing.

It was up to me then. Iman didn’t want to give the reply speech, her problems. So this time it was my turn and Nafeesa made sure of me to emphasize about the African countries by holding a paper with the huge words “Africa”.

I was exhausted when the debate ended. Nothing went like planned. The Balik Pulau’s were too good. They even beat STARS. The results came in: with a score of 4- 3, the motion goes to the government. We won? We actually beat Balik Pulau! And now, WHERE GOING TO SEMIS! One thing came to my mind, back at the hostel I swore to give everyone in my badge a RM2 if we went to Semis. It seems Allah wanted me to keep my promise. And that just meant one more thing: we already have a medal in hand. So whether we win after this it didn’t matter much,


Semi Finals, 11.05am

We were late. Late as in late. Brother Im kept on trying to call us while we were celebrating outside the debate room. He was really mad. Relax Nafeesa said. We made it to Semis and all of us have learned a lot about debate, that is everyone except me, I didn’t knew what I learned. The Semi finals started as soon as we knew it.

The coin showed heads. We were Government (not again) VS MRSM Taiping, an old nemesis, it seems they too have been improving. Iman didn’t like it. She already had enough of always being the government and building the case. Nafeesa said this was a sign from Allah that He wanted us to improve in building a case and being the government. The theme was Policy. Policy debates on what new things the government wanted to do, whether or not it can be done. The motion was: THW decrease toll charge for car- pooling.

Kak D wasn’t there to watch us debate, she had some errands to settle. Our new usher wasn’t as good as her. She brought us to the wrong room and we wasted fifteen minutes just finding the room.

The judges didn’t give us a chance. So, during those remaining fifteen minutes, everyone talked, even Syazwani. Firstly was Iman’s case. The mechanism was that we would use those “touch n go” things to help decrease the price. A camera would ensure that the vehicle had more than two people or a normal fee will be given and there would be no decreasing. Reason why this is good: this would help to uplift the idea of car- pooling and help to sustain the petroleum problem.

The fifteen minutes were up. There were seven judges this time. Why so many? One of them was Brother Daniel and brother Im, even the India lady was present. My idea that the MARA schools all had the same debate trainer was quite possible. Just like the other MRSM schools, Taiping also pounded us with questions even though we have already answered them. One of those questions was “what is the punishment if the owner misuses it?” but this time, we were prepared. It was one of those debates you actually enjoyed. I still hated of questions coming from Taiping, they would stop giving us the same question’s over and over again. All of us did great. I was even given the job to do the reply speech again. And during that time I made it clear all the questions were answered. Brother Daniel, whom sits at the front row, watched me debate like watching a king talk, without the crown. The debate ended. Brother Im went on the stage and gave the results. It surprised everyone. I hugged Nafeesa and almost, just almost hugged Iman if it wasn’t for Brother Daniel’s secondly interruption. The score was 6-1, with the motion stands. Maahad Hamidiah won the Semis. We were going to finals.

Iman couldn’t believe it; we were actually “going to the finals”. Syazwani cheered with her. Nafeesa joined the other girls and said how proud she was. Teacher Mai was the happiest debate teacher. She was the first teacher to accompany us and it showed that in her first year we went to the finals!

Just believe it. We didn’t have Asyraf or Atiqah to help us out, and we were literally called the weakest debate team (by Asyraf) and yet we went to the finals. We called Asyraf and he felled from his seat when he heard the news. Then he shouted at the phone.

After loud cheers as if we were going to heaven, everyone went silent. Nafeesa made her usual motivation speech. She said that we all should relax and in the finals we shouldn’t put to much pressure, it was already enough, we already made it far, so far I thought. I did a quick doa asking to Allah to help us in the final. Then it was back to the rooms, everyone needed some rest and a grip of reality after what just happened, because what’s going to happen after this is going to be quite real.

To the FINALS!!!!!!! 7.00pm

I was ready, more than ready. Everything was prepared. After my long rest I got a call from Brother Daniel via phone, he congratulated me and advised me to create a structured speech during the debate. He also said how sorry he was because he couldn’t come to the finals and watch us debate. With his advice, and a lot of help from Arif and Amarul, I was able to create a great strategy for my speech. For this last debate we’ll be wearing the peach “Baju KP”, no reason though, it was just the only thing we haven’t worn yet.

The final was going to be held at the same place where it all started: the great hall. I never thought I would be the one on the stage speaking in front of a huge crowd, and yet here we are. Just minutes before the debate we did our Magrrib prayers and did a test mike. Everything seemed like ok, for now. Our last opponent as every year it is, STAR. Whether you like it or not every year we would fight STAR and usually they’ll be the ones to end our victory just like two years ago, but not this time.

We flipped the coin behind stage. Government again, but as Nafeesa says it, a sign from Allah. I was the one who chose the motion, it was to my liking. THW not make food as fuel. Things couldn’t get any better.

We quarantined behind stage, and this time I was the mastermind. I was the one who created the mechanism and our base. Nafeesa listened intently to what I had to say. The debate was about bio-fuel. But as we were the government, we had to say no to bio-fuel. Our proposal: hydrogen. Hydrogen is a cleaner agent than bio-fuel. It doesn’t give out emission, it doesn’t cause pollution and it was our best solution. Toyota has already made a car with hydrogen cells I told Nafeesa. For me this debate is going to be great. But Iman needed help, so Nafeesa had to help build up her points; she added that we would want to focus on the US to forgo this bio-fuel because then the world will follow. It was perfect. I have already built up my points just like how I planned. I hope Iman’s fine, she still had problem with the meaning of bio-fuel. And just as we knew it, time’s up.

The debate had to start early because the VIPs have just arrived. We went on the stage with style. There were 9 judges, and so many people were watching. I still remembered Zuhri from our previous battles. Like Nafeesa, he was form 5 and also like her, he was the third speaker.

Everything went wrong. Iman panicked. Neither she or I could hear what STAR was talking about. There were echoes, and it made our speeches sound like crap when you want to hear it from where we are. Both Iman and I didn’t give a single POI during the debate. Only Nafeesa kept her calm during the debate. She was able to catch STARs speeches and make her rebuttals. She even suddenly changed to her more girlish tone of talking that the audience loved her when she talked. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t hear a single word what STARs was talking about even though the speakers were huge. Then to hell with the speakers! I did what I could do. It wasn’t great, but with some points from Nafeesa I was able to give a full seven minute speech. There weren’t many rebuttals though. I focused a lot on the mechanism and my points. By the time Nafeesa could give me her points, it was already lost, it seemed like STAR has already beaten us again. But I wasn’t going to step down just like that. Since Iman didn’t want to do the reply speech, the last and final speech for the IIU Debate Championship was given to me. I did the same thing like Nafeesa did two years ago. Same speech, same opponent, a whole new different person. All of the teams including STAR’s points were crumbled on a single sheet. It felt like the entire burden was on me, to win this debate and to end it once, and for all.

“Ladies and Gentlemen”, the stopwatch clicked signaling the four minutes have begun.The whole audience was silent. And for a moment it reminded me the dreadful incident two years ago when my sister gave the reply speech. I tried to emphasize a lot of things in just four minutes. That included our points, our mechanism. I also had time to give a brief talk about STAR’s points and why ours were better. It felt like an eternity. Then the bells rang twice, the debate ended has now ended. Thank God it was over, it’s finally over.

That night we had a moody dinner with STAR on a single table. Nafeesa did much of the talking there. It was so boring, we had to leave Teacher Mai while we eat with all the VIPs. She seemed sad when we had to leave her. I hope she’s alright. And as bad as it sounds, the results will be given tomorrow.

“Tomorrow” went as fast as you knew it. Everything seemed to go fast. We watched the BM finals. SMAP Kajang VS MCKK. The results were given right after that. Then we had another meal with STAR, this time Teacher Shazleena ate with us this time. Teacher Mai had to go to the hospital that night because she was sick. Then, at 12 o’clock, the IIU debating championship has ended. A lot of things happened while our stay here.

In the car on the way back home, I clutched the broken pieces of my trophy. There was only one thing that made me uneasy, a feeling of sorrow and defeat, it kept me awake while on the way back. WE LOST.

Epilogue: 5 months later………..

I’m in the car, back from the journey from CFS (Centre for Foundation Studies) IIU. I thought I would never return to this begotten place. I still remembered the days spent at the same institution, the same competition: debate.

It was like a bad dream, a nightmare. We lost. With a humiliating 9-0, STAR won. They got the golden trophy and with it, all the hopes and dreams of a stray debater. It was my entire fault I concluded. I was the one who didn’t do the final speech right and I lead my team’s point astray. There was nothing left to it, just a lost hope and a bad memory. And don’t even think about me wining next year, I’ve calculated the odds. It was hopeless. There was no Asyraf, no Atiqah, and most of all there is no Nafeesa. Iman will be going to KISAS next year and I don’t know what’ll happen to Syazwani. To conclude it, I’m alone. Even among all three of us, I was the weakest. I got the individual rankings before we left. I never showed it to Iman or Nafeesa, it would make them just heart broken, especially Nafeesa. With rank 11 she only needed one point to get rank 10, Iman got rank 20, and me, I just got 26. I didn’t change for the better and I certainly haven’t won. I thought of dumping debate, once and for all.

While on the journey back, I tried to remember everything I went through to get here in the first place. It all started with an “accident”, just to accompany my sister Nafeesa when she went to this competition two years ago, until the moment of the final debate on the stage. I thought back, and I realized.

I might have lost a single trophy. But my team, Nafeesa, Iman, Syazwani, and me, we all won more than that. Friendship, experience, knowledge, and courage. We might have lost a single trophy but we gained an infinite of experience, knowledge and other things you could name of. And maybe, just maybe, I have become a better debater, I’m sure of it. The last and final round proves it all. I became the mastermind even though Nafeesa didn’t. I was able to build my own points with my own knowledge, and that was without a single piece of paper from her. And I remembered Nafeesa saying how proud she was to all of us, to me, how we have changed for the better.

Back in the car, I held to my “Best Novice Speaker” award from the IIU open debate as tightly as possible. Even though there will be no Asyraf, Nafeesa or Iman to be there to help, I’ll still continue debate, no matter who I would have to train or teach, because next year is my legacy. And even though I barely new him, the words of

Mr. Shahool Hameed still echoed in my ears from our previous meeting. “Will you win next year?” the answer was still the same: I will, I told myself.

I will win, I promise………

* * * * * THE END * * * * *

Written by: Abdullah Fakhry, All- Rounder, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th speaker of SMKA MAAHAD HAMIDIAH. “Next Year is my Legacy”

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