Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Debate Journey: Part 2

Grand Dinner, 7.00 pm

Everyone wore their best attires at the grand dinner. But us? I really hated wearing the school’s Baju Batik. They crumble and became lousy after you wear it for a time. But Nafeesa insisted. We had to look like we love our school because there is a teacher accompanying us. She said, we don’t want to show a bad impression about the school in front of Teacher Mai. The BM debaters also wore that lousy baju batik.
But all in all, the grand dinner was great! The theme was Star Wars. They made a cool drama (I saw the actor was brother Zamir, one of our friends in IIU) and the Slide show was spectacular. It actually brought out the adrenaline out of you and makes you want to spring forward when you hear the music. I even recorded it. And the food. Delicious. I guess that among everyone present at the grand dinner, we were the only ones to eat with our bare hands. Hey, the prophet did eat with his hands you know.
I was able to meet Muhammad (one of my seniors last year), he joined the KISAS debate team. And guess what? St. Xavier is not here. Alhamdullillah, they were really tough during the old days, always winning. Maybe winning three times in a row is enough for them.
Back in the mahallah, I couldn’t wait to read the Ratio. It’s a booklet that tells everything about the debate. And sometimes it gives clues about what is going to go up on the motion. It said something about the Virginia case were a boy who was severely punish by his teachers, then got up and shot everyone at school with a M-16.
But I was too tired to read the whole story. Mental note: maybe something about juvenile cases will be debated.
Waaaahhhhhh. Too tired right now. Tomorrow have to be ready. Last man standing. Everything is going to be ok. Relax.

Preliminary Rounds

12th April, First Debate

Wake up already! Waking up your little brother is like moving a boulder, you can’t move it unless a huge force is applied, and I mean huge. Huh. This is what happens when you’re the only senior there. Stress out, always you who has to do all the hard work. Barely, everyone woke up. I thought we were going to be late like last year. Green shirt and black sleek pants. Nafeesa said we need to look nice on our first day of debate. “Konon alim” she said.
We met our usher, Kak D we called her, she was great. She was a debater, and because of some few problems she couldn’t become a judge and got stuck with us. The mock debate was boring to my ears. I never knew the motion. I wanted to debate. Get into the action and all those things. So I did the one thing I can. I slept.
I woke up and the first debate was about to start. Now were talking something. Brief rules: get motion thirty minutes before debate, can’t call or use any electrical devices during quarantine, get to the rooms in time and choose the debate between the three motions given with the opposing team. Just like old times.
“And the theme of the motion is”, brother Im said, holding a microphone.
SMOKING. The words flash on the big screen. Great. At least it is something I know of. And then he announced the motions. Me, Iman and Syazwani started writing as fast as we could. We were opposition VS SEMESTA. Never heard a school by that name. We agreed upon the motion: THW increase tax on smoking.
Tax. Man!! why did it have to be taxing? I could think of hundred benefits about taxing smoking and still keep on saying more. Nafeesa said to relax, she’s got a plan. Iman was petrified; Syazwani was scrambling here and there on the dictionary and at the same time trying to calm Iman. I caught up with Nafeesa, she talk to us about the drug incident. Where a boy needed money to buy drugs so he killed his mother to do so. We got to our room but we stayed outside. Opposition teams had to stay outside. We all sat down, then Nafeesa started whirling about how smoking is bad and it is addictive, then how taxing isn’t effective because it has been tried but failed its motive. At least we got something.
The debate began. I felt like I was given only ten minutes for quarantine. Hish! Time goes fast. Our position: Iman was first speaker, she’s great in bringing up the case and setting the stage to our favor, Nafeesa was whip this time, the opposing team won’t know what hit them. And I was second speaker. Nafeesa gave up on the idea of making me a whip. So the only choice was second speaker. I hate it went she treats me like that. It makes me feel like I’m the weakest player, which in a way, I am.
The team from SEMESTA was all boys. And you know what? They tried to mock us. They started their speech with the things I usually do in MTQ. Bismillahirrahmanirahim. What were they thinking? Just because we were “Sekolah Ugama that doesn’t mean they should be so “alim”. I wanted to do the same during my speech. I wanted to bring those cool introductions I used to win in MTQ, but Nafeesa urged me to “not be a fool”. I couldn’t quite tell what Iman was talking about, but at first it must be something good because I saw Nafeesa nodding, then it must have gone really stupid because Nafeesa suddenly looked like she was deaf. Nafeesa was talking to me on my points, and at the same time writing it on a piece of paper. What does she thinks I am? Somebody who can’t think and make his own points? But once I spoke the points Nafeesa gave me, it seemed now I was in complete control. It was a simple matter of reaffirming the points in a different way. But still it sounds worst and after my speech, Nafeesa pinch me that I almost shouted.
When Nafeesa spoke, it seems the tables were turned. She whipped all of the SEMESTA speakers especially the one who kept on speaking like an “ustaz”. Because Nafeesa couldn’t become the second or first speaker, I and Iman had to choose between ourselves who would give the reply speech. It started with Iman. Iman spoke better than before during her reply speech. She emphasized a lot of things I missed. That was a fast change.
In the end, Alhamdullillah we won our first round! No thanks to me, that was sure. Nafeesa was a legend, and iman was better than before, but me, I couldn’t quite see the difference between now and the zone debate competition. I don’t like it. I need to change, for heavens sake! That was what I promise years ago, and I shall. 

Second Debate, 5.15pm

Ok, focus Fakhry. During the break between the debates I remembered how Asyraf mock me during our first year here. I cried that time. I don’t want it to happen again, especially when I’m the last man standing. No I won’t! Just follow teacher Mai’s advice, I told myself. Use the what, why, how’s. Yes, just relax. It'll all be ok in the end. It always does.
The second motion came to my liking. SPORTS. In my mind I already knew what the debate was. The Beijing Olympics. And to my liking we debated on that. The motion was THBT Democratic Countries should Boycott the Beijing Olympics. Yes! That’s the motion I was finding. We were Opposition VS SIGS. All girls this time.
Everything went wrong. Nafeesa and I were arguing on what points we should put. Nafeesa kepr bringing the fact about how China was a political power and boycotting the Olympics is insane. I said that we should just use the fact that it is the Olympics and nothing changes the fact that it is the Olympic, she didn’t listen. She kept ordering me to stay focus about the points she gave me. Don’t you remember the training we did about this motion? The points were great, but NO! You suddenly want to go into politics all of a sudden.
SLAM! Nafeesa slapped me hard on my face. It bruised red. Everyone at the corridor stared at us.
“Just listen, ok! Just follow the points!” shouted Nafeesa.
Nafeesa was angry with me, I could tell. She slapped me on the face really hard that my eyes were watery. So be it.
The time begins for us to debate. Iman was a success. I caught every word she said. It seems the nervous face in the first round has been replaced with confidence. Nafeesa was upset with me. She had to right the whole thing on a piece of paper again and explain it to me while Iman was talking. The points she wrote was double than before.
And guess what? Asyraf was there. He came all the way to watch us debate. We lost that round in the end. So much for doing better than before. the judge was really nice he told us how we lost. Embarrassing. We didn’t knew that Tibet and Beijing was so far apart. And the judge pointed out some things such us how important the Olympics are to the athletes that hey wouldn’t think to boycott the Olympics, even if it was held in Beijing. The same points when Nafeesa and I were training back at school! And guest what? We had a database full of facts and figures concerning this topic, but did we use it? NO!
I didn’t like it! Nafeesa was mad at me for not focusing on the points; Asyraf shouted at me for becoming so stupid and not think logic. It all went wrong that day.
Back at my room, I was angry! Angry at Nafeesa for slapping me at the face. Angry at Asyraf for coming in the first place. Angry at myself for not doing better than before! I took the opportunity to be alone, taking a cold refreshing shower, even though it was 9 o’clock. It didn’t do much, my eyes were still watery, I was exhausted from the pounding and debating, and I coughed a lot. Asthma.
Sitting by the bed, my inhaler came to the resque. It relieved me for the time being but it’ll come back, it always does. I have to take a grip of myself. For the second time, I felt like I didn’t want to debate again. It reminded me of the incident three years ago. Same place, same competition. We just lost to STAR and I was mad to Asyraf for losing and that the whole thing was a waste of time. He countered back by saying how stupid of me for not helping the team and that the reason I was there in the first place was because of my sister. But that was before.
The SRI Ayesha debaters just came back. They lost both rounds but were acting like nothing happened. 

“The people we fought were just lucky, they wouldn’t stood a chance if we debated like hell”, Safwan said.

“We’ll win tomorrow”, Fattah said. He said it as if this competition was just one of those games he played on the PS. If he lost he’ll just start again. I was surprised that they weren’t upset even though they had a punishing defeat. 

My hand phone ringed. There was a text message, from Nafeesa.
It said: sorry for what happened back there. Hope everything’s alright. Get ready for tomorrow. I read it several times. It lifted my spirit back up. Maybe everything was worth the effort.

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