How debate can be applied after education

4:35 PM / Comments (3) / by Azimi Azmin

Most students over in UMT always think that to be an English debater, one must need the following: i) speaks fluent english; ii) be smart and know a lot; and iii) sacrifice the semester break. These stereotypical thinking is very disappointing that I wish students would have a better understanding on this. So without further a due, let me rebutt to these assumptions.

It's true that one needs to speak English when it comes to debating, but hey, who said that you need to have excellent English to be in the team? Anyone can debate, and it doesn't matter what level of English the person has, what's important is that one is given the platform to practice in their English communication. I've met with students (whether during my studies or during training) who approached to me and asked if I could help in improving their English. I remember how this one guy who joined the debate club because he couldn't find anyone who could talk English with him in his course. There was even a student who said that she came to join the debate club because not only she wanted to improve her English, but also to empower self confidence in public speaking. So to those who wants to make themselves to be a better speaker, to be more influential to get your ideas to be shared with others, then don't look far because the Unrated Malicious Talkers are here. Do listen to the following radio interview in Business FM 89.9 with Iqbal Hafiedz of Malaysian Institute of Debate and Public Speaking (MIDP), which he discusses on debating scene in Malaysia and how debating can benefits the student (of any education level) in their communication skills.
Malaysian Institute of Debate and Public Speaking

On to the second point, on the subject of 'knowing a lot'. Of course ya need to know stuffs if you're going to debate, but at the same time, one can learn to bluff. Heck, I used to bluff with the information I had back when I was debating for UMT. This is very common in debates because not everyone knows everything; however, we all know something that together as a team, we can stand as strong as Wikipedia. Plus, as the saying goes, 2 heads are always better than 1. So just because you feel that you don't know about something, it doesn't mean you don't know about anything at all. Below is another podcast featured in BFM 89.9 that shows an example of what debate is like. The motion is "This House Defends Wikileaks", which features Dr. Omar Sallehudin (a very prominent figure in debating in the Asian region) and Muhammad Faiz Arshad of Khazanah Nasional who is a debate alumni of UiTM Shah Alam. Enjoy!
Debate: Fundamental Liberties versus National Security

My last rebuttal is on the fact about sacrificing own time during the semester break. Honestly, how much longer do one needs to be spoon fed by the parents or older adults. Wait a sec, university students are adults; but at the same time, do they act as one? Yes they may reach or pass the age of voting (which is 21 years old), but do they behave in a sense that they can accept responsibilities, be accountable, and understand to let go any such comfort for future benefit. In UMT, debating doesn't come in the form of lecture or one of the co-curriculum activities; but rather, debating exist as a group of friends who just happen to enjoy each other's company in hanging out. Of course there are times when one must sacrifice their semester break for any activities, but hey, that's real life. For some, weekends is the only time they get to enjoy their 'break' from work, and no such month long break. Yes, it is appropriate to visit the family back home, but it doesn't have to be more than a few weeks. The whole 'manja' attitude has to be dropped, and let to be more independent. In the following video, Zoe Weil, the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), discusses on how the world needs 'solutionaries' rather just students who grows up to be taught. Then she talked about how she witnessed a debate and suggests how the debate competition should become an event where debaters would argue on which mechanism will work best and then apply it to the status quo (which does sounds a lot like what Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) is currently doing.

In conclusion, you don't need to be all good in 'speaking' or be a bookworm who knows all to be a good debater, and yes, one must accept and be mature to understand that one can't afford to sit back and rest in the comfort of the homes for too long, especially when being an university student. Not to mention, we always have fun during the times we stayed back for the training. Don't believe me? Ya may ask any of the Unrated Malicious Talkers that stayed back in December.


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