Tuesday, January 10, 2006

*On debate formats*

The forthcoming SLR-MDC debates adopts a style that is similar (though definately not identical) to the parliamentary style as found in North America. This style which is essentially two speakers each on opposing sides is to be differentiated from the British Parliamentary Style which was two teams of two EACH on two opposing sides i.e. 4 teams of two in total. Yes, it's a complicated system, I hate it, but it has its charms.

Anyway, this year the organisers of the committee have embarked on a truely revolutionary format (for this region at least). What they have done is to make this an impromtu debate with an hour's prep time. This is in and of itself not unique because it's really not different from the impromtu debates at the secondary school and college level. Of course, it gets a lot more restrictive at the varisty level, the longest time you will have is 30 minutes, the shortest a mere 15. All of which do not include walking times on truely large overseas campuses.

But what makes this format so unique is that there is absolutely NO restrictions on the type of material and equipment that one can bring for prep. Which means yes to laptops on top of fact files. Coupled with wireless internet access on campus, this should prove very exciting. If for no other reason, to see its impact on debaters and debates where teams know next to nothing about the issue.

Of course, it does mean that an advantage that our team had is pretty much wiped out i.e. as ex-debaters we are used to constrains on such unfettered access to information and we have developed fact files and a memory retention that can be quite scary after a while.

On the other hand, we're not the only full debating team on the law circuit. As of now, I am aware that Alex Lee with pairing with Mahesh, Tris is debating as are Maureen and Shou Min. And of course, there's always Nabil, Yong Wei and Alex Yeo fresh from the Worlds.

Anyway, I look forward as ever to a good debate and hopefully break this semester (we got close at last year's event)



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