Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Great Debate

Jonathan Moh, CC was recently a contestant on the Great Debate and lived to tell the tale!

Date: April 27th 2011
Location: Klang Bilingual Toastmasters Club
Event: 5th Anniversary Celebration


The stage’s been set. Preparations have been made to the best of their ability. The combatants laugh and joke with each other while sizing up their opponents up. The crowd was cheering at the prospect of a good fight. The fighters took their seats and waited for the signal. Silence covered the room. There were no ritual insults in this battle of gentlemen. Finally, the first contestant walks to the center of the stage. It’s game time. The Klang Bilingual Debate Tournament commences.

The motion of the day was “Leaders are made, not born.” I was on the side which opposed the motion. We crossed swords repeatedly throughout the entre one hour. Each contestant gave his or her argument to support his or case which lasted for about 3-5 minutes. I was at first apprehensive about giving my part as it was my first Toastmasters debate. However, I as the clock ticked on, I got more comfortable with my role, holding my own as the crowd egged me on. It was but the appetizer of the match as the main course was yet to come.

As soon as all of the speakers had given their arguments, there was a lull in the battle for a few moments. Then, the Cross-Examination Session began. Bullets began to fly with even more intensity as the debaters called on each other with difficult questions, hoping to catch their opponents with their pants down. I fought alongside Dennis Wee who opposed motion against a formidable lineup led by Johnson Yike from my own club. We showed no mercy and sniped our foes without holding back for 10 long minutes. As intense as it had been, the Chair finally called an end to the hail of bullets flying back and forth. The Wrap had begun.

A speaker from each side was chosen to summarize our arguments and attempt to give a final coup de grace to our already wounded opponents. We were both smarting from our bruises but nonetheless we fought valiantly to the end. When this was done, the adjudicators convened to decide on the final verdict.

After minutes of waiting, they decided that Johnson’s side were better men (and woman) that evening. Although we were disappointed, my side knew we could walk out of this fight with our heads held high as we had given our all and gave our opponents a run for their money. That is why I stay with the Toastmasters Club as there is always something new to learn even from defeat, coming across great people who inspire you not just with their words but also with their actions and of course, there is always a chance for a good fight. The greatest fighter is not the one who is able to beat his or her opponents down in every match but they are the ones who can win a battle without throwing a single punch and this lesson from my kickboxing instructor rang true on that day.


The Debaters with the Organizing Chair


The Proposing Team and the Winners


The Opposing Team

Photos courtesy of Johnson Yike of the D’Utama Toastmasters Club