Emerging second in debating online

St Joseph’s Private School’s Edmund Wong Li Hong, Jordan Lai Qi Hao and Kieran Paul Bhasker have made us all proud when they came in second in the senior category in the 16th Swinburne Sarawak Inter-School Debating Championship (SSIDC) organised online for three Saturdays from 27 February to 13 March 2021.

The students were the opposition in the final round where the motion of the debate was ‘This House, as the government of China, will allow the secession of Hong Kong’. These Form Four and Five students have trained hard online despite the setbacks of not being able to meet and train in person during the pandemic.

Our junior team comprising Daphne Ngu, Ting Zhi Jia and Rachael Chai reached the quarter-final round but was defeated by SMK Batu Lintang J1 team. SSIDC is the largest English debating championship in Borneo.
This year, 41 and 27 teams participated in the senior and junior category respectively. The participating teams come from all over Malaysia and Brunei. The event started with a Debate and Adjudication Workshop by Swinburne’s lecturer, Chief Adjudicator Hugh John Leong.

It was a great and enriching experience for the students to participate in the event. Although it had to be done online because of the pandemic, it did not deter their spirits in representing the school. Unfortunately, because it was done online, our school sent only two teams instead of seven compared to the previous years. Asked about their experiences debating online this time around, the students gave various feedbacks:

SSIDC in my opinion is a good learning experience for young people who aspire to debate. One of the reasons is because SSIDC is a free competition and we don’t have to pay anything which is surprising; this encourages more young-debaters to compete. Overall SSIDC was a fun and helpful experience for me.
– Racheal Chai

Debating online wasn’t easy and as fun compared to the physical ones, but I still gain a lot of knowledge. Due to internet problems, the debate didn’t go as smooth as the physical ones and we couldn’t stare the opponents to make them scared either. I also realise that the political world is such a problematic place, and every action has hidden consequences that as young children, we don’t realise. I have debated against weird topics that I can’t believe how it actually applies in real society. And from then, I realise how chaotic the world is and being a politician isn’t easy.
– Ting Zhi Jia

I’m grateful for the school in giving me the opportunity to participate in a competition like this and I would like to thank our teachers, Ms. Florence and Mr. Quay and the Debate Club members for supporting us throughout the journey. We really enjoyed ourselves and we actually learned so many skills and facts that can be used in our lives and make a plethora of friends from different schools and cities.
– Kieran Paul Basker

Joining SSIDC has allowed me to improve as a debater. It has been a very great journey where I learnt more things and made new friends. Making it to the finals made the whole experience even more enjoyable because it allowed me to have a bigger chance to grow as a debater. Overall, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience.
– Jordon Lai Qi Hao

SSIDC 2021 has been an eye-opening and enriching experience for me. Apart from refining my speaking skills, I had fun training, debating and spectating debates with new acquaintances from other schools like SMK Batu Lintang and SM Lodge. However, it is a bit of a let-down that SSIDC has to be held online, because the offline experience is so much more interesting and fun compared to the digital one.
– Edmund Wong

The competition was very fun and challenging, especially when we would have to argue about topics we knew very little about. Though we obviously feel a bit miffed that we didn’t win, the process of training was fun enough to make up for it. We also owe a huge thanks to those who trained us for lending us their time to help us improve. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to have made it this far.
-Daphne Ngu