Sunday, March 16, 2008

Debate in Kota Kinabalu: 3rd Borneo Cup Debate

This year started of with more or less a bang. New Year was celebrated in Miri. Came back to Curtin, Sarawak. Came back to more responsibility; Student Council at the vice sectary (which has more work then I was told…THANKS MEL!), Curtin Volunteers! as the President for this year. So many things to organize run and participate in. But for now I will go in to a new era, or a new chapter to add to my long list of experience.


Yes, Somebal has gone and gotten himself into a debate competition. More precisely the 3rd Borneo Cup Debate Championship at UMS or better known as University Malaysia Sabah.

That’s right… I am in the land beneath the wind, the home of beautiful coral reefs and the tallest mountain peak in Borneo, Mt. Kota Kinabalu (KK for short). Finally I can say I have set foot in KK and have visited all the major cities on Borneo Island.

Now on to the debate,

February 18th, half way through degree orientation week I received a call from the ‘University life’ assistant, asking me if I would like to take part in a debate. Well I sounded more like that I didn’t have a choice, ‘Either you say yes or yes…I’ll give you till four later to decide and I’ll call you back.’ Naturally I had a choice…said or not… Morpheus standing before me and presents me two pills; the blue pill that puts me back into cryogenic state and leave me be in my world of one sided bickering; or the red pill that will pull me out of my comfort zone and into the world of debating.

Downed the red pill, I found myself in the ‘meeting room’ of the school of business with two other current students, Farah and Shu Qing. Not long after Serina a lecture from the School of Pre University joined with the previous director of Pre-University. Doing all the pleasantries and getting started with the real issue of why we were gathered at the meeting room. We got information that we needed, as in when will it be (a week later), what style (parliament style: 3 speakers each side) and when are we training (everyday except on the weekends).

Background story: Curtin has been invited previously but did not send a team based on two things 1.) Budget, there was no budget set to send a team, 2.) Information about the debate was not informed / disseminated properly or as early enough, hence the last minute call. Farah volunteered herself for it… she was doing her summer course and happen to see the notice on the board…Shu Qing took summer course too but was busy with all the work. And myself, I was not on campus as I was on the semester break and did not take summer course.

Fast forwards, a week later:

Curtin agreed to help us with transport to M.I.A. (Miri International Airport), the driver was to pick us up about an hour before the initial flight (Air Asia) but what happened was that the driver picked us up at least 3 hours before boarding time… OMFG! 11.30am…I was still on the way back from campus from class. Cut the story short I got back finish packing, and left with the driver, same case as with Farah and Serina were caught of guard of the earliness.

Kota Kinabalu…

At arrival there was no one to greet us at the arrival hall of the ever-so-small KKIA, made some calls and was told that the shuttle service is only 10minute away. We were lucky, as I heard that the other groups that arrived later that day had to wait 3 hours or so… Read from Choulyin's blog & Audrey's blog.

Place of rest

Summer Lodge, is a neat backpackers lodge, clean & is situated in the heart of KK town... Jalan Gaya 5min walk away from Burger King (my main purpose for going to KK…partially). I am quite impressed with the lodge, for two reasons; 1) The rooms are neat and clean, way better then some 2 or even 3 star hotels, 2) I am very particular about toilets, if i have to go i will find a 4 star hotel and do my business but at the Summer Lodge I had no problems!

Summer LodgeJust outside summer lodge

Rating of Summer Lodge would be 4 stars out of 5.

Match Ups

There were 18 teams in total. Some institute sent two teams to this event, sort of if team ‘A’ does on get in then team ‘B’ has a higher chance of getting in (vice versa)…sort off.

Institute listed were:

  • UMS (2);
  • UiTM Sabah (3) & Sarawak (2);
  • Swinburn (2);
  • UNIMAS (2);
  • Curtin (1);
  • Sinaran (1);
  • ATI (1);
  • Swing (1);
  • Sanzac (2);
  • Keningau (1).


This debate was a parliamentary style debate, where on the government side was the Prime Minister (speaker 1), Assistant to the PM (2nd speaker) and the government official (3rd speaker) or also known as the whip (to backlash the opposition). On the other side was the Opposition Leader (speaker 1), Assistant to the opposition leader (2nd speaker) and the opposition member (3rd speaker- the oppo. whip).

P.O.I.’s are Point of Information, this is where any members are able to give comments or question the speaker at that time, 15secs only. But mostly this was used to shoot and attack the opponent. Its shows sportsmanship that the speaker of that time accepts at least 2 P.O.I.’s, but if the speaker does not accept the P.O.I.’s marks will be deducted.

Each team will grade by their manner, matter and the amount of P.O.I.’s taken and given.

Manner is the way they argue, behavior during the whole debating session, and the approach and structure of their speech. Matter is the content of the their speech, and not just hot air.

Round 1-4 is compulsory to all teams; those that got top 8 spots will go onto the quarter-finals, then the semi-finals which would be the top 4 teams and finally the Finals.

The matches

Round one started and we were matched against Swinburn 1, naturally we were all nervous, esp. when I heard that this team was good, had two great speaker, one who participated in the golden debate, (not too sure if this is the correct name) a team visiting UK and went head to head with debater from Oxford and Cambridge and the likes…WOW. Another who was a fierce debater.

Topic was ‘THB that smoking should be allow on campus’ (THB = This house believes), and we were government.

The Judicators

The debate ended in which seemed like a dispute of each views, but as we left the door the other team burst out in a laugh and we started to converse on how we felt we did while inside the panel of judges or the judicators discuss the scoring and out come of the debate. One debater, Izzu, was telling Farah how intimidating she was and how ferocious she was, he didn’t even want to accept any P.O.I. from Farah, at one point he didn’t even look at her when she was about to stand for an P.O.I. When we were all called back in and result was given with our performance. Curtin Won! In total all teams had 4 rounds, in which we won 2 and 2 loses.

Some images of the others participants:

Team UNIMAS (Audry looks so cool...)

Team UiTM (Hotties w\ brains)

Watching the quarterfinals

On the 3rd day (Friday) we had a grand dinner at the Chancellors Dome. The place was grand, the seating company was wonderful, food was good, plates and glasses were not as grand…paper based… When it was time to release the standings for each groups for the quarterfinals we were ranked 9th place…Damn! What’s worse was that we were one point shy of being in the 8th place and partake in the quarterfinals…O the humanity!

Images from the 'Grand Dinner'

Team Curtin: Farah, Iqbal & Shu Qing

Izzu & Bal

Team Curtin & Team Sinaran

In the end it was a battle between UiTM Sarawak (1) & Swinburn (2) with the motion TH would make Voting for the Malaysian General Elections Compulsory. In the end UiTM won that duel. Read more from Choulyin’s blog.

Team Swinburn (2) - 1st runner up

When ever anyone goes abroad, they must take advantage of the things that can't be found in the area where one lives. In my case I am currently living in Miri, Sarawak, and we have a lot of things that can't be found here...

1) Burger King... I almost cried when i saw the menu!But was disapointed that they didnt have mozzi sticks in any of the outlets!

2) Starbucks...Mel eat your heart Out!
3) New York's BIG APPLE donuts!
The team & I took back a total of 32 donuts...
4) Lots of franchise restaurants
The Japanese restaurant was not a franchise but none the less it was fantastic.

Evey Sunday in KK, locals would set up stalls to sell their trade to other locals and tourist, Sunday Flee market...Before leaving KK the team decided to take a look around and see what is there in this flee market as it was just at our door step. Miri does not have an actual flee market, the closes they would have to a flee market would be the pasar malam & veggi market on Sunday mornings.

Shu Qing's giraffe taking a last look of KK town....

All in all I personally had lots of fun. It was an eye-opener for me, took another step outside my comfort box and found out more of my own weaknesses, gained more experience and widen my networks at the same time and I hope that other may follow and take part in debating, it will change the way you look at things as a student.

KK.... I will be back!

Special thanks to Shu Qing & the camera person at UMS for passing me the pictures.

1 comment:

danny_uctidebates said...

hey can I get the full detailed information of the 2010 Borneo Cup Debate....pleasseee!
I am from UCTI, Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia. and would love to be able to join the fun debate....
please email it to us :