[By Rahul Goel]
According to the American Debate League, debating allows people to acquire and develop a set of essential lifelong skills such as confidence, curiosity, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and camaraderie. These skills are what enabled the Taylor’s University Debating Club to be awarded the titles ‘The Winner of the Malaysian National Intervarsity Debating Championship 2017’ and ‘Debating Institution of the Year 2017’. To honor their triumphs, I sat down with both the club’s President Katrina Adrian, and Mahherrajan Narayanan or as he prefers Maxx, one of the finalists and champions.
Generally, people take an interest in debating because of their passion for arguing on an array of topics, but it’s not quite the case for our debaters here. As a matter of fact, for both Maxx and Adrian, they joined debating by accident.
It is interesting how Maxx and Adrian got into debating under unexpected and unplanned circumstances. Adrian got into debating as she was inspired by her friend’s speech that motivated her into the field of continuous learning through debating. On the other hand, Maxx got into debating after being motivated and encouraged as he was doing public speaking.
Debating provides people a myriad of relevant topics to discuss and argue on. When asked about any specific topic of interest, Katrina specified on economics and religion as it involves different perspectives. Maxx did not state specific topics. However, he mentioned his interest in topics that are of relevance and involve people.
To win in any competition, tremendous preparation is a must. So, how did these debaters prepare for the championship? Maxx mentioned that all of the members were given regular training sessions with their coach twice a week for three hours. Additionally, the debaters trained more than usual, for 20 to 30 hours since the championship was nearing. Moreover, they were encouraged to read the news frequently and accumulate knowledge on an array of topics as they would be given only 15 minutes for preparation prior to the start of the Championship.
Clearly, the amount of time and effort that they poured in paid off as they were awarded the title of ‘Debating Institute of the Year 2017’ and even won the Championship. The club felt that the win was unexpected but well earned as they had worked tirelessly with educators who are also great leaders.
Seeing their passion in debating made me ask them, “Would you consider being debaters on a long-term basis?” They both enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” because they view debating as one of the ways to be open-minded about the world we live in. Before the interview was over, they gave advice for those who are interested in debating. Katrina said, “Just try it out as you will never know what the outcome will be” and Maxx advised, “Never compare yourself with other debaters, regardless of experience in debating.” We hope these words from them will be a source of inspiration for all.