SM Lodge and SM Sains Kuching Utara win Swinburne debate competition
March 16, 2021
Group photo of the participants and adjudicators.
KUCHING – SM Lodge has taken the 16th Swinburne Sarawak Inter-School Debating Championship (SSIDC) title, the first online iteration of the debate tournament since its inception in 2006.
The SM Lodge team comprising Ashton Gregory, Darren Kiu and David Luk Ku Chian defeated St Joseph’s Private School’s Edmund Wong Li Hong, Jordan Lai Qi Hao and Kieran Paul Bhasker on the motion This House, as the government of China, will allow the secession of Hong Kong. In this senior category (Forms 4-5), the Best Debater in the Final award went to David Luk Ku Chian.
In the junior category (Forms 1 – 3), SM Sains Kuching Utara’s team consisting of Georginna Unice Telen anak Gilbert, Hana Humaira binti Saiful and Marissa Nur Aimy binti Mohd Marzuki Amri defeated the team of Bong Xin Yu, Jordan Tan Zi Xian and Nur’Ain Jamilah binti Md Nasrudin from SMK Batu Lintang on the motion This House would legally prosecute politicians (e.g. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Marjorie Taylor Greene) who had directly incited the US Capitol riots. Marissa Nur Aimy Binti Mohd Marzuki won the Best Debater in the Final award.
Endorsed by the Ministry of Education, the Swinburne Sarawak tournament is the largest English debating championship in Borneo. In its 16th year, a total of 204 students comprising 41 teams in the senior category and 27 teams in the junior category participated online from all over the country and Brunei. The online tournament took place over three Saturdays, the first day being Saturday, 27 February starting with a Debate and Adjudication Workshop helmed by Swinburne’s lecturer, Chief Adjudicator Hugh John Leong.
42 schools were represented including five schools from Johor, four schools from Kelantan, two each from Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah, and one each from Perak, Selangor, Terengganu, and Brunei. In Sarawak, the majority of teams came from Kuching with others participating from Bau, Limbang, Miri, and Sibu.
Not only did more students take part from different parts of the state and country due to the tournament taking place online, Swinburne’s alumni and former debaters who are now living in different parts of the world also participated as adjudicators. Deputy Chief Adjudicator and now lecturer at Swinburne Dr Stanley Nwobodo adjudicated from Nigeria; Nicholas Chong, the student-founder of SSIDC adjudicated from Australia; former two-time President of the Debaters’ Club and SSIDC Chief Adjudicator Kasun Illankoon adjudicated from the United Arab Emirates; debater Surojit Rakshit adjudicated from Uganda; Joshua Chew, former Club President and SSIDC debater himself, adjudicated from Penang; while other SSIDC alumni adjudicated from the UK and Singapore.
Speaking at the Awards Presentation were Dr Les anak Met, Deputy Director Learning Sector who represented the Director of the State Education Department Dr Norisah binti Suhaili, as well as Swinburne Sarawak’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer Professor John Wilson. Both commended all the students taking part in the tournament, saying that taking to the debate floor was the ultimate challenge in courage, and that the oratory and critical thinking skills they were developing were important skills that would serve them well in school and at work.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, a main sponsor of the event, Tuan Haji Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said SFC engages with various platforms to convey the conservation message to the public.
“We know that healthy debating on environmental themes means students get to learn and think more about conservation, and enables them to voice out their opinions on the issues. Debating then enables the growth of environmental thinkers among the young. SFC believes in getting all to think about environmental issues and act on them now, and also in the future. The passionate youth will be major movers and shakers of the future.”
Aimed to encourage students to use their critical thinking and English oratory skills, the debate tournament this year included motions based on themes such as Crime and Law, Education, Economics, Environment, Family and Society, Geopolitics (War), Health, and Politics.
For more information about Swinburne, visit its website www.swinburne.edu.my, Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).