honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. -mahatma gandhi-

with the introduction of the asian universities debating championship (audc), the asian debating community is officially chopped into two pieces. for the benefit of those who have not followed the proceedings on the allasiansdebate forum, the audc which is an anti-all-asians to be held in singapore will clash head on with this year’s all-asians debate and forces teams to choose to go got either competitions.

my inbox is recording ground breaking numbers of emails every two hours.

my friends, most of whom read this blog are current and ex debaters,

at the end of it all, it is just a debate tournament. that’s all it is. there are more important things in life than debating. no, really there is. like friendship. like peace.

we are debaters who talk in depth about policies to make the world a better place. how is it so that we can speak at length about war, terrorism, justice and fair-play but we cannot even have the patience to sit and negotiate at one table together? we also speak at debates about arguments having their place and the importance of going through proper channels, but here we are losing hope in an establishment that we ourselves have created.

if so many universities want a constitutional change, i don’t see how it cannot happen. if the many universities comprises a majority, the democratic council well ractify the motion.

if the need for a change is so great, then the presence of the break-away members are more important than ever in the all-asians council, to move the motion for a change. self-exile will not help neither will coming up with a new tournament. running away from the problem means the problem still exists, but less people care about it now, and the likelyhood for a change to occur is lessened.

constitutions are never prefect. ask any politician. no country has a perfect constitution. it is always being revised and amended. all the amendments and revisions are a lagecy that we leave behind to learn from. if it is broken, fix it. don’t throw it away.

this is an assumption, but i hope it is accurate: we are here because we care about debating. we have learnt a lot from debating and we have improved ourselves character-wise through debating. it makes us more analytic and critical. we have widened our horizons.

but when all is over and we graduate from the debating arena, what do we bring with us? fond memories of the exhiliration of a critical p.o.i., the parties, the tears, laughter and the friends. this is the essence of debating.

i remember how in mahidol they played that video clip of everyone’s faces and candid shots, i remember how we tied friendship bands around each others wrists in chula, i remember how in csb they said that we are all winners for just attending the tournament, i remember coming back in a train from thailand and listening to my juniors talking about the people they met and the places they’ve seen, i remember how in the recent mmu worlds, the partcipants donated generously towards the tsunami cause even though we are all students living on shallow pockets.

if i come to this year’s asians, i would like to see all my friends, not just half of them, not even most of them. i don’t want to go somewhere only to know that i am missed somewhere else.

i take back my earlier statement. it is not just a debate tournament. it is a gathering of like-minded debate enthusiasts who come together because we enjoy the same sport: debating.

and you know what? that is something. really.

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