Thursday, August 02, 2007

For the Cup

It's another debate tournament i took part, not as a debater but as adjudicator, again, because i was way too -old- to be qualified, ha :-)

Vice Cancellor Cup, held annually by UKM Urusetia Perucapan Umum, English debating team for the purpose of recruiting new members. Hence, it's only opened for all first year juniors in UKM. Non-first years members were to come together to organise the tournament and adjudicate during the tournament itself.

Problem we faced (KTSN team):
1. Hunting KTSN team members&training:
(a) place to hold training - We had less problem in looking for juniors to join debate this year due to the reason we managed to get the forms filled by juniors themselves during orientation week from JAKSA in which they ticked which category of activity they'd like to take part. We contacted those who ticked "English Debate" and asked them to turn up on 19th July 2007 in our first meeting. The plus point here is, there were 17 of them turned up! we really didn't expect such a crowd. We only planned to do it in Cafe. Half way through the meeting, we decided it's too difficult for us to speak through such a crowd in a noisy environment in cafe. But we had no where else to go, other meeting rooms were booked, or we didn't book because we really didn't think it's necessary at the first place, ha. I heard KTSN is in fact, the biggest college (hostel) compared to colleges in Bangi. Maybe because we have our own volley ball court, basketball court, squash toom, tennis court, multipurpose hall... but meeting rooms are really lacking, moreover with the fact that KTSN is a happening college. People with different activities have their meeting every night, students occupying areas to draw posters, banners, do flyers, held discussions..

Anyway, we changed to squash room to continue our discussion, with taekwando members practising their skills in the next squash room. taekwando in squash room? yeah, no place..

For the coming trainings, we managed to do it in TV area near one of the block and sometimes if we successfully get a meeting room, we did it in a more comfortable environment. No training in volleyball court this year :-) Thank God, venue problem was fine.

(b)people to conduct training- this year the tournament was held a little too soon, honestly. We didn't really have time to let them grasp basic principles in university level debate. We were forced to have training every night after the Saturday (21st July 2007) briefing in Bangi. This actually showed the committment the juniors gave even more. They tried to turn up for every possible training so that they get sufficient guidance before the tournament. We knew how busy everyone was, assignmets and revision to complete, but I sincerely salute them for their effort. It's however, the trainers who couldn't quite make it. During some of the trainings, some trainers were not around, we couldn't run two rooms together with only me handling them. Maybe 5 or 4 teams were too much for us? Yet we couldn't let go any of them. As long as they have interest in debate, we really want to keep them. Still, we manage to go through that week.

(c)team cap
Usually tournament will have team caps in order to limit the number of teams an institution could send so that they don't somehow "flood" the tournament. Last year the team cap was 3. They said if we wanted to send more than 3 teams and some other colleges couldn't make it to 3, we can somehow use their "credit", so sending more than 3 was ok. Last year, we sent 3 teams, didn't exceed the cap, yet due to the situation needed a swing team, we, as the college sending most team and had 3 available reserves to make a new(swing) team, we were "forced" to exceed the cap.

This year, when Gab told them that we'll be sending 5 teams (initially), they said they'll have to cap us. Maybe send 3 functional teams(teams which are eligible to break if they got good scores) and 1 swing team which couldn't break into quarter regardless of their result. They suggested : good speakers put into first 3 teams then weaker speakers into swing team, hence, it -won't- make such an impact because the swing team may not be able to break anyway. Ideally, that's logic; honestly, that's true. Practically, that's hard. Reasons as below:

* Speakers by position was not beautifully balanced among the juniors. We have a lot of good 3rd speakers this year. They were all equally good, some even took up pace in improvement! We couldn't decide who was the 'weaker" one. No matter which team we put them, we see a chance for them to be a strong team. Then when we put in other speakers according to their position, we also looked at their chemistry with each other as well as other factors. Lastly, labelling the team. We didn't want to make it seemed like KTSN1 was the strongest team and weaker down the number. We..simply put a number. There were a lot of factors that made us really difficult to follow their suggestion. Will the Bangi people actually understand what we've been through? Will they ever face such a problem as how to allocate the team members, how to observe who was best in which position (mind you, 14 juniors to observe!) and etc..

We knew that's a lot, but we were trying to get as many people as possible to join debate! At the very fist meeting with the juniors we already told them firmly that we'll send everyone there. I was lucky to have Stella, Gab, Lorraine, Izzati, Thompson and Bernard to help me with the training. I knew I couldn't have made it without them.

Jerry said in his sms: As a senior debater, you should take this tournament as an opportunity to recruit as many junior debater as possible, not to make KSTN win and then let the juniors disappear after the tournament.

That's hurt.

1st, we WERE trying to resruit as many junior as possible for UKM debating team, not for KTSN! KTSN doesn't even have a person in the committee for UPU English debate team. If not, we could just take the easy way out, send only 1 team and both Stella and I could've concentrated on that 1 "best" team and feed them issues and points, this way could assure more winnings, OK? And less troublesome too, venue issue will never be an issue anymore then.

2nd, what's the problem if KTSN won? All trainers from all colleges wished their juniors will do good in the tournament, and when you see improvement from the juniors themselves, i couldn't help but wished they could make it to the final and bring back the cup. It's good if they can win, isn't it?

3rd. How could Jerry assume that ALL KTSN juniors will disappear after the tournament? In fact, they are the most -early registered- members among the other juniors into our ukmdebaters yahoogroup and have introduced themselves to the seniors.

4th how could he said that I send so many teams was to make KTSN win? I trained them to polish them. I did wish they could win, but I also want them to enjoy debate and experience the close bonding we could have by joining debate, just like what i've experienced. i wanted them to know that university is not all about academic, is not how good you can explain to me the etiology of myocardia infarction, but there are more. You will see things happened and learn to share, learn to love, learn to stand up for each other, learn to make fun of each other and later go out for movie with each other. I was the only one from my batch left, and in Stella's year, also not a lot stayed. KTSN english debaters has been a pretty lonely team. Sometimes travel alone to training, sometimes felt that Bangi people don't understand us... I was just thrilled to see such a big crowd of juniors to join the VC Cup this year.

And all i have to tell them was: because this team is the weakest team hence we make you the swing team and no matter how good or bad you do in the prelims, you're not going to break into quarter anyway.. There was one moment i felt like pulling out the entire KTSN team from the tournament so that there's no "unfairness" in it.

I talked to Jun Hoe about this. I wasn't pushing him to act on our behalf, i never will. It's just that I trust him will tell me the honest opinion on Bangi side in a better manner and also listen to me without judging me. He's always the best person to talk to, let aside he's more responsive in the sense that he will reply your message no matter how trivial it may seem. I don't need him to stand at our side either, i just need to hear things in a fair manner. Things comming from him, meng fai, and wey wen are always much easy to accept. That's why i will always listen to them.

To cut things short, Violet the convenor said there'll be no team cap and no limits on teams per college in breaking.

2. communication problem with Bangi people - this was, however, the biggest test for me. It's so different from last year. It was the same tournament, same task for me, to hunt down juniors, to organize and train them. Yet i think God wanted me to learn different thing this year. I had Gab to arrange training venues for us, Stella to take turn with me to train them, Lorraine and Izzati to care for the bunch of juniors for me. Now i'm more a trainer than last year. I thought we were doing fine in training juniors for the tournament.

(a)last minute changes in time
* Saturday briefing - At first when Stella applied for transport, we were told that the briefing would start at 9am, hence we applied for 8am bus to depart from KTSN to UKM Bangi. On friday, the day (or night) before the briefing then only we knew that the briefing would start at 10am. Moreover it's not them who inform us, it's we asking confirmation from them then only they told us. We were taken aback by the change. But what to do? We've told the driver to come at 8am. No choice, we got to waste an hour there waiting for Bangi people.

Since then this scarry idea hit me: sometimes Bangi friends think it's easy for us to travel.. i know they had no choice but to delay the briefing due to Bangi juniors have co-co, but Jerry already made exemption letter for us already wasn't he? Why do they still need to attend co-co? we at KTSN here also wish to attend co-co to make it less troublesome to hand in the exemption letter later.

*weekend prelims
it was suppose to start at 9am, as told by fea to stella. hence, we applied 8am. At first,we were told that we might not be able to get a bus because we don't have enough driver. That's crazy, man! This is the real tournament already, we really didn't want our juniors to reach there by public transport and got themselves tired of traveling even before the debate started. Worrying this issue aside, we still hadto show positive faces in our training every night. Later, the matter resolved as we followed up on friday if not mistaken, a day before the debate, and got to know that yea, we did manage to get a bus on saturday, 8am. Thank God!

Yet again, things happended. It's changed to 8am, hence, we were expected to depart from KTSN by 7am. It really took stella and I a lot of guts to make the call to our driver to ask for him to come early. We're considered very lucky to get a bus, now some more want to change the time to become -earlier- in last minute, after office hour? I felt stressed. We somehow got to negotiate with them and got the driver come earlier.

(b)no accommodation?!
The bus issue was not the worst though, I really felt like throwing up when Jerry called in the evening before the event took place and said we're somehow -too late- in telling them that we wanted to stay over night at Bangi, hence they didn't apply for accommodation for the -bunch- of us. Great. Because he thought Stella was applying the transport for us to travel back and forth for both Saturday and Sunday, by right Stella said she didn't even get a chance to talk to Jerry, it was Fea whom she talked to. This was the greatest challenge I faced in which i was tested how much I love my Bangi debater friends. To which extend i'm willing to forgive them and go through this trouble with them. I couldn't take it. I started to have doubt about them, I started to judge their intention. i felt so guilty, deep down i know they wouldn't have done them purposely, yet my anger and emotion brought me further to dislike, or even hate them.

How could you expect KTSN people to travel back and forth like this? Even if we got to do so, we wouldn't! It'll be so tiring that I'm sure juniors will quit debate after the tournament. Last year i didn't need to tell any of them that we want to stay over night, they just asked for the number of boys and girls we were sending and told us straight that we're staying over night there. I thougt Jerry or other 3rd years knew how to handle things, he was in the committee last year. Fine, we took it as -maybe we've taken for granted what was arranged last year and we really need to tell them to arrange accommodation for us if we were to stay over night at their place-.

We talked to our bus driver, then talked to his boss- the officer, then he said he'll call back, but didn't..

Again, to cut things short, i just wanted to thank God for sending me to stay with Jennifer in Kolej Idris Al-Mabawi (KIAM) in Bangi during my training for Australs. I got KIAM office number and called and settled our accommodation at Bangi myself, a non-Bangi people. Oh, with Jun Hoe's help to drive me to KIAM to register and take the keys on behalf of my juniors who had started debate on Saturday. I don't think i ge to claim back the RM47.50 accommodation fee from them. Anyway, I really owe Jun Hoe a lot..

All the problems were resolved as the round started. It's good that i could concentrate in my adjudication. I really wanted to practise what i've learnt during Australs and be a good adjud in my every round. I feel i have the responsibility to guide the other juniors who were brave enough to decide to come and join debate at the first place. They deserved our guidance, didn't they?

And somehow through the torunament, I managed to change my view about my Bangi friends. They are still the adorable people I love. Things happen, it was indeed a great challenge, and I think I did quite bad in the test. Lesson? Be more understanding and always remind myself how St. Paul defined love:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." [1 Corinthians 13:4-7]

Anyway, this year KTSN managed to send 4 teams. Among them, 3 teams broke into quarter with 3 wins and 1 lost, which was better than last year where only 2 teams broke with 2-2. Another team got 2-2, but couldn't break just because of their total scores. We really felt that 3 teams were more than excellent, out of expectation already! That's why it is very risky to determine who was the weaker team, because we really know that they are potential speakers! However, only 1 team made it into the semi and lost in that round to a better team.

At the end of the day, the atmosphere is different this year, we were not making it to the final. Yet I got to observe that the team already built their bonding, not only among teammates, but also to the entire team. And I'm very proud of them as they take it as it was. Afterall, my objective has reached, to want them to enjoy each other's company, to enjoy the tournament itself. Most importantly, i see the most beautiful success we've reached, as a big, noisy team. We've won over the challenges together, as one family. I not only enjoyed their company, but also treasure what i've learnt from them. Fresh ideas, stumbling along the path of learning, humble, and crazy :-)

A round of applause for my KTSN babies!! (clap clap clap clap...) For the Cup, we've learnt and grown. And it's a great part of my debating memory in UKM.


juz call me wen... said...

hi :) You are doing a great job :). i'm sure KTSN juniors felt right at home with a friendly and caring trainer like you.

cher linn said...

actual the 2nd year trainers did as much as i did. i'm very grateful to Stella, Gab, Lorraine, Izzati and Thompson for their help. 4 teams are too much for me, honestly. thanks for dropping by :-)