The pit in my stomach seemed to grow larger. "I hate debating, I really do," I murmured to myself as I wiped my sweaty palms on my plaid skirt. Michelle, Amanda, and I arrived in the room we're assigned to. Inside, we found two girls and a boy wearing formal uniforms, looking as nervous as we were. According to the handout we were given,they were from Raffles International Christian School (RICS). I recognized the boy. He sat across me during the Scholar's Challenge. Awkwardly trying to start a conversation, I said "It's really, really cold in here." Well, it was very cold, but I never minded freezing temperature, in fact I was rather fond of it. The RICS students seemed to brighten up a bit.
"Yes, it really is cold," one of the girls from RICS said. She pointed to a remote attached to the wall. "You can increase the temperature using that."
I smiled and did as she suggested.
"So, as you might have known we're from SMP Santa Laurensia," Michelle said. "It's our first time joining WSC."
"It's our first time as well," the plumper girl said. Well, that was nice to know, I thought to myself. At least we're not going against students who competed last year.
"Are you guys from an international school?" asked the girl.
"No, we're from national plus, why?" Amanda said, taking her laptop out from its bag.
The girl looked surprise. "I thought you were from an international school because your English speaking skills are so good." Michelle, Amanda, and I beamed at the compliment.We introduced ourselves (I completely forgot all the RICS kids name), and had a lovely chat as Amanda played songs from her laptop. Finally, the adjudicator came and gave us a little briefing, and finally, she handed us the motion of the debate printed on a piece of paper. It read "It is easy to make a city sustainable." According to Zac's handout, we will be going against this motion. We were given 10 minutes to form our arguments.
"Definitions," was the only word that escaped my mouth. Mr Chris, our Irish debate coach told us to look for definitions of keywords found in the motion to help us form our arguments. Amanda and Michelle understood what I meant and they quickly searched for them and some possible arguments we could make. It was decided that Michelle would be the first speaker, Amanda the second, and I am to be the last speaker. The adjudicator announced that time was up and it's time for the debate. "Game face," I whispered to Amanda. I put on the most serious face I could muster, and I glanced at Amanda. She's still looking very innocent and sweet, just like a little lamb. Amanda was anything but scary. The first speaker from the opposing team came up to the front of the class and stated her arguments. I started noting down her arguments on my notebook furiously. She explained the definition of "sustainable",how to make cities sustainable using propagandas and coppenhagenizing the city, and examples of sustainable cities like Singapore and Coppenhagen. She was really good at presenting her arguments, and I was intimidated.
We were a given 1 minute duration to discuss our rebuts. After it's time, Michelle went up. She rebutted the arguments just like how we planned it. She said that by making propaganda posters ,you can't make the citizens do them, and not all people want to stop using their cars and use bicycles instead. She also stated that only modern and developed cities can easily make their cities sustainable, like Singapore and Coppenhagen. Michelle stated that cities like Jakarta can't easily make itself sustainable, only the cities with resources to do so can. Michelle showed no doubt when she presented our arguments, and she did a really good job at it. I was so proud of my teammate that I felt like hugging her.
Amanda slid a piece of paper to me as Michelle talked. On it was Amanda's drawing of a heart, and I glanced at it and nodded seriously, still putting on my resting face (trust me, my resting face is terrifying). It might sound ridiculous to you, but the the seniors of Santa Laurensia that joined WSC as well taught us to do so. The trick was to intimidate the opposing team by passing fake notes to each other, making them think that we've planned out everything while in reality we were just doodling on the paper. The opposing team whispered to each other, and a firm look from the adjudicator silenced them.
"..and those are all the arguments I'd like to state, thank you," Michelle said. She returned to our seat,and during the one minute duration, Amanda asked me what we're going to say next.
"No idea," I said, shrugging, giving Amanda a toothy grin.
Time was up, and the second speaker of the opposing team stepped up to the front of the class. She was the thinner of the two girls. She rebutted our rebuttals and our arguments, stating that propaganda posters can influence citizens to make the city sustainable, and that we can make cities sustainable by doing small tasks like throwing trash in its place. She also stated that if the citizens are educated, they will do their best to make the city sustainable. She also stated that we can spread the propagandas by using modern technology like BBM or text messaging. She also gave us more examples of sustainable cities. After she had finished, she returned to her seat. During the 1 minute duration my team frantically organized the arguments Amanda will present and also the rebuttals. Michelle was furiously scribbling notes on small pieces of papers as she explained the details to a bewildered Amanda. Amanda nodded vigorously, and I gave her a thumbs up which actually didn't help at all.
After the one minute duration Amanda went up and presented our arguments and rebuttals. She said that education doesn't prevent you from littering. She also said that most people just delete text messages about saving the environment, because they knew that already but they never bothered to apply them. Amanda also said something else which I can't remember (whoops, my bad :P). And after that Amanda stated her arguments. I totally forget all of them. Well, I remember taking notes on my notebook but I guess I tear them off. Anyways, they were hardcore arguments and I could see the opposing team passing notes among each other with anxiety. The adjudicator knocked on the table which meant time was up, and Amanda took her seat. The last speaker from the cons team went up and summarized their whole debate and emphasized their arguments. It flew by rather quickly, and before I knew it, it was time for me to speak. I could feel my heart thumping in my ears, and my stomach lurched as I walked to the front of the room. I paused for a moment as I gained my composure, then I started to speak. The moment passed by in a blur, and before I knew it I could hear the adjudicator knocking at the table. I took my seat again. I was greeted with a pat on the back and a toothy smile from Amanda and Michelle, and we waited anxiously for the adjudicator to make the decision; who will win. I wiped my freezing sweaty palms on my plaid skirt as I put my notebooks and pencils back in my tote bag.
In what seemed like eternity, the adjudicator finally made up her mind.
"Okay guys, you all did a great job today, but I have to state the winner of this round. The winner is," she paused dramatically. Then she pointed at our direction, and I couldn't believe it.
I felt like grinning my mouth off, and I smiled proudly at my teammates. I shook the hands of the opposing team and they smiled warmly in return.
"Congratulation, guys," one of the girls said kindly. I smiled back at her, and the adjudicator told where we should go for the second round.
"Don't get too happy," I thought to myself. "This is only the first round, the second round could be much harder."
And I was correct. The second round was much, much, harder.