Friday, April 18, 2008

UIA 2008: A Series of Post Scripts



For the record, the National School Debating Championship organised by UIA and Ministry of Education concluded this week.

I will not go into the details or specific accounts of the tournament; suffice to say that we lost by a very small margin and a 5:4 jury in the final.

It’s a new team since the legendary team which had been representing koleq since 2004/5/6/7 hit its shelf life last year, with only one speaker remaining (Sdr Affendy Hasni, a Penangite from Permatang Pauh).

The first speaker is Sdr Nasrullah Alimin from Pahang and second speaker – Sdr Aqwa Aliff Jasmi from Melaka; Fendy being the third speaker.

For English, we sent the junior team made up of Form 3s and Form 2; with a bigger picture in mind as these debaters will hopefully rise up to the occasion to fulfill their potential. If everything goes to plan, we should live among another legendary team which will rock UIA/PPM for the next few years – the way the BM team had done in the past few years.

But for every start, there must be an end. Life is like a wheel, it’s the compulsory exchanges of fortunes and tribulations that constantly renew our resolves to improve. It reminds us of the prerequisites for success and for maintaining the success. Along the way we need to rejuvenate – and for rejuvenation to take place, we need to come down and remember the pain; for us to long for the victory.

We come to that junction in 2008 for the BM team – as how we had done so in 2006 for the English team.

Looking back, they (the boys this year) had beaten my expectation.

To understand the difficulty, we need to understand the greatness of this one phenomenal debater Sdr Affendy Hasni, Class of 2008. I had known MCKK and Malaysian schools’ debating standards since 1990. I had never met a debater as talented, bright, sharp, witty and spectacular like him – in every sense of the word. His showmanship is something that I had not seen before. Even the legend among the many legends we have in our debating annals since 1980s onwards – Allahyarham Adlan Benan Omar – cannot come to his standard when it comes to wit and showmanship (though Ben was definitely ahead in terms of knowledge and sharpness). I carved my own personal history in Malaysian schools’ debating competitions yet I would have looked foolish if I were to face him back then.

Against this background, the tasks that the 2 new speakers (Aqwa and Nash) had to carry were of the tallest order – as they needed to be as strong as Fendy, for the team to be considered formidable. Debate is a team effort – a mismatch of strengths between the debaters usually spells a defeat.

Over the last one year, coaching and observing them – I had resigned to the fact that we would not even qualify to the final this year, given the intense competition at UIA.

But they picked up their courage, withstood the intense pressure and expectation that I piled on them and soldiered on. It was a fight to the tooth and nail till the end (if you think watching a football or rugby game is breathtaking – wait until you battle it out in the debating room to understand the meaning of “when the time stops and your heart does not beat anymore”).

And they went to the final – it was not only Fendy’s efforts; but the toils of each and everyone of them especially Aqwa and Nash; who had feared this big burden since day 1 – knowing that they had to stand by the side of the legend of Malaysian debating circle of the 2005 onwards.

From that perspective, they have done well. As usual each time we lose, they avoid me – either out of guilt, shame, fear, frustration – perhaps bits of everything. I sat down with the two of them in their cramped little room later and told them that it was OK. They managed to control their emotions for a while (boys like to control macho) but failed miserably when I told them that I was proud of them in every sense of the words – because they had risen to the occasion and they had earned our respect for being able to be in the same league of the people before them. If nobody had told them before – they were made of sterner stuff and are more than capable to win PPM and UIA; much better than many who had done it before them.

But we cannot disguise our sadness that we didn’t win – after all, who wouldn’t be sad if you know the ordeals everyone in the team went through to be where we were. Despite this, I reminded everyone in the coaches’ team that we should not lose sight of the achievements for the past 5 years just because we managed to pull it off. In retrospect; it’s a very tall order for any school or any generation of MCKK debaters to have done this:

1) The only school to have gone to the final 5 consecutive times from 2004 to 2008

2) The only school to have gone to both finals (BM and English) in the same year in 2004

3) The only school to have dominated Best Speaker Overall title four out of five years (2004 – Sdr Zaim, 2006 – Sdr Aslam, 2007 & 2008 – Sdr Affendy)

4) The only school to have won Best Speaker Final title 3 years in a row (2006 to 2008 – Sdr Affendy)

5) The only school to have won complete majority decision (9 – 0, 7 – 0) in the knock-out rounds from double octofinals to final (in 2007)

I do not have any regret for the last five years when it comes to the team – I am sure neither Allahyarham Ben, Allahyarham Shahrol nor Fazurin. We live among the giants of our time and people will look back one day and feel the longing for a bench of spectacular speakers like them.

But the real prize is not in the trophy but in the final product – just as the real prize for a pudding is in the eating.

We (the senior coaches) spent an equal time and emphasis at coaching the present debaters; and grooming the junior debaters to become good coaches. Barely 5 months after leaving koleq, these boys assumed the roles with maturity and in full cognizant of the responsibility they shoulder. They divided themselves to North Zone and UIA (which clashed this year) and provided support to the teams in every aspect. They did not complain or whine of the routines they had to endure throughout the tournament – wake up at 6 am, nothing to eat (not enough time!) until dinner at around 9 pm+ because we had to be with the boys all the time, come back to prepare points and research until 3 am. For one week, it was a hectic 3-hour sleep each day. The night before the final, preparation went until 1 am, the junior coaches had to ensure the boys slept well, then wake up at 4 am to prepare breakfast – started discussion at 5 am and checked on the boys’ hair, baju melayu, the buttons etc.

It was a standard we set a long time ago – a standard they readily assumed as theirs.

So in that overall perspective, I think Ben and Shahrol had not spent their time in vain. They would be very proud – as proud as I am – of Izzat (who will assume the role of leader of the pack in the near future), Helman, Haqqa, Bucks, Aslam, Aleng, Nab, Ed and Jijoe. For the first time since 1994, we can take comfort that when we withdraw, the consistency in the standards that we expect from debaters – in terms of intellect, resilience, magnanimity, maturity when dealing with setbacks, sacrifices – will continue. This is the best prize that any coaches can ever ask from.

2008 will finally see the transition from my generation of coaches to theirs. Slowly but surely, more and more decisions will be devolved to them until such time in 2010/2011 that we only provide financial and emotional supports. And they will do well, much better than we had, Insya Allah.

POST SCRIPT

“Assm cikgu, terima kasih atas kesabaran menjaga budak2 n melayan karenah saya. Kita mungkin tidak berjaya pada zahirnya, tetapi melihatkan Izzat, Helman, Aslam, Aleng, Ed dan Nab – mereka ini mempunyai nilai pengorbanan yg sgt tinggi. Merekalah kejayaan terbesar kita, walaupun tidak diiktiraf. Kita telah memainkan peranan yg sgt baik mendidik mereka menjadi org berguna. Merekalah kejayaan terbesar dalam hidup saya setakat ini. Terima kasih sekali lagi – mungkin rezeki mckk terletak kpd kelangsungan budaya yg kita ada, bukannya piala pusingan. Wassalam”

“Assm. Cg kira terima kasih itu sewajarnya dtgnya drp cg. Cg sngt hargai semua pengorbanan awak semua. Utk pengetahuan awak setiap kali balik dr pertandingan cg akan menangis mengenangkan itu semua. Org xkan faham hatta sherry juga tanya knp sdgkan bm selalu dpt keddukan yg baik. Cg menangis – satu pd “kerja gila” awak semua yg x difahami org. Satu lg bg pihak pembahas yg bermcm2, hanya sedar bila dah jd bekas pembahas. Tp xpe spt kt awak kelangsungan budaya itu yg penting. Dlm dewan, melihat mckk berdiri cg fikirkan org2 yg pernah bersama cg. Melihat fendy beraksi, cg teringat pd ben. Sesungguhnya cg siang tadi bak kata izzat “awan terpilu lidahnya kelu mendengar berita yg haru”. Maafkan cg n terima kasih drp cg n pembahas”

FLASHBACK – LEADING UP TO PPM 2004

25/5/2004:

“Dear all -

Since no one is communicating about plans and since I have the most to lose (plane tickets, etc), here are the rules for Kangar.

MUQADDIMAH:
The Prophet SAW said: "No Believer travels in Company except that One of Them becomes the Amir".

Therefore, I appoint myself Penghulu of the House and Rizal will be the Deputy Penghulu.

CHECK IN:
This is my plan for Saturday et al.

My car will be leaving KL at 9 am on Saturday 29th May. We hope to reach Kangar in the afternoon. Rizal will collect keys to bungalow and those who come late please call Rizal on 012-3708890 for directions. The bungalow is near to the Bus Station.

towels
toothbrush
blankets
other creature comforts

RULES:
The bungalow is non-smoking and strict seniority by age to book beds/bathrooms. Where persons are of the same age, number of As received in SPM take precedence. Each person is to pay RM90 regardless, in advance, not including deposit for keys, key rings, etc.

No food, drinks or chewing gum is allowed in the house except by strict permission of the Penghulu or the Deputy Penghulu. Any contraveners will be expelled at one hour notice.

Immediate expulsion will be imposed for:
1. Whining/Complaining
2. Losing the keys
3. Losing the key-ring
4. Stealing food/drinks/etc
5. Excessive coughing (except asthmatics)
6. Excessive heart beatings (except with doctor's letter)
7. Chewing gum
8. Watching sports on TV
9. Nudity
10. Bathing (with flowers or not) with the boys
11. Insulting His Royal Highness the Regent of Perlis and his consort

PLAN:
We intend to meet the boys that night. I reserve the right not to participate any further should the boys are: rude, discourteous, lazy, idiotic etc etc. Only the Deputy Penghulu shall hold the keys when the house is vacant.

CHECK OUT:
I will leave Kangar on Wednesday 2nd June and the last person to leave must surrender the keys to the owner (the number is with Rizal). The house must be vacated by 3rd June as there is another party who have reserved the place.

Remember, "bekerja bersama saya, bukan untuk saya".

Sekian, timaseh!”

8/4/2004:

“Dear all

Thanks to all for the effort and understanding - couldn't have asked for more. I am also sorry to Ben especially for being such a control freak and a dickhead and difficult - just too scared that the mistake on my part will cause them the trophy... after what happened at UIA.

I have to redo and recompile most of the points because they were off tangent or not too strong. Fazurin made a good point that it's a bit useless to discuss points through e-mails as it is not the same with sitting down and going through it, so I don't know whether we should meet again one week before Kangar to really agree on the points. If that cannot be done, we have to keep vetting.

And Fazurin - you need to somehow give back or rebrief me on the amendments made to the student politics topics since you have the hard copy, I don't...

I had stopped thinking about the ring, so bewildered by it - I take it that Fazurin did not find the ring in his car. It's either I have to reimburse Ben in cash or get a replacement, I've checked the website and can get the replacement online - so Ben, we need to discuss this?

Mr Anand sent his regards and he SMSed (on behalf of Cikgu Yatie too) that there is no greatest pleasure for a teacher than to see his students contribute to the society, to his ownself, and to his juniors' development...

Will revisit the contentious points and improve and send for vetting regularly - before we send the final draft to the boys in 2 weeks' time.

Ben, do I have to pick you up at any airport on 29th?”

10/4/2004:

“Dear everyone,

We should now feel more confident as I think the boys have been quite forthcoming with their own views on the topics and we should build the points we give them based in their own ideas and understanding. I think its necessary to meet up prior to Kangar, but if that is simply not possible then we have to use akar instead of rotan and just
e-mail.

As for arrangements, Rizal, Dany and I will drive up on the 29th instead of taking a flight, so we will probably see you there in the afternoon/evening, or do we want to convoy from KL. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely I will stay until 3rd. 2nd seems more likely now...but who knows, they might really pull through.

Raf - re: The One Ring. I'd rather you just pay me the money as I will have to get it fitted to suit me and I'd rather get the original from NZ next time I am there rather than just order it. But at least now we know for sure that Sani is Gollum.

Re: PPM. Is there a dress code?

Cheers”

31/3/04:

“raf -

i really don't want to go - i feel no affinity for those feelas - i did what i did before for u, not these guys - i don't think u understand that - and i think its not fair that i go and put on my munafiq face in front of the boys when i really dont care one way or the other whether they win or not - in fact, i dont even feel like doing anything remotely connected to debating at the mo - so how? can i just go there and sleep? there's a nice gerai by the river to eat nasi ganja....”

31/3/04:

“I think semua buleh confirm they are coming to Kanga' kot..... budak Izrin, debater 2000 (from the "99 winning team" and the only one responsive to our efforts so far) kata he might be able to make it if he lands before 29th... so kalau nak katok Yankee pun buleh..

As for the charge, I detest double discrimination against Petronas and penyus...... the deposit levied for kunci tu memang padan, takut2 ada orang kena panjat bumbung lagi...

But RM75 per head throughout the duration is more than reasonable, although Shahrol should not be included as he is staying at Pokok Sena.

To those who are sorting out annual leave, please do so (this goes out especially to Sani)..

As for the question whether it's worth it or not - sure it's worth it, if not for them, for us. What we do today will ensure that generations of debaters in the future benefit from the close knit friendship we are enjoying now. I don't think the boys are worth it too.... it so happens they are 10 years after my time and it's a convenient date, but they are proving themselves to be worth it with each days passing.

Tapi muat ke 7-8 orang duduk satu bungalow ni, takkan ada orang kena tido luar rumah kot...”

31/3/04:

“Raf et al -

There is no discrimination against turtles. In fact, we discriminate in their favour because turtles usually don't get to live in bungalows, they live by the sea in Kuala Perlis...but we made an ezxception for turtles who have passed their CA exams...

"As I have said, the allocation of financial responsibility is not negotiable. Those who want to appeal cannot because there is no court of appeal, no federal court. Please pay as you have been allocated. After all since when have the opposition ever said we have done anything good. This is my cabinet, I will do it my way" - Dollah Bedak Sejuk

Second, if CHAMPION BASKET CASES 1999 are going, I will seriously consider not going. I have not heard an apology from these self-congratulating basket cases and I will be damned if I have to mix with them, after all they only won PPM 1999, and I won England. So there! Champion Team can go fly kite, as far as I am concerned. I will not go down to their level, sorry.

Third, if the objective is to win PPM vicariously, I and Dany have already done it in 1992. To us, it was a greater achievement because of the long dearth of MCKK win (since Sefudin Dolloh in 1980), we had putty to work with (Badak), a great debater (Kechoque) and a turtle. So there's really nothing for us to gain out of all this, except more bother. Lagipun kitorang MCOBA and all MCOBAs are sworn brothers, betul tak, Shahrol?

Fourthly, kalau banglo tak muat, we will draw lots, those three who lose will have to go home.”

24/3/04:

“Assalamualaikum,

Kepada semua yang telah menghantar mesej kepada saya tempoh hari, diucapkan ribuan terima kasih. Maaf atas keterlewatan ini, tetapi kesihatan saya agak terganggu buat beberapa minggu.

Kejayaan sdr-sdr memasuki pertandingan sedemikian dan memberikan persembahan yang menarik adalah langkah pertama untuk menggondol lebih banyak lagi kejayaan, bukan sahaja untuk PPM, dan bukan sahaja untuk tahun ini, tetapi juga di masa-masa yang akan datang, malah di peringkat lebih tinggi (universiti, dll).

Pembahas-pembahas adalah sejenis manusia yang pelik, yang mana mereka kerapkali muncul di tempat-tempat yang jarang dicapai oleh orang lain. Bahas mengajar kita berfikir, lebih penting dari kemenangan dalam pertandingan ialah kemenangan dalam hidup (dunia dan akhirat). Gunakan kepetahan sdr-sdr untuk menjelajah dunia dalam pelbagai aspek.

Kemengan menyeronokkan, tetapi kekalahan juga mengajar kita. Tidak pernah kalah mungkin menyebabkan kita tidak pernah belajar. Oleh itu, jangan takut dengan kekalahan. Itu resam kehidupan.

Saya mengucapkan syabas atas usaha Sdr-sdr dan saya doakan kesihatan dan kejayaan buat Sdr-sdr di masa akan datang.

Salam ikhlas,

Ben

PS Jika Sdr Raf benar mahu menggantung diri gunakanlah tali yang kuat kerana kegedempolan Sdr mungkin menyebabkan tali rafia kurang sesuai untuk tujuan tersebut ;)”

10 comments:

  1. BcpUnlmtd2:37 PM

    Korang semua memang hebat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. ha ha cpt je hj this time. tak jd imam khutbah ke?

    ReplyDelete
  3. salam...slalu baca this blog since last yer..kagum ngan korang..passion yg amat bgus..ape2 pun dis yer x de rezeki kan..insya allah nex yer..keep it up kay!

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks baang, nanti i'll add your blog to the blogroll.

    haven't had the time - hope post spm plan is all in place.

    and your bro is in good care, don't worry :-p

    take care, thanks for the support.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous6:43 PM

    noni - aku perlu beri amaran. video2 ini tidak politically correct he3x

    bagus la budak2 ni belajar mcm mana nak jadi budak koleq yg sebenarnya.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:19 PM

    first debater tu mempunyai gaya yg menarik. macam nak menari zapin pun ada

    ReplyDelete
  7. ha ha ha boleh la aku bukak kelas zapin pulak lepas ni.

    first compulsory pegi budak2 king sekaut yang dah lupa zapin.

    second committee next reunion yg kena dance zapin.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Raf and others for the wonderful job that you guys have done. I have embedded the video inside http://www.mckk.edu.my.

    Would love to get more pictures of the event.

    =)

    fuqaha.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jerih meredah lelah berliku
    Batasan tak langgar syariat diteku
    Lelah sudah penat beribu
    Dibalas segar Allah nan satu

    Buahan dikaut keringat tak malas
    Bersungguh matan syair ditenun
    Bila ikhlas bertaut kerja nan keras
    Berimbun kurniaan langit menurun

    Daulatnya raja kena beringat
    Meriuh gema berjuih sengat
    Pada Dia dipohon berkat
    Usaha nan lama peroleh syafaat

    Cantik labuci majelis sangat
    Majelis reti menyubur ranum
    Pada kalbu suci terjalin rapat
    Hamba-hamba bersemadi syukur tersenyum

    Moga arwah Abang Ben dan arwah Abang Shahrul gembira bersyukur di sana~

    Rindu mereka~

    Allahuakbar!

    Allahumaghtimlanabihusnilkhatimah
    Wala taghtimlana bi suil ghatimah~

    ReplyDelete