Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Debate Camping 2009: Change

Nothing sums up the 6th instalment of MCKK’s annual debating camping better than the word CHANGE.

The change of guards was made effective this year, after a run of five years in the old hands. Everything was managed and directed by the junior coaches led by Izzat (Class of 2004); even to the level of logistical arrangement and finances (which previously was our domain). We (or whatever remain of the “we”) can finally rest knowing that with or without us they will continue.

The landscape was also changing – the first batch of debaters whom we picked up 4-5 years ago have all left. While we are still as fond of the new batch of debaters as anyone of their predecessors, the age gap is too big that I begin to wonder whether I can bring my level down to theirs. If the age gap is too big, the coaching is no longer effective as it gets less and less personal over the years.

We started the camping with one simple question – “Do you think you deserve to be called a budak koleq and why?”.

Half of Perak was cut off from electricity that night, so we went through the motion of questioning the boys one by one while surrounded in a total darkness; with only the stars and a small torch light providing a glimmer of light.

I was extremely harsh with the boys – I imagined that nobody had ever driven a point to them in such a harsh manner in their life time. Yet they were also steadfast – they were brave enough to come back and argue; for I wanted them to fight back when they were cornered; but sensible enough to stop when they got my point.

“You don’t like us anymore?”

“It doesn’t matter whether I like you or not, it’s never about my liking you anyway. It’s always about you. Do I like you? I don’t care. But if you ask me whether I respect you, I don’t. You have not earned my respect and until you earn the respect of others, you should not call yourself a budak koleq”.

At the end of it, I was glad that they took everything as an adult and resolved to change what needed to be changed. Of course it remains to be seen whether they deliver the changes they committed themselves to, but at least they were resilient enough to stand up to harsh feedback like a grown up.

Things will change around them – even they themselves change by the day (I remember how little Aqwa was in 2005 and now he is taller than me). We too will change as age takes its toll on us – yet there is one thing about MCKK debaters that I feel will stand the test of time in the future: it’s their devotion to honour the pact they have made when they were young – that they will not abandon the people after them.

Annual Debating Camp 2009, Lenggong (17th – 19th December 2008)

Izzat Jonid (Class of 2004)
Shahir Tahir (Class of 2004)
Zaim Yusoff (Class of 2005)
Aslam Abd Jalil (Class of 2007)
Amirul Asyraf Hanafi (Class of 2007)
Adli Shamsudin (Class of 2007)
Affendy Hasni (Class of 2008)
Rashad Tajuddin (Class of 2008)
Zulikhwan Ayob (Class of 2008)
Ahmad Firdaus Arul Hisham (Class of 2008)


"Hi guys,


I told Raf that I wanted to attend the ‘get away’ program planned for this weekend but unfortunately I would not be able to make it, so thousand apologies. There's also this 'age' factor thingy (rasa tua dah) but will make a point to join/come along/menyibuk/jengok the the next event/activity.

Raf is right and 'wayanging’ is the way of the real world. But we all know that besides the talent and the determination of the boys, which assistance is actually the beneficial one. To relate own experience and to put the talent of these boys into context, these for me are the essence for success. Too bad for the waste of money though……

I am actually amazed at the sheer determination and dedication of former debaters or non debaters alike to continue contributing to the ‘tradition’ of going back to Koleq for debaters. You cannot find this elsewhere but with Koleq boys (or maybe old boys from other schools have started to copy this?). When I was representing Perak for Pidato Piala Di Raja in Wisma Belia, I remember hoping some old boys would show up and give support.

I mean, it was just besides MCOBA building. Show some support damn it! Their help I didn’t need, I had Ben with me :-) Heck, at least I could blame the lack of support for losing that one!

Anyway, good luck for the event and have fun! Again, sorry I could not make it……


"No worry - you don't want to be poisoned by their cooking (ha ha).

I think this is the only way that they could have honoured Ben - for the privilege of knowing Ben in the first place.

These kids are after all Ben's creatures - we were just the custodians.

May they grow up and do wonders; while we set sail to the West where we belong."

"Raf et all,

I know you being humble there. Ben too was amazed at everybody’s dedication to Koleq debate teams. He knew that for all the seconds and the minutes he spent when some of you were in the team, hours and days you guys gave back. By the time he was often sick, this small little tradition of giving back was already in place.

A few things I know Ben was always fiercely proud of, this one is even more than others!

In our idealism of teenage years, we thought that winning was everything. Bila kalah, frust tonggeng.... Don’t get me wrong, winning is extremely important. But in debate as platform, it’s the nurturing that comes top….. all MCKK debate teams must be worthy of winning. We win it or not, that’s just the reality of life. Hopefully this tradition will pass on to generation of debaters, some old faces go out, new faces come in.

No ‘wayang professional’ can compare to all your efforts. Yours are heart to heart, guts to guts. Seek no reward, satisfaction in the sense of pride! Surely if the team won this year, you could write the script of what XXXXX would say……but that matters not. There is no value to it.……you get me a bit emotional here…sigh

fun guys!"


Someone asked me why I still bother to do this, especially when the baton has been passed to the next generation.

I was very particular about plans previously – when exactly we should come in and when exactly we were supposed to pull back. All was drawn up.

But while I was too busy trying to stick to the plans we drew up, so many unplanned things got in the way that caught me by surprise. Shahrol and Ben’s going away put things in perspective and after a while I get more casual about things nowadays.

These days if people ask me why I still bother – looking back, Ben was perhaps the single biggest influence in my life during my formative years (apart from my parents); why would I not want to be the same with these kids?

More photos @ Facebook


  1. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Jambunya debaters...
    Patutla u dont mind to still bother yourself doing this :D

  2. ha ha u shud see the FULL set of them - then u would think twice.

    "debaters cannot be too overly buruk - nanti tak menang"

  3. Dear Noni Kapet, did u bring the full set of these young (jambu) debaters for mandi bunga or not last weekend? ;)

    It's your attitude that makes one 'shine'. How i wish people see others beyond face value...

  4. I'm in the camp... MY greatest thank is at Abg Raf, my beloved abg and light to the dark ness of debate i'm in now...