Monday, February 21, 2005

"What so wild as words are?"

Originally uploaded by mincaye.
These words, a quote from Robert Browning, grace the cover of the ISKL SEA Forensics 2005 programme book.

The International School of Kuala Lumpur organises the annual Southeast Asian Forensics tournament. It is an invitational event, usually involving various international schools in the region, and several ancient, established Malaysian institutions.

Forensics, in this case, has nothing to do with CSI or dead bodies. It is a 'mixed competition' with various events such as Solo and Duet Acting, Original Oratory (speech), Oral Interpretation (storytelling), Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking and Debate.

I took part in Extemp and Impromptu this year. Extempers have to prepare, in 30 minutes, a 5-7 minute speech on a given current issue. A question will be posed, and the contestant must answer it with support from quotes and statistical evidence.

In Impromptu, the participant is given 60 seconds to prepare a 3-5 minute speech on either a given word or phrase.

There are two compulsory rounds for all events, followed by the semi-finals and finals. Debate is an exception, with four preliminary rounds, the octofinals, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.

My first Forensics was in 2002, when I took part in Extemp only. I did not make it to the semis. The next year, I reached the finals, but did not win anything.

Last year, I took part in Extemp and attempted Impromptu. Did not make Extemp semis, but reached Impromptu finals. Again, did not win anything.

Finally, this year, I made it once again to the Impromptu finals and returned with the Silver Medal (which is really quite an achievement after four years of involvement!)...

I have developed so much as a speaker over the last three-plus years, and the Forensics has made me a better improviser and improved my ability to speak off the cuff.

The photograph in this entry are those, who, in my opinion, played the most significant roles in this year's outing.

From left to right, they are:

Wilson and Jonathan, for debate (first debate team in a number of years, and they made it to the Octofinals though this is only their first ever debate attempt).


Kok Kin, Victorian (class of '95), now an economics lecturer at the University of Sydney (with only a double Bachelor's degree in law and economics!), for training the debate team and teaching me how to use apparent contradictions to draw attention in my speeches.

Miss Shanti, teacher extraordinaire for years of hard work in the Literary and Debating Society. She is holding the Sweepstakes Award for third best overall school.

Keong Yuan, my alma mater's ISKL Forensics coordinator this year, and Silver Medallist for Solo Acting. He did a piece on a guy who's wrongfully accused for murdering his aunt and eating her left breast.

At the end of the day, I realise that when I speak, I feel a sense of joy, that this is truly where I belong, what I was made for.

Like Eric Liddell, who felt God's pleasure when he ran, because he ran for God, mine is a similar experience. The gift of speech which the Father has endowed me with, I desire to use for his glory alone.

I remember the words from the song, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul (It's All About You)":

It's not about me
As if you should do things my way
You alone are God
And I surrender to your ways

So God, this Silver Medal, proud as I am of it, is ultimately yours, for it is from your hand that I have received it, and to your hand that it must return.

Thanks for this gift. It means so much to me. Guard my utterance, and may it be thy servant. Amen.

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