It was a big win for Pakistan when their team were declared winners of the first Asian Karl Popper Debate Championship and all three members of the team emerged the top speaker, runner-up and fifth.
Zainab Shahid, aged 17, leapt out of her seat when Pakistan 2 was declared winner as her teammates Aleena Ali, 17, Murtaza Chaudhry, 18, and their coach Haider Khan cheered. They beat the Nepal 2 team in the grand finals which was held in Pattaya on May 18.
“All our hard work paid off. Great,” said Ali.
A beaming Khan said: “I’m so proud of my team. They were brilliant. They exceeded all expectations.”
Team Nepal 2 was represented by Yondeen Sherpa, aged 16, Isha Raut and Akrish Adhikari, both aged 17. They are all doing their A-levels at the same school Ratubangala in Katmandu. Their coach is Tilak Pathak from Katmandu.
The motion for the grand finals was: Foreign workers should be given the right to vote in local elections in the country where they are working for a significant period.
Judges in the grand finals panel were Logandran Balavijendran (Malaysia), Sharmila Parmanand (Philippines), Elvira Seitkasinova (Kazakhstan), Sharon Porter (US), Lam Le (Vietnam), Ferdinand Borongoy (Philippines), Vuthy Panchakrong (Cambodia) and Harry Choi (DPR Korea). The panel was chaired by Angie Goh Sze Ying (Malaysia).
The verbal drama kept the audience glued to the stage. There was total silence during cross-examinations as everyone in the main hall wanted to catch every razor sharp questions and equally clever responses.
The mood was serious throughout the finals as the six speakers pounded away their arguments interspersed with facts and data, and the audience listened with rapt attention.
For one brief moment, however, there were chuckles from the audience when Sherpa from the Affirmative side asked, during her cross-examination of Shahid, asked:
“If someone stole your purse, do you report to the local police or the chief of army?”
Shahid responded: “But if you want to change the law on stealing, don’t you want to go to Parliament?”
Noel Selegzi, Program Director of OSF Youth Initiatives presented the challenge trophy to teams Pakistan 2 and Nepal 2.
Earlier in his speech, he said: “You come from a wide range of countries – a wide spectrum from closed to open. This forum is to prepare you to discuss critical issues in a responsible manner. We see debate as a means to promote open society.
“We decided to hold this forum to give more people opportunity to come to the World Youth Forum and you’re the experiment to see how it would work regionally,” he added.
IDEA Asia Youth Forum Director Chirada Na Suwan presented the prizes to the top speakers of the tournament.
Apart from Pakistan 2 and Nepal 2, the other two teams that made it to the semi-finals were: Philippines 1 (Joseph James Bacayo, John Alfred Dalag and Jacques Ian David Estola) and Vietnam 1 (Truc Quong Lam, Anh Lu Thuc Phuong and Phuong Thy Le Thai).
The teams that qualified for the quarterfinals were: Mongolia 3, Nepal 2, Pakistan 2, Philippines 1, Team Peacock, Thailand 1, Vietnam 1 and Vietnam 3.
Those that made it to the octofinals were: Cambodia 1, Malaysia 1, Mongolia 1, Mongolia 3, Nepal 1, Nepal 2, Nepal 3, Pakistan 2, Philippines 1, Team Brilliant, Team Peacock, Team Universe, Thailand 1, Vietnam 1, Vietnam 2 and Vietnam 3.
The top speakers and their ranking are:
1st Aleena Ali (Pakistan 2) 467 points
2nd Yondeen Sherpa (Nepal 2) 466 points
3rd Zainab Shahid (Pakistan 2) 464 points
4th Isha Raut (Pakistan 2) 459 points
5th Murtaza Chaudhry (Pakistan 2) 459 points
6th Yuhaniz Abdul Malik (Malaysia 1) 456 points
7th Kim-Anh Ngoc Dam (Vietnam 3) 454 points
8th Jacques Ian David Estola (Philippines) 452 points
9th John Alfred Dalag (Philippines) 450 points
10th Viktoriya Kho (Mongolia 3) 448 points
About 164 young people from 10 Asian countries attended the Asian Karl Popper Debate Championship 2012. This is the first time IDEA is holding the event at Asian level after 17 years of hosting international youth forums.
The tournament saw the participation of 86 young judges and coaches and 78 debaters between the ages of 14 and 19.
The Asian KPDC 2012 is held in partnership with United Thailand at the Thammasat Pattaya Center in Chon Buri and Rangsit University in Bangkok.
It was held from May 14 to 18, the first part of the two-week long IDEA Asia Youth Forum 2012. The forum also includes a four-day educational workshop and Mixed Team Tournament.
The International Debate Education Association or IDEA is a global network with over a decade of experience of teaching debate to young people.
The theme for the Asian KPDC 2012 is Crossing Borders: Migration in Asia.