Our Debating Lessons from The KUET IV 2018

Our journey through the KUET IV 2018 English BP was that of some new simmers journey through an ocean stretching beyond the horizon. The journey itself was way beyond what we expected it to be. We went separately on this hellish journey to Khulna but had the good fortune to endure it together on our return passage to Chittagong.


We won’t be going into the details of the journey right now, but one thing’s for sure: it gave us one of the most beautiful gifts of all time – a sore back. And of course, it changed at least one of ours perspective on riding Hanif Coach Service for ever. Let’s talk business then. The preliminary debates were held on April 6. We hoped for 5 rounds of debate. But somehow, we got stuck with four rounds.


The FIRST ROUND’s motion was this house believes that indigenous communities should form their own professional sports team. We were the opening government (OG). According to the adjudicator, “We failed miserably to show any substantial status quo, characterization was poor, our arguments were not analyzed enough. The overall debate was not engaging enough because we did not lay a strong base for the debate. We were asked to be extra cautious in reasoning our debate from every angle possible, no matter how difficult and insignificant it may seem at first.” Even though we got the third place in this debate because of some mistakes made by our lower house, we felt like we totally lost to every house in the debate.

The SECOND ROUND’s motion was this house would abolish out of court settlements for crimes related to sexual harassment of any kind. We were the closing opposition (CO). Not only because this motion was talking about an issue we knew all too well but also because of our favorite house position in debates, we hoped we could pull it off. Unfortunately, we flunked this one. The adjudicator was really interested in what we wanted to say about the victims’ perspective. The other teams were engrossed in the broader aspects of the motion such as faulty justice system, economical dominance and closure for victim and his/her family. But they did not touch this topic from the angle we did and for us that was a winner. However, we made the mistake of not analyzing it further and missed our chance for success in the house. As we did not bring anything new to the debate from our upper house, we had to become the fourth. We were below average this time too.


The last two rounds are way more spicy and interesting than the first two. We were absolutely out of our mind in these debates. Let me talk about the third one first.


The THIRD ROUND’s motion was this house supports the rise of Roseanne in mainstream media. For those of you who don’t know what or who Roseanne is (to be honest, at the time we didn’t either), it is a hit sitcom television series which supports many of Trump’s contradictory views and even shows the character’s support for Trump by being a Trump voter in the relaunched version of 2018. We were on the closing government (CG). Our opening government was ambiguous about Roseanne’s true intention. As a result, we and the other teams suffered to put up anything.


We bummed out about our last two debates and I was also very exhausted by that point as it was my first ever national debate. We didn’t prepare our scripts at all. One of us wrote only one page while another less than half a page. Our one and only argument was Roseanne represents the idea of ‘freedom of speech’. The opposition was presenting good arguments. Our back to back speeches made no sense to ourselves, the time-keeper along with the opposition was literally laughing at our seemingly incredulous vain words. And then came the judgment call.


The president of KUET Debating Society, Tanbibur Rahman Tunan called out our rankings. Astonishingly, we got the second place! All of the teams (even the timekeeper, his jaw dropped, literally. It was funny. All including us, were totally taken aback at this result. Then the adjudicator explained why we got what we got. As good as the arguments from all the teams were, they were very generic. We, on the other hand, brought something very unique to the debate. And we analyzed the heck out of it. We presented Roseanne as a symbol of opinions, whether popular or controversial. We did not hang on to Trump and his campaign because the debate was not essentially about Trump. It was about Roseanne as an individual and her outlook’s influence in mainstream media, although it was controversial. The adjudicator grabbed on to our different outtake of the motion very well and we got back into the game once again.


The FOURTH DEBATE was one of the most amusing and worst debates I ever had up until now. More on that later. The motion was this house regrets universalization of western liberal values. We were OG again. We had our best ever debate in this round. We even hoped for the first place. The argument building and rebutting of our team was as expected. We reasoned about the different areas the motion could work in, the motion covered a wide array of topics to be frank. But our closing government decided to knife us, twice. The opening opposition was very vague and attacked our arguments and characterization of the debate by simply saying ‘it was false’ and did not give further explanation. Nearly all the teams fixated on feminism and contextualized mainly Bangladesh whereas this was a global issue clearly. We were not happy with result naturally, we came last. The adjudicators of this round did not give us their opinions as this was the secret result round. We got to know the result the next day.

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Shuvo Sarker and Tasmeehur Rahman Chy

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