SJPS wins online English debate challenge

(Top row, from left) St Joseph’s Private School (SJPS) students, Edmund Wong Li Hong, Jordon Lai Qi Hao, and Kieran Paul Bhasker with the organisers.

KUCHING: St Joseph’s Private School (SJPS) was crowned winner of HELP University’s Asian Secondary School Online English Debate Challenge 2021.

Three students from SJPS  — Kieran Paul Bhasker, Jordon Lai Qi Hao, and Edmund Wong Li Hong — participated in HELP University’s annual event and emerged as the winning team.

The champion team received the challenge trophy which is retainable for one year, a plaque and a cash prize of RM3,000 for the school, as well as four trophies and certificates for the team and partial scholarships tenable in the HELP Group worth RM12,000 for each team member.

The three-day programme, held from July 9 to 11, included eight rounds of competitions — conducted virtually due to the pandemic.

As the opposition team in the final round against Chinese International School from Hong Kong, the team from SJPS won on a 5-4 split.

The motion was ‘Assuming reasonably sufficient access to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), this house believes that it is morally legitimate for healthcare workers to opt out of treating patients during a pandemic’.

One of the SJPS debaters, Wong — who was the leader of the team — was also the best speaker in the finals.

Sharing his experience of joining the debate challenge, Wong said,“It has been a long and arduous journey for the three of us, barely breaking after two devastating losses in the preliminary rounds.”

“I’m glad we managed to pull through and prove that all these months of training were not in vain,” he added.

Wong said this was the culmination of efforts from their teachers, coaches, and themselves in improving as debaters.

He thanked everyone for their support and care along the way.

Meanwhile, Lai said joining the international competition was a stressful decision.

“Fortunately for us, we were given the opportunity to train with many different schools all across Malaysia under our coach.

“We honestly did not expect to do that well as all of our opponents were really good debaters, but surprisingly we managed to bring back the champion title. It was a fun experience and I am definitely looking forward to joining more tournaments,” he said.

Bhasker said they enjoyed participating in the competition as well   as meeting new people from various backgrounds and communities.

He thanked families and friends for their support as well as the Debate Club teacher, Florence Tan, for her support and guidance and also their debate coach, Shireen Ali for imparting her knowledge to them for the past few months.

“We are also grateful to the school for giving us the opportunity to participate in this competition to improve our debating skills and to make the school proud,” he said.