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Bar Council Human Rights Debate competition

I went to my first debating competition this week – the Bar Council Human Rights Debate 2008. It was fun, I liked the challenge of having to think up an argument and a strategy in fifteen minutes (because that’s all the time you’re given between the announcement of the motion to the time the debate starts), and having to react quickly to the other debaters’ arguments once the debate starts. I had adjudicated for debates before when I was teaching at HELP University College, and since then I wanted to try debating.

The debates I saw before had two teams of three debaters – with the opening speech, second and summing up speaker; the one this week was the British Parliamentary Style debate rules, which demand a more technical debate in some ways. There are four teams of two debaters each: Opening and Closing Government, and Opening and Closing Opposition; each one is separate, so although – for example – you are the closing government, and you have to follow the basic argument of the opening government, you won’t know before they start what their definitions, context, and points will be. So you have to be ready to adapt to them, but still try to do better than them as the winning teams don’t have to be on the same side of the house.

For Monash we had two inexperienced teams, and neither of us got past the qualifying rounds (five debates) to make the cut into the quarters; but that wasn’t so surprising. I’m pleased that at least, my partner and I won one debate (i.e. came first out of the four teams) :-) It was on whether or not to have BM as the sole medium of instruction in schools; we had to argue against, which wasn’t too difficult, as I have thought about it before.

In the finals last night, two teams were from NUS, one from IIU, and another was the ‘WUPID’ team (dunno why, WUPID is the name of an international debate competition next week in KL).
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Debates and a puppy

Well today at the debate competition was fun and somewhat adrenalin-inducing; for a first time debater (me at least) I guess we did alright – 3rd in one, 4th (i.e. last) in the second, and 2nd in the third. Though overall that got us only three points out of a possible nine, so we’re going to have to do significantly better in the last two rounds tomorrow if we want to make it through to the quarter-finals!

Anyway, something more important in the bigger scale of things happened this morning though: Gambit (one of our dogs) was making a terrible racket through the night and when I looked out I noticed there was a dog hanging around the house. In the morning, however, I heard a high-pitched howling coming from the drain – sure enough, when I checked there was a small puppy stuck in the drain, my guess is that her mother was hanging around at night wondering what to do, and eventually left.

She (the puppy with no name) was looking miserable, but was plucky enough to snarl at me and take off in the other direction when I tried to pick her up; so I went and got WW, we did a pincer movement and I grabbed her by the neck and pitched her out. Once she realised we did not want to hurt her, she let us stroke her and we dried her a bit (she was trembling all over), left her wrapped in an old towel with a couple of biscuits at the foot of a tree. I was hoping her mother would come back.

However, twenty minutes later I heard her piercing yelping again and our two dogs were up against the fence whining and yapping. I feared the worse and, sure enough, she had got up and got knocked over by a car! :-(

When we got there a guy on a motorbike had stopped to move her off the road - the poor thing had blood coming out of her nose, and couldn’t stand up. What to do… well, WW was in tears and decided to take her to the vet

and there she was this evening; a broken leg and concussion, malnourished but otherwise the vet was optimistic

The thing is – she needs a home! We can’t keep her, and can only keep her at the vet’s for a couple of days. If we can’t find a home for her, we’ll probably have to put her down…

Do you want to give her a home? Or know anyone who does? She’s 6-8 weeks old and seemed to a pretty smart little thing

Can you resist this cuteness?

Obligatory small print:
Remember a pet is a commitment for (their) life. Puppylike cuteness is not guaranteed to last, but unconditional love, affection, and devoted companionship is.