by J O N A T H A N S U N
Debate is a subject that has been recently introduced into our school system. As one may have noticed from the countless posters taped onto the pillars of our school, a debate tournament occurred during October 6th ~ October 8th. Students who joined the PAS Debate Team paired up and competed in either Policy Debate or Public Forum in Taipei.
Many may believe that the MUN Club, which has been in place since the very establishment of PAS, is equivalent to the current Debate Team. However, there are certain key differences between the two organizations and their activities. The goal of MUN is to train one’s public speaking, communication, and rhetorical skills by representing a country and achieving consensus through collaboration and contribution to each others’ resolutions. The goal of debate, on the other hand, is to foster one’s logical thinking and analysis by arguing whether a policy is right or wrong and attacking the opponent's’ argument using evidence. As Evan Chiang (11) has described, “Debating is a combination of both evidence gathering and public speaking skills, as what’s most important is to persuade the judge to win, not to get countries to agree.” To summarize, “MUN feels more like reaching consensus, whereas debate feels more competitive.”
During the competition, competitors fiercely defended and attacked each other’s claims and arguments. After four elimination rounds deciding the competitors for the quarter-finals and finals for Policy Debate and Public Forum respectively, only two PAS teams entered the quarter-finals of Policy Debate. Even though all of the PAS teams were eliminated past that point, the effort and vigor of the PAS Debate Team won them a total of seven speaker awards and two fourth place awards.
The debate competition served as an important event fostering development among the debaters in PAS. It not only allowed the less experienced debaters to learn, but also encouraged more experienced debaters to get back into the debate scene after a long summer. In the end, through the competition, the PAS debate team has enjoyed an educational and exhilarating experience.