I’ll never forget this day.
I made myself look like a total and complete idiot.
I’ll take that back.
I probably made George W. Bush looked like a genius.
As per Rajan’s (ex-Pres of SMU Debating Society) recommendation, I joined the Sydney University debating team.
Now, Sydney University’s debating team are one of the top-ranking teams in the world. They even beat Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge at some World Debating Finals.**
Yeah, Sydney U have a lot of argumentative and eloquent people.
Rajan told me to join cause he told me that I’ll have a heck of experience and meet all sort of oddballs. Oddballs in a good way. He asked me to join the debating team so that he could experience it through me. Remember the scene from the movie “The Girl Next Door”? The scene where the protagonist’s friend screamed at him to fuck the girl so that he could ‘experience’ it too? It went something like this:
Friend: “FOR ME, MATT! FOR MEE!! FUCK HER FOR MEE!!!!”
It was like this, except the screaming and fucking.
Anyway, I e-mailed the Pres of Sydney U Debating Society, expressing my interest in joining. I only got a reply from him 3 weeks late, telling me to turn up for the next session at 5:15pm. Which was today. (Technically, yesterday, as its 12am here now).
So on the previous night, I got Rajan on MSN and asked him for some advice and this was what he told me:
Zareth says: (12:14:20 AM)
yo, you there?
rajan says: (12:17:06 AM)
Zareth says: (12:17:30 AM)
going for the debates tmr
Zareth says: (12:17:34 AM)
got any tips to survive?
rajan says: (12:19:35 AM)
rajan says: (12:19:43 AM)
i dunno. don’t drink too much?
Zareth says: (12:20:24 AM)
wow, thanks for the sage advice, hahaha
rajan says: (12:20:31 AM)
rajan says: (12:20:35 AM)
it’s your first day
Zareth says: (12:20:45 AM)
yep, first day
rajan says: (12:21:47 AM)
don’t break a leg. because debaters aren’t very good at first aid
Zareth says: (12:22:44 AM)
rajan says: (12:22:54 AM)
if your first impression is “omg, so many weird people” you deduced right. if your first impression is “omg, so cool”, you are a true debater. if both, a smart debater.
Zareth says: (12:23:26 AM)
Zareth says: (12:23:35 AM)
what a weird viewpoint
rajan says: (12:23:47 AM)
I highlighted the advice the Rajan gave me in bold red. One of the reasons I joined the debates was because Rajan told me that they served free beer. WOW! FREE BEER. If there is one ‘poison’ that can get me talking, beer is it. Actually let’s make that any alcoholic drinks. One beer and I probably debate the house down.
Hell, I know cause at the student orientation party, after drinking a beer, I went around getting phone numbers from people that I’ll never see or talk to again. I even got hit on by a gay Irish guy, but that’s another story.
But at the debates, there were pizzas. Rajan was right on this count. The pizzas were great. Really delicious. Unfortunately we only had 15 minutes to gobble it down before we went on to debate.
Maybe the debaters didn’t want any raging drunktards arguing. But I only argue well when I’m a drunktard. Cause when I’m sober, I’m Too. Damn. Quiet. I don’t really give a shit about what’s going on in an argument. But when I’m high, I give a shit about everything.
To add salt to my injury, the president gave the topic as “Why the government should NOT play a role in healthcare.” Then my partner and I was assigned to defend the position of why the government should just back out of the healthcare industry. Even better, we were both the opening team. So that means we had to go ahead first.
What the fuck man.
I’m all for the government playing a role in healthcare. I believed its something that the government should do. So of course I was lost for words when I had to put myself in an opposite position.
How? Think, Zareth, think? Why should the government fuck off from the healthcare industry and privatize it??
Then I hit on a solution. Why, of course, let’s follow Singapore’s policy.
This is the one time I love Singapore. If there’s any policies that make Singaporeans lives more miserable, trust the Singaporean government to do it.
The Singaporean government’s stance on healthcare is the citizen pay for their own medical care. As the PAP like to say: “Children should provide for their parents’ welfare. Its filial piety. You cannot always depend on the Government. We don’t follow Western ‘models’ of state welfare. We Confucian society.” Something along this line.
Since I was brainstorming with my partner, I shared my ideas with him. I meant everything. Which, in hindsight, was not a very good move.
As the opening government (team), my partner went ahead first to give his opening speech. He was a very impressive sight. It was his first time debating too and he managed to make a very eloquent and fiery speech. Of course, whatever I wanted to say, he said EVERYTHING! Oh crap, what am I going to say?
Next up was the opposing team opening up their side of the debate. Now, these people are real pros. They spoke fast, really rapid fast but you could still understand what they were talking about. And their arguments had real structure, meaning and all the bullocks. After the girl finished her speech (and shot down a few opposing questions from my team) it was my turn.
“All right Daer, it’s your turn,” the adjudicator turned to me.
That’s right, I’m now known as DAER.
How did this happened?
Well, when the President was typing everyone’s name onto a Excel spreadsheet, I got this typical response:
Me: “It’s Zareth. Z-A-R-E-T-H”
Then to my horror, I saw on the screen as he typed out “DAVER”.
Me: “No, no, no, it starts with a Z”
Pres: “Oh,” and he proceeds to delete the V and hence, “DAER” was born.
I couldn’t be bothered to correct him cause I was in the middle of a lecture hall and I would have to walk down to the front and changed my name to the correct spelling in front of the entire debating team. So Daer it was.
I’m fucking irritated by this. Zareth’s a cool name. But whenever I S-L-O-W-L-Y enunciate my name, the next party will go: “Eh? Jared? Gerad? JEIETH? JEDI?” Even when I spell out my name, I have to do it 3 fucking times before the other party get it.
Hey buddy, pay attention.
I got up to the front and calmly cleared my throat. And then I made a fucking lame introduction: “Guys, this is my first time here. Yeah, so don’t have too high of an expectation of me.”
Meanwhile, my partner was rooting like crazy for me.
I like that guy.
While the other side of the house was ready to pounce and tear the flesh from my bones.
With that lame introduction, I make a total fiasco of myself. For the first time, I had stage fright. I actually experience what stage fright was. I couldn’t get the words out. I mumbled and 3 minutes into my speech, I gave up and just went back to my seat.
Our speech were supposed to be 7 minutes.
To describe how bad it was, I’m going to post a clip of George W. Bush debates:
Go to 1.36 of the video. Now imagine that, but 10 times worse.
That’s how I sucked today.
Oh well, they know me as Daer.
And Daer never existed.
** Rajan told me that Sydney Uni Debating Society is THE BEST, not one of the best.