Royals’ Great Timing: I Drink Your Blood, I Eat Your Skin

Posted on September 28, 2010


It’s a no-brainer really. If you want to spend a great deal of money to attend a prestigious debate tournament, you have to go to WUPID, which sounds better than anything else on the Malaysian debate circuit.

I suppose, maybe, that if you wanted to spend a very great deal of money and then MYR 100,000 on top, you could have WUPID hosted in your university and H & G operating on your turf which, as UPM has proven, can get you from zero to be significantly noticeable in national debating championships faster than the time it took Phileas Fogg and his newly employed French valet Passepartout to circumnavigate the world.

Either way, there is absolutely no need to go off and spend precious amount of money and time on that tournament they call the Royals. Yes it’s enormous and, yes it’s prestigious, but it’s not that recognized worldwide, not that challenging and really not that well organized. What’s more, UKM has won it before.

Not just UKM either, but also UiTM, UM and IIUM. UPM has reached the finals 4 times in a row in that tournament. Do you want people to remember you for only being a Malaysian debater who only made it in a local tournament? Really? Well, why not have your brains sucked out through your ears and move to Batu Pahat and have some friends over this evening to roast your local, friendly debate promoter? (Not that the aforementioned universities would, of course.)

Just after a month announcing that the Royals will clash with WUPID (which announced their dates at the first quarter of the year), I was fascinated by the meat cleaver that it took to Malaysia’s increasingly blurred debating fraternity. Here, at the other end of the academic social class, the Royals was much admired.

But in the outer rims things are rather different. Universities from neighboring countries and the invited world-class institutions to WUPID universally agrees that Royals is as vulgar and over-rated as being announced the best looking person in the hospital’s burns unit. Interesting, that. It seems the rest of the debating world have no interest in Royals. But it is for that reason alone Malaysian universities find worth ploughing on.

And ploughing is the right word, because when you go to Royals, you’ll think you’ve gone back about 6 months in time. Today’s debate organizers are extraordinarily sensitive and adept at eking out the right time based on the debate season and format. But Royals is from a time where their ego made them not bother, and as a result Royals 2010 clashes with WUPID 2010 and has adopted a format outside the British Parliamentary Format (BP) season.

Organization of this particular tournament is so confusing. The tournament is held in December where the format should be BP. Instead, everyone is debating using the Asians Format. What’s the point? At this stage, you may be wondering what possible harm could it probably do to the Malaysian debaters? Well, if your end goal is to be more than just a jaguh kampong and have the churning lust of making a significant impact in the Worlds Championship, you better start working and be absolutely comfortable with the format used at the Worlds Championship – BP.

Then there’s the competition, which is actually made up of debaters and adjudicators from Malaysian universities alone. How is that helpful in our quest to dominate the Worlds Championship?  Our debaters and adjudicators needs to be exposed to the many different styles and approaches in competitive debating. And the best way to do so is to take part at a tournament where there would be an international presence of quality debating universities. That why universities spends thousands of ringgit to send their debaters to international tournaments like the Oxford and Cambridge IV. But WUPID is doing Malaysia a favor by bringing in the best right on the country’s doorstep.

At this point, I’m starting to feel a little guilty about writing to you about accommodation, comfort and convenience. Lets just put it metaphorically this way, if we have to comfort compared with WUPID, falling over is more comfortable than being at the Royals. Everything is more comfortable, come to think of it – even being stabbed.

On every rational level, then, and for the sake of their own interest and Malaysian debating, Royals should not clash with WUPID. It is a slippery slide to suicide.

And yet surprisingly, it appears to be that decisions are sometimes derived from irrational logic and donkey reasoning. Bizarre enough, Malaysian debaters are willing to be broken and smashed at the Worlds Championship. And despite being squashed like a roadkill, it is still a small price to pay for the privilege of being at the most prestigious national tournament in the country. After pushing the obvious advantage and pointing out the comparative madness, there is still many who believe that there is no debate tournament except for Royals, that makes you feel so damn good.

The fascinating drawing-factor about this tournament is the unparalleled sense of occasion it affords. When you come to Royals, it’s a bit like climbing into a dinner suit. It’s uncomfortable and plain silly, but there’s a sense that you’re about to do something very spectacular. And for this pomp alone, WUPID will have something to cry about this year. WUPID held itself together and survived the recession last year, but this is an unforeseen and impossible circumstance that is bad to the bones. Real bad. Satan bad.