There are many tempting options of debate clubs out there. Both the University of Cambodia and Institute of Foreign Languages’ debate clubs are very famous for their wit, and eloquence. Compared to other clubs, if you can make a name for yourself in debating, especially in English language, you are admired all round the freaking campus!
Despite how tempting that is, I have resolved not to join any debate club because of one sole reason, and one reason only.
I believe debating is used for finding out the truth, weeding out weaknesses from different, often contrasting beliefs, so that both parties can arrive nearer to the truth at the end of the argument.
Having seen many debates, and even participated in some myself, I can say with enough certainty that schools’ debate club is geared toward making their members great at debating. However, their definition of “being great” is to win. It looks like obtaining glory over the opponent is the sole purpose of debating. Rigorous researching, priceless team coordination, countless time and energy are put forth just to “win”. I’ve heard of some debaters enjoying the kick, savoring the moments of success over their opponents. It’s a great way to boost one’s self esteem, and ego, it seems.
However, for me, those reasons are not enough. For a truth lover, debate is a sacred endeavor in which truth should be the end, not ego-inflation, or self-esteem.
Moreover, in most of the modern debate championship, the teams are given a topic, and even their stances on the issue. How further from the truth can one get? Whenever I’m forced to partake in a debate that I do not care about, I feel like I am a monkey being dressed in colorful attire, prepped up to entertain people on stage. What I say is not what I really believe because what if I actually agree with my opponent? I often tell those who approach me to join debate clubs that I will make an awful member because I would just reply, “Meh, you’re right. Let’s call it quits,” when the opponent raises evidence that diminishes my argument. I know that most debate club members are told to hold their ground, to look strong even when they are rightfully attacked.
It seems like the team spirit, championship structures and even the goddamn strategies point debate club members to winning, and not the truth, so no, thank you. I’m good. I’m all good.
Now, I know this blog post will undoubtedly offend (mildly, I hope) some of my friends who are from one debate club or another. Well, maybe give back your arguments, eh? Debate style.