The Debater’s Disappointing Final


Yesterday, I watched MTV’s The Debater finals. I was pretty impressed watching it. When I was back in school, debating tournaments were relegated to libraries or small auditoriums. It was the rugby matches and cricket matches that drew the crowds. Debating was for those small groups of intellectuals who could string a few words together coherently (mostly at least). But MTV Sports took it, spiced it up a bit and made it a big event. The final was more like a big match than a genteel verbal sparring, with flags waving and kids yelling and both school bands making a heck of a racket. 

The finals were between Lyceum and Ananda College and the standard of the debaters were pretty acceptable. The kids were confident and aggressive and the content was fairly well researched. The topic was on a global body being created to govern the internet, and Ananda was the proposition. 

I was fairly surprised to see an international school reaching the finals, because they usually don’t show up in the big events. But Lyceum practically creamed Ananda. Their points were cogent, they were aggressive, confident, and their rebuttals stinging. Perhaps they were more comfortable with the language, but Ananda made it to the finals, so on that point it should have been even. The teams were evenly matched at the beginning, but Lyceum was great in the middle rounds and sadly, Ananda’s closing speech was embarrassing. The kid contradicted himself every other sentence. It was a good match, but by any standard of judgement, Lyceum had won. 

Except they didn’t. 

They got the best speaker award, but Ananda was given the victory. 

I should have realized that there was no way an international school was going to be given the victory. The panel of judges were a set of lawyers and supreme court judges. No way was Ananda College, with their long history and significant ‘old boy’ support, going to lose to an international school. It was a little sickening. If the match was closer, I would have given them the benefit of the doubt, but the winner was pretty obvious. 

I wish I could say otherwise, but this is pretty much how Sri Lanka works. It really isn’t what you do that matters, but whom you know. And this is being taught to the next generation of kids in our country. Bravo. 



  1. charizat said:

    but lyceum propose solutions rather than debating, giving solutions means they are accepting their problems, even their solution was so funny. implementing DNS servers in each every house holds. this is not practical at all. because of the limitations of resources:this can not be done.

    if you say that favorable decisions are given to the schools that have long histories and the old boy support , how about royal college and thomas’s college. they got even more priority than Ananda college. then they would have come to the finals instead of Lyceum according to your logic.

    in the name of Mr,Mohan Lal Grero(also an old Anandian) dont come to such conclusions, thinking on one side.

    • janusis said:

      Did not Ananda propose a solution of their own? The very nature of a debate is verbal sparring. Point to counter-point, coming up with responses under a lot of stress yet still making them coherent. Ananda did not do that. Just take a look at the debate again. What you feel about the topic is not the issue. The issue is how they DEBATED the topic.

      And yes, I was surprised and pleased that Lyceum even made it to the finals, thus my disappointment at the final decision. I can not see how anyone who has any experience of debating whatsoever could imagine that Ananda won.

      If this is not politics then it must be incompetence on the part of the judges. And that is a little hard to believe.

  2. charizat said:

    check this out end of the story(final round)….
    “the spoke against current global body which they were suppose to defend”

  3. VIPz said:

    I’m afraid Janusis I’m not sure Whether you have watched the entire debate. Maybe you were not paying attention to the judges. The marks are given to the content rather than the presentation. Of cource Lyceum’s Presentation was fantastic. But they lacked in content. Instead of Protecting the Current global body, they supposed a new body. Isn’t that handing over the debate to the other team?. And you talk about Ananda having this history and the so called “old boys”. Well Ananda may have more resources interms of teachers and Old boys could have helped with the content and information. But during the debate, it was those 4 students who presented. And in that matter considering the language gap that you mention, I would like to say that lyceum would have won if it was a grammer test or a pronounciation test. But in a debate, The judges are more concerned about the content. And lyceum lacked content. Instead of arguing to the point they wasted a lot of time pointing out Ananda’s mistakes which were controvercial anyway While ananda piled up on points and content without giving much emphasize to lyceum’s, Though they also mentioned that Lyceum proposed a new body. Doesn’t that contradict Lyceum’s topic itself.

  4. janusis said:

    I guess it is my bad then. I didn’t realize debates were solely about content. They could have saved a lot of time and money and stayed home and sent in a couple of essays..

  5. VIPz said:

    There is a link above my previous comment. Please refer to that and understand the content. Sarcasm won’t take you anywhere mate!!

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