Monday, November 03, 2008

The Wira Story

Today, sit back, relax, and let me tell you a story.

Way back in March this year, a young temporary teacher who was teaching in his secondary school just to help out was approached by a senior teacher with a very attractive proposition. She wanted him, an ex school debater, to help coach the school team. It was something that he always wanted to do. His only response that he could offer was to nod his head excitedly.

It was something he always wanted to do...

And so it began - the whole debate training process. The team met up on weekends, and at all manner of odd hours to practice and prepare for their coming debates. They were debating greenhorns back then - they had some experience, but nothing that would prepare them for the challenges ahead of them in the national level WIRA debate that they were in. While the other students were busy in their classes studying, this small group of 7 debaters consistently skipped lessons just to give this competition their very best.

John thinking about how to best help guide the team.

So in that little room beside the school library, they prepared, relentlessly going over arguments, speeches and rebuttals. It wasn't easy. Even their coach found it difficult, but as he could see that the team he was training really wanted to win, he found it in himself to really push them as hard as he could, all the way to the finals of the championship.

"We're going to go all the way this year, all the way!" he kept telling them, knowing that this was a team who was dedicated enough and had the support to go all the way this year.

And then came the time to debate. There were some debates which they only won by a hair's breadth, but the team managed to pull through and learn a little something from every debate. Each time they went up there on that stage to speak, they grew a little wiser, a little bolder, a little stronger. They felt like nothing could stop them, that they were invincible, and they hungered for all that was ahead of them.

Then came the state level debates. The team traveled all the way down to Kuala Selangor, slightly more than an hour and a half by car from home. They went down with a determination of steel to win.

Their spirits were high, and nothing could stop them.

They debated hard, and they managed to make their way up to the finals of the state level of the national level debating championship. Just one more debate to go. Just one more win and they would be debating at the national level - something that only two teams in the entire history of their school have reached in the past. They were prepared, they were properly groomed, and their coach had no doubt that they would win that last debate.

They had their fingers crossed the entire debate, they prayed their very hardest. And it was time for the results.

"The runner up of this debate goes to..."

They all fervently prayed that it would be the name of the other school.

"SMK Damansara Jaya."

A wave of disbelief swept past the debaters. Could they have misheard the emcee? We're they really in second place? Even their coach couldn't believe his ears. He was certain that they were the better team after watching the debate. But such was their fate - to step away from it all when they were so near.

The End.


...or was it really?

Fast forward to the present. About 15 days ago, I got a call. A miracle had happened.

"Miracles do happen!"

In my brother, Keefe's own words:
Don't know how to break this to you, but WE'RE IN WIRA AGAIN! Apparently the team that we lost to in the state finals forfeited, cause the next round is too close to their SPM (november 1-6), and they're a form five team. Durian runtuh, seriously. I just got the news today from Daryl, and i was really super-duper happy about the whole thing until daryl told me that we have to sit for our final term exams after the debate in ONE WEEK (19 papers in five days omg). That kinda killed the whole mood, but we're still soooo excited about it! :D the whole team has agreed to screw the exams, and we are really, really going for it. who needs exams when we have WIRA? :) We know that opportunities like this almost NEVER come. so happy that i can't even form a coherent sentence now. not to mention tired from all the studying + jumping around in excitement. Details are still sketchy, motions aren't out yet, the venue is unknown, and we dont even know how many rounds we have to go for. will definitely update you on this.

hahaha. things just seem so surreal sometimes. I'm still in a state of disbelief after 4 hours of receiving the news. we really want to win this and make DJ proud. we won't disappoint.

and hopefully, DJ will be the first school to ever win the cup THREE TIMES, baby. keep your fingers crossed. :D

- Keefe Chan

We were back from the dead. The school that beat us had pulled out of the debate, and our team, the first runner up, was going to debate at the national level! And this time, they have the best debate coach DJ has ever known, Pn. Magdalen Su to guide them all the way to victory this time.

And this is how it went so far:

Tan Sri Datuk Wira Abdul Rahman Arshad Debate Cup
Nationals 2008


This house believes that EQ, not IQ determines how successful a person will become.
  • Sarawak (St. Columba Miri) won by default. Kuala Lumpur didn't show up.
  • Selangor (SMK Damansara Jaya) beat Kedah (SMK Ibrahim)
  • Sabah (SMK Lok Yuk) lost to Negeri Sembilan (SMK Bukit Kepayang)
  • Penang (Penang Free School) beat Putrajaya (SMK Precinct 18 (1))
  • Pahang (SMK Sultan Abu Bakar) lost to Malacca (SMK St. David)
  • Johor (Batu Pahat High School) beat Kelantan (SMK Naim Lilbanat)
  • Terengganu (SMK Sultan Ismail 2) beat Perlis (SMK Perlis)
  • Perak (ACS Methodist Ipoh) won by default. Labuan didn't turn up.


This house would let the information superhighway run free. (copy cats)
  • Selangor (SMK Damansara Jaya) beat Sarawak (St. Columba Miri)
  • Penang (Penang Free School) lost to Negeri Sembilan (SMK Bukit Kepayang)
  • Johor (Batu Pahat High School) beat Malacca (SMK St. David)
  • Perak (ACS Methodist Ipoh) beat Terengganu (SMK Sultan Ismail 2)


This house believes that well done is better than well said.
  • Selangor (SMK Damansara Jaya) versus Johor (Batu Pahat High School)
  • Perak (ACS Methodist Ipoh) versus Negeri Sembilan (SMK Bukit Kepayang)

And now it's Selangor vs Perak in an epic battle for the trophy!

And again, we find ourselves eagerly waiting for the results of that one last debate, on the 4th of November, the same day that the fate of the US presidency will be decided.

But as much as I want Obama to win this November 4th, I know where the bulk of my prayers and best wishes will be directed at - the Wira team of SMK Damansara Jaya who is up there in Kelantan preparing for that one last debate as we speak.

As Andrew Loh very elegantly puts it, that the greatest of debaters are not only the most eloquent - they are also the most bruised, the most resilient and the strongest of heart. This team definitely has been one that has gone through so much together, and yes they have been bruised badly, but through it all they have emerged as a team that is so much stronger, so much more seasoned than what they were when I started coaching them all those months back.

Keefe, Sophia, Jayshendra, Zafirah, Daryl, Rachel and Calvin, you guys have made me prouder than I ever thought that I would be. It was always both a dream of mine to be up there, debating at the Wira finals, but the opportuinity never came to me. But then again, perhaps that is my role to play in all this, and by seeing you guys all the way up there now, I don't think I can ask for more. (:

Team, you've done me proud!

I have no doubt that it is your destiny to win this thing. God brought us back for a reason. Go for the win, team!

"We're going to go all the way this year, all the way!"

God bless and good luck, team.

Kevin Chan.


The other Wira Posts - Our journey:

Team, you've done us proud.

Make DJ proud, team!
More scribbles from the bilik tayangan.


michelle said...

will they record the entire debate? would be interested in watching it

Kevin Chan said...


I highly doubt it though. They didn't allow us to record the debate at state level either. We'll just see how it goes. Pray for the team!

nimalan said...

Chill bro. The Mag is in town.
It's a surefire win. But boy that semifinal debate topic sounds tough

Anonymous said...

You brought tears to my eyes with your style of writing.So loving and caring. Wishing the Wira debaters all the best.

Kevin Chan said...


Yup, the Mag is in town. Third time's the charm! (:


Thank you for your prayers and support! Really hoping the best for them! (:

John said...

I am so very proud that the DJ team has won! Once again, we prove that DJ reigns supreme in the Malaysian debating circuit. I don't think we needed the title to reassure ourselves that DJ was the best. The fact that the team and their coaches (each and every member) were so committed, so resilient, so determined was proof enough that victory was theirs, and theirs alone.

Kevin Chan said...

Yup, there's no place like DJ. (:

Ern Sheong said...

this is so awesome. the losing and getting back into the competition thing is really one very fantastic story.

レシャリム said...

I'm a debater from Pahang, SMK Sultan Abu Bakar, but I didn't go for the nationals though cos it clashed with something else. =P Just stumbled across ur blog. Grats =) Are you joining this year?

Kevin Chan said...

I personally am too old for all this and am in uni already. I'm studying overseas so I won't be free this year to coach the team personally, but I believe SMK Damansara Jaya should send a team as they are wont to. (:

Nicole said...

:) Question, was Batu Pahat good when the team you coached went against them? My school SIGS, won datuk wira for JB which we haven't done in ages and we figured BPHS wouldnt be that much of a threat but according to google, they have quite a few achievements to boot.

Kevin Chan said...


Hmmm... you guys won WIRA? That's awesome! Congrats! (: Well, I really don't remember much about Batu Pahat, which is a good thing (if I were in your shoes).

Just give it your best but then again don't ever underestimate your competition. That's the #1 recipe for failure.

All the best for your upcoming debate, as well as your ASEAN selection test. Would be great to have more Malaysians studying in Singapore with me.


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