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Well our boys in blue made it to the semis. While that may not be the finals. It was an excellent showing. For two 3rd years hitting some people almost twice their age (Duncan and John ;)), it was truly an accomplishment. I could not be more proud. They gave it their all and that’s all we could ask, not to mention being top 8 in the world is pretty frickin good already. Out of the 4 opp teams on that motion, only one went through to the finals on a 3/2 split. They put up a good fight and I got the call half right amongst all the facebooking!

Onto the final, it was a good showing on a bad motion. Was great to see two former St. Andreans and two other good friends slogging it out. Especially Ben’s bow tie. We greeted GUU with a round of ‘Flower of Scotland’ upon their entrance and Cambridge with some other british song, ‘swing forth sweet chariot’??? It was hard for us to find a song that would be appropriate to sing in India: see ‘Rule Britannia’.

On to the funny stories, this will be the last blog of the story except for maybe one from Goa on post-tournament thoughts. First, the tournament lost the ‘lost and found box’………what???? Second, RUMOUR ALERT, apparently the university embezzled a lot of the tournaments funds. We heard this from some Indian teams. I have heard anywhere from 10,000-80,000 Euros which means that its probably somewhere around 10 pounds. Finally a tuk-tuk driver told me he was ‘speed racer’ and then attempted to race me to my destination. Then he brought me to a mall instead an insisted that I buy his family a shirt. Obviously I asked him to take me to my real destination. Upon arrival, he demanded twice the agreed upon price because it was ‘New Years’, despite it being a few days old. I gave him a bit of a tip and went on my way, happy to still be alive after his death-defying turns. He also kept talking about some weird New Years Elf or Health, I wasn’t quite sure.

One last thing that I will say. I have learned that debaters love complaining. For a group of people who love people listening to their speeches, we’re unwilling to be polite during other’s, we jump to quick conclusions and we are un-relentless towards others. For those who love to stand up for the underdog, we are willing to countlessly destroy those based on small assumptions. I don’t want to come down from on high here, but I will say one thing. Complaining will not make rounds progress any quicker, will make you more stressed out, and will ensure a worse time. This all coming from one of the world’s worst complainers.

That being said, I had a great time at this tournament with a large number of great people who I’m happy to call my friends. While the tournament was ummmm……well……interesting to say the most, I’m glad I came. Definitely, second tier fun. However, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Alex and I are currently sitting on a beach in Goa with the ’1,000 yard stare’. Cheers, and here’s to cheap mint mojitos.

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Iona Semi- woooo!

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As usual we’re dead tired and the stress is starting to show. I should mention that the cliff hanger from last night’s post was a shameless plug to bring the viewers back. While tensions ran high, there was nothing to stand in the way of our boys and their teamwork abilities. While nerves were frazzled, everyone was stressed and tired/overreacting- including myself.

They’ve decided to host the semis almost an hour and a half from the finals venues. So we wake up, make a three hour round trip for semis, then return to where we started for finals…….the efficiently. The CA team tried to change the org comms mind on this issue, apparently they were treated as ‘intellectual shaman’. According to Alex, who heard from an important source, the org comm has assumed that they can be out debated on any point by the CA debaters and thus are worried about being deceived by their magical powers. So if they disagree on principle, even if the CA team out-argues them, they get scared and do their original plan. RUMOR alert, none of this can be confirmed but we have heard it from some interesting sources. Wow Chennai, just wow.

Like seriously though, is this a real place with real people or has this whole tournament been a really bureaucratic dream?

Xoxo Gossip Parker

Ready for Semis

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I’m writing from the bus. It’s almost raining and I’m soaking wet. The one time it rains in Chennai is when we’re all waiting for results outdoors….typical at this point. Today was a ball of stress and nerves. If you haven’t heard. Out of the 4 Scottish teams sent to this competition, 2( St. Andrews and Glasgow) have semi-finaled. An absolutely incredible show.

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Motions were as follow, both were very interesting,

This house believes that Japan should shame it’s WWII vets regardless of whether they participated in war crimes.

This house would allow the sale for profit of cities in bankruptcy.

A few instances from the day. I met a debater who was PM in St. Andrew’s octos and quarters who debated with me in Texas during high school. Small world. WOAH.

Here is a copy of my notes from the Octos from the Japan motion,
‘Alex and Roo are jumping around, something good must be happening.
Wow Roo’s camo trousers lol
Roo asks deputy, will the Japanese majority accept it, Yes, Roo get’s happy, I can guessss his extention.
Roo turns prop case on it’s head. And points out they’re a-historic; such a historian.
I nod my head at literally every point so that if they look at me they will feel confident. He could say anything and I would nod. ‘WWII didn’t happen’ *nod away (didn’t actually happen).’Image

 

More crazy stuff from the day. Alex saved a bat (like an actual bat) today after it jumped on a man with his sweater, cute. More on Alex, he has apparently written a blog post now which I’m supposed to share. It’s cute to see him jealous. ;) It is posted below. You may have noticed this thing has gone through a renaissance. I’m not going to give my writing style any credit, but I will say that I am probably the first one who knows how to use wordpress and how to post a picture.

Moreover, I watched Roo slam his face into a window. It went something like this. ‘Woah, look at the lab equipment in that room.’ Roo leans his head in for a look, I guess he thought their was no window (classic Chennai). He slams straight into a pane of glass. It’s crazy how such a smart man can be……..well…..

Finally, I had my public speaking round early this morning. Check out this efficiently. One round, two rooms, 30 speakers each. Out of sixty total speakers they break 4 straight to finals (only in Chennai).Wow. Luckily for me I heard only about 10 people came to my room. So I guess I’m at about a 20% chance of breaking, will find out tomorrow. My topic was about a point of my life that changed me. I stole my law school essay topic and talked about the time I was in my friend’s neo-modern German house and couldn’t tell the shower from the sink. We’ll see how it goes.

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The picture above represents everything this tournament is about. Holding on to the good things. Waiting around in the heat of the day at a disorganized ¬†tournament, Kitty finds solace in a warm bottle of coke. “I’m currently surviving off a diet of muffins, curry and soda”. We all are Kitty, we all are.

So tired. As usual the tournament ran over. There will definitely be at least 2 Iona teams in the final, a very good show. Unfortunately, they will be running on about 6 hours sleep by the time we get to the hotel and may be sick after being in the rain for awhile.

We’re having to switch busses now for some God only knows reason in the middle of the night. So I can’t write for much longer. Alex is driving everyone up the wall. It’s all about the reaction to the break. Kitty, Roo and Ben preoccupy themselves with being nervous for tomorrow, while he gets really loud and happy. We’re all tired, on our last nerve, this could be a recipe for disaster if he doesn’t shut up soon. Will our team breakdown before the semi-finals tomorrow? How is that for a cliff-hanger? Will post again tomorrow night.

xoxo Gossip Parker – No complaining policy broken already, my bad.

The predominate blogging experience me and Ru have shared was watching the transformation of Parker from reluctant poster to Perez Hilton. The St Andrews blog seems to have ridden the wave of Chennai drama into some degree of debate prominence, so I feel privileged to be given the keys to Parker Hilton’s fledgling kingdom, and give the team perspective.

That drama has been well documented, and definitely doesn’t need me to add much (beyond the promise that the adj strike was a highlight for the vast majority of the debaters, we love some drama as a distraction from heat and delays). I think what I’ll be doing here is talking a little about the debating, and a little about my broader experience.

So we’ve had an especially brutal climb up the team tab, which meant we’ve been a part of some brilliant debates which served to remind you exactly what this strange hobby can be at its best. There are a number of excellent squads here this year, but the coveted ‘Emerging Nemesis’ team award should probably go to Cambridge A, who poked their eloquent heads into a third of our in-round debates. I won’t talk about our competitive record in those three clashes, but I guess you can conclude we probably wouldn’t hand out such a coveted label to teams we routed repeatedly…. :S

Cambridge weren’t our only obstacle, the top ten teams in the competition were present in two thirds of our debates, so me and Ru were left little option than to run at 100% for the first three days. It went well, and we did our best to whack-a-mole any weaknesses that emerged across the rounds, but the side effect (compounded by crazy delays) was walking into your hotel at 11:30pm and collapsing exhausted day after day. We’ve faced some incredibly smart people, on incredibly complex issues, and the upshot is we know we can generate the material needed to take a top room (well…. probably not the TPP debate, Cambridge had their way with us throughout that entire shitshow), we just need to nurture the Straya x-factor, where the earnest application of accent makes anything sound gospel.

The real locus of competitive spirit and white-knuckle action emerged as a thanks to Durham’s excellent taste in recreation. Top Trumps is a game where decks of cards are created with a particular focus (jets, dinosaurs, cars etc.), and have relevant attributes listed. You draw a card, cite the attribute and then whoever has the TOP statistic TRUMPS the opposition (it’s not an imaginative name). To be honest if you don’t know how this game works, your childhood was a desolate wasteland free of frenzied comparisons between dinosaur tail lengths and footballer goal totals. Of course, the version we the gold standard: Early 90s pop icons. The giants of peppy beats were clashed on everything from their Top 10 hits to the number of haircuts within their career. PHOAR! factor, pop factor and the cover appearances of cultural giants like Abs from Five (did you know that in his next life, Abs would like to be reincarnated as an Iguana… yes, they have fun facts too) served as the weapons with which we did battle.

This combat reached its peak when I faced my former comrade, Ed from Imperial, whose defection to our one remaining opponent at the last minute left him in possession of Rachel from S-club, the card which had become our Helen of Troy. This modern day Paris had turned on his loyal ally in a cowardly bid to ensure he kept her (sadly underestimated) PHOAR! of 92 from 100 for himself. Unfortunately, this contemporary Iliad played out a little differently. If I had an Achilles, it was Ronan Keaton, whose piercing eyes and dulcet tones had secured him 19 Top Tens, 11 cover appearances and 14 SMASH HITS reader awards. Ed’s Hector was Mel C, an unlikely champion who served to bring him back from the brink (One. Goddam. Card.) TWICE. A brink he didn’t reach a third time. The Greek pursuit of Rachel was once an unstoppable advance, reinforced by the titans of Robbie Williams, Stephen Gately and Shaznay from Allsaints, whose seven haircuts across her career had earned numerous cards from Ed’s treacherous, probably sweaty, Rachael-grabbing hands. But Mel C stood against them all, and after 36 minutes of furious combat, I was left without Rachel, and without victory. A sad end, to a once noble fight.

Despite Imperial’s betrayal, we’ve made it through, and our haphazard New Years ushered in more than 2014; it gave us the first day which wasn’t defined by INCESSANT wake-up calls, dry muffins and 7am bus rides. I’d like to say that we seized the opportunity to absorb the rich culture of Chennai… unfortunately the only thing St Andrews absorbed was food, sunshine and the very finest Studio Magic the discovery channel had to offer. To dissolve some of your inevitable judgement, a couple of points:

1) Navigating these roads requires an energy 3 days of debate doesn’t provide you with.
2) We were tired.
3) The top rated attraction in this ENTIRE greater urban area on trip advisor is a Cinema.
4) We were really tired.
5) That cinema is in the mall we ate our lunch at, so I guess you could say we’d already seen the ‘Peoples Choice’ of Chennai’s rich culture.
6) We were SO TIRED.
7) I don’t need to justify a comfy bed and air conditioning.

Me and Parker did however, take a moto-rickshaw to the New Years party (something that might have overdrawn the emotional reserves of Ru, Ben and Kitty, who were continuing the long established tradition of refusing to enjoy debating, and by implication existence). That is not to say that their concerns were unjustified, it’s a totally terrifying mode of travel, but me and Parker enjoyed our roller-coaster of vehicular fear. We didn’t enjoy being dropped 15 minutes from the hotel, despite being ensured it was ‘around the corner’, but the walk through the revelry, honking and glowsticks which covered the streets was a charismatic way to kick off our new year.

The real heart of the worlds experience will always be the out-rounds, where statistical strengths in teams and their winrates can be overturned by the whims of luck when it comes to motions, positions and judges (see the teams in last years Final). This sentence is being written on the morning of the 2nd, so I can’t tell if it will serve to undermine St Andrews A’s successes or justify our failures, but it will remain unquestionably true in either case. Whatever happens, we will either see or participate in some fantastic debates, and that is without too much sugar, a win for all involved.

But the real challenge wont be our Octo, it will be the battle with the ASSHOLE hotel who have initiated their New Years campaign to squeeze every room for as many fabricated expenses as possible. Whether we will get the same treatment as Dan Bearman and his $1400 internet bill (while trying to double it, they accidentally multiplied by 20….), or the more widely applied ‘claim imagined buffet bills and loudly refuse to produce an itemized receipt, we’ll be undoubtedly busy tonight. This evening is laden with adventure, but quite sincerely: fuck you Taj Clubhouse, fuck you.

WRITERS NOTE: So the best that could have happened, happened. Me and Ru, along with Guu A, Cambridge B and Oxford A have all made it into one worlds semifinal. Whatever happens, we all want it, but we all have a competitive record against each other which means that tomorrow could mean any combination of Britain’s finest would be duking it out for the championship. That is an outcome which I think is a worthy recognition of quite how good the IONA circuit has been these last months, and exactly what it’s capable of. Bring on the final day of this absurd, but endlessly compelling tournament.

P.S Missing you more than anything K-dawg <3 (P.S. From Parker, lame)

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