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None of us have unfortunately had the time to sit down and write a longer post, but there are a few stories and quotes that we can’t let you miss out on…

Day 3:

  • After a nervewrecking day full of rounds with close adjudication, many of us decided to relax and stay for drinks at the break night social. Dan did this more enthusiastically than the rest of us, and was also one of the first to jump in the swimming pool that was part of the club area. Many drinks and equally many swimming races later, Dan decides to go home. He wanders half naked into the lobby of the wrong hotel (all participants are split between two hotels about 10 mins walk from each other) and despite having three people from the hotel staff tell him that he doesn’t live there, keeps insisting that he’s right. After being escorted out and aimlessly wandering around for a while and trying to get into the lecture theatre of the university at 2:30 am, he accidentally stumbles upon his actual hotel, eventually remembers his room number, and crashes into bed. Don’t drink and swim, kids.
  • Having becoming more comfortable with her audience, the convenor’s announcements slowly but surely became more and more sassy until they reached peak Beckie. Example: “you guys are great and all, but you behave like children! Stop leaving litter behind you! Would you do this to your mother?!?” The amount of litter diminished significantly after that.

Day 4

  • after a few very stressful days, many from the St Andrews contingent decided to buy a public transport ticket and head into town. The problem: some of us forgot to validate those tickets. Not to worry, we thought. Surely this won’t be so harmful. Oh, how wrong we were. We got off at the next station, got caught by a few shady-looking ticket controllers, and were asked to pay €103 each as a result of our transgression. After some discussion, they decided to give us a “tourist discount” and just have us pay €50 each, or else they’d call the police. At that point we became increasingly sure these guys were trying a scam. An awkward fake phone call later, the ‘controllers’ let us go with a sulky “don’t do that again”. Ever since that, we’ve been *very* careful to validate anything and everything.
Do not forget. Don't.

Do not forget. Don’t.

•Alex Don really cares about this debate thing. He went to bed at eight thirty pm last night after discovering they’d broken to semis. Note that this is before Ru Mac. He may be learning how to adult, and we’re so proud.

Quote of the day:

“I’ll say one thing for totalitarian despotism – nice buildings!”

Say what you will you will about the Habsburg empire, they sure knew how to appreciate white marble.

We’re now awaiting the Open final. With a bit of luck Ralex will be in it. Wish us luck!

Day 2

I agree with Gillis that this competition is amazingly organized, as someone who has been to multiple international competitions I keep telling the newer members of the UDS that “back in my day… “. Here is some examples: “back in my day if you wanted an air conditioned hotel room, you had to beg to hotel to give you the remote for it. And even then they wouldn’t give it to you”. “Back in my day,  the debating rooms were so hot that some judges didn’t want to bother taking notes”. None of that so far so we are all happy.

Everything is running on time, there is free red bull everywhere because they are a sponsor and what a great sponsor for a debating competition. It’s been extremely relaxing compared to other tournaments because there are not long waiting times in a cramped announcement hall where debaters wind each other up by going on and on an on about how their chair got rolled. (*cough* Dan *cough).

So to get the debating thing out of the day, here are the motions for today:

R4: “THW ban any treatment, service or ritual from claiming a physical healing effect until it is tested and proven more effective than a placebo by a national regulator”

R5: “TH believes that the EU should lift its arms embargo on China”- such an exciting debate.

R6: “TH would only allow the media and the campaigning organisations to depict or publish information about the deceased in a tragedy with the explicit permission of the family.”- I think this is a great debate and very deep as well.

St Andrews A: 3rd, 1st, 3rd (+2)

St Andrews B: 4th, 3rd, 1st (-2)

St Andrews C: 1st, 2nd, 4th ( 0)

This post coming to you by the judges so:

Charlotte has been in great rooms with great judges today. She winged the top room and a room on +1 and +2. She is really enjoying learning from very experienced and highly valued chairs. She said and I quote : “Being in that top room totally justified me coming to Euros”. We are very proud of her. I (Penny) have been chairing and have not seen as many good rooms (to put it mildly). Gillis has been with great chairs too and so has George. We are doing great and we think we are under-appreciated. Judges of the world unite!!

Alex and Ruairidh have been great as always, I don’t really have much to add to that. Except maybe that the degree to which Ruairidh is chill is freaking us out. Maybe he has figured out the “meaning to life, universe and everything” and he is holding back on us. “Wax on , Wax off”, etc . ( insert your own motivational/zen movie reference here). Alyssa and Dan managed to beat a team who are one of the favorites to win the competition and in an IR round too, apparently Dan had written an essay on the topic so he knew what he was talking about (as well as them being great debaters) . We were all kinda buzzing with excitement from that one. St Andrews B were unfortunate in that their chair got rolled in R5 and they got a third instead of a first but they managed to push through the anger and bounce back. A very polite and Canadian form of anger.

After debating:

Some of us decided that given our limited time in Vienna we wanted to skip the social and go see the town. So me, Charlotte, Alyssa , Sarah, Maddie and George all headed to the underground. Charlotte and Alyssa wanted us to go to McDonald’s but were met with eye rolls and utterances of “Are you kidding me?!”.  We put a ban on any sort of Euros related debate chat and went to the historic part of town and walked around, we had nice Viennese food and deserts and nice conversation.WE had an epic session of “Shag, marry, kill”, the results of which we will take to our graves. What happens on Vienna underground, stays in Vienna underground. And you can see a picture of George having an 1/8th of a beer in a tiny pint here. You can also see the lovely photo of us that I find cute.

-Penny

P.S: Sorry this entry isn’t as funny but anecdotes usually come from disasters and everything has been great so far. Also, we probably won’t have an update on day 3 till after the break because everyone will be super stressed because, in case you didn’t know, no one is getting their results.

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The only criticism your humble correspondent can think of for the org comm is that the tournament so far has been run so efficiently we haven’t had the time to blog, so we’re a bit after schedule with the entries. Either way, here’s our experiences from day two:

Motions:

Rd 1: THW pay all elected politicians the median wage in their country

Rd 2: THB that when multi-national corporations conduct any business in Western states, these nations should enforce their environmental standards at all stages of production

Rd 3: THB that Western states should not use private military contractors in combat

Ralex: +3 (1st, 1st, 1st)

Alex described this as “a pretty solid day”. That says it all.

Smaddie: Straights (1st, 3rd, 2nd)

In a manner that just shows how incredibly polite and genuinely kind Sarah and Maddie are, their idea for how to improve on their (very impressive) first day of international debating was to get a little more angry, instead of just being humble and nice. The rest of us hope they will never change.

Alan: +1 (3rd, 1st, 1st)

When I (Gillis) met Dan and Alyssa during lunch after round one, Dan told me how their chair had been rolled. Then Smaddie joined us at the table. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. Then Ben Adams swung by. Then Dan told him how their chair had been rolled. Then we bumped into GUU. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. Then we went to mingle with a few Edinburgh debaters. Then Dan told them how their chair had been rolled. It was a long lunch.

Now, we’re all happy that Alan recovered in a remarkable fashion (especially given that they’ve only done one debate together before Euros) and we’re hoping they don’t get rolled any more, or else we’ll never hear the end of it.

Judges:

Penny has been chairing all rounds so far, whereas Charlotte, Gillis and George have all been winging very good chairs. The debates for all four have been of varying quality, but no-one has done anything crazy and everyone seems generally pleased with their performance.

In other news…

– During the equity briefing, the officers told us to only make relevant and plausible generalisations about people (i.e. poor people will spend less money on caviar compared to rich people). Someone from the audience asked, and was fully serious, if saying that poor people were lazy “because there’s stats to prove it” would be an equity breach. The awkward silence was deafening. The equity officer suggested that would probably be an inadvisable claim.

– Just like in the UK, German Coca-Cola wants you to “Share a Coke with [insert name]”. Unlike in the UK, one of the people Coca-Cola suggests you share with is Unterhosen-Cowboy”. No, that’s not a name. It literally means Underwear Cowboy. All of us feel like keeping our Cokes to ourselves.

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– The social of the night was in the aforementioned theme park. Whereas most debaters ended up in the first best beer garden, the UDS decided to make the most of the opportunities and had an epic bumper car competition against each other. Who said debating was dull?

Moving on to the Quote of the Day…

“Guess what I got! A free condom!”

– George Alexander.

Let me explain. Alex, Dan and George decided to have a lad-off in the theme park. They all bought 5 shots to an air rifle and tried to be as close to the target as possible. George was remarkably accurate, making the guy (who also trains MMA) the UDS version of an action hero. As a ‘reward’ he got a price. It was a condom. With a cute ribbon on it. We still haven’t stopped laughing.

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Thanks for all encouraging messages and comments!

Lads in action

Lads in action

So it begins. After a grueling trial process, months of preparation and hours of flight delays, the entire St Andrews delegation has arrived in Vienna. This year’s contingent might very well be the largest in recent memory: Ruairidh and Alex (henceforth known as Ralex), Sarah and Maddie (Smaddie) and Alyssa and Dan (Alan – NOT Dalyssa) will make up the three competing teams, whereas Gillis and George will be judging. Moreover, both Charlotte and Penny have acquired judge spots as well, so we’re ten people in total who are connected to St Andrews. Additionally, the other Scottish debating societies have turned up in large numbers as well, so there are familiar faces left, right and center. 

Vienna has so far been as well-run as one could hope for – the hotels are literally next doors  to the debating venue, the runners and volunteers have been both numerous and helpful, and we were treated to introductory sparkling wine. While that’s of course nice for the debaters here, it leaves us relatively low on stories. Regardless, here are a few anecdotes from our first hours:

* Sarah seems to have perfected the art of long-distance flying: she was moved from economy to business class, accepted a couple of complimentary samosas, and slept most of the way here.

* Gillis had a less pleasant journey. Having barely made his connection from Berlin to Vienna, he was looking forward to having to relax on the connecting train. Instead, he was squeezed in between tens of Korean teens wearing impeccable dinner jackets, who turned out to be a university choir touring the world. It all feels very stereotypically Austrian.

* Alex filled out the registration form last out of all of us, and were widely expected to be forced to share a room with a stranger as a form of punishment. Instead, he got the large room completely by himself. Some people are just born lucky.

* Our hotels are situated near a theme park that we quickly renamed “Dodgy Disneyland”. Entry is free of charge and contains the lovely carousel called Tai-Fun, that has more lights on it that one would think would fit on such a small space, travels in dangerously high speed and for some reason is filled with drawings of… just about anything, as long as it is exotic. We call it the Rollercoaster of Equity Violations.

Taifun, in all its dubious glory

Taifun, in all its dubious glory

Lastly, we’re more than aware that nothing can quite replace the Raghav of the Day. However, we’ll be trying to replace it by doing quotes of the day in general. Quote of the Day for Day 1 *drumroll* is…

“Soo… Do you have paper?”

– Dan Roberts, having duly ignored the three (3) info emails that wrote in capital letters to bring paper unless you’re genuinely unintelligent, shows the kind of preparation that makes him the future poster boy of the UDS,

 Auf widersehen! 

Charlotte's room with a view

View from the hotel room, if you weren’t jealous at us already

This blog is usually reserved for detailing international competitions but this weekend the UDS went to London for the UCL IV. The trip was a shambles from the start and the resulting chaos deserved a post.

The journey begins with the clown car style drive to Edinburgh on Thursday night as we cram much luggage (including Beckie and Maddie’s things to go home for 2 weeks) and 5 people into Steph’s not very large car. Having dragged the mud flaps on the car along the Edinburgh bypass and down the dirt track to Dans house, we were met by an adorable puppy and the declaration that Gillis was going to stay up all night and start his essay due for 5pm the next day.

The following morning we pile into another car where there are not enough seats so Steph and Beckie get intimate for the first, but not last, time this weekend. THEN, WE MET JEREMY PAXMAN IN THE SECURITY QUEUE. It was a great moment, Beckie had much internal trauma over whether to ask for a selfie or whether to restrain herself. She chose restraint and now feels a deep sense of regret and probably will forever. It was also around this time that Steph realised that she had forgotten her purse, meaning she had no money at all. Fortunately the bank of Beckie came to the rescue for the entire weekend.

After a nap on the flight we arrived in Stansted where Dan proceeded to get lost in a one way system with large signs telling you where to go, this was a recurring theme of the weekend. We met Beckie’s dad who had come to collect her case for her and took Chewy (Beckie’s dog) through the airport, he had a great time. Arriving at Liverpool Street station we met up with Maddie who had taken a different flight and went in search of food. This resulted in burritos on the steps of the station while we played some excellent people watching games including “spot the UKIP voter”. Gillis went off to find a library to finish his essay (which he didn’t) and the rest of us began our selfie tour of London.

We decided to begin at the Tower of London, this was prohibitively expensive so we just took selfies outside with some crafty manoeuvring to avoid the cranes and building work. We also decided that we missed out Swedish compatriot and therefore created an artistic replica so he too could join in the selfie fun.

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Our next stop was a river boat in order to get to Westminster. This was perhaps one of the most well intentioned ideas we had over the weekend but in true UDS fashion things didn’t quite go to plan. After taking some London Eye selfies from the boat, unfortunately we somewhat missed Westminster and by somewhat I mean we were idiots and forgot to get off the boat. The boat turned, we didn’t move, and so began our trip back up the Thames. Instead of getting off at the next stop we decided we would go back to Tower Bridge Pier and turn around and just do the journey 3 times. However, we then came to the realisation that the boat would not turn at Tower Bridge but would instead keep on going down the Thames. In short we paid a lot of money to end up back where we started.

At this point, Dan goes off to meet his brother and get a sleeping bag and Steph, Maddie and Beckie go off to do a selfie tour of the Westminster area. Dan calls to tell us he is at Victoria tube station, at some place called “Balls Brothers”. Steph advises him to come and find us. Five minutes later Beckie announces that we are going to a nice place in Victoria called “Balls Brothers” to meet her mum. Steph, Maddie and Beckie then proceed to sit on a bench and laugh at the irony and speculate over how mad Dan will be when he arrives. He arrives around 35 minutes later, without a sleeping bag.

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Having taken a selfie at Buckingham Palace we walk back to Victoria where Dan shows us the way to “Balls Brothers”. Classic Beckie’s Classic Mum buys us lots and lots of drinks on her work tab. Our old friend Andrew Malcolm Neale shows up and we all get classically drunk, but none of us can match Classic Jane. It’s also around this time that Classic Jane introduces us to Billy, who we end up crashing with in his very lovely flat. After some time and some sambuca Billy pays for our taxi and our drunk food. A pleasant evening is spent eating food, drinking more nice wine and watching House of Cards.

Saturday morning arrives all too soon. We manage to be so late for reg that they almost cut our team and Dan and Ruairidh have to come up with some crafty stories about where we are. Then we do some debating. It was good. (for anyone that cares Steph and Gillis end up on -1, Dan and Maddie on -2. Steph is very rusty, Gillis does some sassy sums if you want more information we can tell you but really that’s not the important bit). Ultimately “St Andrews RB” break first and win. Basically, Ben Adams couldn’t get a team for Cambridge so came back to represent his one true society for a final time.

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During the final we are given traditional South African yakka. This is very strong, it’s undiluted and uses the secret, original recipe. Steph and Gillis drink most of a bottle of it between them. We also have many beers and, of course, Gallo Family White Grenache. We play a horrendous drinking game which gets us all sufficiently not sober. Before leaving for the social Steph has lost her cardigan and Gillis has forgotten his bag – the decent into anarchy has begun.

Buckle up buttercups – this is where things get real.

We all go to the social, we’re not sure where we were. There’s a rumour that it was the UCL Maths building, sambuca was cheap. For a while there is some highly civilised conversation between the St Andreans and Andrew (who has again come along to be the life of the party and escape his 9-5 accounting job). At some point (again, no idea when) the sensible members of the group decide to leave for various reasons (being pro-ammed by Ru Mac, getting a flight the next day, being old). This leaves the three amigos (Steph, Beckie and the Swede) to rough it out. In true debater style they sign post their aims for the night. These included – getting biblically drunk, so drunk that getting to crash was a challenge (this was later made possible by Gillis), shutting down a tube line, and making Steph reveal the secrets of the UDS (Guys, she knows everything) (Don’t worry I didn’t spill).

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It is safe to say, we did indeed get biblically drunk. Eventually we decide it is time to go, this is signalled by Gillis passing out on the table. On the walk to the tube station Gillis decides he needs to be a “youth”. In order to achieve this he goes out of his way, like quite far out of his way, to climb smalls walls, walk through flower beds and kick over several traffic cones. With our hooligan in tow, Steph and Beckie realise that the tube does actually stop at some point and spend a solid 5 minutes standing blankly in Euston Station unsure what to do. The hooligan wanders off and must be retrieved several times in those 5 minutes.

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We guide our hooligan to a cab. Half way through the journey Beckie notes a sadness in Gillis’ face. Steph suggests he is being the infamous grumpy cat. Beckie decides it is more passive. Turns out it is actually Gillis’ “I’m about to throw up on you” face. Beckie and Steph sit in dead silence for a short while and spend the rest of the journey trying to pretend that all is well.

Much to Beckie’s disappointment the only drunk food option is some sketchy chicken wings, this was not satisfactory. Gillis is looking increasingly unwell and we decide it is time to get him home to Billy’s. Essentially what follows is Beckie and Steph drifting off to sleep when they hear the quiet sound of consequences from the bathroom. After a long time and a shower, Gillis returns in such a state that he can’t work out the sleeping bag and curls up on the chaise lounge under Steph’s coat.

The next morning is relatively fine, Gillis is very embarrassed, and we all leave. Gillis goes off to meet his Swedish friends and Steph and Beckie meet Andrew and go to the St Patricks Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square and go and get cake. Some hours later, back in Essex, Steph receives a text from Billy. Billy is angry. Billy has found Gillis’ vomit behind the sink. Dan decides to travel for about 2 hours after Royal Holloway (where he and Ru broke top, Dan was 6th best speaker and Ru topped the speaker tab) to come to Essex for one night. This is mostly to brag about how clever he is. Upon arrival Dan meets Classic Beckie’s classic Dad who had just polished off the second bottle of wine.

All in all, it was a successful weekend of debating and a weekend of much hilarity and ridiculousness and the UDS should go on tour much more often!

Sydney A have been crowned World Champions, all the awards have been handed out, all the beers have been drunk (we mean that quite literally – the bar ran out of beer yesterday) and all the farewells have been said. WUDC 2015 is officially over. From here on out, the St Andrews contingent will do different things: Ru is on his way back to Scotland, Penny is travelling to Turkey tonight, Raghav is off to stay with a friend in Kuala Lumpur and Gillis will be flying to the island of Langkawi for some recuperation, as some would put it (Google the place at your leisure). Before that, here is our last blog post:

All St Andrews debaters treated out rounds the same way that students treat the beginning of summer break; we celebrated the end of exams in rounds with a huge party, and then proceeded to do as little as possible, which meant that we didn’t blog. Ru, Penny and Gillis went to watch the majority of out rounds, while Raghav rarely was seen leaving the hotel room at all, opting instead to call room service so often they were almost at a first-name basis by the end of the week. Naturally, the St Andreans became huge Glasgow Groupies in support of Owen and Chris, who unfortunately got knocked out in the octo finals. Durham A got eliminated in the quarters, making them the most successful SSDC team. Another noteworthy thing is that Belgrade A made the semifinals as the first ESL team ever, which made them somewhat of a crowd favourite in the out rounds. In case anyone is interested in studying the tab or watching any particular rounds, they are readily available online and most easily accessed through the ‘Malaysia Worlds’ Facebook page.

Here are some other things that happened during the last few days:

  • Ru and Gillis came back to the hotel roughly an hour before the yakka night was scheduled to begin, and decided to take a quick nap. Almost three hours later they woke up realising that no alarms had gone off and that they had missed the obligatory security announcement (!) that everyone needed to listen to in order to be allowed to drink.
  • Probably because of the security announcements, it seems like no one got hospitalised from the yakka. The organisers see this as a great success.
  • One of the taxi drivers seemed to not have a car horn, which became problematic when two pedestrians were in the way. The driver tried to solve this by shouting “toot toot” from inside the car, which wasn’t very effective. Luckily, the pedestrians moved in the very last second.
  • Gillis decided to take advantage of the cheaper prices in Malaysia, and bought himself a pair of Beats by Dre headphones for roughly £6 when in Chinatown (online retail price £100). Fake? What do you mean they’re fake?
  • Gillis plans to go and buy Ray-bans for £15 tomorrow.
  • Gillis claims that he is smart enough to know that these things are fake.
  • It turns out Raghav, a 4th-year who became an academic father last year, decided to re-adopt this year. His justification is that his parents did this, and he wanted to “take revenge”. The rest of us are unclear about why becoming an absent father for other people helps this in any way.

*NOTE TO RAGHAV’S FUTURE EMPLOYERS*

Raghav is, to our knowledge, not an actual father. If he was, he shows just the right characteristics to be both a great father and a great employee/future boss. Give this man a job!

  • The topic for the public speaking final was “Everything good comes in moderation”. This final was hosted by an anti-terrorism organisation This combination meant that the equity team felt the need to have a separate meeting with the speakers, to make sure their speeches didn’t go completely haywire.
  • Duncan Miyagi reached the Masters final, where he was in OG proposing the motion “This house prefers a world without sexual desires”. Unfortunately, his prop case which went along the lines of “If we didn’t have sexual desires, more people would be comfortable sitting at home eating cake without societal pressures telling them to do otherwise” held no weight against an Opp extension that began his speech with “Let them eat cake – and f**k”. You’ll always be a winner in our minds, Duncan <3. Importantly, Masters rounds are more about entertainment than competition and Duncan definitely got the most laughs.

It is slightly bittersweet, but all good things must come to an end. Here is the last Raghav of the Day from Malaysia:

“The bed is no longer parabolic. It has more of a linear tilt.”

Raghav, explaining why his bed is uncomfortable even after he called room service who came to fix it.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us before and during Worlds. A special thank you to Alex and Ru Macintosh for working with us tirelessly to get us as ready as we could be. Moreover, I (Gillis) would like to especially thank Penny for all her patience and guidance in helping me become a much better debater than I was when I went to trials. I’d also like to thank Ru and Raghav for what has genuinely been a very enjoyable week.

Until next time,

Ru, Raghav, Gillis and Penny

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Good morning, world! The St Andreans in Malaysia have awarded themselves a long sleep-in before we’re going to try to explore Kuala Lumpur beyond the nearest convenience store.

Yesterday marked the end of preliminary rounds, and the break was announced last night. Unfortunately, both of our teams missed the break, but we’re incredibly happy that SSDC will be represented in the out rounds by Durham A (who broke tied 9th) and Glasgow A (broke 23rd). Congratulations are also due to our own Mr Miyagi of debating, Duncan Crowe, who has broken as a judge.

Another noteworthy thing from the Open Break is that Pennsylvania A and Princeton B came in exactly tied for 48th on team points, speaker points, and the number 1sts, 2nds, 3rds and 4ths without having faced each other. This tie was resolved, as dictated by the Worlds Constitution, through a coin toss where Pennsylvania emerged victorious. Understandably, many think that this is a particularly unfair policy and the Worlds Council that is currently under way at this time of writing will be likely to at least discuss it.

Motions (all of them with closed adj):

Round 7: THW Ban the Research and Production of Moral Enhancement Drugs

Round 8: THBT the United States and the European Union should seek to promote peace by heavily subsidising Israeli businesses who invest in the Palestinian territories

Round 9: This House as a medical professional employed by the United States military or security service would, and would, encourage others to refuse treatment to individuals undergoing ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’

St Andrews A:

The mission for Penny and Gillis was clear: win at least two rooms, or you’re out of break contention. Go hard or go home. They went into Round 7, performed reasonably well, thought that they had won… and realised in Round 8 that they had instead taken a 3rd (Ru Macintosh: we initially really tried not to back tab, it’s just really hard to resist) and were officially six feet under. A deflating experience to say the least, and a call they are likely to rant about for months. Having talked to all judges, there seems to be a pattern that all calls for the A team on day 3 were split decisions and seemed to go against them. This is not so much an excuse for an end result that is far from flattering, than it is a testament to how great of a tournament Worlds can be, where rounds are competitive regardless of what score a team is on. Although an extra team point or two would have been nice, the A team has had three days of debating very good motions in consistently challenging rooms, which is all you can ask for. The motions have all been very balanced and engaging, so thanks to the CA team (in the unlikely event that you’ll ever read this, we wanted to let you know)! Penny and Gillis would also like to congratulate St Andrews “B”, who most likely are beating us on the tab. We have seen you work hard for months, and you deserve all (if any) happiness you get from beating a team that is if not symbolically, then at least alphabetically ranked ahead of you.

St Andrews B:

In a few hours that defied reason, probability, and all of Raghav’s charts and graphs, St Andrews B looked like they were on the verge of breaking, pulling off a truly remarkable come-back from -3 and potentially even saving Ruairidh’s and Raghav’s marriage. As the day progressed, their opponents became tougher, their chair judges more recognizable, and the stakes higher. They went into a round 9 with a former World Champion as a chair judge and a panel of two wings (instead of just one wing like other rooms had), competing against institutional giants like Yale and Stockholm (disclaimer: the author of this blog post has absolutely no bias towards any Scandinavian countries and their intellectual capacities) – tell-tale signs that the room probably was significant. Furthermore, Raghav and Ruairidh described the speeches they gave as their best ever, so spirits were obviously high. As it turns out, all hope was completely unfounded – the World Champion told Ruairidh and Raghav at the break social that they had taken the 4th despite top-class analysis. The two took the news differently: Raghav was seen taking long philosophical strolls contemplating the maths behind this development, while Ruairidh proceeded to get completely and utterly smashed. There is no comment yet regarding how this very weird day will affect their domestic partnership.

A few points of sincerity before moving on to various stories:

Firstly, while it’s obviously hard not to obsess over closed rounds, it can be very disillusioning to jump to conclusions about one’s performance in rounds if that prediction is wrong. Opinions are divided in the St Andrews camp about the usefulness of back tabbing, but I think it’s important to remember that the reason why we debate in the first place is because we like debating – not merely winning debates. That’s good to remember in closed rounds, too. Some ( *cough Penny cough*) disagree and I quote ‘debating is for winning’ . They can write their own blog post.

Secondly, all runners got a lengthy standing ovation yesterday that was thoroughly deserved. All our interactions with them have made us appreciate their genuine commitment in making our experience as enjoyable as possible, even when individual debaters have been rude or unappreciative. We need to remember that while we aren’t affected by the flooding, the runners and hotel staff living in Malaysia very much are. The fact that they’ve been polite, helpful and unselfish in spite of all this deserves huge respect.

In other news…

  • Glasgow A (Owen Mooney/Chris Edgar) hoped for an easy draw for round 9 so they could breeze into the out rounds. They ended up with Oxford A, Oxford B and Cambridge C in round 9. Owen spent five solid minutes hysterically laughing in a way that had us all worried about his mental sanity. They had a very good performance in that round though so all is fine. Owen is well.
  • The venue for the break party was genuinely impressive. A large open air courtyard, an even larger tent with air conditioning, drunk food served nearby, and a dance floor equipped with a smoke machine and strobe light. We celebrated the new year in style.
  • The staff at the social appeared as if they had never served a drink in their entire life, let alone drunk one. Gillis tried to order a double vodka coke, but ended up with one glass of vodka and coke mixed together, as well as two additional glasses of pure coke. Matteo from Glasgow B decided to take matters into his own hands – he paid, got behind the bar desk, and mixed the drink himself. We are not sure how much of this due to the language barrier and how much of it is due to Malaysia being a Muslim country.
  • All tournament announcements were made yesterday. Gillis and Ruairidh want to propose a Lads in China trip before Beijing Open, after a fantastically random promotional video (they spent a solid two minutes showing pictures of Chinese food that didn’t really look different to what fish and chips looks like).
  • At the bus to the social, Ruairidh ended up surrounded by a rowdy gang of predrinking Australians. After some initial niceties about the Empire, Ruairidh uttered the words “I reckon the Scots can outdrink you, mate” to an Aussie. Given the state both were in at the end of the night, the result seemed to be a tie. One of the Aussies was someone who winged team A’s round 8 and we tried getting some feedback off him about their ridiculous call but Penny gave up after the 5th time the judge asked ‘wait, which team are you again ?’ in his explanation of the call.

Last but not least, the Raghav of the Day: Ruairidh of the Tournament Edition!

Ruairidh: “Where’s he gone this time?”

(On average, Raghav goes completely missing 40 times a day. He has an ability to do so particularly minutes before important announcements, draws for a round, or when buses are about to depart, and an even more uncanny ability to reappear mere seconds before said events.)

We hope you are all well. Now to explore KL !

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