EU Centre in Singapore and Debate Association (Singapore)
22 November 2014 (Saturday)
Town Plaza, University Town, National University of Singapore
The much-anticipated EU Centre Inter-Polytechnic Debate Competition held with the support of the Debate Association (Singapore) began bright and early at the NUS UTown on Saturday (22 Nov 2014) as participants from the various polytechnics fought it out over the course of two rounds before the grand finale.
The first round saw teams debating the prepared motion: “This House believes that the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement will be more beneficial than harmful to Singapore’s economic interests”. Many of the proposition teams cited the freer movement of goods and services as especially beneficial to Singapore’s position as the gateway to South-East Asia while opposition teams focused on the potential impacts of rising global competition on local Small-Medium Enterprises.
Teams had only 30 minutes to prepare for the second round. The motion was: “This House believes that given a choice between the two, the EU should focus more on engagement with Asia, rather than with the US.” This round saw arguments hone in on the rising economic importance of Asia versus the stabilising power of the US. The Opposition teams also pointed out the vast diversities of Asia and instability in some parts of Asia as challenges for Europe’s engagement with Asia.
Temasek Polytechnic Team A and Nanyang Polytechnic Team A eventually made it to the final where a face-off over a prepared motion ensued: “This House believes that the EU will overtake the US as the foremost Western superpower in the world.” The fiercely contested final debate witnessed flares of emotions, passionate gesturing and frequent attempts at raising Points of Information. Teams argued about the credibility of American leadership, the merits of consensus-driven decision-making in the EU and the track records of the US and EU in managing global affairs and challenges. Much was also debated about the importance of soft power versus hard power.
Nanyang Polytechnic Team A finally emerged as the champion after a lengthy judgement where the judges’ vote was split 6-1. Temasek Polytechnic’s Darren Woo and Sarish Mohar were recognised as the first and second top speakers of the competition respectively.