“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it,” said 18th century French essayist Joseph Joubert, a quote which Ms Irene Boey, Chair of Women’s Register (WR), mentioned in her opening address at the WR-NUS-SP Jain Debating Championships 2019. The Championships is the 5th of the Debate Series which started in 2011 with the aim to raise awareness for gender equality and engage our forthcoming generations of thought leaders to discuss their concerns and express their future aspirations, with focus on women’s issues and was initially held in conjunction with the International Women’s Day. Since 2018, Women’s Register undertook the series and have been working with the NUS Debate Club to continue the yearly tournaments.
This year, the tournament, which was open to all secondary, pre-tertiary and university students was held on the 9 and 10 of November. There were a total of 40 teams (including 2 international school teams) who participated and 12 adjudicators, both local and from Malaysia came to judge. During the preliminary rounds, teams debated on motion topics such as the “trend of working mothers relying on foreign domestic workers to raise their children” and “introducing a quota for females in high positions in the Singaporean military (e.g. Officers, Generals, Colonels etc.)”.
The Grand Finals was held on 10 November 2019, where four teams, U Town Black and Yellow (NUS), Deon is Bad Dino (NUS & NJC), Er-Ge-Ren (SMU) and Shady Queens (NUS & NTU) battled out on the “use of erotic capital by women doing more harm than good”. The Grand finals was also graced by Mr Richard Tan, Senior Director, Corporate Support Women’s Development & International Relations Division, Ministry of Social and Family Development, and his colleagues. It was a tough fight and the teams challenged with tenacity and brought up many interesting views to the audience.
Before presenting awards to the winners, Mr Tan, addressed the students and told them how important it is to have the younger generation be a part of this debate, praising them for their impressive and convincing arguments. He told them the importance of being aware of women’s issues in Singapore and how the voices of our young Singaporeans are needed to bring awareness to the people.
Mr Tan presented awards to winners, which included the top-10 speakers, best speaker for the grand finals, Vihasini Gopakumar, and grand champion teams. In the end, it was the Closing Opposition team, Shady Queens, who brought home the championship title.
Congratulations to the winners and kudos to all participants! By way of this debate tournament, the Women’s Register wishes to provide a platform for youth to start conversations on women’s issues, promoting gender equality locally, regionally and internationally. We strongly believe that the youth are the future – we hope that this brings us a step closer to creating change for a better society.