Although I knew only one person at the dinner initially, I soon got to know the people on my table quite well, and while there were several pockets of LSE alumni as well as Bristol alumni, people were generally mixing well.
Having completed our 6-course dinner, it was time to start the debate proper. We were very fortunate to have Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to moderate the debate. The debate was generally a light hearted affair, and it was quite interactive where the audience members would react and cheer their unimate on, or boo the other side, but all in good fun. Each round would be decided by way of vote of hands from the floor.
The debate kicked off with the first topic: “This house believes that the British university environment and standards can be recreated in Malaysia at local institutions of higher learning.” LSE was proposing this motion, while Bristol was opposing, and Bristol won this round.
The second topic was “This house believes that both universities attract diverse students, but while Bristol produces all-rounders, LSE churns out financial stereotypes”, with Bristol proposing. For this round, LSE edged out the Bristol side and therefore it all came down to the final topic.
“This house believes that football as a sport does more for youth development than motorsports.” This is the one which I had to tackle and I went first in advancing the proposition. Nerves definitely kicked in, and while my prepared opening went smoothly, I definitely didn’t do as well during my rebuttal section, but I managed to salvage it during the conclusion I guess. I think it is fair to say, and this was commented by a neutral member of the audience (Exeter alumni), that both speakers had rather porous arguments which he could poke holes through.
The moderator graciously declared the round a tie, although I think the show of hands was in favour of LSE. Therefore, the night ended in a tie. The overall score between Bristol and LSE would officially read 1/2 – 2 1/2.
But again, the whole evening was in good fun and spirit, and I am glad that I got involved in the event. I made quite a number of new friends, both Bristolians and LSE-ians, especially over drinks after the event. The Bristolians would be reminiscing about our Bristol days, asking which hall did we stay in our first year (seems like the nickname Shiat Bunker has been around for many years even before I was there), remembering the Downs, Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill (not the most politically-correct street names I must admit). Looking forward to the next alumni event.