Here I sit in the library at SMA2 Pangkalan Bun on my first day here with a very nervous trio of year 11 students who are nervously preparing for a debating competition which will be held in Palangkaraya this week. You can imagine how nerve wracking debating is, well for them it will be magnified a hundred times, because the debating competition is held in English!
The topic they are practicing with today is “That the government regrets cutting the petrol subsidy”. We brainstormed for reasons for the affirmative and other than the obvious financial reasons, we couldn’t come up with any others. They are now trying to translate their ideas into English! Their teacher Ibu Wahyu, has given them 30 minutes to do this and then they have to present their argument to us with us pretending to be the opposing team!
However the student who is the 3rd and final speaker, is really worried about her task which includes rebutting the argument of the 3rd speaker for the negative team. This is their first time participating in a debating competition and she is worried she won’t understand the opposing teams main point and thus won’t be able to rebut it. I don’t blame her! Apparently they will get their topic and then will have 30 mins to work as a team on their argument. For this they can use their dictionaries but as soon as they begin the debate, dictionaries are not allowed!
They head off tomorrow and have just been told by the principal to meet here at school at 8am and they will be hiring a car. The opening ceremony is at 7pm tomorrow night after a 8 hour drive! Ibu Wahyu rang me at home and invited me to go with them however she has just been informed by the principal that I am not allowed to go too, I have to stay here and help with the programs being run here. I am both disappointed and relieved, but more disappointed as it would have been another amazing experience!