Love the stage, win the debate

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Love the stage, win the debate

Theam Sothidaneath
Having debated in English for more than two years, Theam Sothidaneath, 19, is now an adjudicator in the IFL Debate Club. The fourth-year Bachelor of Education student at IFL has performed outstandingly in national and international debate tournaments, taking first place in the JCI National Debate, second place in a regional debate in Hong Kong in 2012, second place in an international debate tournament in Kyrgyzstan in 2013, and shining at the Educational Forum and Young Speakers Contest in Indonesia this year. Daneath tells LIFT of her experiences and strategies as a female debater.

How did you become interested in debate?
I wanted to improve my confidence and my public speaking skills, so I joined the debate club in my second year at university.

What do you like the most about debating?
Being on stage! When I am on stage, whether I win or lose is not important.

What are the main skills you need to be a good debater?
The first skill you should have is critical thinking. We cannot go on stage and just say whatever we want to say – we need to have concrete evidence and concrete examples.

Secondly, team collaboration is crucial because debate is not just about public speaking. You cannot go there and talk alone; you have to work with your team members. If your team has good collaboration, you will win the debate!

Thirdly, you have to build your confidence! If you lose your confidence, no matter how well you have prepared, you won’t be able to say it well.

How can you make sure all team members work well together?
Teamwork is not easy because people always have different ideas, so sometimes it leads to conflict, so we have to negotiate in order to reach one idea everyone in the group can accept.

What else is needed to complement these three main skills?
We have to find out something to persuade our audiences and judges. Additionally, it’s not only about presenting your stance, but also about rebutting your opponents.

How popular is debating among Cambodians?
Debate is popular depending on the areas and university. For example, it’s famous in IFL, University of Puthisastra, Norton University, so on and so forth. But in rural areas, people don’t even know what debating is. One of the main things is that most people are shy, and they don’t like talking much, but debate is about showing ideas.

However, I think that within a few years we will make debate culture more popular in Cambodia.

What kind of personality does it take to be a debater?
Most importantly interest and curiosity. You must be a person who wants to know what debate is. You also need a sense of opportunity. When the opportunity comes, just try it.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,