A word from the man himself

Malaysian Debate Open 2014 [MOTIONS]

As provided by the organisers:

R1: Prison
- THW offer reduced sentences to prisoners who help convict prison inmates and/or prison officials in abuse cases
- THW make house arrest the default punishment for crimes
- Upon release, THBT prisoners have a right to compel the state to employ them in government offices

R2: Women
- THBT votes of the members of a household should be counted only if women in that household vote
- THW ban all commercials that promote stereotypical norms of beauty and femininity
- THW impose a “gender imbalance” tax on corporations

R3: Education
- THBT developing nations should divert tertiary education funding to improving primary and secondary education
- THBT a student’s performance should be evaluated relative to his/her innate capacity
- THW cut subsidy of schools that have high rates of bullying incidents

R4: Economics
- THBT countries with high unemployment rates should ban offshoring
- THBT free trade agreements should include free labor movement
- THW put a moratorium on mergers and acquisitions in the social media industry

R5 – Russia
- THBT the international community should declare the Sochi Olympics void
- THBT Ukraine should accept the result of a Crimean referendum to join Russia
- THBT the West should fund LGBT reformation initiatives in Russia

R6: Post-Conflict Societies
- In post-conflict societies, THBT the government should mandate diversity in community living (i.e. housing, schools, workplace, etc.)
- In post-conflict societies, THBT the military and police powers should be commanded by an international body and not the country’s government
- In post-conflict societies, THBT historical narratives should be owned by the government

OF: Health Care
- THBT the state, not parents, should make all medical decisions for children until they reach the age of consent
- THW deprioritize the elderly in allocating scarce medical resources
- Where a scientifically proven treatment has been approved for a condition, THW ban any alternative medication that aims to treat the same

QF & ESL SF: Development
- THW make development aid contingent on recipient countries having aggressive socially redistributive policies
- THBT government contracts involving natural resources should be subjected to a referendum
- THBT governments should prioritize investing in populated areas where there’s the least private and/or foreign capital investment

SF & ESL GF: Rights
- THW limit the amount of land people can own
- THW ban corrective treatment for the mentally ill
- THW abolish the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination

GF: State
- THBT the state has no right to demand/request citizens to surrender their lives
- THBT the state should never pardon the crimes of individuals
- THBT there is no state duty to protect individuals from themselves

Written by Paul Lau

24 March, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Motions

Oxford IV 2013 [RESULTS]

The Oxford IV 2013 is over, and after a weekend of craziness and insanity, I can go back to worrying about other things.
I didn’t have the time to record keep (which I would otherwise have done) and even if I had couldn’t justifiable have put it on here.
Nevertheless, the official stuff has gone up and if you want the full results (champions, best speakers and full tab) and motions of The Oxford IV 2013, I would point you to to get those details.

A massive thanks to Ruth, Chessy and everybody who helped make the tournament happen!

Written by Paul Lau

10 November, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Debating, Motions

Why are there no blockbusters?

Usually I go gung ho when it comes to flights and movies. Since I started flying more regularly, I’ve managed to watch roughly 4-5 films a flight which is decent given an average of 2 hours per movie and a 12 hour flight. One of the things about Emirates that I love is that the entertainment system is live once you board. There’s no need to wait until the flight has taken off or worry about it shutting off during lay-overs. For some reason though, perhaps due to my general tiredness after a taxing school year, the selection of movies available weren’t that appealing.

Admittedly, I’d already watched Skyfall the night before, but there seemed to be a general lack of big movies. Jack the Giant Slayer was always a bit bland in my view, nothing too good can result from a heavily digital film that originates from a child’s tale. I suspect that there were quite a few movies designed to be released for the summer period which unsurprisingly weren’t yet available on flights yet. A lot of this year’s Oscar films were available though, although I never did get time to watch Argo. To be fair, the Hobbit was available, but seeing as I hadn’t seen the earlier ones, it seemed a bit silly to watch the mammoth of a movie.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Paul Lau

20 June, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Personal

Tagged with , , , , ,

One year gone…

And just like that, the first year of university is over. It’s been a strange transition. One might be forgiven for thinking that the IB was a tough new world, but academically speaking, the IB was not so different from IGCSEs. Certainly not compared to a curriculum that has maybe 8-9 hours of lectures a week and requires you to actually demonstrate your knowledge/learning only thrice a fortnight. It brings with it not only an incredible amount of freedom, but the phrase ‘self-directed learning’ takes a whole new twist when you literally have to learn almost everything by yourself. No-more classes, teachers and detailed mark-schemes for you to memorise. Just lots of books and the freedom to think. If nothing else, the lack of posts this academic year (bar the now almost obligatory WSDC and WIDPSC coverage) is evidence of the taxing nature of Oxford, and perhaps my involvement in too many things for my own good.

CIMG4300It’s been quite a fun year, despite all the work. There are thankfully no exams now until 2015, a fact that is both comforting and intensely worrying if one were to consider the number of hours that will need to be spent in exams come that time. Debating and MUN are both more varied and fun at university level, albeit a lot scarier. And then there are a host of other things available at university that have tickled my fancy and stolen my time and energy.

Now that summer has dawned, I can finally catch-up on sleep (managed nearly half a day of sleeping night before last) and hopefully gear myself up for the next year or two.

Written by Paul Lau

18 June, 2013 at 10:19 am


Motions for the 2013 Asian Schools Debating Championships hosted by Claret School of Quezon City in the Philippines from 15 May to 21 May. The Chief Adjudicators were Dino de Leon, Syed Saddiq, LP, Shamalie Madhu Jayatunge, and Ratib Ali.

Round 1: Politics and governance
THW make the salary of politicians equal to the per capita income of the country
THBT believes that corporations should not be allowed to contribute to campaigns
THW prefer a technocratic autocracy over a populist democracy

Round 2: Religion
THW compel religious adoption agencies to accept capable LGBT parents
THBT Free Speech should include the right to offend religions
THW remove all legal and economic privileges granted to religious organizations

Round 3: Finance and Economics
THW break up the big banks
THBT home countries should not penalize is citizens/corporations for bribery in foreign states
THBT multinational corporations have a duty to maintain a strong presence (majority of their industry) in their home countries
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Paul Lau

27 May, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Motions

Tagged with , , ,

Hong Kong’s Tiger Tutors

Lots of people have probably heard me joking about the asian stereotype of studying all the time. If you’ve got some free time, then I’d encourage you to watch this documentary.

Admittedly it is somewhat exaggerated and of course this sort of experience isn’t universal (so don’t go around talking to everyone from HK as if they did go through all those), but certainly it’s representative of the experience of lots of people. It also gives you an idea why I dislike the tutorial system in general. It’s not that it doesn’t help people, but rather that it should be a necessary component of the education system.

All that said, having not been through this system myself, my own experiences are only peripheral.

Written by Paul Lau

17 May, 2013 at 8:29 am

Posted in Miscellaneous, Opinion Pieces

Tagged with , ,

Oxford Women’s Open 2013 [MOTIONS]

The Baillie Gifford Oxford Women’s Open 2013 was CAed by Anat Shapira, Leela Koenig and Tasha Rachman.

R1: THW ban religious street preachers in the public sphere
R2: THBT The US Should Give South Korea Independent Control Over A Nuclear Arsenal
R3: TH, as a professional female athlete, would not pose in a sexualised manner for magazines and commercials
R4: In areas where hostage taking is a tactic, THBT soldiers, whose unit mate is about to be captured, should be required to kill their unit mate
R5: THW subsidise art that glorifies the working class
SF: In newly democratised nations, THW limit voting rights to those who have completed secondary education.
GF: TH as a feminist, would not join the army

Written by Paul Lau

12 May, 2013 at 6:52 am

Posted in Motions

Tagged with ,


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