WSDC 2015: Prepared Motions

R1: THW ban the use of zero-hour contracts
R2: THW require defendants in criminal trials to be represented exclusively by public defenders
R3: TH supports academic tracking in primary and secondary education
R5: THBT cities with significant immigrant populations should actively break up ethnic enclaves
GF: THBT governments should provide a guaranteed Universal Basic Income

Motion Committee: Charlie Morris (England – Chairman), Branislav Fečko-Čegiň (Slovakia – Vice-Chairman), Hayah Eichler (Israel), Daniel de Kadt (South Africa), Cindi Timmons (United States), Vernie Oliveiro (Singapore), Samuel Myat San (Singapore), Joshua Park (Korea) and Claire Ryan (New Zealand).

WIDPSC 2015 – Full Tab [RESULTS]

Some of the many vital and often underappreciated volunteers

We now have the top 50 overall rankings and top 20 for each category, released by WIDPSC 2015 online at their facebook page. These confirm that the Break-night/AIDPSC order were largely correct, though I had anticipated fewer tied rankings.
As always any errors are mine and you might want to check the original document to be 100% sure of results.

The Grand Finalists and results of the Grand Final can be found in the earlier results post. I have tried to highlight the Champion in faux gold and Grand Finalists in light red.

Overall Top 50


Rank Name Country Score
1 Samantha Starkey Canada 2174
2 Elizabeth Roberts Canada 2149
3 Martine Duffy Canada 2142
4 Natasha Noore Australia 2139
5 Sarah Hick Canada 2136
6 Philip Balson United States 2134
7 Desmond Fairall South Africa 2127.5
8 Ji Min Kang Hong Kong 2109
9 Peter Koczanski Canada 2106
9 Micaella Rogers South Africa 2106

WIDPSC 2015 – Grand Final [RESULTS]

Thanks to Joy Pamnani of Maryknoll Convent School for delivering these in real-time via the SCMP Young Post twitter account. Updated with more details thanks to Brian Wong (Island School) via the WIDPSC 2015 Facebook Page. The overall rankings seem to suggest that the AIDPSC/Break-night order were largely correct or at least closer to the actual results.

To my knowledge the Grand Final was recorded and will be uploaded at some point. If it is a high-quality recording then it will take a little longer to process and edit, though I suspect it will be worth the wait.

Overall Rankings

  1. Samantha Starkey (Canada)
  2. Elizabeth Roberts (Canada)
  3. Martine Duffy (Canada)
  4. Natasha Noore (Australia)
  5. Sarah Hick (Canada)
  6. Philip Balson (United States)
  7. Desmond Fairall (South Africa)
  8. Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong)
  9. Peter Koczanski (Canada)
  10. Micaella Rogers (South Africa)

Source: @youngposthk

Persuasive Speaking

  • Desmond Fairall (South Africa) [Champion]
  • Natasha Noore (Australia) [Runner-up]

After-dinner Speaking

  • Shimali De Silva (Hong Kong) [Champion]
  • Brendan Allan (South Africa) [Runner-up]

Interpretive Reading

  • Imaan Kherani (Canada) [Champion]
  • Emily Kelsall (Canada) [Runner-up]


  • Olivia Railton (Canada) [Champion]
  • Philip Balson (United States) [Runner-up]
  • Samantha Starkey (Canada) [2nd Runner-up]
  • Rebecca Mqamelo (South Africa) [3rd Runner-up]

Impromptu Speaking

  • Anant Butala (Australia) [Champion]
  • Philip Balson (United States) [Runner-up]

WIDPSC 2015 – Grand Finalists

This time direct from the mouth of the lion (eg. the official WIDPSC 2015 facebook page) which can be located here. Full list after the break.

Philip Balson (United States) becomes the only person this year to make multiple Grand Finals, being scheduled to appear in both Impromptu Speaking and Debating. Philip Balson previously came in 14th in persuasive speaking and 12th in debating at WIDPSC 2013 in Durban, and was 3rd overall at WIDPSC 2014 in Lithuania.
Canada’s dominance in the Finals is less apparent in Grand Final positions, with 4 of the 12 spots. South Africa follows closely behind with 3 of the Grand Final positions, Australia and the US with two a piece and hosts Hong Kong with the final Grand Final spot.

In other interesting but probably insignificant observation, there are another 3 of this year’s finalists who, like Philip, are at their third WIDPSC (since WIDPSC 2013). These are Natalie Ganzhorn (Canada), Jacob South-Klein (England) and Brendan Allan (South Africa). Samantha Starkey (Canada) is at her fourth having began at WIDPSC 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.

Assuming that generally speaking those in the Grand Final were higher ranked following the prelims unfortunately does not shine much light on the race for overall best speaker. Although statistically this might suggest the YP order is more accurate, the reality is that the AIDPSC order is hardly any different (weighted 60 and 65 respectively).

The Grand Finals will be at DGS later today (Saturday) with teams departing on Sunday.

Team Australia (From AIDPSC on facebook)


WIDPSC 2015 – Finalists

Sadly haven’t been able to take part in any capacity despite WIDPSC 2015 being held in Hong Kong, but in a grateful break from Finals revisions, we have the 2015 Finalists courtesy of the SCMP Young Post, all neatly listed on their website here.

The full list of finalists are towards the end of this post. I don’t have the time to attempt a full analysis but here’s some initial observations based on the list of finalists. As always, any errors are my responsibility and no-one else’s. A useful metric to keep in mind is that there are 57 final spots for grabs this year.

Number of Finals

Martine Duffy (Canada) is the only participant to make all four finals. Close behind are Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Elizabeth Roberts (Canada), Natasha Noore (Australia), Philip Balson (United States), Samantha Starkey (Canada) and Sarah Hick (Canada) at 3 finals a piece. That makes 6 people on 3 finals each.

There are only 4 people in 2 finals each, these being Emma Potvin (Canada), Imaan Kherani (Canada), Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong) and Peirce Dickson (Canada). We therefore have a tail end of 27 people in 1 final each.

Finalists by country

Only 6 countries have any finalists. Canada come out overwhelming on top with 24 final spots, a little under 50% of them. Next behind them are South Africa on 9 finalists and Australia on 8 finalists. Hong Kong and the United States each have 7 final spots and England snag the last 2.

Looking at each category:
Persuasive Speaking: Canada – 6, South Africa – 3, Australia/Hong Kong/United States – 1
Interpretive Reading: Canada – 6, Australia/Hong Kong – 2, South Africa/United States – 1
Debating: Canada – 7, South Africa – 2, Australia/Hong Kong/United States – 1
Impromptu Speaking: Canada/Australia/United States – 3, South Africa/Hong Kong/England – 1
After-dinner Speaking: Canada/South Africa/Hong Kong – 2, Australia/United States/England – 1

Overall Rankings

It’s notoriously hard to predict overall rankings based only on the list of finalists, not the least because we are missing data for the unknown category/categories for just about everyone who aren’t in the Finals of all categories. It is possible that the YP list is in order, or that the powerpoint shown last night and detailed here by AIDPSC is in order, or quite possibly that the tabbsters are messing with us (in all seriousness I hope this is what happened) and neither is the correct prelim order.

The YP list gives us a likely top 7 of: Martine Duffy (Canada), Philip Balson (United States), Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Sarah Hick (Canada), Peirce Dickson (Canada), Imaan Kherani (Canada), Ji Min Kang (Hong Kong)
The AIDPSC order gives us a likely top 7 of: Samantha Starkey (Canada), Elizabeth Roberts (Canada), Sarah Hick (Canada), Martine Duffy (Canada), Desmond Fairall (South Africa), Natasha Noore (Australia), Philip Balson (United States)

The AIDPSC order seems to be more consistent if we take into account the number of finals that a particular person made (eg. the top 7 are those 7 people who made 3 or more finals). Even then it should be noted that I’ve given the ‘missing’ category quite a low weighting (that is I’ve assumed they will all performed reasonably consistently and were close to breaking). So how well these 7 do in the unknown category relative to each other will be the deciding factor.

In any event, it seems likely that a Canadian will walk away with the top prize, and perhaps not that surprising given that they have 4 of the 7 that made 3 or more finals. The closing ceremony is on Saturday (tomorrow) with the Finals currently ongoing.


Lots of movies and great companions

Wow, it’s been ages since I last posted anything, and probably will be until the next post as well.
I have the minor matter of my Oxford finals coming up in June, which are almost universally responsible for a fair bit of stress. The simple version is that I will be examined in 9 subjects in the space of 14 days on material learnt since April 2013.
And there’s the fact that I’ve somewhat moved on from this blog, both for personal matters and from a debating perspective.

The reasons behind this newest post are, like most of my other recent posts, inspired by flights (seemingly the only other exciting thing that happens other than debate related thingys). And even to that extent this flight came on the day of the Oxford Schools Debating Championships Finals Day 2015… so perhaps really I should just blame debating anyways.

I’m not entirely sure what was so exciting about this flight. Probably partly because I was in the new A380 double-decker plane, which is only the 3rd trip I’ve had in it. It’s the largest plane in the world, and I was certainly taken a back by the massive wings that also curved considerably more than the Boeing 777.

Kudos to British Airways for a well designed interior with reasonable amounts of space even in Economy class. There was more vertical space than horizontal space, though the latter is probably more important for people flying and who spend most of the time sat down. I particularly liked the flat cabin overhead storage bins which just struck me as making much more sense than having trays that drop down.

The newspaper selection was rather disappointing with only the Daily mail, i and the Daily Mirror available. perhaps other classes of seats had better options… I can’t say for sure.

My favourite bit of the new plane has to be the entertainment system, which now is switched on whilst you’re still on the tarmac, saving precious movie time, although it was still interrupted by the safety announcements and the like. It was probably one of the reasons I managed to fit in 5 movies and even a TV show, which probably beats my old record of 5 movies. This unsurprisingly also entailed not sleeping… I mean you just can’t fit in 5 movies if you slept for any extended period of time.

I was probably lucky to be flying just a little while after Oscar season because many of the films were available, and indeed too many for me to watch. I had to start with The Theory of Everything, and I must say I think Eddie Redmayne throughly deserved his Oscar statute. Was also funny to try and location spot, which was really the only good thing about The Riot Club. The storyline was just poor… and that’s independent of the terrible content of the movie itself. Thankfully though it represents many aspects of Oxford that I detest, nothing I’ve seen in real life is quite as terrible as is portrayed. The Imitation Game was reasonably good, and I guess about as exciting as bio-pics can go. The presentation of the story-line was a bit convoluted to be honest, but no real complaints. I still think The Judge did a better job of portraying the souls of the characters so to speak. Or maybe I’m just biased towards films with a legal element to it.

I eventually ran out of films beginning with ‘The’ to watch, I had thought of watching The Hunger Games but having not watched any of the earlier ones the first 3 minutes confirmed to me that it just wasn’t going to work. Same probably goes for The Hobbit. I ended up finishing off with Whiplash which despite not seeming to have that much content (some guy playing the drums) was surprisingly captivating. I rounded it all off with an episode of Veep, I had considered slipping in an hour and a half long movie, but figured there wouldn’t be enough time with landing and all. There are still a tone of movies I wanted to watch (cf: Foxcatcher, Interstellar, Birdman) which I’ll have to fit into the return journey.

The other interesting bit of the journey was my sitting next to a Swedish couple who were flying into HK in order to catch a cruise around South East Asia. It’s one of the few times I’ve bothered to strike up conversations with fellow travellers and it led to a torrent of interesting tidbits including discussions about Chinese air-quality, HK’s future, Scandinavian countries amongst other things. I also found out how to lift the arm-rest adjourning the aisle after the flight attendants wrestled with it for nearly an hour (there’s a button, but not an obvious one). This was because one of the couple had a disability (cue Paralympics conversation) which meant that they had to go to the toilet with the aid of an in-flight wheelchair.

So all in all, new plane, a lot of movies and a very interesting pair of fellow travellers, all mixed up in a single flight. Well, back to revision then.

SOAS IV 2014 – Break

Quarter-final motion: THBT the state has a duty to provide the long term unemployed with lasting employment which pays at least the minimum wage

ESL Break

1. 11 points IIUM A (main break)
2. 8 points IIUM 2
3. 8 points Vienna Sisski and France [Spelling likely to be incorrect]
4. 8 points ISM (not competing)
5. BBU A
5. Berlin A

Open Break

1. 14 Brownie Points
2. 12 TCD Phil A
3. 12 Balliol
4. 11 TCD Hist A
5. 11 Warwick Carswell 4pm
6. 11 IIUM A
7. 11 GUU EM
8. 11 Chinese Diaspora
9. 11 Warwick B
10. 10 Nottingham Empire Strikes Back
11. 10 Durham A
12. 10 Cambridge Red
13. 10 ULU MG
14. 10 MCH Alpha
15. 10 TCD Phil E
16. 9 UCL NUS