Debating and Public Speaking Experience

I started joining public speaking activities officially since 2002 at my age of 8 years old. For the very first time, I presented my lecture – I don’t remember what the exact title of my lecture was – in conjunction with the Speech and Prize Giving Day in my elementary school on that time.

With strong support and encouragement by my parents and teachers, since then and up to today, I participated in multi-level public speaking competitions. Thank Allah; recently, I was the 2nd runner-up for International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Regional Islamic Education Public Speaking Competition (PEDAPIS) 2014. Although I am ineligible to represent IIUM in PEDAPIS 2014 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, I got new meaningful experience. That was the very first time I participated in a public speaking competition in IIUM as an undergraduate.

However, public speaking skills are only insufficient. I start debating from 2008, with specialization in Arabic debate in 2011. I continue debating in IIUM since 2012, to this day. I am yet to win any debating competition for the time being. However, I realize that debating defines anything to me.

I learned that both debating and public speaking assist me in many aspects. From public speaking, my language is developed. If previously I was only a basic-level Arabic speaker, only in some months I was certified as above-intermediate-level Arabic speaker.

Through debating, I was thought to be defensive, aggressive, responsive, spontaneous and critical in presenting ideas and facts, realizing that not all ideas and facts presented in the debate are solely true, acceptable and useable. Understanding the outlined reality, I learned the practice of ethical argument and clarification, which come from al-Quran.

From debate also, I learned Malaysian legislative practice, especially law making process and parliamentary management. More than that, I was trained by my noble teachers that debating and public speaking activities are considered as a part of Islamic preaching. In meaning, involvement in debating and public speaking means contributing in preaching. That’s a reason IIUM Arabic Debating and Public Speaking Club is careful in choosing debate motions so as to highlight only problems – especially social and economic problems – that affecting the world, in general, and Muslims, in particular.

Overall, by participating debating and public speaking activities, we are not only getting benefit for ourselves only, but we are gaining benefit for the religion and the nation. Both activities, in the future, will result in production of new speakers and debaters who are fighting for the betterment of the religion and the nation. This aspiration relates to Malaysian Philosophy of Education, which seeks to produce Malaysians who are intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced and harmonious, who then will be competent and competitive in the future.