I’m loving it
University of Sento Union
Fossile Driffers in Tokyo
Auntie’s Pizza Tom Yun Kung
Champion Auntie’s Pizza Tom Yun Kung
Grand finalist University of Sento Union
Quarter finalist Shihorin A, カツオマンゴー
Rookie Grand finalist V
2nd best speaker Motokiさん
7th best debater Pokeさん
3rd best adjudicator Kuriharaさん
10th best adjudicator Nakajimaさん
Hi everyone, I am Motoki Luxmiwattana from University of Tokyo/Chulalongkorn University. I had the privilege of winning Japan BP 2019, and was asked to contribute a short writing about that, so here I am. I haven’t really organized my thoughts, but there’s a couple of things I wanted to chat about!
1) It feels pretty nice to finally, properly win a major tournament. As you all probably know, I am a dinosaur debater who is nearing his 30s. Yet when I look back at my (unnecessarily long) debating career, I quickly realize I have not won a major tournament in a way I can say that I own it. I won Thailand’s Nationals when I was in 2nd year, but that has more to do with my amazing teammate who carried me to championship. I have won some one-day tournament (mostly in Thailand), but those are quite limited in scope and scale. I have recently been awarded the “Best Team” prize in BP Novice, but it was more about training (the amazingly enthusiastic) junior I teamed up with. In short, contrary to the 偉そうな態度 I have, I have achieved a lot less than many of the younger (and amazingly talented) Japanese debaters.
Nevertheless, I managed to win - and I have my amazing partner Tomoya to thank for that. Because very importantly, what felt nice was “how” I was able to debate in this tournament. I have the tendency to run rather specific cases, pop up unconventional arguments, and generally do weird things in debate - at least according to people around me. Having someone who can control that bad side of yourself is always a boon, especially when that person is a stronger debater than you are.
2) Problematize things around you. As was mentioned in the Adj Core’s closing remarks, debating allows us to question things we take for granted - and I think the Grand Final of this year’s Japan BP is the best example of that. It was an interesting experience to be lecturing about Japanese history as a Thai person to a room full of Japanese audience, I must say. Disclaimer: I spent 12 minutes of the prep time bombarding Tomoya with all sorts of (likely dumb) questions about Okubo and Saigo, what they did and stood for, how they are perceived in contemporary Japanese society, down to scenes in 時代劇 and stuff.
You may think that it is “natural” that I could give a speech about Japanese historical figures since I am half-Japanese. Let me remind you I spent 20 years growing up in Thailand, with practically zero access to history textbooks, popular culture material, and the subtle references of a given society. I had NO IDEA about these people aside from their names (guys, I got the dog wrong, and I’m sorry about that okay?), and the fact that せごどん products is ubiquitous in Kagoshima. Nevertheless, I gave that 7 minutes speech by combining inputs from my partner, gathering historical knowledge about Japanese social, political, and economic shifts around the Meiji Restoration I have read and listened to in classes at University of Tokyo I sat in, and drawing on “similar experience” of appraising historical figures and the debate surrounding it from the Thai context that I know of.
I think what I am trying to express here is that people may often feel that topic of debate is something “out there” that is not immediately related to your personal knowledge or experience, and you have to really “study debate” to be able to make arguments. From my experience - the only thing an older person can legitimately claim to have a bit more than others - the opposite is true. Your personal, lived experience is a treasure trove of debate matter that should be drawn upon as much as possible. This actually leads me nicely to the last point.
3) A speech I genuinely enjoyed making. While the Grand Final speech was certainly fun, I must say the speech I genuinely enjoyed, and am proud of making, is the Semi Finals speech. As corny as it may sound, it was something out of my heart rather than my head. I don’t know what you may have thought of it (if you were watching it), but giving that speech was probably the highest point of my debate career, and I just feel...fulfilled, I suppose. Retirement is always a myth, especially when declared publicly, but having given that speech, I am perfectly fine retiring. It is as if I was able to “do what I wanted” in debate - to speak my mind, plain and simple.
Given the competitive nature of the sport, there are bound to be dominant strategies, a “meta” debate, burden shifting and so on. Not that those aren’t also part of the “fun” of debating - they definitely are enjoyable to think about.
It was an absolute privilege to be given the opportunity to do what I have always wanted in debate (and probably became my actual “purpose to debate”) - to speak my mind, with the knowledge and experiences I have accumulated, with personal investment and passion. I sincerely hope that you all would also get such a chance as well.