It’s not long until ISKL hosts the 43rd South East Asia (SEA) Forensics & Debate Tournament on our Ampang Hilir campus. From February 9-11, 2023, after a three-year break due to the Covid lockdown restrictions, ISKL is proud to bring back the school’s longest-running sponsored event where our community will collaborate with local and international schools in Malaysia for three days of forensics fun.
During the three-day event, students will compete in seven categories: debate, original oratory, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, original interpretation, solo acting, and duet acting, which will put them in the running to achieve accolades such as the Muri Award, the Debate Speaker Award, The Anne Russell Award, The Alan McLean Sahabat Award, and The Rafidah Award.
Another important factor of the SEA Forensics event is that ISKL’s forensics coaches use this platform to decide which students go on to participate for the IASAS Forensics & Debate event taking place at the Taipei American School (TAS) in March this year.
To understand SEA Forensics further, let’s delve a bit into the history and background of this much-anticipated annual event.
The History of SEA Forensics & Debate
The SEA Forensics & Debate tournament was the first forensics contest organized in South East Asia and one of the largest in Asia, that showcases the participation of students from Malaysian and international schools.
Former ISKL Administrator, Gail Schoppert (1978-1983), initiated the event in 1979 to “hone the speaking and acting skills of the student body.” Schoppert, who had an avid interest in fine arts, already had prior experience organizing such tournaments in Europe, before living in Malaysia. His mission was that all High School students should have “the ability to give a cogent short speech to persuade.”
The first SEA Forensics tournament took place in 1979, co-organized by ISKL’s Humanities Department with local and international schools such as the Singapore American School (SAS) and Dalat School in Penang. The event has continued to take place annually in February and is recognized as one of the most valuable educational activities in which any student could participate during their school career, preparing them for the future in a fun and enjoyable way. It is the culmination of every subject a student studies in school and provides one of the best teaching experiences that students and teachers could ever have.
The Meaning behind the word ‘Forensics’
While popular culture might lead us to believe that the word ‘forensics’ entails the examination of crime scenes and fingerprints, the word “forensic” actually hails from the Latin word “forensis,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held.
In today’s world the word ‘Forensics’ can have numerous meanings, one of which defines a forum for public speaking and has come to represent competitions where participants test their skills in various forms of public speaking.
The Seven Disciplines and Special Awards
But what exactly are the seven disciplines or areas, and what does it involve? Following is a summary of each discipline and award:
This year’s SEA Forensics Tournament Director Farah Nadhirah Chairil Anwar (’15), also an ISKL alumnus, shares, “I’m excited to see students perform, make new friends, and support one another. As a former SEA Forensics debater, I remember how formative an experience this tournament was for me, and I am thrilled to facilitate a similar experience for this year’s contestants!”
ISKL community members are invited to attend the finals and details can be found on the SEA Forensics website. Do come and show your support for ISKL’s much beloved school tradition!