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28 January 2011

Video of WUPID final

Videos of the Grand Final of GEMS WUPID 2010 (held just before Christmas) are now available on YouTube.  There was some discussion about the result on the post about the final so you can now view the final and decide if you agree with the adjudication.

You can view them at or find more information at


  1. Anonymous10:28 am

    Watching the debate again really makes me want to have a long cold shower to wash the sense of shame off. NUS was the worst team in the debate by a long way, and I can only marvel at how anyone who watches this is going to defend such an absurd decision. I promised a more in depth critique once people had equal access to the recording, so here it goes.

    The first thing to note is that the opening speakers were just awesome, on a totally different level of NUS, and indeed that was true of every speaker in the debate to varying degrees. NUS took and gave few POIs, but when they gave one it was invariably smacked down (trying to downplay Malaysia’s ability to regulate Nuclear power because “5 buses crashed last week” may have been one of the stupidest points of the tournament) and on the rare chance they took a point, they then thoroughly ignored it.

    The NUS team opened by mentioning the “argument” that it would annoy Malaysia’s neighbours. I hesitate to call this an argument, because neither at the start of the first speaker’s speech, at the end of his speech when he came back to it, nor in the second speaker’s speech, was anything approaching an intelligent argument advanced about it. There was no analysis when it was initially raised, just that allies are important and this would somehow be unacceptable to them. Later it was alluded to in a different (but equally bad) argument about OPEC, and it was “discussed” again late in the first speaker’s speech with little more than the allusion that people were “suspicious of their competence” and would suspect they would “militarise it somehow”. No explanation as to how this would be possible was forthcoming, and the point about allies and militariastion were thoroughly shut down by the following speaker, particularly with the standard 101 example for this (which had been noted earlier by Amit). Namely, the current technology is so safe that the US gave it to North Korea, and that it’s easy to monitor this. There was at no stage a response to any of this by NUS.

  2. Anonymous10:29 am

    The final attempt at this argument at 2nd speaker was also terribly argued, and literally amounted to the argument that Malaysia’s neighbours (not specified) are “paranoid” and so the facts don’t matter. There was no in depth analysis as to why this was so, or why this couldn’t be overcome, etc. Who are these allies? Indonesia, who has civilian nuclear power (and all the claimed problems, but on a worse scale)?

    The second “argument” NUS advanced was that this would lead to “oil reliance” (I assumed initially this was hinting at some sort of dutch disease style argument). This started off with a mere assertion and no analysis or facts at first speaker, but by 2nd speaker we were told being over-reliant was bad, and the example was Saudi Arabia. This was a poor and irrelevant argument, especially as both opening teams and the closing had talked about Malaysia as being distinct from Saudi Arabia, and having a more sophisticated economy and technology, and how it could best develop these. A large section of Amit’s speech in particular argued that the reason baseload power was so essential was because of the Western technical investment that Malaysia serviced. The argument here needed far more than a mere assertion to add value to the debate.
    The third argument was a reference to OPEC, with no real analysis, fringe relevance (they won’t want them to sell more… but that doesn’t preclude nuclear power, does it), and was again, a very brief assertion that they already lack a “loving” relationship. At any rate, the whole oil dependence argument was really unhelpful, especially as OO had specifically said they wanted Malaysia to use their natural oil advantage.

    The fourth argument was the suggestion terrorism would endanger these plants, with the 2nd speaker invoking the UK and France as dis-analogous countries, even though the Govt bench actual examples had been places like Pakistan and North Korea (which the NUS team never responded to either). There was no in depth or meaningful analysis of the nature of Malaysia terrorism (other than to name the groups involved), or which would lead one to believe that they are any serious threat to the Government’s ability to manage/regulate the industry. I personally know nothing in depth about Malaysia’s terrorist groups structural capacity, but since NUS never told us anything either (other than that they exist, much like in Pakistan, etc) it was unclear why it was a problem.

  3. Anonymous10:29 am

    The next “argument” was that the public sector changes all the time, and is politicised. Again, this is true of other nuclear power countries given by the Govt bench, and it is wholly unclear why this would provide an inability to have a nuclear industry that is regulated. There is cronyism… ok, and? They have unfinished buildings… they also have very impressive world class ones, and as the Govt team explained, nuclear power is obviously going to get more priority than the (often privately funded) building projects… you need to give me alot more to go on here for this to have legs as an argument.

    Alot of the second speaker’s stuff was particularly irrelevant, saying there was “no energy crisis” (ignoring flat out the in depth analysis and benefits discussed earlier in the debate), and regurgitating earlier points from the OO, like throwaway references to “the congo” and “energy supply being sensitive to the needs of the area”, both of which were explained much better by OO.

    The only thing I took from the debate is that an appeal to racism will work wonders at WUPID, even when you’re hopelessly outmatched by the other teams. This was done with varying degrees of subtlety. As per the Semi, both speakers repeatedly made references to the backgrounds of the other teams as being “british and Australian”, usually pre-empting a claim that “they don’t understand local issues”, claiming to be “truly Singaporean” and constantly claiming “only they had truly grounded the debate in a Malaysian context” (as I ask above, how would people react to white speakers making some of the remarks NUS made through the tournament, like mocking the accents of the other teams in the Semi). As I’ve made clear elsewhere, I’m at a loss as to how they achieved this, since their arguments were far worse than all the other teams, poorly analysed, and were clearly shot down. The material from the Govt teams was largely untouched by NUS, and compared to the awesome and matter heavy analysis of OO, they should be embarrassed by the victory. OO presented the superior material better too.


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