Trinity finalist wins debate championships

Trinity undergraduate Lee Chin Wee has won the 40th World Universities Debating Championship, in the process making history as the first Singaporean student to win the ‘triple crown’— the titles of overall champion, best speaker in the finals, and overall best speaker at the debate tournament.

The international tournament is considered the most prestigious debating competition in the world; in winning the title Lee and his partner, Jason Xiao of Wadham College, beat teams from Yale University, Macquarie University and the University of Belgrade in the final.

Lee Chin Wee says: ‘I didn’t plan to debate when I started secondary school. I wanted to do drama, but the drama club rejected me — so I thought I’d do some debating instead, and fell in love with the activity. Winning the worlds was a surreal experience. ‘It’s what every young debater dreams of achieving, and it was something that I thought I’d never be able to accomplish. I’m very honoured to be the first Singaporean to have won.

‘It’s no surprise, I feel, that many of Oxford’s top debaters study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). The motions set for debate tournaments span a wide range of topics and subject areas — debaters with inter-disciplinary knowledge and strong critical thinking skills tend to thrive in this environment. These are core competencies which I have developed while studying the course: I’m very grateful for the tutoring I’ve received, which has helped me develop into a clearer, better thinker.’

The annual tournament was hosted by Thailand’s Assumption University from Dec 26 to Jan 4 featured more than 240 universities from 50 countries.

Posted: 8 January 2020

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