Tuesday, September 11, 2018

We Are The Champions And Runners-Up (A LAWASIA Story)

A month ago, at LAWASIA Malaysia National Rounds, we came, we saw, and we conquered.

Our victory could not be any more complete and convincing.

There were three main prizes at stake - champion team, runners-up team, and best mooter.

And we won all prizes.

Final: UM v UM

History Is Made

Yes, Team University of Malaya (UM) absolutely rocked and ruled at the Malaysian National Rounds of the 13th LAWASIA International Moot Competition.

It's a competition that Team UM hasn't joined since the first edition in 2005. Back then, teams head straight to the International Rounds without any qualifying stage.

So our foray this year was our first attempt at the national level.

Beginner's luck? Not quite.

This year, a total of 30 teams from 11 institutions participated - the largest field ever.

We deployed 3 teams. And from start to finish, two teams went on a commanding winning streak all the way into the Final.

For context, here are some facts and figures:
  • Our champion team (code-named 'Tean Stardust') won all 4 matches in the Preliminary Round, all 2 matches in the Semi-Final Round, and the Final by unanimous vote. Meaning to say, 21 out of 21 judges ruled in their favour. PERFECT! FLAWLESS VICTORY! It's the tennis equivalent of winning a Grand Slam without dropping a set. Or the football equivalent of winning the World Cup without conceding a single goal.
  • Our runners-up team (affectionately known as 'Team Al') won all 6 matches as well, until they lost in the Final to Team Stardust.
  • In the Preliminary Round, Team Stardust was ranked 1st (scoring a maximum of 24 round points - no other team matched their perfect record of winning all judges), whilst Team Al was ranked 2nd (with the highest raw score).
  • In the Semi-Final Round, Team Al was ranked 1st, whilst Team Stardust was ranked 2nd.
The champions (l-r): Aliya, Lily & Suan Cui

In the Semi-Final Round contested between the 12 highest-ranking teams from the Preliminary Round, both Team Al and Team Stardust edged over their rivals by a slim margin. 5 teams were tied with 2 wins and 12 round points (unanimous votes from 6 judges - each judge's vote carries 2 points). So, the top 5 teams were determined based on their total raw score. Team Al - 1065.5, Team Stardust - 1044, 3rd place team - 1041, 4th place team - 1040. Crazy close, huh?

Still, consider that both our teams topped the Preliminary Round and Semi-Final Round. And they had the best combined record at both stages:
  • Team Stardust had the highest round points
  • Team Al had the highest raw score

Deserving finalists? Definitely. The organisers remarked that it's rare for the finalists to advance in such dominating fashion (last year, the top-ranked team of the Preliminary Round fail to make it to the Final). Throughout the competition, our teams proved to be the most consistent.

In our debut appearance in LAWASIA Malaysia, we finished as champions and runners-up. Victory can't get any sweeter than that.

The runners-up (l-r): Jia Shen, Amiratu & Caysseny

Stars Are Born

Perhaps the most satisfying part of LAWASIA was unearthing the hidden gems in our ranks.

Aside from our collective victory, our individual brilliance also shone brightest. In the overall oralist ranking (based on average scores), Team UM had 4 mooters ranked in the Top 10 - far more than any other institution.

All 9 mooters from our 3 teams rose to the challenge. Win or lose, their gallant efforts are worthy of admiration and applause.

Here's the credits roll (in alphabetical order):

Amiratu Al Amirat - Winner of the Best Mooter award. Spoke for all 7 rounds in 2 days (more than anyone else). And most astoundingly, it's her first ever external moot competition! Where has she been hiding all this while?

Caysseny Tean Boonsiri - Another newbie, just fresh out of her first year. Instead of succumbing to nerves and stage fright, she instead racked up an average score of 90.17 - the highest in the competition!

Lee Suan Cui - A veteran mooter. Quarter-finalists in IMLAM 2017 and Price Media 2018. And now, in her first domestic competition, she's proven that she can enthrall lawyers at home as well as abroad.

Lily Sabreena - Whilst prepping for LAWASIA, she's also juggling IMLAM 2018 (semi-finalist) and internship (scored 'A'). Living proof that girls are great multi-taskers. The Force is strong... oh no, is she tapping into the Dark Side?

Najihah binti Yusoff - First year, first moot. Still rough around the edges, still brimming with potential. In the face of adversity, she puts on a brave face. The future is bright, young Padawan!

Nur Aliya binti Ayob - Captain of Team Stardust, the glue that keeps all 3 teams together. She's faced off Justice Gopal Sri Ram in the moot court before, and survived his barrage of questioning unscathed - how many lawyers can say the same?

Tan Jia Shen - First year, second moot. Runners-up in NAMCO earlier this year, runners-up in LAWASIA now. What a great mooting resume so far! As they say: no guts, no glory. And this youngling is full of guts!

Tan Soo Yew - Head filled with knowledge, heart filled with passion. Such a joy listening to his high-level arguments. Comes across too much like a scholar though. Add a dose of charm to his charisma, and he can own the room.

Thomas Tan - Smart and sharp, just like his BFF Soo Yew. His aura of calm and control complements well with Soo Yew's more combative style. With some more polish, he can rise up the mooting ranks.

Mooting's a show, and we all play our parts. Without each of their contribution, Team UM could not have secured such an epic and historic victory.

Valiant fallen comrades (l-r): Thomas, Najihah & Soo Yew

Show Goes On

This isn't the end just yet. A chapter has closed, but a new adventure beckons.

Next mission: Siem Reap, Cambodia.

In November, Team UM will battle out on the international stage. Facing off against teams across Asia-Pacific such as Singapore, India, China and Japan. There, the true test of our mettle awaits.

We're the Champions of Malaysia (as well as Runners-Up).

It's time, baby. LAWASIA's coming home.

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