Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Fantastic Four (LAWASIA 2019)

Last month, Team University of Malaya (UM) retained the LAWASIA National championship. As the champion team marches on to Hong Kong, the others are left in despair of defeat...

LAWASIA is one of the few exceptional mooting competitions which admit multiple teams from the same university. Things get awkward when the teams go neck-to-neck vying for the top spot. Worst case scenario is two UM teams pitted against each other - whatever the outcome, Team UM loses...

If one team does win the championship, where does it leave the other teams? Sure, they will still cheer for their victorious comrades. After all, better a win for Team UM than any other university. But deep down, pangs of envy hit home. After all, it's inevitable that their peers back in campus will draw comparisons. Or worse, they will be overlooked and forgotten altogether...


All 4 teams, win or lose, deserve credit for their valiant efforts.

Champions of the past, present and future

* * *

A lot of thought was put in balancing the teams.

The 4 teams were formed out a pool of 12 mooters. Some were seniors, some novices. Some already have trophies under their belt, some have yet to taste glory.

Each team had their fair share of proven and untested mooters. Each team had a diverse array of quality. 

The idea was to leave no team behind. And to give all 4 teams a fair shot at winning.

Would it have been more prudent to pack all the best mooters into one team? Perhaps, in theory. But given that every mooter had their own strengths and weaknesses, ranking them from best to worst is easier said than done.

In any event, our philosophy is that everyone is capable of improving in leaps and bounds. Novices can learn a lot from their seniors. And seniors toughened up when shouldering responsibility.

After the Preliminary Rounds, 3 of our teams broke into the Top 12 - the highest representation of any university. Only 1 team missed out, just by a whisker (ranked 14th).

In the Oralist Rankings (based on average score), 4 mooters from Team UM made into the Top 10, 7 mooters in the Top 20. Again, no other university could match our high representation.

Our strategy worked. Everyone in all 4 teams put up a great fight. On any other day, any of them could have gone on to win, and change the course of history...

Team UM 1

* * *

Our training was grueling, but rewarding.

Some of the mooters had to juggle internship in the weeks leading up to the competition. This limited their LAWASIA training sessions to evenings or weekends.

Those from Sabah and Sarawak had to stay back straight after exams, and had to forsake going back home for most of their semester break.

Whilst most students were happily holidaying away, the LAWASIA mooters were busy researching, training and stressing away.

Quite a sacrifice, indeed.

All 4 teams trained as allies. Sharing their research discoveries, and interesting ideas. The teams sparred against themselves. Everyone learnt from each other.

Although only one team emerged as Champion, the victory was a collective effort. A win by one, is still a win by all.

UM is ONE!

Team UM 2

* * *

Last but not least, all teams exhibited tremendous tenacity.

During training, the teams suffered from lapses of confidence. Both sides, Claimant and Respondent, each had glaring chinks in their armour. Maneuvering through the tricky spots strained the mettle of even our most senior mooters.

We knew this year was going to be tougher than 2018. The other universities must be even more motivated to take us down, or at least prevent a repeat of our last's year dominating 1-2 finish. Their ranks were replete with seniors and LAWASIA repeaters.

And true enough, our teams struggled in the competition, suffering loses here and there. Two teams eked through the Preliminary Rounds unbeaten; the other two teams won 2 out of 4 matches. In the Advanced Rounds, our 3 teams had contrasting results (2-0, 1-1, 0-2). Sadly, two teams had the misfortune of facing each other - a team-kill was inevitable.

After every loss, our teams did not lose spirit. They got back to their feet, reflect on their mistakes. They kept on fighting, and fighting, till the very end.

As in all competitions, there can be only one winner. Ultimately, only one of Team UM emerged victorious.

Nevertheless, the sheer grit shown by the other 3 teams deserve just as much credit and congratulations.

Team UM 3

* * *

A shout-out to UM's Fantastic Four of LAWASIA 2019:

Team 1: Izni, Michelle & Sheng Wei

Team 2: Christina, Iqbal & Umyra

Team 3: Anson, Florence & Kenny

Team 4: Esther, Nevyn & Zafirah

Although victory may have escaped you this time, never give up, never surrender.

Keep fighting, stay fantastic!

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