Saturday, November 21, 2020

Moot or Moot Not, There Is No Try

Another week, another moot.

This last moot was quite a funny one. The competition was rushed (pure knockout rounds - lose one match, you're out!). Judges hand in their 'scoresheet' via a simple Google Form (which is a misnomer because they only have to select the winning team and write brief comments - no scores!). There isn't a best oralist award nor any oralist ranking except for the finals (because no scores, remember?).

The organisation leading up to the competition had no short of 'bloopers'. The timeline kept changing, leaving the students in a state of uncertainty. Despite initially announcing that no memorials were required, they suddenly reintroduced the requirement. Funniest of all was assigning team codes that contained the abbreviation of unversities - despite the rules mandating anonymity (duly amended when our team prompted them)!

I get it. There's a pandemic going on. A virtual moot is a lot harder to organise. Better a lite version than nothing at all.

Still, there are certain standards to maintain. The students have been working hard. It's only fair they get some decent mooting experience. Yet, half of the teams were knocked out by the very first round. Preparation time: 4+ months. Submission time: 15 minutes. That's quite sad.

* * *

In my last article, I wrote about how moot judges should not deal in absolutes. It was published before this moot. Which was a pity, because the moot would've given me some really good material. Anyway, as an addendum, here are some of the absolute gems...

"Please take care of your pronounciation... I happen to train public speaking..."

This was uttered during the post-hearing oral feedback, and also appeared in the one-liner written feedback. Noted with thanks. Sorry about the bad England. Guess we have to start filtering mooters based on their MUET and IELTS results now...

"Don't give me the law... I have already read your written brief..."

Ouch. Rookie mistake. Not focusing enough on the facts.... But wait! Before the competition, the mooters had specifically asked the organisers whether there will be a memorial exchange - and the response was that no memorial would be sent to the opposing team AND judges. So how did this particular judge get his hands on? If the mooters knew that, they would've structured their submission differently and... *sigh* never mind...

* * *

I could go on and on. But I think the point has been made. The idea is really not to blame or embarrass anyone. Everyone is struggling to cope with the difficult conditions.

Still, I hold firm to what a wise Jedi master once said: Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try.

If you want to keep the mooting flame alive, then hold the torch high. This applies to everyone - students, judges, organisers, coaches, and so on. It's all or nothing. Go hard or go home.

In short, moot well, or don't bother at all. Sorry, but trying ain't good enough.

No comments :

Post a Comment