Cambridge Union debating finals beckon for Perse students
14 Jan 2021
Wendy Hau and Camillo Padulli (both Upper Sixth) have talked their way into the finals of the Cambridge Union Schools’ Debating Competition.
They came third in the regional round of the competition, held online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, after displaying their debating dexterity across four different motions. Topics argued for and against included reserving a number of seats in parliament for individuals under 30, banning essential workers from striking and allowing prisoners to volunteer for experimental medical trials in exchange for a reduction in sentence.
The final motion saw participants debate the issue of choosing a job with high wages but long hours or one they were passionate about but with much lower pay from the standpoint of a talented person in their early twenties about to start their career.
Wendy described debating online as “an interesting experience”, but was thrilled with how she and Camillo adapted to the unusual circumstances.
She said: “A lot of the social aspect, which is one of my favourite parts of debating, is reduced and it was quite unnerving when the speakers didn’t have their cameras on. On the other hand, it did reduce the hassle of trying to find the appropriate room at a venue and there was no need to worry about other teams listening in during the planning stage!
“It’s absolutely amazing to qualify for the finals. I was rather surprised, given the lack of preparation compared to last year, partially due to Covid-19, but also busier schedules this year with university applications. I did not initially have high hopes, but Camillo and I worked really well together. Our debating styles really complemented each other.”
Wendy, who only began debating competitively last year, is now looking forward to pitting her wits with Camillo against other talented teams in the finals in March.
She said: “I am very excited. I have a bit of hope, but I think it will really depend on the other teams that made it to the final as to how we do, and how the motions come out. I’m sure the organisers will find new ways to keep them both challenging and fun to debate.”