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By Midnight Maiden

A Rat Race: yes that's what it was… nothing short of that, except the rats were actually intellectual individuals with exceptional oratory skills. And why would it not be like that, after all representing Bangladesh in an international competition (The Worlds School Debating Championship) is no joke…right? But watching the 11 debaters at Studex, one would really have their doubts.

After the 30-speech long assignment and the drills at East West Debating Camp (the event already being covered in RS previously) one would have thought the BDC Army lead by General Rashedul Hasan 'Stalin' and Deputy general 'Saddam Hossain' had truly lived up to the legends of their names, but indeed they surpassed all expectations and limits in the month long training sessions that followed for the survivors of the aforementioned challenges.

Studex, the coaching centre in D.O.H.S owned and run by Mabroor Bhai (member of BDC army) was the place that witnessed the comedy drama and 'action' staged by a cast absolutely diverse in characteristics and traits for the entire month of April. Cast: Shabab Mirza and Shafqat Munir form ISD, Nabila Idris, Kashpee Wahid, Nazm-us-Saadat and Aniqa Moinuddin form Mastermind, Sohara Mehroze, Mehedi Bin Samad and Sumaiya Kashfi from Manarat, Maimun Mustafa (AKS) and Nabil Bin Mortuza (BIT).

The 'action' bit mainly consisted of the ten debates that were carried out in accordance with the Worlds format i.e. with three eight minute speeches from each Proposition and Opposition teams on a given motion. The broad themes of the motions were: Environmental Issues, Women and Children Issues, War and Terrorism, Science and Space, Economics and World Politics…yes in general EVERYTHING. Debates on each topic required the debaters to study 500 pages of materials collected and compiled by Stalin Bhai. There were rankings announced after every single debate and each debater was given an oral adjudication, to correct faults like those in speech structure and improve manner through voice modulation etc.

Amidst all the oh-so-serious sessions were the comic bits like the matrix-cum-Bangla cinema fighting scenes, mimicking one another's styles, discussing woes of how all their upcoming exams were ever so slowly and gently being flushed down the toilets, playing game of OC with new rules since no one seemed remember the original ones and what not! The best were the bloopers in the otherwise perfect speeches when debaters very confidently say things that make absolutely no sense: “Osama Bin Palestine did not”… “To wash away the sins of mankind his (Jesus Christ's) blood bled…” (Much like saying the urine urinated) “Rabindranath Sangeet Tagore” (in a classic American accent) “As every religion preaches: You follow my religion and I follow your religion”, “…the same way every other nation joins the US Security Council”…and lastly... “What is with all this talk on war, let's just sit over a cup of coffee and have some piss (PEACE mispronounced). For the sake of personal pride and dignity, identities of speakers have been protected. Almost every session saw its end with a soothing round of songs with Mabroor bhai on the guitars and everyone else attempting to sing along and sometimes even miraculously succeeding in it…. That one month was indeed an interesting combo of fun and stress for debaters and adjudicators alike.

5th May was the moment of truth and a party was arranged at Mexiacana Chics for the announcement of the 5 member National team that was going to Seoul to represent Bangladesh. The consistent performers were the ones to make it through and they were: Nabila Idris, Shabab Mirza, Sohara Mehroze, Maimun Mustafa and Mehedi Bin Samad. There were speeches and tears, words that congratulated those who made it and words that consoled those who didn't. But one thing's for sure the team that has been selected is mind blowing (don't be fooled by the bloopers though; although they could be source of great concern) and certainly great things can be expected out of them this year at the world's most prestigious debating championship. However any and every achievement of theirs deserves credits to be given to the young group of friends (because that is what BDC is), who decided to take some time out of their lives and contribute to the society by using their skills and expertise to train these young debaters just because of their love for debating.

Well now this is how things stand; sometime around the first week of July Team Bangladesh accompanied by Coach Rashedul Hasan Stalin, Adjudicator Mabroor Wassey and shadow adjudicator Shafqat Manir will be taking off for South Korea, where there will be several preliminary rounds of both impromptu and prepared debates, against the best debaters form all over the world. Congrats and Good Luck to the group …we're counting on you to maintain the good spell for Bangladesh in the international arena!!!

By Sabir Mahmood Sanim

A couple of months back, an article on parallel universe really struck me. Since I was from a science background, I took the privilege of knowing whether there was really a link between parallel universe and religious beliefs. I would like to thank the writer for writing such a wonderful article. It really enlightened me and I began to wonder about all those infinite number of universes that can exist and all those infinite number of me. But the fact is this theory has not yet been substantiated and therefore leaves a hint of doubt among people. Recently I was going through the pages of history and felt my heartbeat increase after reading some bizarre incidents that occurred which also claims that parallel universe theory is a likely explanation for these occurrences.

On September 2nd and 11th, 1857, the children of Lake Country, California must have been extremely happy as there happen to be a shower of candy which apparently fell from the sky. The report states that on both of these nights there fell a shower of candy or sugar on some portions of the country, but no explanation was found as to how it happened. Another shower of flesh and blood was reported in California on August 1, 1869. The shower occurred for three minutes and covered about two acres of land. The day was clear and windless and again no explanation for these likely causes was reached. In January 1969, hundreds of badly injured ducks came crashing down to the earth in St. Mary's City, Maryland. Wildlife officials surmised that the ducks had received their fatal injuries, which included broken bones while they were flying. Again why so many ducks were flying in one large mass was unknown. A logical explanation can be that the objects that came down to the earth were carried up into a whirlwind or a waterspout.

Admittedly storms do often manage to pick things up from one place and put them in others, but an obvious question that most are likely to point is if a storm did manage to sweep up everything that fell in its path, then how did it manage to only let fall a certain type of item and how did the ducks manage to survive the storm and land on the ground alive? Seems a whole lot to take because there was no weather report that mentioned anything about a storm at the specific places.

So then came the parallel universe theory. The report finally concluded that the most logical explanation for these inexplicable occurrences is that our world consists many times and dimensions. These parallel worlds intersect occasionally with our own and things sometimes vanish from our world and in turn, objects mysteriously appear in our own. But the theory still has not yet been substantiated so this can never be a certain explanation. Our discerning readers may have noticed that these types of paranormal explanations account for all possibilities, no matter how bizarre it seems. Though my instincts told me that parallel universe has something to do with it but I certainly have no right to draw a conclusion. So I would leave it up to my readers to draw a conclusion out of all these inexplicable incidents.


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