Lectern Club 'The Burning Question'

On the 18th of March, we fortunately had the opportunity to join the Lectern Club as guest judges, with the topic of ‘The burning question…’ With three speakers for the short speech and the other three for the long speech, we were in for quite the ride as burning questions ranging from the innate kindness of human nature to the contrasting sides of love and war were brought up throughout the evening.


After welcoming the speakers and their guests, the Master directed us to our seats, as our starter welcomed us to a fantastic evening ahead. As we conversed with one another, the time finally came for the short speeches to be made. 


Our first speaker of the day, Sarah Hong, began the topic with her burning question, ‘Are humans fundamentally kind or evil?’ as references to various philosophers and the principle of humans as a ‘white cloth’ in the Quran were shared in a calm yet sophisticated manner. As her speech ended with the question once more, we began to ponder upon the possible answers. 


The momentum continued within Ethan Choi’s speech, as his light topic of ‘How long is this going to take?’ shocked us as statistics regarding the population of wild animals roaming the Earth were brought forward, only to relate back to our current situation of the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19. As his excitement and frustration of the situation shone in his speech, his question suited his speech perfectly as he stated the harsh reality: “It won’t end soon.”


As the lectern became more sombre after his speech, Amelia Abdul Alim then brought forth an intriguing title to the crowd, which was ‘Burning Questions for a Burning Land’. As the title had implied, her speech which began with a lighthearted argument at the dining table escalated to a fiery criticism of today’s society and their ignorance towards the issues happening in Palestine. Using her personal experience, she delivered a heavy speech that resonated with the audience, especially with her ending question of “What do you know about Palestine?” Thus, this concluded the short speeches of the day.


After the absolutely wonderful main course, we moved on to the long speeches. Firstly, Nelson Schwalb took charge of the lectern and immersed us in a wonderful personal account of his emotions through his speech on rational decisions. His conversational tone and strikingly honest delivery made him stand out as a very comfortable speaker. 


Next was Justin Lavigne, who took a very creative approach towards the question ‘Is everything fair in love and war?’ His emotive and powerful delivery and thoughtfully developed ideas, along with his wonderful account of the contrast between love and war in nature really showcased him as an orator with the ability to leave an impact. 


The final long speech was delivered by Haziqah, who posed a fundamental question: ‘What is my purpose?’ Haziqah maintained a balanced and consistent tone, while having a very personal approach to the topic, ornate with humour and rhetorical devices. All three long speeches were extremely impressive and provided a wonderful conclusion to the evening. 


All speeches delivered that evening showcased the abilities of wonderful orators to engage with the audience and put forward their ideas through the use of several complex techniques. The winner of the short speech was Amelia Abdul Alim, who delivered a passionate and evocative speech on Palestine, the burning land. The winner of the long speech was Justin Lavigne, who impressed us with a range of techniques, sophisticated vocabulary and creative ideas. It was a wonderful experience to judge the Lectern Club; to simply view and experience the range of talent, confidence and skills the speakers displayed at the lectern. The speakers not only left their mark at the lectern with their exceptional delivery and techniques, but also their layered and insightful ideas. 


Eshaan Kothari & Asyiqin Zailani 

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