BAHAS 4PM (pronounced as Empat PM) is derived from the initials of the organization’s name in Malay, Persatuan Pemuda Pemudi Melayu, which has four Ps and one M. Bahas 4PM is considered a driving force in youth development within the Malay/Muslim community. The organization itself is supported by illustrator’s alumni members who have been nurtured through 4PM’s activities and have since developed into prominent national leaders.

Bahas 4PM is a debate competition with 2 teams putting forth their stands and arguments on a given proposition. An example of a topic could be “Discrimination is a must in our workplace”. From this, the teams will take their turns to debate on it – discussing them in a formal and professional manner. At the end of the debate, the judges will decide on the winner based on a point system which factors in the teams’ critical analysis, their presentation skills and also their language proficiency.

This year, SPMLS sent two teams to partake in this Bahas 4PM competition, where they competed with teams from Junior Colleges (JCs), Madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) and also other Polytechnics. Team Singapore Polytechnic 1 (SP1) consisted of mostly fresh, first-time debaters Ahmad Zaid, Nabila Natasha, Shafiqah Nurul Ain and Nurul Amirah; whereas team Singapore Polytechnic 2 (SP2) consisted of Muhammad Firdaus, Nur Hidayah, Mu’az and Nurul Huda.

The first stage of the Preliminary Rounds took place on the 22nd – 24th April 2016 at Sembawang Camp Challenge. It was both a camp and a competition for the participants.

On Day 1 (22nd April 2016), the participants from SPMLS got to know the team members from other tertiary schools through interactive bonding games. It was a great start to the camp as they not only enjoyed themselves, but also managed to familiarise themselves with people from opposing teams – learning more about each individual character, strengths and weaknesses. Later at night, all the participants were given the opportunity to watch a debate between the alumni of Bahas 4PM, who were also the finalists in 2015. It was an intense but enriching experience. Through this round of debate between the alumni, the participants got to observe and learn how the professional debaters presented their arguments. After watching the alumni debate, the participants were given some personal time before lights off. The teams from SPMLS used that time to gather at the main hall to practise for their Preliminary Rounds the following day, together with their mentors Coach Izwan and SPMLS Head of Language, Muhammad Irfan. With a sheer determination to achieve their best, the teams practised hard and retired for bed only at around 3am.

On day 2 (23rd April 2016), the Preliminary Round of Bahas 4PM began. Each team had to compete against 2 teams on the first day, and another 2 teams on the second day – which made a total of 4 teams to compete in the Preliminary Round alone. For the first 2 matches for team SP1, they won the first match but unfortunately lost the second one. However, individual efforts were not left uncredited as our very own SP student, Nabila Natasha, won the Best Debater award for both matches. On the other hand, for team SP2, they did not manage to secure a win for their 2 matches as they were up against competitors who were extremely good. But even though they faced strong opponents, another of our SP debater (this time from SP2), Mu’az, won the Best Debater award in the team’s first match. Both teams despite putting up a good fight, suffered humbling defeats each. Putting aside their loss, the teams braced for their 3rd and 4th matches of the Preliminary Round, which was set for the next day.

On day 3 (24th April 2016), the second day of the Preliminary Round commenced. Things got heated when it came to the knowledge of team SP2 that their opponent was a Swing Team (a team made up of alumni debaters). Despite knowing the news, they chose to not give up and put on their very best performance. A tense atmosphere prevailed throughout the duration of the debate as both teams fought hard to win the match. The passion, perseverance and hunger to win was so moving that it even made one of the judges cried! But luck was not on their side and team SP2 had to be the one on the losing end. Moving on to their 4th and final match, team SP2 gave their all but once again came off second best. However in this round, another of our debater, Muhammad Firdaus, managed to clinch the Best Debater award. On the flipside, team SP1 fared better as they won their 3rd round and one of their debaters, Ahmad Zaid, was also awarded Best Debater. In their 4th and final match, they again won the match and this time SP student, Nurul Amirah, received the Best Debator award. Winning 3 out of 4 rounds, this meant that SP1 secured a spot in the Quarterfinal of the Bahas 4PM.

All in all, this Bahas 4PM journey was a memorable journey thus far for both SP teams; though there were a few inevitably emotional and stressful moments. As the Preliminary Rounds of the competition came to an end, tears of joy and sadness rolled down the faces of some of the participants. For one team, the closure marked the end of their journey in Bahas 4PM and for the other, they had the next stage to look forward to. But whether they win or lose, one thing is for sure – these youth had a fiery passion where debating is concerned. Even though team SP2 did not manage to surpass the Preliminary Round, it was a fruitful experience for them that will be etched in their minds forever.

Congratulations to team SP1 for proceeding to the Quarterfinal!

Do come down and support them during as they compete in the Quarterfinal on 7th May 2016, 10am @ Tampines Regional Library Auditorium. For more information, contact Irfan @ 8380 3833.

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SP2 & SP1 with Coach Izwan

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SP2 & SP1 with Muhammad Irfan

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SP2: Mu’az, Hidayah, Huda, Firdaus

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SP1: Zaid, Amirah, Shafiqah, Nabila

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Bahas 4PM participants