Toastmaster Jonathan Borock called me at 4:30PM, Monday, May 23rd, when he arrived in Taipei after the 2nd United Asian Debating Championship 2011 in Macao. In less than an hour, we met at the lobby of his hotel in Ximen.
For the following 5 and 1/2 hours, we had a pleasant Angry Birds Debate strolling around the Ximen District, purchasing five mascots of colorful angry birds and three green evil pigs in various sizes, drinking fruits smoothy at Sol Cafe' next to the Riverside Live House, playing angry birds games to decide who paid the bill, having traditional Chinese dinner, enjoying the lovely singing at the Cold Stone Ice Cream.
I met Toastmaster Jonathan Borock at D76 Fall Conference 2010 in Kumamoto in November. I remember him well because we went to Kentucky Colonel Charlie Nagatani's Country Music Club after the Fall Conference dinner party with two other Toastmasters. Jonathan was the only person who didn't drink among four of us, he ordered a can of Coca Cola.
I didn't know Jonathan Borock was a famous debater till I received an email from Toastmaster Fujino Kazue of Fukuoka Toastmasters Club informing me of Jonathan’s coming to Taiwan to give a debate workshop in Kao-hsiung. Then I received a mail from Jonathan himself inviting me to the 1st Wenzao Cup Taiwan University English Debate Championship in Kao-hsiung, May 14th and 15th.
Wow, I was impressed with Jonathan Borock's titles, PhD candidate of Kyushu Univertsity, President of NYC Debate, Fellow of Asian Debate Institute, Founder of Sophia Debating Society, First Lifetime Member of ICU Debating Society, and Ambassadorial Representative to Japan of Society for Associated Intertertiary Debaters (SAID).
Tuesday afternoon, Jonathan and I planned to meet at CKS Memorial Hall, but we failed to find each other. I hung around to see the dress rehearsal of Honorary Guards of the Tri-services march to the National Defense Music Band. It was magnificent and it reminded me of my honorary guard marches in high school four decades ago. The Military Tattoo in Taipei (MTT) will take place at the CKS Memorial Hall Sunday afternoon, May 28th, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.
Wednesday evening, Jonathan asked me if I would be interested in attending his debate workshop at National Chung-hsin University Thursday afternoon, May 26th. 「Why not? I could always learn new tricks」, I answered, 「we can even have a half day tour of Taichung City before the debate workshop.」 「How about we meet at National Museum of Fine Arts at 11:30」, Jonathan proposed. I said, OK!
It was a frutiful day Thursday. I arrived at the National Museum of Fine Arts ahead of time and I didn’t miss Jonathan this time. We started our visit by taking a break at the Rose House on the 2nd floor. Jonathan ordered a cranberry milk tea and I had pickled pork knuckle for lunch. After recharging at the Rose House with a piano concerto in the air, we were ready to visit the museum. Then we took a Taxi to the National Science Museum. While Jonathan made a quick tour, I had my second coffee at the McDonald on the 2nd floor.
The debate workshop started at 5:30PM and ended at 8:00PM on time. After Jonathan talked about the merits of joining the debate society, we were divided into two groups. Sophy Chen and Jeff Tsai helped the beginners group of no debate knowledge. Jonathan worked on the group with previous debating experience. I was in the beginners group and learned many jargons and rules. Sophy, Jeff, and Betty gave a demo and five of us first timers were divided into three groups to state our motions in front of others in 3 minutes.
It really felt good to be back on campus with the young and promising college students. I was thrilled to see the students eager to learn the debate rules and enthusiastic about honing their debating skills. I was excited to see the development of the debaters and adjudicators in Taiwan.
Believing that the debate in English will not only help students with the presentation and persuasion skills, but it also enables students to have critical thinking and logical elaboration, I recommend the Toastmasters on campus consider the debating in English as the extracurricular activity of choice to to train the skills in active thinking, active listening and active speaking. In addition to the English proficiency, debaters need to cooperate with the teammates and the opposition teams to have their message conveyed in the most effective way.
After the debate workshop, we enjoyed a dinner at the Triangle Tea Shop till 10PM. Chung-hsin University has changed a lot since I was a freshman at the Department of Botany in 1973. I've never visited the Alma Mater since I changed my major to study the pharmacy at Taipei Medical College in 1975.