Axver (axver) wrote,

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The day of the speech contest.

Tonight was the night of the ABP speech competition, and I presented a fully memorised version of the speech I only completed on Monday and rewrote on Tuesday. Well, I didn't rewrite all too much. I merged paragraphs three and four (or four and five if you count the introduction as the first paragraph) and wholly rewrote the conclusion. I thought some of you (notably Mike) would be interested in reading the revised conclusion, complete with G. K. Chesterton quote.

Although it currently holds a dominant position in the world, Western civilisation has entered into decline and shall someday be consigned to the pages of history textbooks. Multitudes of reasons can account for the decline of civilisations in the past, and a number of ailments have afflicted the West. The media encourages a politically correct culture protected from the turmoil of the globe via a comfort zone replete with materialism; finite, irreplaceable resources are used with careless disregard; wilful environmental degradation is rife; and political disunity shatters the co-operation necessary for continued advancement. The decline of Western civilisation has begun, and the words of author G. K. Chesterton are worth heeding: “Many clever men have trusted to civilisation. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what is there particularly immortal about yours?”

So how did I do? Well, I think the fact I'm through to the semi-finals says it all. Or maybe it doesn't, considering the very suspicious progression of the speaker who I feel was the worst in the heat. I was one of only five, which made for a very pleasant change - people were attentive to all the speeches and didn't tune out like they normally do when the fourth or fifth speaker out of ten or twelve stands up. I was third, the exact position I always desire (might that have something to do with debating?), and in my opinion, myself and the last two speakers were quite clearly the best. However, the second girl somehow got through at the expense of the last girl, and I am honestly unsure why that occurred. There seems to be no justification. The last girl spoke clearly and accurately, citing facts and justifying points. The second girl's speaking manner was weaker, some points in her speech were insulting (especially towards the religious, which made my "it is politically correct ... to condemn the religious" line all the more sweet to say), and her speech was plain uncreative and not on the level of the last girl. However, she came from the host school and thus it really came as no surprise that she progressed to the semi-finals.

How did my speech go? Well, I honestly feel I had the most powerful speaking manner out of all five, which directly transferred over from my debating. It was actually quite convenient - we could hear speeches in the two neighbouring rooms so my manner actually meant I had a hard time hearing the others and thus did not become distracted. I was unsure about my gestures, but my mother assurred me they were appropriate, and I did stumble a couple of times, but you can get away with that when you have no palm cards. Essentially, with only four other speakers and three progressing to the next round, I was guaranteed a place in the semi-finals as long as I didn't supremely stuff up, simply by virtue of the fact that I was the only one speaking without palm cards.

Anyway, I'm quite pleased with myself. Along with the speech competition, I was PRODUCTIVE today. Really. I'm not joking. Don't faint there. I feel like I've actually achieved something and made progress, which is ... a remarkable feeling in my procrastinatory life. Still haven't subjugated the entire world with a fearsome army of penguins, though.

Oh, and by the way, if you are ever driving through a hilly area and have The Unforgettable Fire CD handy, put it on ... LOUD. Mum and I did that on the drive home and it was bliss. Especially when my mother turned Pride up incredibly loud. That song begs to resonate out from the hilltops, over the valleys. In the naaaaame of love!

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