Debates shaped his speaking style

Speaking spontaneously has always been Mr Vikram Nair's preferred style, even when he was in school.

Known to be a keen debater as a student of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Mr Nair recounted his first debate competition in Secondary 4.

Then, he suffered from a bad case of nerves and could only read off a prepared script.

Although his team emerged victorious, his poor performance resulted in his being placed in the reserve team after that competition.

That same year, he participated in another inter-school debate competition.

Instead of abiding by the script, Mr Nair chose to respond spontaneously. By doing so, he was able to play with the loopholes in his opponent's argument and make a strong rebuttal.

His new strategy was clearly effective. Despite his team losing in the competition, Mr Nair was named best speaker.

Since then, he fell in love with the art of debating and joined the debate clubs in Raffles Junior College and Cambridge University.

While in Cambridge, he formed a team with another Singaporean debater and represented his school in an inter-university debate competition in Toronto, Canada.

His partner was Dr Tan Wu Meng, the former organising secretary of Young PAP.

Of the five teams from Cambridge, the Singaporeans' performance turned out to be the most outstanding.

While Mr Nair is used to the spirited and heated debating style that is popular in England, he now realises that it would not be appropriate in Singapore.

But rather than expect the local Parliament to accommodate his style, he has decided to adapt to it and exercise restraint in his speech.

Ultimately, Mr Nair believes a healthy debate in Parliament will spark off better ideas.

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