Often we missed watching programmes because we got distracted by other things. The much awaited debate between Lim Guan Eng and Dr. Chua Soi Lek was one example, except we remembered when chatting when it was still on. Being new to Astro, that channel AEC is also 301 was known to me only recently. It was also strange that we were watching it next to Dr. Mah's house when he was one of those who posed questions!
Later, when Cheng called, she didn't know there was such a 'Big Debate' between two Chinese leaders of opposite political divide. I informed her of various links which reported on it. From what I have gathered from reactions after the debate, some people questioned rightly that it was more of two political ceramahs held together rather than a proper debate. That moderator Tang Ah Chai was mistaken by some to be Michael Yeoh of ASLI was amusing. I can imagine both debaters were prepared to gain political mileage from the televised event. I would blame this to the lack of such opportunities because of our national television channels being controlled by BN. It could be also because of the unwillingness of BN leaders to be subjected to public scrutiny, either of their lack of ability or their awkward position of having to defend some indefensible policies and projects. I am sure if more of such events are being held, the candidates would not have to take such opportunities to hold ceramahs instead.
It was also obvious that the organizers had shown their bias when the time allocated for questions was insufficient and MCA supporters got to pose more questions, mostly irrelevant to the topic. They were obviously prepared with the intention to embarrass Lim Guan Eng as Chief Minister of Penang.
The atmosphere could be described as surprisingly cordial between two political opponents and signify maturity on both sides, but that could not be said of the noisy MCA supporters. Two senior citizens complained about not being given the chance to pose questions.
Some people complained about the fact that it was between two Chinese political leaders, using Chinese language, about Chinese position in Malaysian politics, and through Chinese television channel! Well, in Malaysia, such criticisms are so common that it is better to think that it is impossible to please everybody and that we cannot escape the race factor in any discussion.
It is generally agreed that we should have more of such debates so that given the opportunities to do so, they would not be used to give political speeches instead. As expected, the next debate will be either in English or Bahasa Malaysia. But more than that, people are hoping that the suggested debate between PM, Najib and Opposition Leader, Anwar will take place. The good thing about a debate is that no matter how well prepared, one's ability to put across one's views will be shown and be subject to public scrutiny.