It was evident that avid readers had an edge over their rivals in the competitions in Perak and Kedah.
IT WAS his fast thinking and quick hands at the buzzer that made Foo Yu Cheng a formidable opponent for many.
The bespectacled Form Three student surprised and impressed the judges with his intellect during the final buzzer quiz component at the Perak leg of the RHB-The Star Mighty Minds National Challenge 2014.
It was his ability to dominate the quiz and the efforts of his teammates that landed them the first place in the lower secondary category during the state challenge at Ipoh Parade last week.
The team from all-boy school SMJK Sam Tet, Ipoh, comprising Yu Cheng as team leader, Jeremy Lee and Phoon Xue Liang, won RM5,000 and a projector for their school by nabbing a total of 64.20 points.
Yu Cheng said that lady luck happened to be on his side during the quiz because the team had already decided to be more focused on their oral presentation performance.
“I love to read a lot, and have been doing so consistently from the time I was young.
“I do not stick to reading books of one genre only. I read newspapers and non-fiction to gain as much information as I can,” he said of his quick wit and skills in answering all questions posed to him correctly during the individual round of the quiz.
The buzzer quiz has 15 questions and team members have to answer three individual questions respectively and six questions as a group.
With ongoing mid-term exams, he said that the team only had a week to prepare for the competition.
Another all-boy school SMK St Michael, Ipoh, came in second place, while SMJK Ave Maria Convent, Ipoh, took third place.
In the upper secondary category, students Tang Chi Hoe, S. Dhipan Raj and Victor Ho Jun Jie from Tenby School Ipoh won first place in the competition with a mere one point lead, snagging them a spot in the national finals that will take place in the Klang Valley later this year.
Team leader Chi Hoe said that it was a pleasant surprise being able to truly fulfill his dreams in claiming victory in this year’s competition.
“I had taken part in the lower secondary category two years ago before moving to my current school, but we never made it past the hands-on challenge component.
“This year, my team and I decided to think out of the box and ‘expand’ our thinking caps so that we could come up with something that is unconventionally brilliant,” he said.
The judges were taken in with the team’s idea of creating a model of a mobile lab-cum-animal transporter to keep animals safe from hunters and poachers.
“In preparing for the general knowledge quiz, we had to cover a wider scope of topics to read.
Chi Hoe is hoping that his team will win the national challenge as well, expressing that it would be “sensational” for his final year in secondary school.
SMK Convent nabbed second and third place of the competition, with Team One and Team Three separated by five points in the upper secondary category.
In Kedah, the lower secondary champions, comprising Form Three students Sara Syakirah Md Jalani, Wan Nurafiqah Izyani Wan Mohd Rushidi and Nur Hidayah Abd Wahab from SMK Agama Kedah came up with the idea of a “water siever” that would filter river water to ensure its cleanliness.
“Besides that, it is also able to generate hydroelectricity,” Sara Syakirah said, adding that her team had taken two weeks to prepare for the challenge.
The second and third spots went to teams from SMJK Keat Hwa and SMK Jitra respectively.
In the upper secondary category, SMK Sultan Badlishah clinched the top spot.
Its members were Form Five students M. Gauuthameiswaran, R. Subhash Daniel Moses and B. Athiseshan.
Gauuthameiswaran said that although the challenge was no easy feat, the team was prepared to face the other state champions in the national finals. The second and third place went to teams from SMK Jitra and MRSM Kubang Pasu respectively.
The Star senior regional manager (operations) David Yeoh said the challenge provided an avenue for students to build their confidence in public speaking.
“Students need to start somewhere. They need to have the confidence to speak and to present their ideas effectively,” he said.
RHB Bank Berhad assistant branch manager Zamri Saad said the competition provided a platform for students to expand their knowledge as well as become more mature.
“Some students might find it a challenge as not all the answers to the questions are from (school) books,” he said .
Businessman John Lim, 45, who was at the event, came away impressed. The questions thrown at the young participants were difficult and the students had to be quick on their feet, he said.
The competition is jointly organised by Star Publications (M) Bhd and RHB Banking Group.
The next state challenge will be in Kuala Lumpur on June 21. Upon completion of the state challenges, champions from each state will head to Klang Valley for the National Finals.
For details, contact The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 03-7967 1777 / 1703 or visit www.thestar.com.my/mightyminds.