Saturday, 28 September 2013

by Tai Kai Xin, Senior 1 Cempaka, IBDP Class of 2015

..... and the next team through to the grand finals is from Cempaka Schools Damansara Heights!

Our utter astonishment was still apparent on our faces, as Azmin, Shi Jinn and I took our seats on stage, the Quiz Master's words taking it's time to sink into our brains. You could say that we were pleasantly surprised when our team made it through to the finals, out of the 220 teams that competed. I guess the last-minute cram study session we did in the bus was worth it. With nervous jitters, we stared down at the sea of competitors, still unable to register the fact that we were among the top 6 teams from Kuala Lumpur.

The 6th Annual Interact Quiz, organized by the Rotary Club of Bandar Sunway drew over 660 participants from close to 70 secondary schools across three states - Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bharu and Kota Kinabalu. Earlier that day, a written preliminary round which consisted of 30 subjective questions covering topics such as science, history, geography, astronomy, culture, technology and entertainment took place. Prior to quiz day, my teammates and I had scanned through some of the past year questions and judging from the difficulty of them, we were absolutely convinced that we had little to no chance of making the brutal cut which the preliminary round held - 140 KL teams to just 6. Being first-time participants, we had little exposure and close to no proper preparation, whereas some of the other competitors seemed like they had been preparing for weeks. Some teams made use of every precious little second, frantically skimming through question books or swiping through Wikipedia pages on their phones. As the questions were revealed and our blank answer sheet soon filled up, we expected nothing but the unexpected. However, little did we know the day held more surprises for us.

Put down the pens and pick up the microphones. Welcome to the Grand Finals! The six Kuala Lumpur team finalists joined the winning Johor Bharu and Kota Kinabalu state teams, rounding up the top 8 teams. They don't call it the Grand Finals for nothing as the difficulty rose to a whole new level.

"How did Kekule's idea for the cyclic structure of benzene come about? The clue is in the picture!"

"What dance is this called? Clue - it's two words and the first word has the name of a country."

"What does the e in e= 2.71828182846 stand for?"

"Name the three aircrafts in the picture displayed in the Smithsonian Museum."

Well, if you're looking gobsmacked at the computer screen, (unless you've peeked at the answers of course!) our faces probably had identical facial expressions that day. From boson and fermion particles to basketball strategies to random entertainment trivia. "Based on the movie Pacific Rim, what is the monster called and why?" 

We did manage to answer a few questions here and there, but in the end out of the two hundered and twenty teams that participated, we placed 7th, after an intense tiebreaker for 6th place (which came down to a question on naming the elements of the iron triad).

Looking back, although I initially had some trouble convincing one of my team mates to join the team, it was a truly valuable (and unexpected) experience which I know none of us regretted. We came in thinking we knew absolutely nothing, but look where we ended up in the end - 7th in the nation. It just goes to show that you'll never know if you don't try and the worst you can do is fail at it. I'll definitely look back on this experience one day, laughing at how we didn't get the question on Ironman's arc reactor correct, but remembering the approach the three of us took to answering the questions. We did not rely on one person to know the entire answer but rather, we pieced together small bits of information each of us knew to come up with the best possible guess. A big well done to the other seven teams who represented Cempaka as well. I'm proud of all of them.
by Kai Xin Tai 16:20 25 comments | in , , , ,


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