Defending champ RI loses crown to Hwa Chong

Raffles Institution (RI) lost The Big Quiz to Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) yesterday, its win scuppered by Catholic Junior College (CJC).

CJC deflected its question to RI: "The Hazard Risk and Impact Assessment Unit has been set up under which Singapore government body to study potential climate hazards?" RI's incorrect answer, "National Climate Change Secretariat" (the right answer: Meteorological Service Singapore), cost the two-time defending champions the crown, which went to two-time runner-up HCI.

In the third segment of the 2014-edition The Straits Times- Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz, HCI beat three teams with a final score of 110 points on home ground. RI scored 100; CJC, 40; and St Andrew's Junior College, 50. It joins champs from the first and second segments Innova Junior College and Jurong Junior College.

The event's presenting sponsor is the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation.

HCI's Sarah Liu, Tai Xue Min and Teo Min Ru, all 17 and in their first year, were at one point floundering with 20 points, behind RI's 70 points and CJC's 60 points. But the team shot to second place when they answered a question on J.K. Rowling correctly.

The 600-strong audience, representing the four teams on stage as well as National Junior College, were rapt throughout.

Wrong answers to the question "What is the title of the children's book featuring penguins that was nearly pulped by Singapore's National Library Board?" got giggles; RI offered "A Tango With Three", and CJC, "Tango And Mix". HCI was the only team that got it right - "And Tango Makes Three".

Before the showdown, students heard from Straits Times veterans Peh Shing Huei and Susan Long, who discussed China's domestic and international issues after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Singapore's fertility rate and related policies.

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The pair then fielded questions from students.

"Both of them had very in-depth knowledge on specific areas. So when people asked them questions, they gave very insightful answers," said Min Ru.

The last segment of The Big Quiz will be held at Dunman High next Wednesday. For more information, go to www.straitstimes.com/thebigquiz

rhphoon@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Ang Yiying and Laremy Lee