The Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) emerged winners yesterday, after its team's gamble paid off in the last round of this year's The Straits Times-Ministry of Education Current Affairs Quiz season.
The team had trailed Eunoia Junior College (EJC) and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science(NUSHS) for most of the competition until the very last question, which it answered correctly. The double-the-points game card it played netted the team 60 points, to pip NUSHS to the prize.
"(The quiz game) was a very humbling experience. A lot of it boiled down to luck and making the most logical choices," said ACJC team member Teh Ren Jie, 18, who confessed the team did not know the answer to that crucial question, but deduced the right answer.
The round was also punctuated by light moments. Participants pretended to pray for the right answers and asked cheekily if there were limits to the number of times a team could be sabotaged with a power-up that forced opponents to answer questions in a team's place.
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At one point, when the team from EJC faced repeated sabotage from the other teams, EJC team member Ryan Wee, 17, proclaimed: "My feelings are hurt." That prompted the NUSHS team to sabotage ACJC instead. But the move backfired when ACJC answered the question correctly and caught up.
Ryan, whose team led until the penultimate question - when NUSHS overtook them - said: "It's our first time (participating). We will come back victorious next year."
As for NUSHS, the team's objective was not to win. Dejoy Shastikk Kumaran, 16, said: "We wanted to take the lowest risk and make friends."
Preceding the round was a talk by Ms Lydia Lim, associate opinion editor of The Straits Times, about disruption in politics and international affairs.
She drew examples from issues such as Brexit, the election of United States President Donald Trump and the rise of China.
On workers who were left behind as a result of disruption in the economy, she said job transition would be "a very painstaking, labour-intensive" process.
She said: "There needs to be some consideration on how fast (a country) wants to grab onto technology, because there is a social impact. Do you want to slow down at the risk of your economy? Or, if you go all out, what happens to the people left behind?"
As winners, the team from ACJC received $600 in vouchers, while the other teams, EJC, NUSHS and Yishun Junior College, received $150 in vouchers each.
The outreach programme combines a current affairs game show and talks by beat journalists, with weekly primer articles. In its sixth year, it aims to promote an understanding of local and global affairs among pre-university students.
Its co-organisers are The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education. Singapore Press Holdings Foundation is its presenting sponsor.
• Additional reporting by Cristie Kennedy and Mavis Wong