Lively exchange on role of the media at Big Quiz talk

Pioneer JC team members (from left) Clifford Foo, Syakir Mohaium and Ethan Lim, 18, at the first round of this year's The Big Quiz yesterday. They beat two teams from Jurong JC and one from Millennia Institute to emerge as champions.
Pioneer JC team members (from left) Clifford Foo, Syakir Mohaium and Ethan Lim, 18, at the first round of this year's The Big Quiz yesterday. They beat two teams from Jurong JC and one from Millennia Institute to emerge as champions.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Pioneer JC team wins in first round of this year's quiz, leading from start to finish

The media needs to take charge and lead the way in providing accurate information in an environment dominated by fake news now.

That comment by Jurong Junior College principal Hang Kim Hoo, 58, kicked off a barrage of questions yesterday,  in the first round of this year's The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz season.

Answering that, as well as other questions ranging from the relevance of obituaries to the censorship of controversial stories, was Ms Fiona Chan, managing editor of The Straits Times.

She said ST did not censor stories, but was sensitive to areas like race, religion and social issues.

It is also imperative that ST publish only accurate and verified information.

"We see it as more important to be correct. We are not necessarily No. 1 with the news," she said.

In the talk which focused on disruption in the media, she said that some media outlets deflected responsibility by attributing their sources to other incorrect outlets that rush to carry breaking news at the expense of accuracy.

Following the talk was the first round of The Big Quiz, which saw Pioneer Junior College sail to a win with a final score of 130 points.

It was the front runner from start to finish, though Jurong Junior College's Team B gave it a run for its money.

Pioneer JC team member Syakir Mohaium, 17, was confident from the start, as the team had spent three weeks going through past questions and researching news articles in preparation for the quiz.

"It is wonderful that we have a current affairs quiz to test our knowledge," said the first-year student who has been reading The Straits Times for four years.

As for Jurong JC Team B, which finished with the second-highest score of 40 points, student Carmen Claudia, 18, said that the team may have taken a risk in the last round which did not pay off.

"I feel like I brought the team down because I was the one who suggested the answer for the last question," she said, referring to a wrong answer that cost the team  60 points - the largest possible loss.

However, her teammates quickly interjected and told her that there was "no such thing".

The students added that they really wanted to win as Jurong JC was hosting the quiz, although they were in it just to have fun and weren't "too hung up" about the loss.

However, Pioneer JC deserved the win and  they "definitely had the mental edge over us", Jurong JC student Suppiah Ramminthiran Naidu, 17, said.

Pioneer JC team member Clifford Foo, 17, said: "Everyone on the stage did well."

The Big Quiz, now in its sixth year, aims to promote an understanding of local and global affairs among pre-university students.

Pioneer JC, the champion team in yesterday's quiz, won vouchers worth $600, while the other participating teams - two from Jurong JC and one from Millennia Institute - won $150 in vouchers each.  

The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education are joint organisers of the quiz; Singapore Press Holdings Foundation is its presenting sponsor.

The next round of the Big Quiz will be held at the National Junior College next Monday.

• Follow the action at http://www.straitstimes.com/tags/the-big-quiz

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2017, with the headline 'Lively exchange on role of the media at Big Quiz talk'. Print Edition | Subscribe