In a game that saw scores at two extremes - 100 points and zero - the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science emerged tops in the fourth round of The Straits Times- Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz yesterday.
Initial front runners Pioneer Junior College (PJC) and River Valley High School (RVHS) crashed out in the final of three segments played, when they chose a high-stakes strategy to potentially double their points on their last questions.
Instead, both teams lost all their points by giving incorrect answers. Jurong Junior College (JJC), the fourth competitor, ended with 40 points. Meanwhile, NUS High climbed to pole position with 100 points by consistently scoring and playing a "sabo" card against JJC.
The NUS High trio, comprising Thirrisha Murugan, Dipansh Bhatt and Darell Chua Yun Da, all 17, said the win was a surprise as they were in last place at first. Dipansh said of his experience: "It was enriching, unexpected and rewarding."
RVHS and PJC said they did not regret taking a gamble. PJC's Luke Ong Tze Kai, 17, said: "I think it's still worth it... It was all or nothing."
The winning team walked away with $600 in shopping vouchers; the rest received $150 in vouchers.
Jointly organised for the fifth year by The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education, with the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation as presenting sponsor, the event is part of an outreach programme to promote interest in current affairs among pre-university students.
Before the quiz round held at RVHS, students heard from ST senior correspondent Goh Eng Yeow about oil prices and the impact on the economy, and posed questions.
RVHS student Nobel Ang, 17, asked why stock market crashes seemed to occur every 10 years. Quipped Mr Goh, to laughs from the audience: "Oh, because people forget!"
"You'll be surprised at how short people's memories can be," he said, referring to banks' cyclical practices of extending loans without proper checks. He also imparted some life advice. Discussing knowing when to cut one's losses, he said: "This applies to our everyday lives as well. It's very important to know when to walk away from something."