ST ANDREW'S Junior College (SAJC) quietly cruised to the top in the first round of The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz yesterday, to the dismay of host and early front runner Catholic Junior College (CJC).
"We didn't have a fixed strategy going in, we just tried to keep up with current affairs out of interest," explained Muhammad Raihan Tarmidi from SAJC.
He added that he and his teammate, Matthew Chan, both 17, missed the school bus to the venue and were too flustered to risk a high-stakes strategy in the contest. Together with schoolmate Edric Wong, 17, they bagged $600 in vouchers.
Playing it safe worked to their advantage in the last segment, which was the gamechanger that shook up the placings. They emerged with 80 points, ahead of School of the Arts with 40 points, Dunman High School with 30 points and CJC with 10 points.
The feisty team from Dunman High School used a game card to double the points on their final question in a bid for first place, but blurted out the correct answer after time ran out. As a result, they plunged from 70 points to 30.
Presented by the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation, the quiz aims to spur students to improve their understanding of current affairs and, in doing so, better society. To that end, the season includes a series of 12 published primers on current affairs issues. Prefacing the quiz round was a talk about the significance of Singapore's Budget to students by The Straits Times deputy political editor Fiona Chan. The question-and-answer session that followed saw a wide range of questions, from social help in Singapore to the geopolitical balance in East Asia.
CJC General Paper teacher Sylvia Tong said: "Asking those questions helped them understand the relevance of (the Budget) to what they study. I think it's good to have other perspectives coming in to help them."
Anderson JC will host the next talk and the second round of the quiz on April 29. For more information, log on to www.straits times.com/thebigquiz
Additional reporting by Klara Wyse, Nurul Iiman Said and Laremy Lee