The biggest annual national spelling tournament in Malaysia is Spell-It-Right. Starting early in the year, several of my daughters had participated in rounds starting within the school itself and moving to wider competitions from there. Inattentive father that I am, I didn’t realize this was the big day, the State Finals, when I dropped Kak Yang off in the morning. She thought it finished at 12, so when I rolled up at 12.30 to fetch her I was surprised to discover that my daughter had made it into the final round. From a pool of 100 children that morning, she was one of 10 to advance. From there things became significantly more intense. The rest of the story is told in the slideshow that you can watch by clicking the first photo.
One of four officials in the judge’s box ceremonially cut open the sealed list of words for the final rounds.
The ten finalists went in a round robin, spelling one word in turn for three turns.
This was not sudden death. Rather the kids would be ranked by score
The Finalists Bench was relaxed and convivial at the outset.
The first turn was tough, with only a few kids answering correctly.
At the end of the second turn, only KakYang had answered both correctly. But she missed “Onomasticon” in the third turn. Onomasticon! Never heard it before in my life. She was forced into a runoff for 1st place with two other kids!
The pressure builds! Kak Yang was the third to spell, but the first two got it wrong! If she missed, they would all have to go another time around.
To clinch first place, she need only Spell It Right. The word? “Disputatious.”
Kak Yang won First Place! She will be the sole representative for Sarawak in the national spelling bee in Kuala Lumpur!
The top three winners all received a handsome prize, and all 10 finalists left with a cash award. Thanks, RHB!
Kak Yang was interviewed by the New Straits Times. The story should run tomorrow but a proud father can’t wait.
Kak Yang’s school sent 7 kids to the final day today, and 2 made it to the final round of 10. Congratulations all around!
The dedicated and hardworking English teachers of SK(A) Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Hassan were there to encourage their students to the end and deserve the lion’s share of the credit. Stay tuned to this website for results from the Nationals in October.