When you’re drowning in school textbooks, it’s easy to forget that learning is actually fun. Most of us are naturally curious; we just need to find the right stuff to feed our curiosity.
At the Mind Over Matter: Hong Kong Inter-School Quiz, you won’t see a school curriculum-style question in sight. Instead, topics range from nature and technology to games and current affairs.
The annual interschool quiz, co-organised by The Indian Chamber Education Trust and Tvameva Solutions Overseas Limited, invites students in Year 10 or above from schools in HK, Macau, and the mainland to flex their general knowledge muscles. This year’s quiz, held on September 23, saw 32 teams compete in one of the closest contests to date, with several tense tiebreakers in both the preliminary rounds and during the finals.
But in the end there could only be one winning team, made up of Island School students Matthew Wright, Zaheu Jacota and Justin Mak, all 16.
“We first joined [Mind Over Matter] last year, and we came second. So we decided to join again this year, thinking we can maybe do better, and it turns out that we did,” Matthew told Young Post.
Zaheu described his team as “naturally inquisitive and curious”. Even so, they all agreed this year’s questions were “much harder” than last year’s. Zaheu recalled one question in the literature round which was about “the name of a book written in 1516 that was a coin for the Greek term ‘no place’.”
“It was Utopia, but we thought utopia meant ‘the perfect place’,” he said.
A wrong answer here or there is no big deal – unless it’s the buzzer round, where additional marks are deducted for wrong attempts, as poor Justin found when he made two mistakes.
“I got us into the tiebreaker when we would have won,” he said.
Luckily, he made up for the loss by getting the final answer right.
“So we get the victory, and it feels good,” he said with a smile.
Zaheu agreed: “Doing these quizzes is a great opportunity for us to have fun while exercising our brain at the same time.”
While the Island School students may be seasoned veterans, first runners-up Akash Rajesh, Matthew Dai and Ryan Ning, all 14, from French International School Team Two are relative newcomers.
“I was reluctant [to join the contest] since I realised that I was going up against Year 12s and Year 13s,” admitted Akash.
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But overcoming his fear paid off when he was the only one to identify “the only venomous lizard native to the [US]”.
“The question got passed to us by other teams, but I knew it was the Gila monster.”
Even the questions none of them knew the answer to were an opportunity to learn something new. The boys’ favourite question, said Matthew, was about an animal which produces milk with four times more protein than cow’s milk, and was named by scientists as “the superfood of the future”.
Although the team never would have guessed the answer was the cockroach, Ryan was glad he “was able to learn something from it”. Being first runners-up was merely an added bonus.
“It was the first time I have competed, and we got a prize,” said Matthew. “It’s a huge success!”