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Saturday, August 6, 2011

RHB The Star Mighty Minds 2011 (Updated)

(Click to see the official website!)

The Mighty Minds contest, organized by The Star nationwide is indeed, a challenge. Finally I had the chance to go this year, on the 31st of July 2011 at Tropicana Mall, Petaling Jaya. Yay!

My main objective of joining is simple.

Get Certificate. Gain experience. Have fun! 

The sticker .... SMKTD #53

Finding two other partners was my first mission. I managed to grab Yimay, who gladly teamed up with me. Then Yimay grabbed Kathleen, who was enthusiastic as usual. Two weeks before the competition, Kathleen's parents clamped down on her activities, and so.. we had to replace her with dear Su Vin, who agreed to give it a try (because no one really dared to go).

SMK Taman Desa's first team goes exploring!

An Almost-Empty Mall

Our dear science teacher Pn. Lee Hui Shan drove us to PJ. Going to an almost-empty mall in my school uniform at 8am is seriously a ludicrous experience. My goodness! Totally weird! And for the first time in my life, finding a parking space in the carpark was a pleasure. Sweet pleasure.

And so I stepped into the mall with high rushes of adrenaline.  We didn't really review stuff, so we just had to rely on our naturally acquired knowledge. Oh my. How would it turn out?

I bit my lip in nervous excitement.

The timetable
We wandered around the mall until we found the mall centre and the stage area with banners all around. We found the timetable, and I was going like, "Wth my goodness it's lasts so long?!" and Yimay went, "If we get kicked out in the first round then we can go back early."

The competition area

They were around 120 teams from 100+ schools in Selangor. I had quite a time looking at other teams and checking out their "interesting" uniforms. Some were red. Vested. Yellow. Even green! And from their faces, they looked like some Homo-Genius from outer space with their super-coats and vests and ties. All walking around in Trios. XD

The notebook and sticker

We registered and received a water bottle & a notebook to scribble our calculations later.And we received our stickers too. Group #53! That was our group... SMK Taman Desa. Actually I felt kind of intimidated by the other schools. Some famous schools, cluster schools, best-rated schools, MRSM, Private schools... and the list goes on. Mama mia!

Last-minute flipping

After registering we stood around and chatted with teacher. most of the other students were reading up info on their iPads, Laptops and whatever books they had lugged along. Again, I felt intimidated! ARGH! We didn't really read up a lot of stuff OR did questions together. Oh, crap...

A sausage McMuffin
Free meals! We had a free brakfast, lunch, and tea. A McMuffin, McChicken, and Apple Pie from Mc Donalds (one of the sponsors). Awesome. Free food! I'm lovin' it! =D

The stage

All the 120 teams was split into 2 groups, A and B, due to the large number of Selangor kids. We were in Team A. The helpers shoo-ed all the kids into the carpeted-rectangle area and we sat on the floor.

Then started the Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ), the 1st challenge! The emcee started off explaining the rules (no calculators allowed!) and testing the remote-controls for keying in the answers...

What is this year's Merdeka theme? ABCD?
What does a ornithologist do?
T-lymphocytes or B-lymphocytes?

... and a whole lot of other random questions from Science, Banking, Geography and General Knowledge. After each question clapping and nervous laughter would riffle through the seated teams.

Smart Yimay and Intelligent Su Vin

I screwed up most of the Maths Questions, and my brain knotted three-fold halfway through most of the maths questions. Gratefully my other 2 teammates were some sort of Maths-Addmaths wizard. Fuyoh! Applause for Yimay and Suvin! XD

We managed to finish off  Top #1 of Group A in the first round with 160 points (4 incorrect), tie-ing with SMK Damansara Utama. Anyway, the top 15 teams would be chosen out of the 60 to move on to the second challenge. We managed to get in! Yay! XD

And important tip to future participants : 
Can you spot our group among the 30? XD
Next on was the freaky Hands-on Challenge (most difficult, they say). 15 teams from Group A and 15 from B gathered to make a model within the ticks of 1 and a half hour with the items given :
  • Construct a system that will enable housewives to draw open/close curtains in houses automatically. You are required to show the system in operation for at least a single or double window.
The materials given

We were given materials such as Styrofoam Boards, UHU Glue, Nut-and-Bolts, Scissors, Mini-saw, Cable covers, wires, DC Motors, Screwdrivers, Gloves, String, Spools, switches and a metal wire.

Work in Progress
WTH?!  How on earth are we going to construct that crappy system in such a short time? Suvin started off decorating the base of the model while Yimay and I craked our brains on HOW to build the bloody thing. I think we wasted about 10 minutes for planning. Uh-oh.

Finally we managed to force some brain-juice into the shape of a model and started constructing. There were A LOT of time wasted due to shitty electrical components and crappy materials. And the dance-beat music didn't help, either. They gave me pouding temples in addition to my fever that returned.

Important tip : DO NOT WASTE TIME!

Product of inventors
 Countdown, 5 minutes! Our model wasn't realy up and working. The motor were not stable and the electrical connections were another problem. Yimay started going into typical-stressed-yimay-mode which resulted in a panicky and snappy dear Yimay. Suvin was as cool and calm as ever. Fuyoh!

As for me, I was trying to stay focused and calm despite my headache, back,eye and arm-ache. I started feeling dizzy.  

I need WATER!!

The judges fiddling with our model
In the last 2 minutes, Yimay's optimism was going fast.

"Ellie i'm gonna cry! The bloody thing's not working."
"(Ellie laughs nervously) Uhhheheh.. Nevermind... Err..."
"Don't laugh! it's not funny you know..."
"... (Suvin speechless) ..."

XD So funny lah. Anyway, the horn blasted off and all the teams were shoo-ed out of the Arena. Then the 3 judges went to each model, poked and fiddled around, and finally giving marks.

Yimay who was rather in emo-mode decided to go to Borders to buy books & stuff. We ended up spending in an Apple Inc. store playing the iMac, i-keyboard and i-something that lifted our down moods.

Our automatic thing to draw curtains
 Tadaa! That's was our model that wouldn't work. The judges gave comments on the overall performance and showed the picture of the sample model they were looking for. The most important thing is the concept! The appearance & whether it works or not is secondary.

Then they announced the 5 groups that would be selected out of the 30 to advance to the finals. Top-5 selection was based on total of the MCQ and Hand-On points.

*Drum rolls*

5th place, group #32! 4th place, group...! We were like, mumbling our no-hope-ness to ourselves. I knew we most likely wouldn't make it, but there was a slim chance. "3rd place, group #53!" the emcee announced.

My heart stopped pumping in that split second. We're Group 53, right? Three of us were like, stunned speechless sitting there stoned. Then Aunty Siaw Yan (Yimay's Mum) & Puan Lee whooped with joy and started pushing us. "Go, go, faster go!"

We miraculously got through! Unbelievable! Thank God! The crappy model that wouldn't work gave us 18% out of 30%, I think. My goodnes. Oh no. That means we'd have to do the Oral presentation.

The Time-keeper explaining stuff

We cast lots to see which team was A, B, C, D or E. We became Team B. And so we were led to a place not far away to wait for our turn and plan what to say. We were given a slip of paper with the guidelines.
  • Science and Maths principles. 
  • Testing and commisioning of model. 
  • Superiority of model. 
  • Ways to improve. 
  • Ways for marketing
We weren't really prepared mentally &emotionally because we didn't think we'd reach so far. And hence follows a not-very-confident (and panicky) approach. Hahahah, we literally crapped through it and screwed up our Oral Presentation and fished only 8% for this 4th challenge (35% total).
"This... umm... rope, no, I mean err... String will pull the wheel... Eih? Wrong way. The other way. Then that one will pull the motor, I mean the motor will pull that one this way to pull the bead that holds the curtain to pull the curtain.. uhh.. open..." LOL YIMAY! XD
Crap! HAhahahaha! We flunked. @.@

The Buzzer Quiz Challenge

The 5th and final challenge, The Buzzer Quiz. We were required to answer random subjective questions with the fastest speed possible. The first 10 question were individual questions (nerve-wrecking!), where the 3 of us we took turns answering. The next 5 were group questions (mind-wrecking!), where we could discuss and buzz in.

Yimay in her valiant atempt to buzz in amd answer
I sort of freaked out during this part because I DO NOT like to be pressurized, what more on the stage! Also, by then I was really, REALLY exhausted physically & mentally. Therefore, you MUST be alert and fresh in this part! (Which is quite impossible)

You could say we flunked the buzzer challenge, thanks to slow responding buzzer buttons and lame-Me who had the chance to answer 2 questions correctly but panicked & forgotten the answer. ESPECIALLY the Anode-Cathode Electrochemistry question. OMG, I knew the answer, but after the first guy on my left answered wrongly, I freaked out! Totally SO not cool. Heheheh. We got 0% for this part.

The KEY is to stay cool, don't panic, think fast. If you know the answer, or THINK you know the answer, SLAM the dratted buzzer immediately.

Top 5 teams of Selangor!
Prive-giving and photo-taking session! The first was SMK Damansara Jaya, followed by SMK Damansara Utama, then a MRSM school, then Kwang Hua High School, and finally SMK Taman Desa. We took back only RM300 for the 5th prize. Haih. Could've done better if we were more prepared..

Photographer : "Shout YEAH!"

Quote Yimay,  

"Like, our school was the least named! Others Top-Selangor school, Cluster school , private school..."

See the tall guy on the extreme-right? He buzzed in and did a complex simultaneous equation in 6 seconds! My goodness. He must have swallowed a calculator! XD

SMKTD Desarians Pn. Lee & Team !

All in all, it was a thrilling, mind-bending competition. And teacher was quite pleased as we managed to finish Top 5 in this State Challenge. Who would have thought that a Trio of first-timers from a small, country school would make it this far? =P

Thanks be to God!

The three of us and the model
Dear Cheah Yi May & Lee Su Vin.
Without you two, we couldn't have done it.

Thank you two for sharing your brains!
On a random note, the next day I flopped in front of the TV and checked TV3... and saw the Competition on screen! Hahahahaha. Very very briefly spotted ourselves in the short program hahahah. Can you spot us? :P

Official photos on Mighty Minds HERE.

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