new straits times spell-it-right competition is off and running with the first leg at the state levels taking off in seremban on 2-3rd may 2009 held at seremban parade. markus took part for the 2nd year running to represent his school, KJV, in the secondary schools category 2.
last year, he didn't make it to the final round (one of his team mates vikram made it and won) but his school won the state levels. this year, markus made it to the final round and took second place. the prize is a hefty rm 1,500.00. on top of that, his school won for the second year in a row beating sm puteri and sm mewah. the top prize for the school is rm 2,000.00 which will be divided among his team mates (as was last year). that should make a total of rm 1,900.00 for a day's work. not bad. congrats, my son.
story from NST below:
Osho the champ in 8-hour battle
By : Heidi Foo
Osho Manikkam of SMK Bukit Kepayang celebratingrejoicing with parents P. Manikkam and K. Nageswary after winning emerging the champion in the state-level RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge in Seremban yesterday.
SEREMBAN: The process of finding the best speller at secondary level in Negri Sembilan proved a cliffhanger all the way yesterday when the three top contestants refused to give way.
Markus Loke Qi En says the competition has become more challenging this year
Mohamad Farhan Mohd Nasarudin says he has given his best
Osho Manikkam, 17, finally pulled away to become the winner of the secondary category of the state-level RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge after eight hours by spelling the word "androcentric" correctly.
The head prefect of SMK Bukit Kepayang saw stiff competition from Markus Loke Qi En of SMK King George V and Mohamad Farhan Mohd Nasarudin of Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak until the last tie-breaker round when he was the first past the post.
"I think a lot of reading and motivation from my parents, teammates and teachers pushed me to first place. I'm overwhelmed by the win and I promise to do my best in the National Challenge," said Osho, who maintained his composure in the earlier rounds.
"My school is only five years old and so it feels good to represent the underdogs in defeating other more established schools," said Osho, who won RM2,000, taking the crown from last year's state champ, Vikram Ramachandran, of SMK King George V.
Osho described Loke and Farhan as worthy opponents. He said he would prepare for the national competition by learning the origin of words to give him a better understanding of the language.
His father, P. Manikkam, 54, a Bahasa Malaysia teacher, said he encouraged Osho to participate in the competition after he and his wife, K. Nageswary, 43, watched the competition on TV3 last year.
"We watched the programme on television and were impressed by the participants' ability.
"So we wanted Osho to take part. I'm proud of his achievement as it was beyond my expectation. It was a tough fight," Manikkam said. Osho is the younger of two children.
Loke, 16, who was participating in the competition for the second time, found the words and contestants more competitive compared with last year.
"The competition has become more challenging and my opponents kept me on my toes. I had a great experience this year and I hope to make a comeback next year," said the fourth former, who took home RM1,500.
Loke beat Farhan by spelling "misogynist" correctly.
His teachers, Ch'ng Kooi Hwa and Ng Yoke Leng, said they added an extra "ingredient", which they declined to identify, when coaching the school team, which comprised Ashwin Raghavan, Rachel Decruz, and Uhendran Subpramaniam, all 17.
"The little extra is a secret because we knew it would be more competitive this year with more schools and difficult words to expect..
"We had to do more than was required."
The quartet also did its school proud by winning the team event, taking home RM2,000 as the state school champion. They beat 36 schools by accumulating the most points.
Farhan said he had given his best to make it to the top three and winning RM1,000
Calling himself a bookworm, he said he experienced a mixture of emotion when he knew he was among the top three to battle for the state champion's title.
"I felt nervous, excited and happy at the same time because I knew that either way, I am going to walk away from this competition as a winner," said the prefect who planned to donate his prize money to charity.
SMK Puteri came in second in the schools category, winning RM1,500. SMK Bukit Kepayang took third place, which came with a RM1,000 prize.
Contest content committee chairman Balan Moses said the eight hours that it took for the contest to come to an end was testimony of the high standard of the contestants.
"The finalists were fighting tooth and nail for top position until the end. We were running out of words in the tiebreaker round when Osho proved he was the best in the state," added the NST deputy chief news editor.
Moses had kind words for the youngest finalists, Arnold Tan Junhan, 13, and Marissa de Valda Mohd Yatim, 15, who did their best despite going up against older students.
"I am impressed by the number of younger contestants this year with two getting into the finals."
The nationwide contest with prizes amounting to more than RM200,000 is aimed at encouraging the use of English in a fun way besides promoting the New Straits Times as an educational learning tool.
Prizes were presented by NST chief financial officer Mohamad Ariff Ibrahim and RHB group corporate communications senior manager Mastura Adnan.