Mighty Minds Challenge 2010

And it comes the time when I find myself staring at the blank WordPress text box, bracing myself for a whole recount of an event that is supposed to be significant in my tardy life. It so happens that my creative juices function less at the period of time and I might just end up writing less than expected, or, in my case, less descriptive/interesting/optimistic than last year’s experience which got 141823423492187209 views and comments from people all over the country.

Okay, so here I go.

This morning, I woke up early to attend the Mighty Minds Challenge, organised by RHB Bank and The Star newspaper, held at Alor Setar Mall. Teacher Halimah texted me the previous day reminding me to turn up at 8.30am but I got there at 8.35 so you cannot imagine how nervous I was when I arrived and found no familiar faces staring back at me. Well yeah, there are some people I recognise from other schools but when you step foot on a public venue filled with scary strangers who stare you down like a midget, the only people you wish to see are people you see at a regular basis. It turned out I was the opposite of late and everyone arrived later than I did. But Nadia was the last so everyone was poking her as we made our way to the registration counter. Omey, Razan and I were Group 43, and Nadia, Diana and Moksha were Group 42. And naturally, Teacher Halimah went all, “Oh, Michelle, you’re the group leader so if there’s anything needed talking, you talk.” Great. So we got our keypads and entered the ‘quiz hall’.

I can ensure you, this year’s quiz was a million times harder than last year’s. I felt my confidence sink a few feet in my stomach whenever I made a mistake and I wasn’t proud of it because most of the time it was just me and my rash actions. Oh, and good work on the symbolism. Mr Acid, Mr Water and Mr Electricity. There was this question that actually made me perk up; something about Mr Ant and Mrs Grasshopper were having a ballroom dance and they gave 4 pictures asking which one shows a ballroom dance. It was the best question, compared to the others because the others were hard as hell. Thanks to Omey, we got the question on penicillin right, and thanks to Razan, we got the question on the vertebrae right. There was this goldfish question where we very nearly got right but we didn’t. And there was also this question that made me furious. So the emcee showed the question, skipped to the answer choices, and skipped to the question again, and so we were flailing about because we couldn’t key in the answer so we thought at least he was going to ask who hadn’t keyed in an answer yet and wait for them to do it like every question but this time, he didn’t. It all happened so fast we didn’t have time to react and yes I’m still being bitter about it because any excess marks, any at all would make a huge significance, which I would explain why later.

So 20 questions ended just like that, and I more or less felt immensely dejected. And then came the results: aaaaaaaaaand Nadia’s group just made it to the Top 15, ranking at the very last of the fifteen spots. Group 43? Nope, no forty three in there. Okay. Cool. But the thing was, it wasn’t cool at all. It was an embarrassment because I did so well last year, not even ranking the last and this year, none at all? I was prepared to moan and mope around until the emcee said, “Group 26 , you are disqualified because your group only has two members, so the 16th group, you are qualified to the next round!” And he clicked the next button and out popped the second page of the results on the screen and guess who was the 16th team?


So I was practically crying and hugging Omey and at a loss for words and on an adrenaline high and I still couldn’t get over it even when we had a half hour break.

So then the F4F5 quiz was over and it was hands-on challenge. I know I should have said something like ‘oh I’ve already joined last year so I’m not too scared blah’ but I couldn’t even bring up a brave face because I was just…turkey. So we entered battle ground and my jaw dropped once again when we were given the title for the challenge.

(This is all I can recall from memory.)

You are instructed to construct a model of a blender with a motor complete with a switch.


  • 2 plastic cups
  • 1 plastic cover
  • 2 metal rod
  • a roll of wire
  • a motor
  • a switch
  • a battery holder
  • 2 batteries
  • 5 tongue depressors
  • 2 chopsticks
  • 2 satay sticks
  • 3 thumbtacks
  • 1 pin
  • a ball of plasticine
  • a polystyrene board
  • etc (materials that I forgot or can’t be arsed to use)

And, unlike last year, the upper + lower secondary students had their hands-on challenge together. The time limit was an hour and a half so we were basically flailing about all the time. We settled for the normal blender-shaped model (did that even make sense?); one cup on the top, one cup on the bottom; tongue depressors made into blades of four in the top cup, the motor and the rest of the circuit in the bottom cup, and the motor connected to the blades through a hole in the two cups. It seemed like a brilliant idea, right? Yeah, we thought so too. We were jumping with joy when we tested the circuit and everything was working fine complete with the switch and all but when we pieced everything together the damned thing wouldn’t work. No matter how many times we took everything off and pieced everything together again it was useless. Time was running out and we had to leave our model like that, not functioning, but at least it resembled a blender.

We found out Nadia’s group wasn’t faring too well either, so we weren’t exactly high on enthusiasm. So I went around asking Mi Xia and Wei Xing and people from other schools if theirs were functioning and most said no so at least that perked me up a little. And so we wandered around a little looking like little kids on their first trip to the mall.

So if you think we people from Asma are book loving nerds, think again. I think ‘retarded’ would be a more suitable phrase.

So we were having fun because we weren’t worried about the upcoming oral presentation, because we were positive we weren’t going to qualify. But between you and me, I personally thought my group had a teeny chance of winning it. I mean, if most of them cannot function, the judges would go for presentableness, right? And I thought ours was pretty presentable. So I was contradicting myself most of the time, do I want to win? Well, yeah. But if we qualify, we’d have to go through oral presentation, which is scary beyond anything. So I was worried off my mind all the time, wishing the judges would hurry up and announce the results so I could go home early or get prepared for what’s next.

And finally, they started to announce the results.

The five teams from F1F2F3 were SMJK Keat Hwa (Mi Xia’s group), SMJK Keat Hwa II, SMK Sultan Badlishah, SMK Agama Yan and the rest I honestly cannot remember. I don’t even know if I got the names of the school right, so soz.

I don’t know if I was relieved or disappointed. Both, I guess, but very soon I lapsed into one of my depressed moods for no reason and I guess I’m still not feeling too good but I’ll stop now because this is meant to be a happy post and I don’t want to stain this post with my depressing moans.