The BIG SPELL Finals!

While most people were probably still asleep or just having a lazy breakfast last Saturday morning, I was up and about to witness one of the most exciting events - the BIG SPELL Finals!

It was held at Raffles City Convention City and was supposed to start at 10am. I was running a little late as I had a late night the night before .... finally reached the registration booth at 9:55am . Phew! Still on time!

One of the organizers for the Big Spell 2013.

Black Inner: Honey & Bee
Bottom: Jeggings from Uniqlo
Peplum Top: Small store in Tampines Mall
watch: GUESS
Shoes: Wedges from Tory BUrch 

 I did not want to miss anything so I kept urging my cousin who came with me to hurry. Just outside the ballroom , we saw 10 contestants battling it out at the digital spelling competition - fighting for the top 3 positions. They were competing in an online spelling game, just like the one I described previously.

 I don't know about you but I like to see kids in full concentration - whether while studying, playing games or competing, in this case. The way their tiny faces scrunched up with their eyes on 100% focus mode is just very endearing.... like this boy here, who just finished his final round of digital spelling...

Tan Chee Heng said after the game," It was easy at first but it got difficult
when I couldn't make out between the British and
American pronunciations."

We soon stepped into the ballroom which was meticulously set up for the big finals.

 Here are the contestants for the finals. They have gone through the preliminary rounds earlier on and out of the initial 1400, 31 of them are here for the final showdown!

Not showing any sign of jitters, they were busy chatting with one another
while getting some last minute prep talks from their parents and teachers on the side lines.

The event started on time, with speeches given by the VIPS. In his opening address, Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times, highlighted that it is very important to 'spell it right' as this promotes reading, enhances writing and thus, leading to a greater understanding to what is happening around the world.

Tan Sri Azlan Zainol, Chairman of RHB Banking Group, gave a light-hearted speech that brought some of the audience into stitches. Quite a funny and entertaining speech, I must say.

Any idea what is the longest word in the English dictionary?


Definition: to mean a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs.
Now , we know! :)

Tan Sri Azlan Zainol.
I was already hitting my head for not bringing my extra camera lens so I had to make do with this.

And soon , the battle began!

I do not know how the students could be so calm on stage and spelling it out. I, as the audience, was on the edge of my seat almost half the time. I could feel the anxiety and adrenaline rush although I wasn't contesting ...neither was I the parent nor teacher of any of them. It was just way too exciting !

So how to be a good speller?
It is not just merely memorising lists of hundreds of words. There are actually skills to master and to help one to figure out the spelling of unfamiliar words. Contestant were allowed to ask the following questions to aid them in the spelling of the words:

  • Definition of the word
  • Part of speech (Is the word a noun, verb , adverb?)
  • Language of Origin (yes, it actually helps to know if the word is of Latin or Greek origin. There is a way to identify the way the word is spelled)
  • Root word
  • Alternative pronunciation (if any)
These boys from Rosyth Primary were diligently attempting to spell and write down the words 
given to each contestant. I asked one of them if their teacher wanted to check their lists later 
and his response was, " Oh...this is to help next year's batch to learn the difficult words."
Wow, such camaraderie! Impressive!

The first few rounds went by pretty smoothly with very few students getting the 'boot out'. However as time passed by, we saw more and more leaving the stage as the words got more and more difficult. I even saw a couple of them breaking down at the side , with their mum / teacher consoling them. You shouldn't feel sad, ok? Many adults probably would not even last as long as you :)

Errr....ok, a bit of camwhoring time please .

After about two hours, we finally reached the Final Round where we had our top 3 contestants left on stage !

 Our Big Spell Champion is none other than Asvin Sivakumar, from Anglo Chinese School!!!!!

His winning word was "pulchritudinous". Hands up if you know what it means!

(Definition: physically beautiful - of Latin origin) 

I stayed and watched till the end and I was, honestly, rooting for him from round 5 onwards. It was clear that this young boy has tons of determination and he really knew his stuff. He deserves this win, definitely.

The winner who is now $5000 richer :P 

It was really a great Saturday morning/afternoon spent. I must say that I hope to see more of such events in future - perhaps, the organizers may want to consider having one for secondary school students. That would be even more mind-boggling and spell-binding !

Thank you for making my Saturday morning a fulfilling one :)