IT was gripping watching the teams putting up a good fight in the ‘10th Oh My Spelling’ competition, which was organised by the Corporate Communication & Innovation Unit of the Penang State Secretariat at the Komtar auditorium today.
A total of 10 teams consisting of 30 participants, with three spellers per team from various state departments and agencies, took part in the competition.
After six thrilling rounds, the calm and composed spellers from ‘Chief Minister’s Office 1 ‘(CMO 1) emerged as champions to bag the cash prize of RM450.
Its leader, C. Gunasegaran said it was the teamwork that gave them the victory.
“I am happy that we won the competition, and it was because I had a strong team. I want to do this (participate) again with my remarkable teammates.
“This is my first time taking part in the spelling bee competition organised by the Corporate Communication & Innovation Unit of the Penang State Secretariat.
“I had previously joined spelling bee competitions at other places a few years back, and managed to win as well,” said Gunasegaran.
His teammate, Edmund Lee, said the competition was tough with many difficult words posed.
“I want to thank and dedicate this success to my team members (Gunasegaran and K.H. Ong).
“I am really excited to win the top prize in my second attempt. Three years back, my team secured third place,” Lee said.
Meanwhile, first-time participant Shyamala Murugesan from Penang Hill Corporation PHC received the ‘Best Speller’ award.
Her team (PHC) also won the second place and received the cash prize of RM360.
“In 2019, my colleague R. Saraavanan was conferred this award and I am happy to keep the winning streak going.
“This is also the first time for my other two teammates (Valarmathi Punyakumaran and Siti Nurunshifa Mohd Ali).
“They did a splendid job! And next year we want to come back stronger,” said Shyamala.
Chief Minister Office 3 (CMO 3) made it a double joy for CMO when they claimed the third prize.
The participants of CMO 3 were Christopher Tan, Siti Nuratikah Rahmat and M. Tanushalini. They were rewarded with a cash prize of RM300.
At the end of five rounds, five teams were shortlisted, and the marks were carried forward for the final round (sixth round).
Penang State Secretariat Human Resource Management Division undersecretary Roziyah Shariff applauded the contestants for their courage to take part in the spelling bee competition.
She also said the main objective of the competition was to encourage an aptitude for the English Language by stirring the interest in reading and pronouncing words correctly that seems to be missing in the present time.
“In this tech-savvy world, words are mangled and reduced conveniently.
“For example, “d” stands for ‘the’ and ‘t-m-r-w’ means ‘tomorrow’ in your SMS or WhatsApp message.
“The English language uses 26 letters for 44 sounds and many of the words are not spelt the way they sound,” Roziyah said during her speech at the event’s closing ceremony.
Roziah said that spelling English words is challenging.
She said it is important to build a literate society as the ability to spell is a highly visible sign of a person’s level of literacy.
“Congratulations to all the contestants.
“Even if your team does not win, your courage in participating is inspiring and worth emulating.
“With your encouragement, I am sure more new faces will participate in this competition,” she added.
Roziah also complimented the Corporate Communication & Innovation Unit of the Penang State Secretariat and its corporate trainer Yeap Meng Chee for successfully organsing the competition.
The panel of judges were Open University Malaysia senior tutor Ganesan Kupusamy and former St George’s Girls’ School teacher William Chong Chin Foong.
Dr Lim Bee Lee, a lecturer at Han Chiang University College, was the pronouncer for the competition.
Story by Tanushalini Moroter
Pix by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar