Winning with teamwork
The annual South East Asian Mathematics Competition, which is held at schools around the region, returns to Hong Kong this year.
The competition starts today and runs until Sunday. This will be the third time Hong Kong has hosted the competition, with 38 schools from 12 countries taking part. Each school is allowed to send two teams.
The 71 teams and 213 students are all after the Warry Cup, named after Steve Warry from Alice Smith School in Malaysia, who started the competition in 2001.
The cup is no stranger to Hong Kong, as local teams have hoisted the trophy seven times in the nine previous competitions. South Island School won it in 2001 and 2002, Island School in 2004 and 2005 and King George V School claimed victory in 2006 and 2007. Last year, German Swiss International School took the honour in Bangkok.
Terence Tang, Janice Chung and Gregory Law Hin-chin are the defending champions from last year's competition. For them, the event was a valuable experience as it allowed them to meet people who share their interest in mathematics.
'It was definitely worth doing. The competition is not only about mathematics. I learned a great deal about teamwork. I also made a lot of new friends. After the competition last year, we started a Facebook group for all participants to stay in touch,' Terence said.
James Gibbs, a maths teacher at German Swiss International School and the trio's coach, agreed that teamwork is the key.
'I chose this team to represent the school last year not only because of their knowledge in maths but also they have good team dynamics,' Gibbs said.
Although this year the trio will not be competing because of age limits, they have been helping their schoolmates get ready.
Gregory said he gave up his lunch times to share his experiences with this year's entrants. 'The maths that we do in the competition is very different from what we do in an examination. A lot of it is about logic and applying mathematics in your daily life,' he said.
Year 10 student Jasmine Tso represents the school this year and is grateful for Gregory's help.
'He taught me to do some AS-level maths and work on sample questions. He thinks geometry and trigonometry will be very useful and is helping me in those topics,' she said.
Jasmine, who also competed last year, thinks her knowledge of mathematics has grown in the past year and she is more confident.
'Last year my team finished 26th among 70 teams. I am aiming to be champion, but I think a top 10 finish will be satisfying,' she said.
This year all participants - even the local ones - will stay at the Regal Riverside Hotel in Sha Tin, and the competition will be held at various locations around Hong Kong.
'It will be fun to stay in a hotel with my friends but I guess I will be exhausted after the competition as there is so much thinking to do,' Jasmine said.