Words by Hanny Kee // Photos by: Emily Choong
When my close friend Nisshanthan told me of the History’s Channel’s trivia competition, aptly named the “Big History Intercampus Quiz Challenge”, without a single thought, I told him to sign me up. Thus Dinish, Niloo, Nisshanthan and myself formed the 4-person team needed to quality for the preliminaries. The name of our team? Ancora Imparo; nothing better to represent our university than the motto.
Once we submitted the entry form, we waited anxiously for any hint of reply-letters. Then, on 21 April, we were sent an email saying we qualified for the preliminaries. The joy and elation quickly died down, because we then realized the immense amount of material we needed to digest, in order to prepare for the competition.
‘Big History’ is a series of History Channel documentaries that highlight events in history from a “scientific perspective”. Without all the elaborate discourses meant to discombobulate viewers, it just means that the series is a historical series about history in and of itself, starting from the great Big Bang event. Through 16 half-hour episodes and a 2-hour finale, we are taken on a visual adventure, bridging every ounce of historical information known to Man, from one to another. Knowing that the material to be covered in the competition would come from the series itself, we devoured every single episode, and repeated some if needed be. An added plus was that the narrator of the series is Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame, which made the experience a little less dry for non-history buffs.
24 April was the day of the competition, and it was held at Petrosains, Suria KLCC. At 10AM we gathered into a hallway for registration. We changed into our History Channel T-shirts and the next thing we did? You guessed right. We took a selfie!
There were a total of 17 teams, all hailing from universities and colleges around Klang Valley. Our neighbors, Sunway University and Taylor’s College Subang Jaya, were also there. We made acquaintances with students from Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR), INTI Nilai and many more. The host of the event was Fiqrie, a radio DJ from RedFM, who gave us a brief run-through of how the competition was going to progress. In short, the 17 teams would be split into two batches of 8 and 9 teams for the preliminaries, and each round would have two sessions where participants have to answer 8 questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
Team Ancora Imparo competed in the second round of the preliminaries. The 16 questions we answered in this round were relatively manageable, and we were able to clinch a spot in the semi-finals with 7 other teams. It was at this moment when we realized that the stakes were much higher, and we really had to step up our game if we were to progress further.
The semi-finals proved a more challenging than the preliminaries. However, it is with utter regret to report that we could not enter the finals. The competition was too tight, and too fierce for us, and we had to leave the arena for more… deserving participants. Nevertheless, Team Ancora Imparo did not return empty-handed. We scored 8th place among 17 teams, which actually exceeded expectations because we joined the competition with the intention of only having fun and wanting to experience joining a game-show. Instead, we gained not only the former two, but walked away with RM 50 MPH vouchers and History Channel goodie bags!
This was an absolutely exhilarating experience for us. I’m an avid history-nerd, and fielding the challenge with others having the same interests, together with being in a team with brilliant, warm and sometimes goofy kids will be a time that I will not forget at all!