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Friday, April 18, 2003

All the way


ST JOHN’S Institution gave 88 lucky players from schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor an unforgettable weekend and a taste of what is to come at their pre-centenary St John’s Scrabble Open held on April 12-13. The school, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary starting on its birthday on Jan 18, 2004, hopes that this fourth edition of the tourney will be a worthy predecessor to what it expects will be its grandest annual ever next year. 

But it was hard work all the way, even in the weeks before the tournament, for the School’s Scrabble Club. It was a case of all-hands-on-deck for the teacher-adviser and the boys and girls of the organising committee. The computers, the Scrabble sets, the clocks, the physical arrangements and other menial jobs had to be set or done.  

And when all was ready, the pristine ambience of the school hall was suddenly abuzz with young Scrabble enthusiasts showing their skills in spelling and strategy for two days in both the Under-20 and Under-15 categories of the tourney. With a record number of entries, the tournament was by far the biggest and arguably the most successful organised by any school. 

I caught up with Kwok Phui Yhee after the eight-game tourney. An upper-six student and one of the most hardworking members of the organising committee, the charming lass intimated this to me: 

“Organising this year’s tournament definitely brought out the blood, sweat and tears of those involved, but we are happy that it ended on a high note with the winners jubilating and participants mingling around. We would like to thank our headmaster Peter Yii for his support and Leonard Wong and Datin Matilda Toyad, our guest of honour, for sponsoring the prizes and for their never-ending love for the Scrabble club. A special word of thanks to David Fernandez for helping us set up the hall and the wiring. We would also like to praise all the participants, runners and computer officials, some of whom were not even members of the club but who volunteered nonetheless. A special mention of gratitude to our teacher adviser Tan Hong Lian for guiding us through everything. 

“Most of us will not be around next year when our alma mater celebrates its 100th year of existence. But we are more than pleased that this has been the largest St John’s Open yet. Hopefully, we will be able to bring out more players before the centennial celebrations begin. We wish next year’s organisers the best of luck. But for now, here’s an early toast to St John’s. Cheers!” 

Final standings
Under 20: Team Event
Champion: SMK Victoria, KL
1st runner-up: SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, Petaling Jaya
2nd runner-up: SMK Desa Taman Sri Hartamas, KL 

Individual Event
Champion: Matthew Mathan Raj (SMK Victoria, KL)
1st runner-up: Zain Putra Baharuddin (SMK Sultan Abdul Samad)
2nd runner-up: Hew Jenn Wei (SMK Sultan Abdul Samad)
Highest Game Score: Zain Putra Baharuddin; 518 points
Highest Word Score: Ng Wah Keong (SMK Tinggi Setapak, KL); BEZIQUES, 318 points 

Under-15: Team Event
Champion: SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, PJ
1st runner-up: SMK St Mary, KL
2nd runner-up: SMK Seafield, Subang Jaya, Selangor 

Individual Event
Champion: Liew Li Yen (SMK Sultan Abdul Samad)
1st runner-up: Ng Peng San (SMK St John’s)
2nd runner-up:Chew Siok Wah (SMK Sultan Abdul Samad)
Highest Game Score: Tan Yuin Yee (SMK Seafield, Subang Jaya); 547 points
Highest Word Score: Arvinjeet Singh (SMK Tinggi Setapak,); BEZIQUES, 124 points 

Under-15 rankings (Top 10)
Liew Li Yen (7 wins, 549 points spread)
Ng Peng Sang (6, 634)
Chew Siok Weah (6, 419)
Jerome Wong (6, 341)
Wong Hiu Suan (6, 317)
Zachary Tan (6, 77)
Amanda Choe (5.5, 845)
Choo Yie Lyn (5, 440)
Sue Wyw Luun (5, 378)
Alwin Rajasurya (5, 296)

Under-20 rankings (Top 10)
Matthew Mathan Raj (7.5 wins, 771 points spread)
Zain Putra Baharuddin (6.5, 833)
Hew Jenn Wei (6.5, 405)
Jayston Wong (6, 558)
Safwan Syed Tamin (6, 309)
Wesley Wong (6, 257)
Sithambara Kuha (5.5, 281)
Trent Hoh (5, 379)
Lim Sha May (5, 349)
Hew Jenn Shyung (5, 177)

The novices category of the Fifth Penang YMCA (Laura Lam Memorial) played on April 13 was won by Dr Adele Tan who scored 3 wins and a spread of 195. Zeenath Ariff and Foong Yin Yee (a Form One student) were second and third respectively. In the overall division of the tournament, Paulette Yeoh was first, followed by Ong Suanne and Chuah Sim Swee.  

Word power 

Latin suffixes, prefixes, and bases are quite common in the English lexicon. Below are extracts containing such words, together with their meanings and how they have come from the Latin. gravid mouse developed ? a tumour that disappeared after she littered. – Time (GRAVID: pregnant; GRAV = heavy.) 

The stick with which the deed had been done...was broken in the middle under the stress of this insensate cruelty. – A. Conan Doyle (INSENSATE: without sensation: inanimate; SENS = to feel, to think.) 

He saw that his crime was likely to produce nothing but hatred and obloquy. – Macaulay (OBLOQUY: reproachful language; OB = toward, against, completely.) 

He devoted Sunday afternoons to his avocation of landscape painting. – Donald M. Ayers (AVOCATION: diversion or distraction from one’s regular employment; VOC= voice, to call). 

He had aqueous gray eyes, and a sallow bumpy skin. – Thomas Wolfe (AQUEOUS: of water: watery: deposited by water. AQUA= water.) 

Human shapes, interferences, troubles, and joys were as if they were not, and there seemed to be on the shaded hemisphere of the globe no sentient being save himself. – Thomas Hardy (SENTIENT: conscious, capable of sensation; –IENT = equivalent to the present participial ending –ing.) 

But critic Nathan...remained an acute and acidulous observer of the theatre? – Time (ACIDULOUS: slightly sour, sharp; CID = to deal, to cut.) 

A general sentiment of pity overcame the virulence of religious hatred. – Hawthorne (VIRULENCE: noun form of virulent, highly poisonous or malignant: VIR = poison). 

It must indeed be a captious critic who can find a pretext to make a quarrel out of that. – Churchill (CAPTIOUS: ready to catch at fault or take offence; CAP = to take, to seize.) 

She obligingly consented to act as a mediatrix in the matter. – Charlotte Bronte (MEDIATRIX: feminine form of mediator, one who mediates between parties at strife; MEDI = middle.) 

All words highlighted above can be found in the Chambers English Dictionary. If they are of seven letters or more they can be used in the game as bingos (in Scrabble a bingo is play of a valid word of seven letters or more made in one move and scoring a bonus of 50 points!). 

THE Open category of the Fifth Penang YMCA (Laura Lam Memorial) Scrabble Tournament will be held on April 19-20, 2003 at YMCA, Jalan Macalister, Penang. Registration fees: RM50 for YMCA members (RM60 for others). There’ll be cash prizes and trophies for the top three in the final standings and outstation participants can get a discount for accommodation. For more information, call Penny Khoo, YMCA Penang (04-228 8211). 

The Grand Prix qualifying rounds to select representatives to the upcoming World Scrabble Championship (WSC 2003 KL) will continue with its second leg on April 26-27, tentatively at Renaissance Hotel, KL. In conjunction with the tourney is the launch of WSC 2003 KL, to be hosted by Malaysia. The competition, open to local and international players, will be played over 16 games, 12 without repeat (not meeting the same player more than once) and four king of the hill (pairings according to computer rankings after game 12 and after each subsequent round).  

For more information, call Rose Lina (016-612 4863 / 03- 9283 2572 / e-mail or Rosli Majid 012-384 3528 / e-mail mika040701 

THE modern European languages, especially those of France with its leadership in cooking and fashion, and Italy, with its prominence in the arts, have continued to supply us with a store of words.  

From the near East, Persian has given English such common terms as check, divan, pajamas and tiger. Arabic has supplied cotton, admiral, sirup, assassin, etc. In the Middle Ages, Arabian science was considerably in advance of European; a number of our early scientific terms consequently came to us from the East. Many of these, algebra, alcohol, and alkali, for example, can be recognised from the fact that they begin with al-, the Arabic definite article.  

From the languages of India, long ruled by the British, have come, among others, punch (the beverage), bungalow, loot, thug, and dungaree. The Far East has provided fewer loan words, yet Chinese has given tea, typhoon, and catsup, while Japan has supplied tycoon and kimono. From Malayan have come bamboo, bantam, and perhaps launch (a boat). The islands of the Pacific have given us tattoo, taboo, and hula. 

The borrowing by English in the New World reminds us of the different cultures with which the colonists and pioneers came in contact. First of all, our language absorbed words from the American Indians, such as caucus, raccoon, hickory, and skunk. Some words came from the French in America. Prairie and batte, for instance, testify to the extensive early French explorations. Levee, picayune, and bayou, came into our language from the French settlements in Louisiana. The Dutch colonists in New York State added to our vocabulary boss, cookie, stoop (porch), and scow.  

Later, from the Spanish-speaking culture of the Southwest, we acquired words like ranch, canyon, stampede, and mustang.  

In the nineteenth century, immigrants form various countries added some of their native stock of words to our vocabulary: smithereens and blarney, for instance, were contributed by the Irish, and pretzel, hamburger, and delicatessen by the Germans. English Words from Latin and Greek Elements by Donald M Ayers. 

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