5th Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad [Report]
From 7 Oct to 14 Oct 2009, three students from two schools participated in the 5th Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad in Damyang, Korea.
A whirlwind of events ensued. There were official excursions to the Sun-cheon Bay Area famous for its wildlife, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, a traditional Korean fortress, a bamboo park (Damyang is famous for bamboo), and many more. On their own, the participants organised games ranging from "Mafia" to "Capture the flag" to a hybrid of sepak takraw and volleyball, and even a "Disco Night" on the last night of the Olympiad. Okay - that was the fun part.
The stressful part was obviously the competition. The problems set were of a rather high standard and of quite a different style as what we are used to seeing in Singapore. On top of that, the competition was quite intense. Indonesia, China, Thailand and Korea are known powerhouses; moreover, Korea was the host country. Nevertheless, the Singapore team managed to focus and gave their best throughout the competition.
All received the III-rd Diploma, equivalent to a Bronze Medal. Congratulations to Stacey-Ann Lee, Silas Yeem and Tay Woon Kiat! No less valuable were the contributions of Seow Yongli as jury member; and Joel Lee as observer and chaperone.
The Olympiad was not just a test of astronomy knowledge, but also an event where learning of different cultures and countries in addition to learning more about astronomy takes place. Yet more important that that, I feel, is that friendships were forged, and the totality of the Olympiad has inspired the participants to work harder for the betterment of the astronomy community.
Note: For those who are interested in participating in future regional or international olympiads, whether as a student, team leader or observer, do feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who would like to contribute in other ways such as coaching are also welcome.