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Four pupils top 126 others in The Big Spell zonal battle

They will enter the finals on April 26, together with other pupils with the best zonal scores 

Singapore, 5 April 2014 - For more than an hour, 126 pupils from 55 primary schools battled it out in the zonal rounds of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2014 this morning.

The zonal rounds took place simultaneously at four different locations - Woodlands Regional Library (North zone), ITE College Central (South zone), Tampines Regional Library (East zone) and MOE HQ, Buona Vista (West zone) - where the contestants tried to out-spell each other to secure a place in the Grand Final on April 26.

Unlike the preliminary round in which about 1,400 students sat for a written test at the multi-purpose hall of ITE College Central, the pupils competing in today's zonal rounds slugged it out on stage - facing an audience and a judging panel. Each of them took turns to spell aloud the words read to them by a pronouncer.

The four zonal champions who emerged from the nail-biting battle were: 

-North zone: Wong Yi Hao, 12, Rosyth school

-South zone: Thomas Ang, 11, St Joseph's Institution Junior

-East zone: Eunice Goh, 11,  Tao Nan School

-West zone: Jerome Thomas Ng, 10, Henry Park Primary School

This is the third year RHB Banking Group and The Straits Times have organised the competition, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. 

Ms Serene Goh, Editor of IN and Little Red Dot, The Straits Times' weekly publications for schools, who was also a judge in the East zone, said: "Every year competitors have different strategies, and each year they get more advanced and sophisticated in their approach. The most impressive aspect of the game is how well they play it: some come back year after year, more confident and ready to do battle. That's what makes it so tremendously exciting for us to watch."    

Ms Norazzah Sulaiman, RHB Banking Group’s Head of Group Governance and Corporate Services, said: "By virtue of being young, these competitors are still in the process of discovering for themselves their own potential and embracing their talent. They are also, by nature, curious and wanting to learn. Thus, it gives us great pleasure in providing to them an opportunity for self-discovery to build their confidence and instill a desire to never stop learning. With so much of possibilities in store for these young ones, we only share the excitement of where and how far they can go in life, and we feel privileged to be a part of their journey whether in a big or small way."

Each of the zonal champions are guaranteed a place in the final, while the rest will be nationally ranked. The top performers will meet on April 26 at ITE Headquarter's auditorium in a test of nerve -- and vocabulary. 

Madam Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament, will be the Guest-of-Honour at the final. 

For the first time, the spelling final will be open to the public on a pre-registration, first-come, first-served basis.

The champion speller wins $5,000 cash and the Challenge Trophy for his or her school . The first and second runners-up will walk away with $3,000 and $1,000 cash respectively. All finalists will each receive a medal.  

The RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship aims to develop a greater appreciation of the importance of spelling in literacy development among primary school pupils, as well as  promote  healthy competition and sportsmanship.  

This event is supported by tech company Hewlett Packard, ITE College Central and the National Library Board.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Registration. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Joelyn Tan 
Senior Executive 
Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
6319 1895

About The Straits Times

The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched 
on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore. Quality news, in-depth analyses, impactful commentaries and breaking stories are packaged to give readers riveting accounts of events in Singapore, the region, and beyond. 

The Straits Times' key strength is in its world class coverage of news outside Singapore. With 20 bureaus in major cities around the world, The Straits Times correspondents bring world news to readers on a Singapore platter, helping them appreciate world events from a Singaporean perspective. 

In keeping with the times, The Straits Times carries weekly supplements such as Digital Life (DL), Urban and Mind Your Body (MYB) to complement The Straits Times as well as IN and Little Red Dot to cater to young readers in schools. Its many efforts have won multiple international awards from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, as well as the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association.

The Straits Times also has an online presence at The site features top stories, blogs and online forum threads. Also under The Straits Times' umbrella are citizen journalism site Stomp and online television service The Straits Times RazorTV.

The Straits Times has won many accolades and awards, including being named Singapore Newspaper of the Year 2013 by Marketing magazine and voted Singapore’s favourite newspaper 2013 by Superbrands. The Straits Times’ website also won gold in “Best In Online Media” at the 2012 Wan-Ifra Asian Digital Media Awards. 

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.

Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing 

SPH has 19 titles licensed under the Newspaper Printing and Presses Act, of which nine are daily newspapers across four languages. On an average day, 3.05 million individuals or 76 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.

Internet and Mobile

Beyond print, SPH's suite of digital products, including online editions of newspapers and magazines, as well as mobile applications, enjoy over 400 million page views with 20 million unique visitors every month. Apart from AsiaOne, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include ST701, the leading online marketplace for jobs (STJobs), property (STProperty), cars (STCars) and general classifieds (STClassifieds); Stomp, and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH also launched The Straits Times’ iPad and enhanced iPhone applications, an Android smartphone application and The Business Times’ iPhone application. SPH’s Chinese flagship newspaper Lianhe Zaobao has also launched its digital editions which include a web application, as well as online and PDF versions.


In the radio business, SPH Radio Pte Ltd operates entertainment stations UFM 100.3 in Mandarin, as well as Kiss92 and HOT FM91.3 in English. SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. 

Events and Out-of-Home Advertising

SPH’s events arm Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions as well as large scale conferences in Singapore and the region. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its digital out-of-home platform SPHMBO. 


SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established principally to invest, directly or indirectly, in a portfolio of income-producing real estate which is used primarily for retail purposes in Asia-Pacific, as well as real estate-related assets. SPH REIT is managed by SPH REIT Management Pte. Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. 

The initial portfolio of SPH REIT comprises the following two high quality and well located commercial properties in Singapore:

· Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property, well known for its upscale mall housing many luxury brands, located in the heart of Orchard Road; and
· The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall located in the centre of Clementi town, an established residential estate in the west of Singapore. 

The Seletar Mall is SPH's latest retail development and is expected to open at the end of 2014. This property is a potential asset to be injected into SPH REIT. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road. 
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About RHB Bank Singapore

RHB Bank was first established in 1961 as United Malayan Banking Corporation Berhad. Through a series of rapid expansion and strategic mergers, RHB Bank Singapore emerged as a full-licensed bank with a network of 7 branches and operating 15 Bureau de Change outlets in Singapore Changi Airport. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of financial products and services to consumer, corporate and business clients, ranging from various types of deposits and loans, treasury to investment banking. 

RHB Bank Singapore is the first full bank to be conferred the prestigious S-Class (Service Class) award by SPRING Singapore as well as the first and only bank in Singapore and Malaysia to be awarded the prestigious “Best Customer Experience Management of the Year Award” in banking service by APCSC Hong Kong and most recently, awarded the SQC (Singapore Quality Class) by SPRING Singapore in June 2010.

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