What’s better than spending a day in Bangkok? Spending the day in Bangkok with 3 400 scholars from all over the world, hosted by awesome people at a truly unique competition!
The World Scholar’s Cup kicked off to a tremendous ovation at the official opening this morning. We decided to get to the venue early so that we could get good seats and watch the rest of the scholar’s as they arrived. First off, we were treated to a display of traditional dance by performers from a local university. Then the moment we had all been waiting for arrived…
The conference center was plunged into darkness, then the Imperial March sounded out through the speakers. The conference center exploded with the sound of screaming voices! For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Imperial March is the theme music for Darth Vader from the Star Wars Films. The sound of a revving engine drowned out the theme music, then headlights appeared to our right. Was it a Supercar or perhaps Darth Vader himself who had infiltrated the building in his Executor ship? We waited with bated breath as the light from the headlights grew brighter and the sound of the motor grew louder.
The vessel came into view, the lights lit the room and the vehicle was revealed. It was a, wait, we’re not sure yet, it was a…Tuk-Tuk? A Tuk-Tuk? That couldn’t be right. But wait, who’s that behind the wheel? It could be The Stig. Oh…no, it’s just a Tuk-Tuk driver. There’s movement in the back of the Tuk-Tuk, there must be someone important in there. The King of Thailand? The Prime Minister? It turned out to be somebody much more exciting. It was Daniel Berdichevsky, the Alpaca-in-chief of the World Scholar’s Cup, holding a grey Skittles! There was something on the roof of the Tuk-Tuk, a large lump. The lump began moving! It was Burch Wang, co-organiser, singer and entertainer! He was hanging on for dear life as the Tuk-Tuk zoomed in at 5km/h.
Daniel and Burch hopped off the Tuk-Tuk as it came to stop. “AY YO SCHOLARS!”, was the cry from Burch. The venue erupted in cheers once again. “Welcome to World Scholar’s Cup Global Round, in Thailand!” shouted Daniel. We cheered and watched as some Alpaca’s were launched into the audience, to the great delight of those seated near the front. After a brief welcome from Daniel and Burch, each participating country was introduced to the venue. The introductions were done in alphabetical order so we had to wait patiently for our turn.
South Africa was announced over the P.A. system. We all rose and gave our best and loudest Pwaa. The girls from Grace Trinity weren’t too far away from us so together we gave a pretty raucous rendition of the Pwaa cry. Our South African Ambassador to Thailand, Ms Ruby Marks kindly attended the event and was asked to share a few words on behalf of the South Africans. Ms Marks gave the best speech of all the diplomats in attendance. Her distinct accent lent itself perfectly to her ‘rhyme’ that brought the house down. The ending of her speech went as follows: “We have come to slay, we have not come to play because we are Flawless!”. Flawless is the name of the theme song that Burch created for the event. Burch was gobsmacked by the speech and even congratulated Ms Marks on her rhyme!
Once all of the introductions were completed we had some lunch and then it was time for the Scavenger Challenge where we were split into teams consisting of members from different countries where we had to work together to complete the Scavenger hunt. On the whole we had a great time interacting with the scholars from various countries. At times there were misunderstandings due to the differences in accents and English speaking ability but we managed to get the hunt completed successfully and had a lot of fun while doing it!
There was a short time for a bite to eat before we headed off to the Scholar’s Social. The organisers of the WSC kindly arranged ping-pong tables, target-shooting ranges, a dunk tank and many smaller games for us to participate in while Burch and co. dropped the beats on the stage. We mingled with the scholars from various countries and learnt so much about the people we interacted with. It seemed that most of the scholars preferred to skip the social in favour of preparing for the WSC challenges tomorrow so there weren’t too many people in the venue. We didn’t stay for very long and then headed back to the hotel to have an ‘earlier’ night to hopefully be at our best tomorrow for the debating activities and knowledge test.
All in all it was a great first day at the WSC. We are looking forward to testing our academic skills against the best that the world has to offer. After all, we didn’t come to play, we came to slay!