Two questions stood in the way of the finalists. Up until then, Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH) and Anglican High School were neck and neck.
Then the Nanyang students got the crucial edge as they correctly guessed the Chinese idiom tou tian huan ri, which roughly means to deceive with an audacious scheme.
When the Anglican team failed to answer the last question yesterday, Nanyang was crowned champions of the National Chinese Challenge 2015, which was held for the second year. It was jointly organised by Chinese news daily Lianhe Zaobao and NYGH, where the semi-finals and finals were held.
In the finals, teams were tested on their knowledge of current online lingo and pop culture, as well as their ability to translate or recognise dialects.
Anglican High finished second, while first-time participant Presbyterian High School was third.
Mr Goh Sin Teck, editor of Lianhe Zaobao, said: "This year, we made it more interesting and challenging for the students. We wanted to show them Chinese as a language can be fun and exciting to learn.
"In the future, we hope to be able to bring the competition to the public, and let more people know how fun Chinese is."
Last year, 760 students from more than 30 schools participated in the inaugural National Chinese Challenge. This year, over 1,200 students from 51 schools took part.
Shi Peng Yi, 16, a Secondary 4 student and member of the winning team, said of the experience: "Pressing the buzzer to answer the questions was extremely stressful... We also had to make quick decisions on what the answer was."
This article was first published on April 25, 2015.
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