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ASEAN Student Science Project Competition (ASPC)

Participating in the ASEAN Student Science Project Competition (ASPC) was definitely an eye-opening and insightful experience for all of us. ASPC is a regional science competition with participants from various countries, including Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. We were very grateful for the opportunity to present our research projects to a panel of judges, in the Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences categories respectively.

We were greeted by a warm welcome in the Opening Ceremony, with speeches by representatives from various institutes, such as the National Science Museum of Thailand, and Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. While the ceremony was held virtually, it was still very exciting for us to meet and get to know the other participants.

Other than that, there were numerous fringe activities held, one of which being the “Who is the Best Detective of ASPC 2021” trivia competition. We were faced with questions that quizzed us on fun facts from a range of scientific fields, such as Astronomy and Chemistry. Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience, and we learnt many shocking tidbits of information through the fun facts presented.

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Ms Vicki from the National Science Museum of Thailand hosting the trivia quiz, where we were all scrambling to place in the Top 10!

In terms of the judging, it was definitely an enriching experience, as the judges’ questions raised various new areas for consideration, should we continue to pursue our research in the future. The format was different from SSEF and it was certainly exciting. We submitted a 7 minutes presentation, had a 3 minutes live presentation as well as a 10 minutes Q&A segment. We received constructive feedback on how to improve our experimentation, such as in the set-up and data collection stages. Hearing such diverse and insightful perspectives helped to broaden our worldview, and was really enlightening as well. Eventually, we found out that both our teams had obtained awards -- Yun Xin placed 1st in the Physical Sciences category, while Si Yu and Maggie placed 1st in the Biological Sciences category.

Overall, the entire research process -- from experimentation to the final stage of presenting our findings -- was an insightful one. Resilience was a key takeaway from the research process, as we often obtained results contradictory to our hypotheses, and had to adapt our experimentation methods accordingly. Participating in SSEF, and later on ASPC definitely illustrated the importance of juggling both the scientific aspects and the communication aspects; it was imperative that we could bring across the significance of our research to not just industry professionals but also the general public. We are extremely grateful to have been nominated to present our research projects. We would also like to thank our respective teacher mentors, Ms Cheong Szu Chuang and Dr Lim Ai Khim, for their continued guidance and support throughout, as well as Mr De Souza and Mr Ho and Ms Soh for rehearsing with us, giving us valuable feedback and guiding us through the entire process.