Microsoft Word world champion
THIS world champion works in a food court during his polytechnic holidays.
|Edward Lay. — ALVIN TOH|
And he has never flown before.
But give him the word-processing program Microsoft Word, and he’ll whip the world.
Mr Edward Lay Yong Shun, 19, beat 40,000 participants from 66 countries to be crowned world champion at using MS Word at an annual competition in Orlando, USA, earlier this month.
His US$4,000 ($6,400) prize package included a Dell laptop computer, an HP iPAQ personal digital assistant, a Samsung portable media centre and a Microsoft Xbox game system.
Microsoft Word is part of the Microsoft Office suite, which includes other software like spreadsheet programs.
The competition involved about 14 participants sitting in front of a computer at one time, like in a virtual exam hall.
Each was given 50 minutes to answer 16 questions posed by Microsoft.
Within each question, participants had to use MS Word to perform specific tasks to show how skilled they are at the program.
The third-year IT diploma student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology – who works part-time at the Kopitiam food court in Bukit Panjang Plaza – was selected because he had won Singapore’s national Microsoft Word competition in July.
He walked away with an Xbox 360, a Microsoft Office suite and the $5,000 10-day Orlando trip.
FIRST TIME FLYING
The son of a taxi driver and a post office assistant, Mr Lay said he has never travelled beyond Malaysia before the competition.
The 18-hour flight to the US marked his first time on board an airplane.
But Mr Lay, who has a 22-year-old sister, admitted that he became homesick.
To cheer himself up, he visited the Walt Disney World theme park three times.
He said: ‘I called home after I received my trophy. My parents said the title would be helpful in future.’
Mr Lay’s family lives in a five-room HBD flat in Teck Whye.
Mr Lay’s father, My Lay Chee Choy, 61, said: ‘We are all very happy for him. But he didn’t really explain what the competition was about, and we were not very sure because we are unclear about these computer matters.’
Mr Lay’s mother, Madam Chong Kwai Chun, 55, said proudly : ‘He is a very cool and calm boy.’
The former Teck Whye Secondary School student spent about a month preparing for the Singapore competition.
After he became a local champion in July, he spent another two weeks preparing for the Orlando showdown.
This meant surviving on three to four hours of sleep a day while he juggled his final-year project in school.
He would spend a few hours with his lecturers in between classes. Then at night he would analyse books on MS Word.
He said: ‘I am very thankful to my teachers. They gave me moral support and lots of guidance, and provided books for me to read.’
In the Microsoft Excel section, the title of world champion went to Mr Tristan Horn, a 26-year-old Australian student at Charles Stuart University in New South Wales. Mr Horn is studying to become a high school teacher.
Here in Singapore, though, it’s clearly Mr Lay who’s the toast of the town.
A Ngee Ann Polytechnic spokesman said: ‘Mr Lay had burnt the midnight oil practically every day to hone his skills in Word to prepare for the competition.
‘He also did lots of research.’
Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.