Participants had to think on the spot, applying their knowledge and expertise to answer questions in double quick time
Participants had to think on the spot, applying their knowledge and expertise to answer questions in double quick time

The rigours of the CapitaMalls Asia (CMA) Technician Challenge 2013 were nothing new to Patrick Jairaj Temmutetu from Gurney Plaza in Malaysia. After all, he is a veteran at the game.

“I was a finalist in the first two Technician Challenges as well,” said Temmutetu who was in Beijing to take part in this year’s Grand Finals along with his two team mates, Sharmilan A/L Gharwarytason and Devan Simon A/L Simon Martin. “The questions were tough but they were still manageable.”

Into its third year, the CMA Technician Challenge is a competition amongst the technicians of CapitaMalls across Asia, jointly organised by CapitaMalls Asia’s Engineering Design and Technical Services and Human Resources departments.

The objectives of the Technician Challenge are to develop the technicians and raise their skills levels in an engaging and interactive manner. This year, the finals were held outside Singapore for the first time. Holding the finals in China gave a new dimension to the competition as it included geography-specific challenges faced by technicians operating in a country with four seasons.

While Temmutetu may be a seasoned competitor, the experience of meeting compatriots from other CapitaMalls continues to be refreshing for him.

“We had a wonderful time interacting with the teams from Singapore and other parts of Malaysia. Even though we spoke different languages, we still found a way to ‘talk’ to our Chinese counterparts through friendly gestures,” said the Senior Technician.

A Test of Knowledge

This year’s challenge began as early as June 2013. Nearly 800 technicians from CMA took part in a written test that grilled them not only on their technical knowledge, which took up 80 per cent of the questions, but also their understanding of the corporate culture of the company, which made up the rest of the quiz.

“I learnt a lot about the corporate aspects of CapitaMalls Asia as well as the non-technical portions,” said Sam Seow from Singapore who made it to the finals along with team mates Justin Wong and Masngut bin Margimin.

In the end, representatives from China, Singapore and Malaysia were selected to participate in the Grand Finals in August last year.

A Test of Skills

In the finals, the participants were given both written and practical tests in four gruelling rounds.

“This being the third year, we expanded the scope of questions, and tweaked some to make them more challenging. We also included real-life-scenario problems,” said Mr Chow Chee Khang, Head of Engineering Design and Technical Services, CMA.

From questions of a mechanical and electrical nature that touched on anything from air-conditioning to fire protection; sanitation, gas and plumbing; to vertical transportation, the challenge also included categories such as operations, green practices, and corporate culture. In addition, the teams were asked to fix an electrical circuit in the final round.

“The questions that involved calculations were the toughest because most of my time on-site has been spent on hands-on activities. I hardly do any calculations,” said Mohd Sham Bhari. “Some of the questions were also rather tricky and we had such a short time to answer them.”

“It was mentally challenging to be on unfamiliar ground,” added team-mate Masngut who was participating for the first time.

In the end, it was the China team that distinguished themselves. They walked away with an iPad each and the Champion trophy.

“Of course, we had hoped to win,” said Li Guan Tao, a three-time finalist of the Technician Challenge. “But what we got out of the whole experience was so much more. We personally felt the company’s deep commitment to improving the knowledge and skills of their employees.”

“I didn’t expect to go up on stage to represent my country. At the finals, I was very moved by the support my countrymen and the company gave us. I was quite relaxed though,” smiled his teammate Pu Yong Xian. “My main objective was to learn from the experience.”

A Chance to Improve

The Individual Overall Champion, who was given a S$10,000 scholarship, also came from China.

“I am going to use the money to do undergraduate courses in property management.” said Cai Feng, who works in CapitaMall Jinshui in Zhengzhou.

“The glory of winning is not mine alone. I have the guidance and help from my colleagues and supervisors to thank for. I am also really appreciative of the chance to meet colleagues from other countries who shared their knowledge and skills accumulated from their day-to-day experiences.”

The networking, the sharing of knowledge, the platform to exchange information and solution – the CMA Technician Challenge 2013 has definitely fulfilled its objective to help the company build and develop its people and together strive for greater heights.