Rising to challenge of mapping minds

TENGKU Faizwa Tengku Razif had turned down several job offers, including a much sought after one as television newscaster, when she graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia four years ago.  

This had puzzled many, including her proud parents, Norida Zainol and Tengku Razif Tengku Haris, but it was not long after that they found out why.  

Their daughter, now 25, is one of the pioneer Malay trainers specialising in brain learning. She is one of the five Malaysians who are licensed as Tony Buzan trainers.  

Buzan, the inventor of the now world-famous mind maps, was in town recently to conduct a number of seminars.  

VIP STUDENT: Faizwa and Lim coaching Tun Mahathir at this office last year.

Faizwa was introduced to creative thinking and mind mapping by her lecturer in 1999. 

Her lecturer, Dr Fitri Zainul, is a Tony Buzan fan.  

But the turning point was at the end of 2002 when she attended a seminar on memory conducted by Asia Memory Record Holder Lim Teck Hoe, a Malaysian. 

“We worked together after that seminar,” said Faizwa, who together with her mum and Lim went on to become business partners by setting up the company Switch (www.theswitch.com.my) early last year. 

The company conducts workshops, camps and seminars on education and training; provides consultation/facilitation services for organisations; and manages special events like conference on mental literacy and mind sports championship and certification. 

Faizwa and Lim are trainers while Norida, with her vast corporate experience in human resources management for more than 20 years, is certainly a big boost for the two budding young entrepreneurs. 

Faizwa: Finds her job fun and meaningful

Switch, said Faizwa, would be spreading its wings to countries like Brunei, the Philippines and Dubai soon.  

Faizwa who is fluent in English and Bahasa Malaysia, runs courses mainly for children and students while Lim, who also knows Chinese, focuses more on adults.  

“I find my job fun and meaningful. You feel proud seeing the children’s accomplishments in their memory skills,” said Faizwa, who had once aspired to be a writer 

Faizwa, who has two younger siblings, Tengku Aira, 24 and Tengku Sirri, 18, said they speak English at home.  

“I like to read story books, swim, listen to music and travel,” she said. Her collection of books includes many on motivation and child development. 

“I also watch a movie at least once a week,” said Faizwa. 

She believes that children should not be deprived of their chance to enjoy their childhood because their parents want them to score high marks in the examinations.  

And learning must be something enjoyable as well, she quipped, adding that “learning how to learn” would be a very good foundation for children. 

There is an increasing awareness on this with some parents wanting to send their children, as young as five, to undergo such programmes.  

But to Faizwa, the ideal age is nine as their attention span would be longer then.  

Her students are aged between nine and 80, and include former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. 

Faizwa and Lim conducted two sessions of coaching, two hours each, for their two VIP students in May last year. 

Faizwa hopes the course would be made available to all Malaysian children.  

“I hope the government can include it in the school curriculum,” she said.  

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