Unlocking the potential of the mind


IN just mere minutes, renowned memory athlete Huang Shenghua from China was able to memorise nine rows of 12 binary digits and correctly recite them in sequence.

That would be 108 “one” and “zero” digits in a certain order, if that was not confusing enough for any normal person.

While proving that it was possible to do so, Huang said the power of the mind could achieve any thing it set out to do.

“The human brain is more capable than the computer.

“Only humans can invent while computers, despite their advanced technology, could only replicate what we do. It is also a human invention,” he told reporters after the opening of the 13th Festival of the Mind at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar)’s Kampar campus.

“Humans are innovative and can come up with a lot of things. We are also imaginative and there’s a lot of possibilities.

“We need to train our mind. I believe the usage of our mind can be expanded further,” he added.

A participant engaging in an interactive activity at the event.
A participant engaging in an interactive activity at the event.

Huang shared that he trained his mind daily using different objects.

“I practise memorising using a deck of cards or random numbers.

“After these trainings, my mind will usually have better clarity,” he said.

“These trainings not only help me but can also help the elderly prevent memory loss, ” he added.

The two-day festival themed “Great Mind” was jointly organised by the Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM), Utar and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.

Huang competed in various international memory sports and earned the International Master of Memory (IMM) title at the World Memory Championship 2014. He also broke the world record for memorising 602 abstract images within 15 minutes in December last year.

Visitors looking at sketches which show how the brain unleashes the colour memory.
Visitors looking at sketches which show how the brain unleashes the colour memory.

Huang was invited to give a talk entitled “Easy Learning, Happy Memory” at the festival, sharing tips on memory training.

ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology (AAET) honorary president Datuk Hong Lee Pee, in his speech, said it was important to have science education at a young age.

“Learning science, especially mathematics and physics, helps develop analytical capability and capacity. It also enhances logical thinking skill and imaginative power,” he said.

“These three skills are essential characteristics of a creator, inventor and innovator,” he said.

He commended MMLM for actively advocating mental literacy awareness through events, competitions, talks and workshops.

(From left) UTAR president Datuk Dr Chuan Hean Teik, Dr Ling and Hong at the opening ceremony of the fest.
(From left) Utar president Datuk Dr Chuan Hean Teik, Dr Ling and Hong at the opening ceremony of the fest.

“Today’s event is one of its ongoing efforts to encourage the public to engage and optimise their minds’ unlimited potential,” he said.

Utar chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik said keeping the physical body well was not good enough.

“We need to keep a healthy mind too.

“A healthy mind could prevent memory loss so it is equally as important. Hong had explained to me what AAET was about but I forgot about it 10 minutes later,” he joked.

Dr Ling also said the brain was the foundation for the rest of the body.

“It tells the body what to do. It also determines the wellbeing of one’s physical state,” he said.

A participant trying on virtual reality goggles while a host of activities are carried out to stimulate thinking.
A participant trying on virtual reality goggles while a host of activities are carried out to stimulate thinking.

The annual festival also saw mental arithmetic expert West Wong, Malaysia Memory Sports Council founder Teo Kim Foo and other experts highlighting the benefits of mental literacy.

Apart from talks and workshops, the festival also featured an array of activities, including an inter-varsity Sudoku competition, Paper Plane Challenge, Brain Sports, Brain Science and Virtual Reality, Brain Dietary, Brain Teasers and Eureka.

The festival was supported by LBS Bina Group Bhd, Star Media Group, Grand Kampar Hotel and Hock Seng Food (M) Sdn Bhd.

Sponsors of the festival include Yokohama, Bayer, Berocca, Top Glove, Maju Tmas and Melpac Sdn Bhd.

Students trying out the puzzle graphics at the 13th Malaysia Festival of the Mind at UTAR Kampar campus. — Photos: RONNIE CHIN/The Star
Students trying out the puzzle graphics at the 13th Malaysia Festival of the Mind at Utar Kampar campus. — Photos: RONNIE CHIN/The Star

The festival will be held next at the MINES International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) in Seri Kembangan from Nov 3 to 5.

It will be held in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair.

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