TO be able to identify 197 countries is a feat few can achieve, much less do it within two minutes and 54 seconds.
But for Sriram Letchumanan who will only turn eight in June, it is an exercise he can do effortlessly, even earning him a spot in the Malaysia Book of Records on Jan 22 for identifying the most number of countries using border outline.
Sriram’s passion for geography was sparked at the age of six when his engineer parents, noticing that their son took an interest in flags, provided him with geography-related materials.Their intention was to keep him engaged in some form of educational activity.
This turned out to be a worthwhile effort as within two years, the SK Seri Permai, Penang, pupil could identify countries merely based on their geographical outlines.
“I’m very excited and happy to be in the Malaysia Book of Records. Identifying the countries was not too tough as I have done it many times at home.
“I like knowing where each country is on the map, so I like to look at the world map.
“I also want to travel to all these countries someday when I grow up, such as visiting all the states in the United States and Johannesburg in South Africa,” Sriram told StarEdu.
Unlike most children his age, Sriram would engage with his parents’ friends by asking them about their travels.
“He would often conduct quizzes where he would provide our guests with clues of certain landmarks and get them to guess which country they are located at. Our family and friends have commented on how unusual this is for a child his age,” said his mother Vithya Letchumanan.
“As he progressed, we realised his strength and talent. So we thought it would be a wonderful source of motivation for him to attempt setting a national record,” she added.
Sriram also often spends time online playing geography quizzes and a geographic discovery game to identify countries based on satellite photos, his father Letchumanan said.
He added that while he would help his son find online platforms to explore his interest, the boy does the activities independently and is a quick learner.