RM51k reward in store for brainy talents


See you there: (Front row, from left) Yu Xin, Ming Ho and Lee Ting posing with the Mind Competitions poster, together with Prof Chuah (centre), flanked by MMLM committee members Ong Whee Tiong (left) and Datuk Lim Si Cheng. — LOW BOON TAT/The Star

RECALLING information can be a challenge for anyone but with the right techniques and motivation, one can achieve incredible feats, regardless of age.

Nine-year-old Wong Yu Xin proved just that in a live demonstration at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) recently.

Given a staggering 30 random numbers, the pupil from SJK(C) Kuen Cheng 1, Kuala Lumpur, took mere minutes to regurgitate the digits and even recited them in reverse order flawlessly.

Her successful showcase won her applause at the press conference for the Mind Competitions and the 18th Malaysia Festival of the Mind (MFotM) 2024.

Yu Xin will be taking part in the memory competition as part of this year’s edition of the annual Mind Competitions, which will be held on June 29. And she is looking to repeat her feat last year, which saw her being named a special prize winner in the children category (aged nine and under) for the “random numbers” memory competition.

Learning memory techniques began as early as age four for Yu Xin but it was only last year that she started practising for competitions.

“I was very happy I won last year. It was my first time taking part in a memory competition.

“To remember the numbers better, I converted them into a story. It’s easier to remember a story or picture better,” she told StarEdu.

She added that her parents encouraged her to take memory courses from a young age.

“I hope to win the RM500 cash prize for the category again this year,” she said.

Besides Yu Xin, two other pupils demonstrated their mental acuity at the press conference.

Teo Lee Ting, seven, from SJK(C) Ave Maria Convent Ipoh, Perak, was given random letters of the alphabet and could recall them all correctly.

Leong Ming Ho, nine, from SJK(C) Kuen Cheng 2, KL, showcased the power of his mental calculation by answering each question correctly within seconds – faster than a person could key in the digits on a calculator.

Open to Malaysians from preschoolers to retirees, the Mind Competitions – now in its 15th edition – will feature three contests: memory, mind mapping and mental calculation.

The event – organised by the Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM), UTAR and Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TAR UMT) – will be held concurrently at three locations: UTAR Sungai Long Campus in Selangor, UTAR Kampar Campus in Perak, and TAR UMT Penang Campus.

Participants stand to win prizes worth RM51,000, including special prizes worth RM500 each to be awarded for the children, the senior citizen, and the best school prize categories.

MMLM committee vice chairman Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Datuk Dr Chuah Hean Teik said the special prizes are to encourage young children and senior citizens to join the competitions, and schoolteachers to sign up as many of their students as possible.

Citing the vision of MMLM committee chairman and UTAR chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, who founded the literacy movement in 2006, Prof Chuah said the aim is to promote mental literacy among young students and retirees, as well as to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

“In order for us to stay healthy, one important thing is our mind. We want to encourage retirees to be more active as they still have a role to play in society.

Be it helping the young or giving services to the community, they need to have a sharp mind,” he said at the press conference held at UTAR Sungai Long Campus on April 29.

He added that with a shortage of students who are interested in STEM education not only in Malaysia but also in other countries, it is important to convey to young students, particularly those in primary schools, that having a scientific or mathematical background will allow them to be more analytical, which is what is needed in the future workforce.

“A lot of students now think science is very difficult and mathematics is very dry. So, they tend to shy away from these subjects.

“But if you have too many students neglecting STEM, it will be a big issue. In this digital era, you need a lot of students to be software engineers, to master artificial intelligence,” he said.

Yu Xin’s headmistress Lye Fei Ching said she will encourage her pupils to take part in the competitions.

“Some children don’t like digits but if they learn memory techniques, they may become more interested in mathematics.

“And there are some children whose talents we may not be aware of,” she said.

Since its inception, the Mind Competitions have attracted 19,522 participants.

Winners of this year’s contests will receive their prizes at the award ceremony during the 18th MFotM, held in conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) 2024 from Nov 8 to 10 at the Mines International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) in Selangor.

Launched in 2007, the MFotM will offer a line-up of activities aligned with MMLM’s vision of highlighting the importance of mental literacy. Members of the public are welcome to visit the festival and take part in lucky draws. Mind Competitions 2024

Register by: June 15

> Open to all ages, the event will be held on June 29 at UTAR Sungai Long Campus, UTAR Kampar Campus and TAR UMT Penang Campus.

> Three competitions: memory, mind mapping and mental calculation.

> Memory Competition (four categories): random words, random numbers, dates and events, random letters of the alphabet.

> Mind Mapping Competition (two categories): participants aged five to 12; participants aged 13 and over. Each category consists of two sections: mind mapping from a written text, and freestyle creative mind map.

> Mental Calculation (two components): mental additions and mental multiplications.

> Top three prizes: 1st prize (RM4,000), 2nd prize (RM2,000), 3rd prize (RM1,000).

> Special prizes: RM500 each for the children (aged nine and under), the senior citizen (aged 60 and over), and the best school prize (for the school with the highest number of registered students) categories.

Details: Log on to mmlm.utar.edu.my, call 03-9086 0288 (ext: 810), or email mmlm@utar.edu.my

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