As strokes of drumbeats descended on stage, visitors watched in amazement the performance by UTAR Festive Seasons Dance Troupe during the launching ceremony of the 10th Festival of the Mind at Dewan Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, UTAR Perak Campus on 21 June 2014.
Immediately after the performance, UTAR Council Chairman-cum-Chairman of Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was invited to deliver his opening address. He started by greeting the VIPs comprising UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Director for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College Perak Campus Assoc Prof Dr Choy Siew Chee, UTAR Planning and Development Committee advisor Tan Sri Hew See Tong, MMLM committee members and his wife, Toh Puan Ena Ling. He then expressed appreciation to the MMLM organisers, sponsors and supporters who have worked hard to ensure the success of the two-day event.
Tun Ling proceeded to talk about the importance of memory in life. “If you want to remember more, pictorialise as much as you can to get a clearer picture. It will automatically enhance your memory. Picture the subject, give colour to it and you will remember better,” informed Tun Ling. He exposed lessons learnt from Anant Kasibhatla, an Indian national record holder for memory who is often quoted as the man with the most phenomenal memory in India. Ever the bewitching orator, Tun Ling also endeared himself to the crowd by crooning lines from a Chinese children’s song titled “客人来” (The Guest is Here).
“The calculator is ready,” hyped West Wong Woon Chieng, a guest performer and star attraction of the day’s event. After multiplying random numbers suggested by volunteers, the Malaysia Human Calculator continued to sweep audience with his lightning speed calculations and prodigious mental arithmetic skills. A showcase on Human Calendar highlighted his ingenious ability to name the day of an impromptu date, be it in the past or in the future. His answer to each equation has been precise and emphatic, regardless of how complicated it is for humans minds to decipher and under normal circumstances, he even outclassed the processing speed of a digital calculator. Wong, also a UTAR alumnus, is, to date, Malaysia’s sole medalist from the prestigious Mental Calculation Olympic or Memoriad. He garnered a bronze medal in the Flash Anzan category during the 2012 Memoriad in Antalya, Turkey.
Wong raised eyebrows further by showcasing the abilities of his protégé from Powerhouse Academy, a precociously talented six-year-old named Djarkariel Antonius Gomez who is also affectionately known as ‘Lapu’ to his loved ones. Despite his tender age, Lapu has demonstrated remarkable calculation and memorising skills that rival most thinking adults.
The launching ceremony ended with a tour of the exhibition venue by the VIPs. Fourteen public talks by renowned speakers and seven workshops were held over the two days of the festival. There were also an exhibition, mind games, MENSA admission test, and showcasing of Leonard Personality Inventory and other mental literacy related products.
The annual Festival of the Mind is a brainchild of MMLM and has attracted favourable response from all segments of society, from young school-going children to working adults and retirees since its inaugural launch in 2007. It aims to imprint the importance of mental literacy among the general public and to create greater awareness about the human mind and ways of tapping into and developing one’s brain power. It also aims to introduce and to promote various techniques and skills pertaining to the improvement of mental literacy, such as memory skills, thinking skills, creativity, and personality profiling.
Established in 2002 with 411 students, today, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) offers more than 110 programmes in fields including Accountancy, Actuarial Science, Agriculture, Arts, Business and Economics, Creative Industries and Design, Engineering and Built Environment, Information and Communication Technology, Life and Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Process Management, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Social Science and Education to over 23,000 students in its nine faculties, three institutes and three centres located in three Klang Valley campuses in Bandar Sungai Long, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya and the main campus in Kampar, which was awarded the Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (Malaysian Institute of Architects) gold award in the education category in 2013. The employability of its 33,000 over graduates exceeds 97 percent within six months after graduation.
For more information, go to www.utar.edu.my