Colourful Creativity with Great Mind
Now in its 15th year, Malaysia Festival of the Mind (MFotM) made a welcome return to Mines International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) from 1 November 2019 to 3 November 2019.
This annual event, held in conjunction with Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF), was jointly organised by Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF). Once again flaming fireballs, mind-blowing activities and competitions took centre stage at the event, attracting visitors of all ages and abilities.
The theme of the Festival this year was ‘Colourful Creativity with Great Mind’. It included 27 exhibitions which displayed mental literacy related products and offered various exciting activities such as origami, board games, brick building, and Augmented Reality colouring. Besides, attendees had a chance to experience a number of hands-on workshops including fingerprint technique, crime scene insects, sport stacking workshop, gamification in action, brain teaser, mentalrobics and colouring therapy, STEM 1x3x3 cube workshop, and many more.
Attendees also enjoyed making moss terrarium, as well as exploring the science behind one of the most fascinating areas of criminal investigation—forensic entomology. Forensic entomology is an aspect of forensic science to investigate death using insect as evidence. The participants were given the chance to observe fly larvae in a lab-like set up using microscope.
Apart from the exhibit, competitions which consisted of Speed Reading Competition by MEMORIAD Malaysia, STEM Cube Challenge by Kids Station, Augmented Reality Colouring Contest with ARLETA, and Elite Qualifier Sport Stacking Challenge 2019 by ISSF Malaysia were held during the day to encourage the children to show off their skills. The competitions received a warm response and were well attended by lots of parents, kids and members of the community.
For Augmented Reality Colouring Contest with ARLETA, Lee Sin Yin, an 18-year-old participant from Penang managed to outshine others by winning the first place for the 13-to-21 years old category. “I have been learning arts since I was young. I have always liked drawing and colouring and my parents knew that very well. When my dad heard about this competition, he encouraged me to participate in it,” she said. She said that she did not expect to be the winner because the other contestants were also amazing and she felt very happy about it. “This is a wonderful experience for me. I will definitely join again next year,” she added.
Debbie Chew, a parent, noticed a change in her daughter after she took part in the sport stacking activity. She said, “Sport stacking did help to improve my daughter’s concentration, hand-eye coordination and time management as it utilises both the right and left brain. Many parents recommend this sports because they can see positive changes in their children.” Her daughter Chloe Yap won the first place for doubles under age 10 with her partner Yoo Hao Ern who is also a 10-year-old competitive stacker. Both of them used one hand to stack the cups together to win the game.
Another highlight throughout the event was Speed Reading Competition. According to WBS Dynamic Workshop founder-cum-MEMORIAD Malaysia Chairperson Dr Justin Woo, the purpose of organising such competition was to encourage students to read more and help them to build better reading skills. He said research revealed that Malaysians read only two books per average in a year, and he hoped that the competition could promote lifelong learning and help people to gain more knowledge.
Moreover, the award ceremony for Mind Competitions 2019 was held during the Festival. The competitions, which were held this year on 13 April, consisted of three main categories, namely Memory Competition, Mind Mapping Competition and Mental Calculation Competition. Present at the ceremony were UTAR Chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and his spouse Toh Puan Ena Ling, Council Member Datuk Lim Si Cheng, President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) President-cum-KLESF Steering Committee Prof Ir Dr Lee Sze Wei, and UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman.
A 16-year-old student Chai Ming Feng from SMJK Sam Tet, Ipoh won the Best School Prize and the first place for the category of Dates and Events under Memory Competition. When asked, he said, “My parents brought me to a memory course to learn some memory techniques and that is where I learnt about this competition. I started joining the competition last year. Before the competition, I would usually practise for a few hours every day after school. I would occupy my weekends with intensive training to prepare for the competition.” Chai won the third place in last year’s competition and he managed to procure the first place this year. He was very happy with his good result and he said, “This competition is very beneficial for students like me. It helped a lot with my studies, especially for subjects like Science, Chemistry and Biology. I would like to encourage other students to join this competition as well.”
Another 23-year-old winner from Johor, Leong Thin Seng who was the champion for the category of Random Numbers under Memory Competition, said this is his second time winning the competition. He said, “I have been training my memory skills for four years. I won first place when I participated in the year 2016. I am very happy to win this year too. I would normally allocate a few hours to practise my memory skills every day and I use images to help me with my memorisation. For example, I would imagine a picture in my mind and then memorise the details in it before recalling it.” He then commented, “This competition is very beneficial for everyone. I am glad to have been a part of it.”
Wong Huey Jiun, parent for Liew Guan Teng who won the special prize for children aged nine and below shared, “I enrolled my son in the Power Memory School and that is how I got to know about this competition. After seeing his interest, I encouraged him to join this competition. I would normally spend a little time to train his memory skills at home. I believe competition like this is good for kids these days as studies are becoming more challenging and it requires them to use these skills. It is a good platform for them to practise and gain more exposure.”