What I Learnt from an Indian Memory Champion

Update: I put my photos on Facebook so they’re here if you want to take a look at brainy stuff.
I got the flu bug and now I am feeling completely buggered! I don’t know if going for my Thai massage on Monday had anything to do with this but it seems all toxins have escaped and making my life (and nose) hell.
I’m big on diagnosing my health and at this point, I’m most likely to suffer from Wind Cold. I start coughing if I am near cool air! It sucks of course. And I detest coughing! It makes me very annoyed and disrupts my work.
Having the flu is a trinity of sore throat, running nose and cough – well that’s what a flu does to me. I am not the best of company when I get sick. I am extremely grouchy and sensitive. I start withdrawing into myself.
But I shan’t wallow in such pitiful episodes.
A Day at Forever 21
Wait a minute, it could also be due to my hectic weekend. Lisa came up from KL for a weekend. While we actually spent almost the whole of Friday shopping at Forever21 @ Queensbay Mall like some datin without work to do, I don’t think it was the trying on/changing clothes that created this episode though we were caught in a drizzle as we left the mall in the evening.
The Brainy Stuff at TAR
It could have been the next two days where I attended the Festival of the Mind at TAR College. I helped out at the Mensa Penang booth a bit though I am not a Mensa member but chewahhh….I could explain it all. (My memory since my thesis days are still good!)
An Ant/Anant Taught Us How to Remember
The talks were exciting though. I sat in during Anant Kashibatla’s session on improving memory. Now I can say my memory is like an elephant’s. But still, I’d love to hear what this Indian national memory record holder has to say about memory. He was a cute Telegu fellow with a bit of baby fat and a full head of curly hair, speaking with a dash of Indian accent.
He astounded us all when he memorized a series of 30 random digits in less than 2 minutes (earlier called out by the audience). Ya I know he is a record holder for memorizing numbers but to have seen him in action was another thing. Anant could even recite the 30 digits backwards.
Our jaws hit the lecture hall floor.
Then we were asked to remember 20 items from a slide he showed. “No…” came the long gasps from us scaredy-cat folks.
But he did it. He taught us a storytelling-visualisation technique, linking each item together in a fantastical story. That done, one Chinese lady literally jumped up to volunteer to recall the 20 items. Then came a teenager who also did it correctly. After that we were like jubilant school kids, suddenly excited and totally proud of our memory! We could all recall the 20 items, as amazing as it sounded. Corny as it sounds, we recited the 20 items for him!

Tip to Remember Forever

The key here is to turn the item you want to remember into a picture. Then link the items together with a story that sounds crazy but we’re not looking for logic now.
So to remember items like Twin Towers, hot air balloon, elephant, flowers, tent, rocket, go kart, Jackie Chan, etc. we were asked to close our eyes and imagine “The Twin Towers, where suddenly a hot air balloon comes up, in it is an elephant and it is throwing flowers down to a tent. From the tent comes a rocket which hits a go kart driven by Jackie Chan……”
Good stuff, right? The idea is to recall the story and you would have recalled the random items in proper order! You can even recall the items starting from the last item.
Use Alpha to Get What You Want
The other talk I liked was Mr Sukh Dev’s You Can Program Your Success. He was an energetic speaker with enough actions and energy to rev us all up that mid morning. Some actions were a bit too strange for me – hey, I don’t go around hugging everyone ok? He spoke of getting into alpha brain wave to gain more for our lives, be it love, money or whatever we wish. Alpha brain waves was the core topic for the 2 days (yes, I know, it was all about the brain and mind).
Read 25K words Per Minute Too
Sussanne Lee’s PhotoReading session was rewarding in that she introduced a concept (new to me at least) about how to read, absorb and understand books using your alpha! It’s not speedreading because in this new concept, you read lots more – about 25,000 words per minute. No, that’s not a typo. It’s 25K words per minute.
She didn’t go through everything in a detailed manner (eh, she’s a trainer and trains people to do photoreading so I didn’t think she’d give away her trade secrets!) as it was just an hour of time but apparently it helps you grasp information faster.
Sussanne smartly answered our skeptical questions with a prepared FAQ. Does it reduce the enjoyment of reading novels? It doesn’t. Who can do this? She works with anyone 15 years and above (especially if you’re cramming for exams like PMR, SPM etc). You can audit the course anytime once you’re done with it…it means you can sit in any time for a refresher if you forgot. (Clever comeback – if you tend to forget, the first course you should take is Anant’s improve your memory course before you take this course!)
It was totally mind-bending stuff at the 2-day festival. No wonder I ended up with the flu! I overworked and overfocused my brain!
Finally, My Brain is Old in an Awful Way
Did I tell you that I sat for this quick computer game which analysed my brain age? The 10 questions were simple enough but tested you on the speed of your response and memory. The first time, my brain age was 33 (yucks, close to my real age of 34) and me being me, I played the game again and got a brain age of 28. I asked the crew what is the lowest brain age one could be. He said 20. My friend Cecilia got 20 and she’s a mom to 3 kids (but my consolation is, she is a Mensa member so no fight lah).
Anyway, perhaps too much of brain stimulation that did me in!
My photos are in the other laptop so I will put them up asap once I get home! 😉 This post has cheered me up considerably and brought me out of my snivelling doldrums…. blogging is good for health!