Memory club as a CCA for Singapore Poly?

Four memory athletes from Singapore Polytechnic's Memory Sports Club battle it out in a fun challenge to memorise a grocery list. Who will load up his or her trolley with the most number of correct items?

Students keen to make it official as memory sports gain traction

With rising awareness of memory sports - where competitors memorise things such as sequences of numbers, words and binary numbers within a time limit - a group of Singapore Polytechnic (SP) students is looking to set up a memory club co-curricular activity (CCA).

Already, 14 of them have been practising memory techniques for the past three months and, as a result, are able to train their peers.

Eleven of them competed at the Singapore Open Memory Championship over the weekend.

Among them was second-year student Hong Yu Chao, 19, who was inspired by the Chinese reality programme The Brain.

The show, which started in 2014, garnered traction worldwide and aired on local free-to-air TV. It features memory athletes demonstrating their skill in challenges such as memorising barcodes and identifying minute differences between two walls of coloured tiles.

He said: "I find that they are very 'inhuman'. Their feats are almost impossible to achieve."

However, first-year student Tanaaz Ketan Mistry, 17, had a more academic reason for wanting to train her memory.

She said: "I've always wanted to expand my memory because I found it very difficult to remember concepts in triple science when I was in secondary school."

Another 40 students from SP, who learnt memory techniques but did not compete, volunteered in organising the competition which drew more than 80 competitors from 11 countries.

A spokesman for SP, which is one of the co-organisers of the event, said the competition was a "good national platform for students to hone their memory skills and techniques".

Both the idea of the memory club and SP's involvement in the event were encouraged by SP alumni Wellon Chou, 28, and Gerald Lim, 21. They are the president and vice-president of the Singapore Memory Sports Association respectively.

Both were coursemates while pursuing their diplomas in engineering with business.

The reporter tests Singapore Polytechnic students Nadine Chiun and Tanaaz Ketan Mistry, both 17, with some memory challenges. In memory sports, competitors memorise things such as sequences of numbers, words and binary numbers within a time limit. An
The reporter tests Singapore Polytechnic students Nadine Chiun and Tanaaz Ketan Mistry, both 17, with some memory challenges. In memory sports, competitors memorise things such as sequences of numbers, words and binary numbers within a time limit. An informal interest group was formed in the polytechnic in July. PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

MOTIVATING FACTOR

I've always wanted to expand my memory because I found it very difficult to remember concepts in triple science.

MS TANAAZ KETAN MISTRY, a first-year student, on wanting to train her memory.

 

While schooling, they co-founded memory training company Memory Ark in 2014.

Since graduating from SP two years ago, they have been running the company full-time.

Wanting to give back to SP and to promote memory sports at the same time, they offered to train existing students and also reached out to the school through a lecturer they knew.

Through that channel, an informal interest group was formed in July under the mentorship of Mr Roger Chiun, who is a senior lecturer at SP's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

He said the students also had plans to conduct memory training for senior citizens as a form of community service.

The students are in the middle of crafting a proposal, which they intend to submit by the end of the year, to turn their informal group into an official campus CCA.

Among other requirements, they have to come up with a club structure and also submit a list of at least 50 students who want to become members.

SP, which has 113 student-led CCA clubs on campus, said proposals would be considered based on a number of factors, such as the proposed club's nature and its sustainability.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Memory club as a CCA for Singapore Poly?'. Print Edition | Subscribe