An Indian-origin Singaporean boy has brought laurels to the island country thanks to his razor-sharp memory by winning two golds at the recently held World Memory Championships at Hong Kong.
12-year-old Dhruv Manoj won two golds in the ‘names and faces’ and ‘random words’ disciplines, beating out 56 other contestants in the kids' category.
This wonder boy memorised 87 names and faces in 15 minutes, more than seven decks of shuffled cards in an hour and, 1,155 binary numbers in half an hour. He was the only boy to represent Singapore in the competition where over 260 contestants from China, Russia, India, Taiwan and Malaysia participated.
The Sembawang Primary student had an arduous training for the competition this year as he had to appear for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
Dhruv would squeeze in two to three hours of practice a week before the exams and only began intensive training in October. He would practise memorising binary numbers and cards, among other drills, for about four to six hours a day.
“The toughest part was concentrating on what I have to do because, for most of my friends, PSLE just ended… For me, sitting down there and practising… it was hard, but I managed to pull through,” said Dhruv.
Dhruv has mastered the Roman memory technique of creating memory palaces, which works by associating the ideas or objects to be memorised with scenes imagined at familiar locations, such as one’s house.
To remember a deck of cards, for instance, Dhruv creates a memory palace in his school. He imagines a seven of spades as a goose playing on the piano, the three of diamonds as fishes flying in the air near the school pond, and the king of hearts as the American comedian Kevin Hart laughing hysterically while coming out from the general office.
This wonder boy is duly supported by his father Dr Manoj Prabhakar, who works as a management consultant in the oil and gas industry. He forks out about SGD3,000 to SGD4,000 a year on his son’s travel expenses and participation fees, which usually ranges between SGD100 to SGD200.
Last year, Dhruv broke the children’s category world record in ‘Names and Faces’ section of the World Memory Championship which was held in Jakarta. He was able to match 96 names to faces correctly, of the 240 given. The competitors were given only 15 minutes to memorise names and faces and 30 minutes to recall and pen their answers.