Sancy Suraj has memorised 160 colours sequence in 5 minutes 20 seconds, 460 random binary digits in 15 minutes, 1505 digits of Pi. Hailing from Singapore, Sancy Suraj is the man that has the best memory in the country.
Here is something you might not expect, Sancy claims there is nothing superhuman about his brain and that growing up, he always had an average memory. Having his ability to memorize took a few years of practice.
Sancy is a memory athlete and according to him, training to become a memory athlete is easier than most people think. Anyone can learn the techniques memory athletes use to memorize hundreds of words or thousands of digits.
Sancy, What memory feats can you do?
Sancy Suraj: At the World Memory Championships I memorized, 176 abstract images in 15 minutes, 98 words in 15 minutes, 480 numbers in 60 minutes, 51 names, and faces in 15 minutes, 460 binary digits in 30 minutes.
I also held the Guinness World Record For The Longest Colour Sequenced Memorised; Memorized 160 colours in 5 minutes 20 seconds.
I currently hold the Singapore Pi Memorization Record at 1505 digits of Pi.
What was it like taking part at the World Memory Championships?
Sancy Suraj: Although it was pretty intense, I really enjoyed it. I got to meet Tony Buzan and 8-time world memory champion, Dominic O Brian. Tony Buzan was especially nice, he gave me some pretty good pointers on some of the memory techniques I was using. After the competing with the world’s best memory athlete at the World Memory Championships, my ability to memorize also increased significantly. That allowed me to break the world record for The Longest Colour Sequence Memorized a couple of months later.
Did you always have a good memory?
Sancy Suraj: Not at all. I had to work on my memory. There is a quote by Dominic O’ Brian that sums this up ” There is no such thing as a good or bad memory, only trained and untrained ones.” Just like how I wasn’t born with the ability to read or write, the same thing applies to my memorization skill. I had to learn the techniques and I practice a lot.
What is the best way for the general population to improve their memory?
Sancy Suraj: There are a lot of things that people can do to improve their memory. The best way to improve your memory is to learn basic memory techniques. Memory techniques are important to learn because it will teach you the applicable principles of memory; encoding, storage & retrieval.
How did you learn these memory techniques?
Sancy Suraj: Books. My first memory techniques book was “Use Your Head” by Tony Buzan. This is a good place to start for anyone interested in learning basic memory techniques. Since then I have read every single book on memory that I could get my hands on, from the 1800s right up to the latest memory books release. I’m also a fan of reading research papers and journal articles on memory. There are hundreds of journal articles on memory improvement as well as mnemonics.
What are mnemonics?
Sancy Suraj: Mnemonics, pronounced ‘with a silent ‘M’, are memory aids. Mnemonics are anything that can help us remember information better. A very simple mnemonic is ROYGBIV for remembering the colours of the rainbow. ROYGBIV= Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. That is an example of an acronym mnemonics. Some students may have used it in school. However, we, as memory athletes do not use the acronym mnemonic as it is not reliable. For example what if there are two ‘S’ or three ‘R’? Which one comes first? Instead, we use more advance mnemonic techniques like the method of loci or the major system.
Do you teach memory techniques full time?
Sancy Suraj: Yes and no.
I currently run 4 companies. Pinnacle Minds is a memory training company that was founded in 2011. Some of my clients include Bank of Singapore, Nasdaq, GIC.
Knowles Training Institute is a corporate training solutions company that was founded in 2018. Some of my clients there are Johnson & Johnson, ST Engineering, Deloitte.
The 2 new companies are The Umonics Method is a preschool memory training enrichment program and Neurodecks is an educational toy that we plan to launch sometime late 2020.
Do you use memory techniques in your daily life?
Sancy Suraj: Yes. I do not only use them to memorize colours or pi. I use the techniques to remember names and faces of people I meet professionally and personally.
One of my favourite technique is used for memorizing client’s bio. I use this technique to memorize important facts about a client before going in for a meeting with them.
I also use a lot of memory techniques when it comes to memorizing general knowledge facts, books I’ve read and even new vocabulary!
Article Title: Meet Sancy Suraj, The Man With The Best Memory in Singapore.
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