Monday, 26 July 2010


A few weeks ago, Mr. Happy approached me and asked how I would feel about taking a memory class.

Hmmm, I thought, is this going to be like the time he wanted to learn to sing off the internet...or take an improv class over the phone...or learn how to talk in foreign accents from a book? It turned out, No.

At the Oxbridge Society, Mr. Happy had been introduced to Lim Teck Hoe a medalist at the World Memory Championships and current Asia Memory Record Holder. Lim opened a school in Malaysia called Switch which teaches techniques for mental development. Among his students is Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysia's longest serving Prime Minister.

It seemed...interesting. Mr. Happy is taking law classes and has to memorize thousands of case studies. He was looking for mental shortcuts. I was looking for a way to remember where I laid my keys.

We took three private classes with Lim and within the first hour we were already memorizing chains of information, numbers, and formulas.

It was remarkable. He could write a twenty digit number on the board. At first glance you'd say, "That's impossible to remember." After Lim taught us about memory hooks and pegs, it suddenly took us 10 minutes and we could recite the number forward, backward, and sideways without even thinking about it.

It was a game. And it was fun...because I was much better than Mr. Happy!

We utilized four main techniques - memory pegs (replacing numbers with words), linking, loci, and substitution. The concept is to change the abstract into something concrete. Suddenly your mind has something to latch on to and trigger a response.

It was pretty impressive, by our third class we could memorize the list of US Presidents, Kings & Queens of England, Bahasa Malay, even a bit of Chinese within minutes!  

The key to our memorization practice is repetition. So in order for us to retain all of our new information, we needed to revise it after one hour, one day, one week, one month, one quarter. I wish someone had taught this to me when I was a kid!

Of course all of our classes ended on a sweet note with delicious lunches. Lim definitely remembers the best restaurants in town!

Mr. Happy and I were very impressed with the course and the new skills we developed. We certainly won't forget it anytime soon!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Out of Sight!

Today I expanded my repertoire of alternative massage. You may remember my foray into Prison Massage in Thailand back in September. Today, I went with the Malaysian Cultural Group for a...Blind Massage.

The theory behind it is that the blind have a superior sense of touch which allows them to perform a massage more attuned to your musculature. This salon specialized in Taiwanese massage, also a new form of massage for me. My masseur used oil and it was a lot like a Swedish massage with a bit of acupressure mixed in for some fun.

I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed this massage. I would imagine the quality will depend on the masseur, but our group only had rave reviews.

This sign was posted near the shoe rack.

Why do you think it is only "male shoes" that are disappearing? Apparently a customer asked where his shoes had gone and the proprietor said he didn't see a thing! (Sorry, bad attempt at blind massage humor.)

We ran into a bit of a problem when half of our group failed to turn up at the appointed time. When we called to track down the others, they were already 15 minutes into their rubdown...they had gone to the wrong place! Yes, there are that many blind massage parlours in this neighborhood!

The place we most of us went to is called Urut Tradisional PB (4A Jln. Thambapillay, off Jln. Tun Sambanthan - behind the monorail 03-227 41 337). It is run by Lee Sheng Chow, who is instrumental in training and finding employment for visually impaired individuals in Malaysia. Agnes, Au Yong, and Mr. Lawrence all come highly recommended. The price was 40rm for a 1 hour massage, how can you go wrong??

After our kneading, we got on with our eating. We went to a group buffet lunch at Jassal's.

That's when the rain arrived. The skies opened up!

I tried to wait it out, but patience is not one of my virtues. I made a run for it. On my walk dash home, I saw smoke pouring out of a store front. I stopped and saw this...

A religious ceremony with lots and lots of incense burning. I think it might have been a wedding, but I was the only guest. I snuck a quick photo.

Just a typical day in Malaysia.

Mr. Hoppy from Hong Kong

Friends or ours from London recently moved to Hong Kong and were in KL for a little work and play. Best of all, they bought along our newest best friend, 2-year-old Mr. Hoppy!

He loves to hop from place to place. He's also a whiz at putting together puzzles. In the above photo, he was helping Mr. Happy figure out were the pieces go.

Having a toddler in tow, we were able to check out some places we don't normally visit. We went to the KLCC Aquarium.

Fun...but scary!

We also took a trip to the KL Bird Park! It's the largest free flight aviary in the world. It was amazing!

Additionally, we had lunch at the Buddhist temple (Mr. Hoppy remarked, "No meat!" when he saw his plate).  We watched fountains, went to the playground, shopping, swimming, was exhausting!

We had lots of fun with Mr. Hoppy. Mr. Happy declared, "He has all the qualities I admire in a child." Hope he visits again soon!