On 20th July, 2019, the ALOHA Mental Arithmetic International Competition was held in Foshan, China. As the ‘Olympics of Mental Arithmetic’, citing sources from Chinese media, the competition receives nearly 700 participants from 17 countries, including China, Russia, Spain, Bangladesh, India and Mexico. Besides, the event was graced by the appearance of our honoured guests and parents, as well as Consul Generals and embassies officers of many countries.
At 10:00am, following the entrance into the hall of national representatives bearing their national flags respectively, the Competition officially began. After the rules of the competition had been read in national language of each participating countries, all participants were given the test sheets. As the bell rings, the 5-minute competition began. It started with paper flipping sounds as participants flipped over the test sheets and began to demonstrate their mental arithmetics skills. The hall was then filled with complete silence apart from the ticking sounds from their abacus. Participants were fully focused on their test sheets, which consisted of as many as 70 calculations.
Parents, while waiting patiently outside the hall, were invited to watch the children’s performance on live broadcast, via wide screens outside the hall and their mobile devices. This is the second time ALOHA International Competition implements online live streaming. Friends and families overseas at their hometown were invited to join and interact as the competition went on.
The 5-minute challenge flies as an arrow. As the music signalling the end of the exam played, the competition was announced concluded. Many participants were jumping in excitement as they were handed over the Participation Certificates, medals and a meal from McDonald’s.
During the break in the interview session with the Guangdong Television, Mr. Alexander Smirnov, the Consul General of Russia in Guangzhou praised the ‘high organization level’ of the competition. On the other hand, Mr. Ricardo Daniel Delegado Muñoz, the Consul General of Mexico in Guangzhou emphasized the importance of the competition as children are not only allowed to “come participate and use their knowledge to solve arithmetic problems”, but also “use these kind of knowledge to solve daily-life-basis problems”. Madam Susan Xu, the CEO of ALOHA China, explained to journalists that the purpose of holding a competition on an international level is to allow children to experience foreign culture at an early age. Mr. Chin Kon Fock, the Vice Chairman of the Malaysia Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Association, said that the ALOHA program is useful to nurture children’s interest and confidence in maths. Besides, speaking to the Chinese media agencies, Mrs. Kiran Motwani, the International Director of ALOHA, called the Competition ‘a family gathering’.
After the lunch break, guests and participants were welcomed by the traditional Chinese Lion dance performance and a Wing Chun – Chinese Martial Arts demonstration. All were then invited to join the ALOHA ‘Colours of the World’ performance, where children from each participating countries performed the folk dances of their respective countries, followed by a warm welcome from Mr. Loh Mun Sung, The Founder President, Mrs. Kiran Motwani, The International Director and our China Delegates Ms. Susan Xu, Mr. Xu Jin Long.
During the Award Ceremony, the hard work of best performers of the Competition were rewarded with prizes according to their final grades. Friends and families were cheering as the children went on to the stage to receive their prizes.
As the 2019 ALOHA International Competition come to a close, we would like to thank participants and guests who joined us this year in China. You have made this year’s event a grand success! We look forward for this family gathering next year!