KUALA LUMPUR: It’s safe to say that most people can identify only a handful of international flags. But Aavyn Eliseus Ng can name more than 130. And he is not yet three years old.
In fact, on Aug 3, he was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for “most international flags identified by a toddler in one minute”.
During an interview with FMT Lifestyle, the adorable toddler, who will turn three in November, demonstrated that he could effortlessly name even the flags belonging to countries many Malaysians rarely hear of, such as Vanuatu, Eritrea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He could also name every single one of the Malaysian state flags.
His mother, Erica Ng, recalled that she first recognised his unique ability last March, when she found that he could differentiate between the Malaysian and Indian flags. She then decided to introduce him to more flags.
“I introduced him to two or three flags a day and he remembered them very quickly,” recalled Erica, 33, who works in the printing industry.
By June, he was able to identify about 50 flags and Erica decided to approach MBR. She was informed that for Aavyn to set a record, he would need to identify at least 40 flags in one minute. So she started to prepare him for the feat.
Aavyn can speak English, Malay, Cantonese, Mandarin and a bit of Hokkien. He can’t really read yet. So how does he recognise the flags?
Erica believes that he has learned to do it in his own unique way. “For example, this is the flag of Brunei and there are two hands here. I drew similarities with the game peek-a-boo,” she said and demonstrated by covering her face with both hands and revealing her face at the word “boo”.
“I use a lot of funny faces in introducing the flags to him. I think that’s how he remembers them.”
She also makes it humorous for him. Displaying the flag of Eritrea, she said: “This is a very special one. The word ‘Eritrea’ is almost similar to my name. So I jokingly told him, ‘Mummy’s sister is called Eritrea.’”
The assessment took place on Aug 3 at MBR’s office at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Three weeks before that, Erica began preparing him mentally by telling him what he would be expected to do and that he would receive a “big, big present” if he did well.
She admitted that she was more nervous than her son on the day of the assessment. “He was very relaxed and even waved to the officers.
Asked to describe his feeling, Aavyn said: “Not scared.”
Erica said his record during the practice sessions at home was naming 48 flags in one minute. During the assessment, the new environment threw him off and he did not meet the benchmark on the first two attempts.
But he didn’t give up and was finally successful on his third attempt. Erica was overjoyed. As for Aavyn? Well, he was just pleased as punch to receive his present from MBR, a certificate for his remarkable achievement.
“I like it,” he said.
It is hard not to be charmed by the cute toddler. Fun fact: Aavyn has a twin sister named Aaryn. They were born one minute apart, Aaryn first.
So, what’s next? While Erica plans to introduce more flags to Aavyn, she does not have any plan yet to enter him for any world record assessment.
“I am very proud of both of them,” she said. “My only wish is that they grow up healthy and happy. As for the future, I will see what their interests are and support them.”
Follow the adventures of Aavyn and Aaryn on Instagram.