2017 PAMA GLOBAL Competition in Johannesburg, South Africa
On December 28th 2017, some 300 mental arithmetic contestants came together at the banquet hall of Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 17th PAMA Global Competition. The event was a consolidation of the prominent effects in PAMA Global’s devotion to promoting abacus and mental arithmetic, a traditional Chinese quintessential skill to enhance children’s intelligence and other capabilities. PAMA Global has developed to include members from Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, the United States, South Africa, Vietnam, Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, India, Australia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and Uzbekistan, as well as observer members from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Jordan, and Palestine. With members from all over the world covering five major continents, PAMA Global is considered the leading key player in the world’s abacus and mental arithmetic community.
PAMA Global has made it a rule of holding a year-end competition annually in different countries hosted by the members, in hope of practically making abacus and mental arithmetic a cross-border learning culture. The 17th PAMA Global Competition, hosted by PAMA South Africa, had seen the host chairman, Mrs. Marlene Mouton, put into tremendous efforts for more than half a year to ensure that the manpower, material resources, and finances were all well prepared and organized for the event. In particular, a South African nationwide contest was held in September, 2017 in observance of all the standard procedures for PAMA competitions, which just went to show the host’s enthusiasm and devotion to making the annual competition an event of the highest caliber.
The pre-competition meeting , Secretary General Johnson Fu and vice Secretary General Austin Liao made an annual job report respectively in Chinese and English. They also gave a detailed account of the regulations governing the PAMA qualification exams. At the same meeting, a presentation was given on a new set of professional abacus and mental arithmetic teaching materials which had been elaborately formulated by David Liao, the chairman of PAMA Taiwan, and written up by professional teachers assigned by the Secretariat. This specialized and highly useful materials cover three major areas: teaching, qualification exams, and competition, which is pioneering work in the field of abacus and mental arithmetic. Not only have they been customarily compiled to fall in line with the practice of PAMA and SAMA teaching, qualification exams, and competition, but they can also generally serve as a multi-purpose tool for the abacus and mental arithmetic community. The introduction of the new teaching materials was met with vibrant resonance at the meeting and was followed by the introduction of the observer members from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Jordan, and Pakistan, whose representatives each gave an account of their company profile and undertaking. All the chairmen present gave them warm applause in support and recognition of the observer members’ true devotion to and eager promotion of abacus and mental arithmetic. Then, PAMA South Africa’s chairman elaborated on the schedule of the competition and its related job assignments; also, the name list of contestants who would participate in the reveal mental arithmetic was decided, which would be an exhibition game for the next day right after the major competition. Each contestant in the game would be presented with an extraordinarily commemorative memento, a bank note collecting album which already contained a variety of bank notes provided by the participating PAMA members from more than 15 different countries. At the end of the day, the pre-competition meeting was topped with a gift exchange between member states and group photo shots in a lively atmosphere.
On the big day of competition, the contestants were divided into 5 age groups: A to E while the match fell under two major categories: abacus and mental arithmetic, with different levels for different groups. When the judge whistled to start the match, more than 300 contestants flipped over their test papers all at once and rapidly jotted down answers like a shot, which greatly impressed the guests and parents witnessing the scene. Also, the assistant crew was well trained and highly organized to help ensure a smooth progress all through the match. The subsequent exhibition game of reveal mental arithmetic saw the contestants bring their talent into full play at the judge’s whistle to tackle the types of questions of four-digit by four-digit multiplication, 3x3 multiplication, and 5÷2 / 3, with ten questions each for multiplication and division all to be completed within 60 seconds. The remarkable performance of the contestants roused thunderous applause and perpetual exclamations. Then came an additional game is mental arithmetic with hearing, in which the two Taiwanese contestants, Su Wei-Yen and Yang Dong-Ju braved the language barrier to take up the challenge when they came forward to shine intriguingly on the scene.
The luncheon party was illuminated by brilliant talent shows, with contestants from different countries making all-out effort to put on dancing and singing performances unique to their own nations, all exhibiting loveliness and vivacity of youth. Each and every show brought the house down in cheerful applause of the guests and parents.
At the award ceremony in the afternoon, notable local government officials as well as the representative and counselors from the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Johannesburg were present to offer congratulations and encouragement, among all the member state chairmen. The ceremony ran smoothly thanks to the careful planning of the host party. The Champion of Champion Award winners were:
Group A: Niyayesh Farahbakhsh from Iran
Group B: STiaan Scheepers from South Africa
Group C: Roua Nafeh from Lebanon
Group D: Ahmad Al Chihimi from Lebanon
Group E: Su Wei Yan from Taiwan
At the finale of the fruitful event, David Liao, the founder and chairman of PAMA Taiwan, declared that it has long been PAMA Global’s determination to continue to bring abacus and mental arithmetic onward to a new height as a valuable heritage of intelligence to pass down from one generation to another. The annual competition will be going on in different countries as a rule and the next host is Malaysia. It will be a great delight to see
all the PAMA members keep getting in on the act and look forward to seeing you in Malaysia next year.
PAMA Global Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Association
Secretary General Johnson Fu