‘He thinks it’s playtime’: 6-year-old boy with ability to recall complex numbers sets 7 new S’pore records, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

‘He thinks it’s playtime’: 6-year-old boy with ability to recall complex numbers sets 7 new S’pore records

Anshuman Gurung’s parents were shocked to discover two years ago that their four-year-old son had a knack for remembering obscure facts and easily counting up to 1,000. 

Now, the six-year-old is setting records for recalling complex things like the value of tau, down to more than 600 decimal places. Tau is a mathematical value for the ratio of the circumference to the radius of a circle.

On Nov 6, Anshuman notched up seven new records in the Singapore Book of Records (SBOR), bringing his total number of records to 13 – and won plaudits for being able to recall and recite different variations of digits. He broke five other records in 2022.

Apart from being able to give the 635 digits of Tau, the pre-schooler can also recall 347 digits of the square root of 13, and complete 100 addition sums in two minutes and 12 seconds. 

He can also rattle off correctly all the different currencies used by each country and territory in the world. In 2022, Anshuman set a record – his first – by listing all the capitals in the world.

Speaking to The Straits Times, his father Suresh Gurung said he and his wife, working with his teachers in school, taught him numbers from one to 20 and a few letters of the alphabet when he was four years old. 

But when they found that the boy – who does not go for tuition – had learnt numbers up to 1,000 and the entire alphabet from books he had come across, they were speechless. 

Mr Suresh, a Nepali citizen who moved to Singapore for work in 2006, said: “After we applied for a record, SBOR gave us a broad list of topics that Anshuman could pick from and memorise.

“So, my wife began to practise these numbers with him for around two hours, but not every day.”

His wife, a housewife, is also from Nepal. Mr Suresh declined to give details of his occupation or where he lives because he did not have authorisation to do so.

Despite his record-breaking feats, Anshuman does not think himself any more special than other children, his father said, and appears to think all children can do what he can.

Mr Suresh, 38, said Anshuman thinks memorising and reciting numbers is part of play time. Even when he was younger, he enjoyed playing with Lego blocks and solving the Rubik’s cube, instead of playing video games.

He said: “Even after setting records, Anshuman said he does not want to stop learning and memorising numbers, and wants to continue breaking more records. 

“He is very fond of mathematics and can’t wait to learn more when he enrols in Primary 1 next year.”

Anshuman Gurung with his sister and parents. PHOTO: SURESH GURUNG

Anshuman will go to Xinghua Primary School in Hougang starting in January 2024.

Mr Suresh also has a 3-year-old daughter but said he is unsure if she has the same abilities as her elder brother.

“But Anshuman is already starting to teach her the alphabet and numbers, just like how he learnt,” he added.  

The Ministry of Education on its website says it is compulsory for all Singaporean students to attend primary school for six years, but “grade skipping or subject acceleration” is allowed under special circumstances. 

Gifted pupils can pursue a special curriculum that is offered in a handful of primary schools, designed to cater to high-ability students.