Kumon ASHR Ceremony 2010 – Celebrating Global Achievers

11 10 2010

Kumon’s event of the year finally commenced yesterday. The ASHR Ceremony is a yearly event that celebrates the best of Kumon Achievers. Held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, it was indeed a grand affair. This year’s events are record-breaking – with the highest number of Kumon Completers honoured, the most number of ceremonies held nationwide as well as a trend of young children achieving far above their school levels.

It is significant to note that Kumon worksheets are uniformly used throughout the world. Meaning a Kumon Student in Malaysia will be studying the same worksheets as those in Japan, Singapore, US or any of the other 40+ countries around the world. So when a child is a Kumon achiever, he/she stands among the best in the world!

12 students from Kumon Bandar Sunway were qualified to attend the Ceremony but only 9 were able to attend. 7 were Gold Medallists (studying at least 3 years ahead of school grade level), with ages ranging from 5 years old (studying Primary 2 math) to Primary 5 (studying Sec 5 math). Another 2 were Completers – Doogie Yong (Maths), who missed the chance for recognition when last year’s event was cancelled due to the H1N1 scare; and Ashley Lim (English), Malaysia’s youngest completer.

We were extremely proud when Ashley walked on stage to receive her Completer’s Plaque. She had been a Kumon Student for only 5 years and had completed college level English literature studies. no one pressured her to do this. She was driven by her own determination to smash the Kumon record and become the youngest Kumon Completer, even when I myself doubted she could do it!

The Kumon English Programme’s highest levels require students to critique classics from a wide range of genre such as tragedy (e.g.Hamlet), irony (e.g.King Oedipus), SciFi (e.g.Brave New World), Comedy (e.g.A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Espionage (e.g.Dr N…o), Fantasy (e.g.The Hobbit), Drama (e.g.To Kill A Mockingbird), Poetry (e.g.TS Eliot), Satire (e.g.The Loved one) and many more.

The fact that Ashley was able to analyse complex literary forms such as Symbolism and Poetry, as well as
understand novels with difficult themes such as adultery, revenge, racism, midlife crisis, etc makes her achievement so amazing! All of us at Kumon Bandar Sunway are so inspired by her example and are determined to support parents in nurturing more of such high achieving students!

We hope that all our students will also be inspired by this young lady’s never-say-quit spirit and go-get-it attitude to grasp their dreams as well.

Below is my video tribute to Ashley. More photos of the ASHR ceremony will be uploaded soon!

*(I try to make a tribute video for all my Kumon Completers. Something from my heart…instead of just buying a gift.)


Our Student Makes History!

21 04 2010

Ashley receiving her Kumon Bandar Sunway Completer Tribute Video*

Ashley Lim Xian En, nine years old, is Malaysia’s youngest English completer to date. She passed the English Completer’s test in October 2009, while she was only 8years and 10 months old.

Kumon HQ staff recently interviewed her and mummy, and here are their thoughts.


What kind of stories do you usually read?

I like to read fairy tales, mysteries and adventures like Harry Potter.

In your journey to completion, which section of the English worksheets seemed to be the most challenging?

I think it is the sections with critical writing and the Shakespeare plays.

What happened if you didn’t understand them?

Mommy will patiently explain the passages to me and sometimes my instructor will give me a very big book to check words I don’t understand. It’s the dictionary.

You set your own study plan at the higher levels and you did not plan any repetitions. Why did you feel there was no need for repetitions?

Because I read the passages again and again, like 100 times, and when I don’t understand it, my Instructor or mommy will explain it to me. So if I already know the answers, why should I repeat?

Why did you want so much to complete the programme?

I wanted to complete it since the first time my instructor told me about the completion test. I want to complete it even more after joining the High Achievers Camp (HAC) in 2008. I have seen a lot of completers at the event and I wanted to be like them.

After completing the programme, what do you think is the major change in you or what have you learned throughout the journey?

I think I have learned a lot of Old English and I can now understand it better. Completing the programme has also exposed me to more books for reading. I think the major change in me is relishing poetry; previously I would fall asleep upon seeing poems. I begin to like it now.


Kumon HQ staff also spent some time to interview Ashely’s mum, Florence. Below is an extract of the interview. She shares how we can play a more meaningful role in supporting our children’s journeys in Kumon.


Would you like to share how you guided Ashley through the difficult higher levels of Kumon worksheets?

I actually studied the contents before she did the work so that when she has problems attempting it, I could explain it to her. For example, when there are literature pieces which I was unfamiliar with, I would look into it and learn it myself. Sometimes, I would also ask the instructor for tips on how to guide Ashley.

Young children usually encounter challenges in deciphering the meaning of words used in literature especially in poems or plays. How did you explain ‘challenging’ terms to her?

Erm, I would actually link it to the facts of life or link it to our daily life. Like for the term ‘adultery’, I used mommy and daddy as an example, and then explained it to her. I mean the scenes in literature are the real life situations that she may encounter in future so why not prepare her and let her understand it now?

Five years have passed since she first enrolled in Kumon and Ashley has successfully become Malaysia’s youngest English completer. How do you feel about this?

Phew. At last. (smiles happily). It is a good headstart and this will let her have the chance to experience the feeling of being able to achieve and complete something she has started.

There were also times when Ashley felt like quitting. What do you think kept her going and how did you help her stay motivated?

Well, first of all, I think it is Ashley’s own desire and determination to achieve something that she wanted. As for me playing the parent’s role, I would have a good talk with her and allow her to let out all her difficulties, get the anger out and start again. Basically it is a norm in life where we would fall and as a parent, I have to help her get up again. So it’s a process of falling and picking up again.


Instructor’s note: I will be publishing the interview that Kumon HQ staff conducted with me in a later post.

* Every Kumon Bandar Sunway Completer gets a personalised tribute video made by me. We’ve had 2 Kumon Completers so far, and we are looking forward to see another 2 students becoming Completers in 2010!

Kumon ASHR – from a Completer’s perspective

10 12 2008

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I am glad that… I am back.


People were curious and asked, “Won’t you be tired of travelling?” Yes, I need to admit that flying from Singapore back to Penang for two continuous weekends was really not easy.


12th Oct 2008… For first ever Penang G-Club Camp.


19th Oct 2008… For Northern ASHR.


Yet, after seeing the smiling faces on G-Club students at the end of the one-day camp, my weariness wiped off. After some sharing of experience with parents at KMCC booth of ASHR, I could see the relieve on their faces and the confidence in their eyes, that encouraging their children to continue with Kumon programmes is truly a right choice. I was glad, in fact, so glad to see all these happenings.


Spending a Sunday afternoon to talk with the parents and students was really worthwhile. It makes me understand how important parental support is, which is almost equally important to the student’s own determination. Witnessing fellow dear juniors receiving their medals on the stage, they really looked like stars of the day. The medals, the applause, the memorable photos, had compiled a sense of assurance on their achievement.


Of course, it was also an excited moment to see the birth of 16 northern region completers. I really hope that through receiving plaques and participating in the globe relay event, they enjoyed the sense of pride and accomplishment for becoming a completer. Most of them were so looking forward to participating in KMCC activities. And we are ready, to welcome all the newbies into KMCC family!


Every year, the day of ASHR would be written into my life history.


In ASHR 2005, first time for me to receive the gold medal in Mathematics.


In ASHR 2006, I have taken part in the parent-student forum. It was also the year which marked my new Kumon journey as a completer with the historical moment of receiving Math completer’s plaque.


In ASHR 2007, first opportunity for me to interact with the crowd, promoting KMCC to the parents and students.


In ASHR 2008, I have participated in the globe relay event and even given a President speech.


In ASHR 2009 and many years to come, I wonder what’s next?


For every now and then, I would have no regret to say that: I am glad that I am back, for ASHR.


Composed by,

Tham Chie Kuan

Kumon ASHR Ceremony 2008

2 11 2008

This morning was one of the most important events of the year for Kumon. More than 600 Kumon high achievers (this number does not include their families, Kumon Instructors and Kumon staff!) converged at Berjaya Times Square for the Central Region Advanced Student’s Honour Roll ceremony. This ceremony recognises the Gold and Silver achievers (at least 3 years or 2 years ahead of school level, respectively).

More than a thousand people were in the hall! Many cancelled at the last minute or else there would have been many more people!

The ASHR ceremony has grown larger year by year. Last year, because it was not feasible anymore to accommodate all the Kumon Achievers in one ceremony, the ceremony was split into 4 parts – the Northern Region ceremony, Southern Region ceremony and Central Region ceremonies (morning and afternoon session). We can see that the number of high achievers are growing more and more.

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