PETALING JAYA: Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Dilophosaurus. Pronouncing the names of these dinosaurs can certainly be a mouthful for many, but Siddhar Kanagarajah tackles it easily.
More remarkably, Siddhar is able to remember and identify the names of some 198 dinosaurs, which is certainly no easy feat.
Last month, the five-year-old was awarded a certificate by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for the “most dinosaur species identified in a minute by a child”.
During the assessment, which took place at MBR’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Siddhar successfully identified a total of 80 dinosaur species in one minute.
Being assessed by MBR can be daunting for anyone, but Siddhar told FMT he was not nervous during the entire process. Asked why, he cheekily replied: “Because I am brave!”
Prior to the assessment, his mother had helped him to prepare and practise twice a week, he said.
As for how he feels about his accomplishment? “I feel so happy, excited and blessed.”
The cheerful Siddhar said he loves dinosaurs because they are “so cool and unique”, with the Tyrannosaurus rex being his favourite.
During FMT’s visit, he even demonstrated his remarkable knowledge about the different species of dinosaurs by naming various species fluently.
Unsurprisingly, when he grows up, he wants to be a paleontologist. His other ambition is to be a businessman, like his father.
Siddhar, who studies at an international school, said his favourite subjects are mathematics and science, and in his free time, he enjoys playing with his toys, painting, and singing.
His mother, Komathi Subermaniam, said Siddhar’s interest in dinosaurs began at age two when he watched television programmes featuring the giant reptiles.
“He started pronouncing the names of the dinosaurs and learnt them all by himself,” the 33-year-old said proudly, adding that he subsequently gained more knowledge through YouTube videos.
In addition, she and her husband decided to buy him dinosaur toys to further encourage him – a collection Siddhar proudly showed the FMT team.
Recognising his ability to grasp advanced concepts, Komathi also introduced Siddhar to subjects such as astronomy and human anatomy.
Today, the boy has a grasp on topics such as the solar system and black and white holes, as well as the cardiovascular, urinary, endocrine, skeletal, immune, and digestive systems.
Describing her son as “inquisitive and a fast learner”, she recalled a particularly memorable moment last year when he learnt the song “Tanggal 31 Ogos” in three days even though he didn’t know Bahasa Melayu then.
“I was very impressed,” she said proudly.
According to Komathi, Siddhar is a loving child who cares very much for his siblings – three-year-old sister Rudhraavarshini and two-year-old brother Adhikeshav.
“I feel very proud and blessed,” she added.
It is a sentiment echoed by Siddhar’s father, Kanagarajah Rajah, as he recalled how he felt after his son was recognised by MBR.
“In my family, there has not been an achievement like this,” the 38-year-old said, adding that, prior to the assessment, he had already been confident his son would attain the record.
As they taught their son, they, too, learnt new things along the way. And in the coming days, they will continue introducing advanced topics to the boy despite his young age.
As for Siddhar’s future, Komathi revealed: “We are taking his MBR achievement as a stepping stone to prepare him for a better future. But we will leave it to him to decide what he wants to be when he grows up.”
Learn more about Siddhar’s journey via his Facebook profile.