ANN/THE STAR – Vaishantsingam Jeyasingam probably can’t remember the eight-piece Lego Duplo (the elementary version of Lego) he received when he was 12 months old.
That was his initiation into the world of the globally popular plastic toy building blocks. And since then, there has been no stopping the 11-year-old. To date, he has proudly constructed 300 Lego models from the Ninjago, Marvel and Technic series.
“I enjoy the building process, which stimulates my thinking and challenges my patience.
Sometimes, when I am building, I encounter a block or ‘dead end’ because I feel frustrated when I cannot fit the parts specified in the instruction manual.
“So, I’ve learnt to take a brief break and then come back with a fresh and open mind to challenge myself again. And sure enough, I am able to make good progress and move on with assembling the Lego set! The assembled structure makes me truly proud of my achievement,” said Vaishantsingam in an email interview recently.
Indeed, he has every reason to feel that way, as some of the designs consist of 2,000 pieces. One of his favourites is the Lego Technic BMW Motorrad 1000 RR motorbike, which involves 1,920 pieces.
“That is my most challenging feat to date. One of the setbacks was when the engine could not align with the motorbike’s frame. To resolve this, I had to dismantle the engine.
“It was a frustrating point, but I managed to re-assemble the solid engine and have it aligned perfectly with the frame,” said Vaishantsingam, whose father Jeyasingam Balasingam, is a lawyer.
“It is therefore an item which gives me much pleasure when I reflect on how I persevered to continue despite the numerous setbacks until I successfully completed it,” shared the Year 7 student from an international school in Penang.
Vaishantsingam has also assembled the Lego NASA Apollo Saturn V. Standing at one metre high and consisting of 1,969 pieces, it took him three weeks to complete the piece.
Constantly cheering him on is his grandfather, pensioner Balasingam Kasinather, who is his biggest supporter.
“My grandfather is a key person who actively encourages and supports my passion for building Lego sets. So, completing each Lego assembly is indeed a double-win for me; first, feeling proud and a sense of accomplishment and, of course, the resounding praises from my grandfather.
“Engaging in Lego has given me endless satisfaction and taught me to be patient, to reflect on what I have done and most importantly, to persevere and stay focussed on the end objectives. So, in the end, it is all worth it,” said Vaishantsingam, who also enjoys swimming and playing badminton during his free time.
Although Vaishantsingam has his fair share of superhero figurines and Nerf guns, his mother, homemaker Malini Nagarajah, said her only son is more inclined to building Lego sets.
“My husband and I have encouraged Vaishantsingam’s enthusiasm in this area by presenting him with age-challenging Lego assemblies. As he got better with Lego, he kept asking for more challenging ones.
“And seeing how educational and inspiring the Lego assemblies were, we decided that this pursuit undoubtedly positively impacted him.
“Each time he received a Lego set as a gift, he would be fascinated and grateful, and could not wait to get started on it. His enthusiasm for Lego is evident, and this passion has propelled him to complete assemblies beyond his age group. We are proud of Vaishant,” said Malini, 52.
The mother of three encourages children to take part in sports and creative activities to help equip themselves with strong social interaction skills that would benefit them in school, university and eventually, in their chosen career.
“It is undoubtedly important for children to engage in active sports and other activities outside of the virtual world. Engaging in sports activities from young and experiencing the many benefits from their active pursuits certainly sets the foundation for them to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle in their adult years.
“That would most definitely curb the rise in lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” she said.