Saturday, 13 April 2013

When A Malay Speaks Chinese...

From Eric Chong's Facebook timeline, posted on 4th November 2012: 
"This Malay girl really caught my attention!

I was invited to give a talk at SMK Chio Min, Kulim, a few days ago. As usual, lots of students approached me for autographs and photo sessions after the talk. :)

I saw a cute and bubbly Malay girl in a tudong yelling excitedly to her Chinese friends in fluent Chinese, “快!快!我们一起来和 Mr Eric Chong 拍张照!” (Quick! Quick! Let's take a picture with Mr Eric Chong!)

I was most impressed! It wasn't because she was a pretty girl, but the fact that she was a non-Chinese student and she could speak perfect Chinese. In fact, I later learned that many non-Chinese students in SMK Chio Min are very conversant in Mandarin.

"What's the big deal?" You may ask.

This, of course, isn't a big deal. A Malay being able to speak Chinese is no big deal.

However, what I'm trying to explain is this - if you are able to speak a language other than your mother tongue, you will gain instant respect and attention from those who speak the language. Following this visibility, opportunity may come your way.

I hope this girl will serve as the cultural bridge between the Malays and the Chinese in her community. When there is more understanding between the two races, there will be more compassion, tolerance, and even appreciation.

I left SMK Chio Min with a contented heart, knowing that there is a good chance for the next generation of Malaysians to live harmoniously and proudly in a multiracial and multicultural society.

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