In Malaysia, the concept of language barriers seems almost foreign to us, thanks to our remarkable bilingual proficiency in our diverse and multicultural society. However, what's truly fascinating is that foreigners are now embracing our culture by learning our national language, Bahasa Malaysia, even in their own countries!
Photo via XiaoHongShu (鳗鱼在大马)
Recently, a Chinese national who goes by the name 鳗鱼在大马 shared her delightful encounter on XiaoHongShu, which perfectly highlights the growing trend of cross-cultural language exchange. In a heartwarming video, she narrates how she pleasantly surprised her Malaysian Grab driver by showcasing her fluency in Bahasa Melayu, right after he attempted to impress her with his Mandarin skills.
The video captures the initial struggle in communication between 鳗鱼在大马 and the Grab driver, a scenario familiar to anyone who's been caught in a language barrier. However, their interaction took an unexpected turn when 鳗鱼在大马 decided to explain herself in Mandarin. To her astonishment, the Grab driver swiftly shifted to responding in Mandarin, earning him a well-deserved round of applause from 鳗鱼在大马.
As the conversation unfolded, the Grab driver, curious about her linguistic talents, inquired about her educational background. Nonchalantly, she revealed, "My major is Bahasa Melayu," leaving the Grab driver momentarily stunned. It took him a good three seconds to grasp the fact that she could indeed converse fluently in Malay!
The conversation then continued in Bahasa Melayu, where she disclosed that she had pursued her studies in the language at her university in China. What's intriguing is that her university had a cohort of 22 students, all ardently learning Bahasa Melayu. Furthermore, she mentioned that their Bahasa Melayu instructors were Chinese nationals, and some Malaysians even journeyed to China to teach the language, underlining the growing demand for learning Malay in unexpected corners of the world.
Adding to the revelation, 鳗鱼在大马 disclosed that there are at least 6 to 10 universities in China offering Bahasa Melayu classes, and these courses have garnered substantial enrollment. The dedication of foreign students to mastering our language is indeed a testament to the global appeal of Malaysia's rich linguistic heritage.
In a world where communication transcends borders, stories like this remind us that language is a bridge that connects cultures and fosters understanding. Malaysia's multiculturalism and its citizens' proficiency in multiple languages are not only enriching our own lives but also inspiring individuals worldwide to embrace the beauty of linguistic diversity.