Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018

Jaswant Kaur 85-Year-Old Grandmother Who Never Went To School Speaks 8 Languages, Earn Praises From Her MP

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motherSingapore-As Malaysians, being able to speak at least English alongside our mother tongue is a great accomplishment.Most of us pick up the second language through formal learning in school but to varying degrees of proficiency.However, as a multiracial society, it would be more than ideal if we were able to learn the other languages spoken in our country but some of us feel that we do not have the opportunity to do so, especially when the languages aren’t taught across the board in schools.But the linguistic achievements of this 85-year-old grandmother who never went to school surely puts us all to shame.Her verbal language skills became so famous among her community in Singapore that the word got to the elected Member of Parliament i the area who subsequently paid her a visit and shared it on Facebook.

MP for Bukit Batok constituency in Singapore, Murali Pillai was suitably impressed and shared Jaswant Kaur;s story, highlighting the grandmother’s ability to teach herself 8 languages – if dialects are counted separately – despite never attending school, reports.Jaswant Kaur is able to speak Punjabi, English, Chinese, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Hainanese.

Since she did not have any formal education as her parents did not believe girls of her generation had to attend school, she learnt the alphabet on her own and through listening to other people speak while she was working.And she is living proof that anyone can learn a language at any age, not just when you are young, as she started picking up the languages and dialects when she started working in a clothes-making factory at the age of 23.Five years of working with colleagues of different races allowed Jaswant to master their dialects, which made it easier for her to communicate with them, and her job as a factory worker during the day and grit washer at night allowed her to practice speaking the different languages.With her formidable language skills, she also speaks with her neighbours over the years using their own languages that helped foster a sense of community.Jaswant is a good example for Malaysians to emulate as it would be a great tool to foster national unity.

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