CHL Student Buzz: Meet Jing Rou Lai…

7th September 2021

Student, Cantonese Language Program

Former president of the Malaysian Students' Organisation and current international student from Malaysia, Jing Rou, loves languages. There’s a certain beauty in learning different languages, as she believes it makes people more multicultural and less ignorant or intolerant of other cultures and communities. What motivated her to study Cantonese? Let’s find out!

"I believe that appreciating multilingualism can reduce racism and colourism, which have been rampant around the world and continue to be a real problem."

1. Tell us a bit about yourself—what you do currently and what you studied.

I am an international student from Malaysia currently in my final year of Bachelor of Commerce (Major in Finance). Although I’m a CBE student, I have selected a few language courses as my electives, since I am interested in learning the beauty of languages.

2. What drew you to Cantonese?

I am proud of the fact that Malaysia consists of people of different races and religions where we communicate with each other in various languages. The diversity is truly fascinating. Specifically, I am interested in Cantonese since my grandmother speaks Cantonese with my parents often. I hope to feel more connected with them by speaking Cantonese with them rather than Mandarin. I am impressed by how Cantonese can be somewhat similar to Mandarin and yet they have their own unique features in various aspects.

3. What were your top 3 favourite things about your language program?

Eve Chen, my lecturer of CHIN2025 Cantonese 2, has done a splendid job in delivering the course materials where I enjoyed my learning of Cantonese within a span of three months in 2019. She was patient in correcting our pronunciation, mindful in teaching the cultural aspects and approachable where I felt comfortable in expressing my opinions and thoughts during classes.

Moreover, the constant assessments on students’ knowledge of Cantonese through small quizzes and assignments were useful and effective for me. This has further increased my interest in Cantonese.

The practice of speaking Cantonese during lectures and tutorials has indeed helped me improve my communication skills and enhance my confidence while speaking with others in my hometown, since Cantonese is widely spoken amongst the Malaysian Chinese. Currently, I am able to fully understand the conversations between my parents and grandmother, speak and make jokes with them in Cantonese fluently.

4. Can you name 3 reasons for people to study Cantonese

For people who are fond of Cantonese songs and dramas, studying Cantonese will surely help them understand the beauty and meaning behind the lyrics and stories, respectively. Investing in Cantonese, a gorgeous language, gives the opportunity to connect with authentic Hong Kong culture and new people with the same interest in Cantonese too. Finally, learning Cantonese is fun! People may even find it useful for learning Mandarin.

5. Can you share a fascinating/fun fact about Cantonese/something you find particularly incredible about the language?

I find the loanwords of Malaysian Cantonese interesting, as they are integrated well between Cantonese and other languages such as Malay, English, Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew. I often love to compare the loanwords with the original Cantonese words originated from Hong Kong.

6. What are your future plans with respect to Cantonese or any other language?

I wanted to explore the beauty of other languages where currently, I have enrolled in KORE1020 Korean 1 for this semester. I hope to gain some knowledge of Korean culture through this course too.

7. Anything else you’d like to share? An interesting anecdote about your study of the language perhaps?

I find it mesmerising how different races can embrace each other’s cultures and are willing to learn languages. As the ex-president of the Malaysian Students' Organisation (MSO) at ANU, I hoped that I achieved the objective of promoting the richness of Malaysian culture to the wider community. Apart from that, in my opinion, I believe that appreciating multilingualism can reduce racism and colourism which have been rampant around the world and continue to be a real problem.

If you’ve been thinking about learning Cantonese, Jing Rou’s experience may have helped you to see the many benefits of learning the language. Want to enhance your career prospects or become more culturally diverse and enriched? Enquire now!

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