22 October 2016
Chandan Rai (L) and Sadia have mastered Cantonese through dedicated efforts from an early age. Photo: Wen Wei Po
Chandan Rai (L) and Sadia have mastered Cantonese through dedicated efforts from an early age. Photo: Wen Wei Po

Nepali makes it to Lingnan debate team after mastering Cantonese

An ethnic Nepali student has become a member of Lingnan University’s debating team, showing off his Cantonese language skills, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Chandan Rai, 22, who moved to Hong Kong with his parents when he was two years old, has proved that ethnic minorities can break the language barrier in the city, the paper noted.

Rai, who is now a sophomore at Lingnan, said he couldn’t understand a word in class when he was very young and in kindergarten.

But he set about learning Cantonese in elementary school and gradually began mastering the language.

During his childhood, Rai would often accompany his mother to street markets where he picked up useful everyday phrases, helping him in his language learning efforts.

The ethnic Nepali now says he wants to become a civil servant in Hong Kong, making himself an example that even a non-native Cantonese speaker can harbor such dream.

Outlining the theme that a non-native can master Cantonese through dedicated efforts, Ming Pao also cited the case of an ethnic Pakistani girl who is pursuing studies at a local university.

The Pakistani, who was identified as Sadia, studied in schools for racial minorities during her early years, but made the effort to learn Cantonese as her father used to prompt her to communicate with neighbors.

Sadia is now able to speak Cantonese fluently. Currently pursuing a degree at the City University of Hong Kong, the Pakistani girl aims to become a social worker after she graduates.

Sadia, however, admits that her knowledge of Cantonese is limited to speaking. She says she will enroll in a cram school so that she will be able to also read and write the language one day.

Rai and Nadia will be among the participants in the upcoming “Convoy Totem Run” that seeks to help raise funds for the “School for Everyone” program.

The annual charity event, which is being organized by a non-governmental organization since 2008, aims to provide financial support for ethnic minority residents.

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