This Cute S’pore 85-Year-Old Can Speak 8 Languages #LikeABoss

Image: screen capture from video

Growing up under the tender loving care of the local education system means that all of us have to learn English and our mother tongue.

Let’s face it: not all of us are doing particularly well in the latter sector…

Image: Know Your Meme

I would say most Singaporeans are doing better in the Singlish sector instead.

Well…it’s time for you to be ashamed of yourselves!

This 85-year-old Indian grandmother has never attended school but can speak in 8 different languages! (if you count dialects)

85 year old Mdm Jaswant Kaur has an extraordinary gift. She can speak 8 languages and dialects. They include Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, English, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Hainanese! When asked how she learnt them, she said “I did not go even to Primary 1. My grandmother told me girls should not go to school. I learnt ABC on my own. I also learnt the languages by listening to my colleagues. I used to work at “Ang Sua” washing sand before it was sold. I later worked in a sewing department of a Japanese clothing factory in Boon Keng”. Mdm Kaur is a proud mother to 6 children, grandmother to 14 children and great grandmother to 3 children! Salute!

Posted by Murali Pillai on Friday, 5 January 2018

Jaswant Kaur lives in Bukit Batok and almost everyone in the neighbourhood knows her.

She learnt the alphabet on her own and listened to other people speak while she was working.

This led her to boast the ability to speak 8 languages now- Punjabi, English, Chinese, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Hainanese.


Image: Tenor GIF Keyboard

Equipped with conversation skills stronger than Google Translate, she can basically speak to anyone on the streets!

MP of Bukit Batok, Murali Pillai, heard of this legend and paid her a visit in her house.

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He uploaded the video of their conversation on his Facebook page.

Jaswant Kaur explained to Zaobao that her parents believed that girls do not have to attend school in her generation.

She started working at a young age. When she was 23, she found a job in a clothes-making factory, where she picked up the languages and dialects.

After working for 5 years with colleagues of different races, she has mastered their dialects and found it easier to communicate with them through their languages.

She then continued to learn the various languages.

She would work at the factory in the morning and as a grit washer at night.

Image: Giphy

Both workplaces allowed her to practice speaking the different languages.

In the conversations with her different neighbours over the years, Kaur always tries to speak to them in their languages, and that helped to foster a sense of community.

I think Singapore needs more people like her, before we lose touch with our own cultural identity and become a uniformed tech generation.

What do you think?

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Featured image: screen capture from video