Tasha, grit personified

Many adults often yearn to pick up another language, whether for commercial reasons or simply to expand their horizons. But the longing quickly fades when they encounter difficulties which manifests in excuses like “no time” or “too difficult”. These adults could learn a thing or two from seven-year-old Tham Zhia Yan from our Home.

Affectionately known as “Tasha”, she joined the Home last October and Chinese was an alien language to her. Tasha, whose father is Chinese and mother, an Indian, only knew Tamil and a smattering of Malay. 

The Home had problems finding a national-type school that would accept her as she could not understand Chinese. Finally, SJK (C) Chiao Nan agreed to accept her into Year One this January after the Home’s minders agreed to help Tasha brush up the language.

Over the next few months, the Home’s minders diligently helped Tasha picked up rudimentary Chinese. Her seniors in the Home who knew Chinese also helped. They guided her on basic Chinese characters as well as intonation that is crucial in the language.

Being a non-native speaker, Tasha faced difficulties, compared with her classmates who knew basic Mandarin or spoke the language at home. But she persevered despite being handicapped.

Last week, she surprised everyone in the Home when she came back from school announcing that she had won first place in a Mandarin Poem Recital Competition in February. Not only was she excited, everyone in the Home was happy for her! 

Tasha and her certificate

Tasha’s story also served as a reminder for everyone in the Home that one should not be discouraged by one’s shortcomings but ought to work harder than everyone else to realise their dreams.

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