TANJUNG MALIM: Despite being of Tionghua descent, Samantha Tan Pei Ying, 27, is often mistaken for a Malay because of her use of the language in her daily conversations.
Not only that, she is also a huge fan of traditional Malay culture and attire such as baju kurung and baju kebaya.
For Tan, the Malay identity and the national language are part of her.
Born in Teluk Intan, Perak, Tan who also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts (Theater) from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Tanjung Malim said non -malays should already be able to speak the national language.
She said, as citizens, we should all be proud Malaysians as we have long enjoyed independence and should not feel inferior or ashamed to speak the national language if we claim to be Malaysian citizens.
"For me it is important for Malaysians to master the Malay language to foster harmony and symbolize our identity as Malaysians.
"We would be unique if we can communicate in a language that is understood by various races.
In addition to mastering the Malay language, we also need to be aware of the dialects or accents that exist in each different state, thus forging a closer bond with each other and the spirit of multi-ethnic unity," she said when contacted by NSTP today.
Tan is also a huge fan of traditional Malay culture and attire such as baju kurung and baju kebaya. (Photo courtesy of reader)
Tan, who is currently a Social Media Executive at a private company in Kuala Lumpur, said she was attracted to the words of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) Linguistics Professor Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong who called the Malay language not his native language but his national language, therefore he spoke it with pride and eloquence.
Hence, she hoped that the various races, especially the younger generation, would be proud of the value of the Malay language and that as Malaysians, everyone take the responsiblity to uphold it and keep it alive.
"In the face of the challenges of the modern era now, in addition to Malay we should be encouraged to learn other languages such as Mandarin and the language used by other countries to broaden our thinking to understand different customs and cultures across borders," she said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd