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Proficiency in Mandarin stands him in good stead BY LIM HOW PIM ON NOVEMBER 16, 2020, MONDAY AT 12:01 AM
Posted on : 16 Nov 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post
 

AWANG Aizzuddin Sulong Awang Sabli learned Mandarin from kindergarten to secondary school and is more proficient in the language than most Chinese who went to non-Chinese schools.

The 34-year-old comes from Kampong Kudei where Mandarin is the medium of teaching in the nearest kindergarten he attended.

Graduating with a Masters at Unimas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After kindergarten, he attended Chung Hua Primary School (CHPS) No.4 at Jalan Nanas where he built up his foundation in the Chinese language.

“After kindy, my father asked my teacher if he could enrol me in a Chinese primary school. The teacher said ‘yes.’ That was how I got to study at CHPS No.4.

“After completing my studies there, my father again asked my teacher whether he could send me to a Chinese independent secondary school and the teacher recommended Chung Hua Middle School (CHMS) No.1,” he told The Borneo Post.

Aizzuddin is the eldest among three siblings. He has two younger brothers, one of whom also studied in CHMS No.1.

He had done well from primary to secondary school and his results had been always good since young.

Aizzuddin with his family on his graduation day at Utar.

“My father is an accountant who has a lot of Chinese friends. That was probably why he decided to send me to Chinese school. I enjoyed studying in Chinese school even though the Chinese language, especially classical Chinese, was a challenge to me.”

Throughout his secondary school years, he didn’t feel left out although he was the only Bumiputera student in his class. He found the school environment conducive and he was able to fully concentrate on his studies.

He remembered a couple of playful classmates who tended to get distracted but most were focused on their studies.

“Of course, parents and teachers too played a role to make sure we behaved and studied well.”

After obtaining UEC in 2004, he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Computer Engineering at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) from 2005 to 2008 and passed with honours.

After graduating, he applied for a post in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas). He has worked in the Centre of Information Technology Development and Services of the university since 2009 and is now the senior assistant director.

Aizzuddin continued to upgrade himself career-wise by pursuing a Master’s in Advanced Information Technology from 2013 to 2016 at Unimas.

English test

He recalled proper English textbooks were much needed while he was studying in CHMS No. 1.

Although he scored A for English subjects in both UEC and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), he had to sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to enrol in Utar.

He passed with flying colours in August 2004, scoring 620 from the full mark of 700 before sitting for UEC.

In school, he was an active member of the Red Crescent Club through Junior One to Senior Three. He is not only proficient in the Chinese language but was also a science stream student.

CHMS No.1 is thus far the only Chinese independent secondary school in the city with a science stream. The good news is CHMS No.3 at Jalan Penyau, off Jalan Tun Razak, is scheduled to follow suit next year.

It has been 16 years since Aizzuddin left CHMS No.1. He admitted his Mandarin was “getting a bit rusty” but he could still easily get by with it.

On a scale of 10, he gave himself a three but despite so, he conversed well in Mandarin during the interview.

“You might think I count in Malay or English but I always do it in Mandarin. That’s probably the impact of learning maths in Mandarin; old habit certainly dies hard,” he said.

An asset

His proficiency in Mandarin is an asset to his career at Unimas. His job scope covers procurement and Unimas receives guests from China regularly.

Awang Aizzuddin (centre) with his Senior Two Year classmates.

“Gone are the days when information technology giants like Dell, HP or IBM dominate the industry. The emerging ones are from China such as ZTE and Huawei,” Aizzuddin noted.

During a meeting between Unimas and a delegation from China, outwardly, nobody could tell he is fluent in Mandarin but in the discussions, he was more than able to hold his own.

A few delegates spoke in Mandarin among themselves about the offer to Unimas. Some points discussed were different than what were put forward to the university and Aizzuddin was able to keep his superiors in the loop.

To him, being proficient in the Chinese language is an advantage.

Ready to help

Aizzuddin loves helping to raise funds for his alma mater and especially enjoys the festival atmosphere the activity entails.

When the school organised fund-raisers involving alumni, he never hesitated to help, saying such efforts were an opportunity to meet former schoolmates.

Asked what Chinese culture meant to him, he gave it a thought before saying: “To me, Chinese culture is akin to a bridge connecting people from the new to the old, given the thousands of years of civilisation.

“For me, if one does not know where one comes from, it will be pretty hard for one to determine where one is headed.

“Without going back to one’s root, one may lose direction along the way. I find Chinese culture interesting and I’m still trying to learn more about Chinese idioms and proverbs,” he added.

The Senior Two Year class.