ALOR STAR: The presence of a western girl wearing ‘tudung’ and working as a helper at a ‘Roti Canai’ stall situated along the Sultan Abdul Halim Highway here, is drawing a lot of attention and visitors to the stall.
Chantal Viola, 17, from Rome, Italy, who is a student of Liceo Sciemtifico Statale Democrito (a science school) in Rome has decided to work at the stall during her school holidays, to learn more about the local culture and communicate in Bahasa Melayu.
Viola who is actually under a student exchange programme organised by Yayasan Antarabudaya Malaysia (AFS) and is placed at the Alor Star Technical School said this was the best way to learn a language in addition to familiarising oneself with the local culture.
The Italian who is staying with a foster family only works at the shop from 7am to 12noon during the school holidays
“I love learning languages other than English. I am here for six months now and can talk a little Malay. I can take ‘orders’. When people ask for ‘Roti Canai, Teh Tarik’ I understand,” she told reporters here today, adding that she also knows how to make ‘teh o ice’ and iced tea.”
She said she was interested in working in a stall after her close friend, Nur Sahira Md Sallehuddin, 17, took her to a stall owned by her father, Mohd Sallehuddin Shaari, 46.
’Roti Canai’ she said, was among her favourite food since setting foot in this country in July last year while other food on her menu are rice with chicken, laksa and ‘lychee kang’.
Asked why she wore a ‘tudung’, she said she liked it and was also to respect the culture and tradition of her adopted family and in accordance with the Malay culture.
Her adoptive father Ishak Md Shah, 59, who is also a teacher at the Alor Star Technical School said he did not have any objection to her working at the stall because of her intention to master the Malay language by conversing with people.
He said Viola was diligent, hardworking and helped his wife to clean the house, wash and cook.
Meanwhile, Kedah AFS representative, Rohaya Md Yusoff said Viola was one of five foreign students placed with foster families in this country since July last year.
The one year programme provides opportunities for foreign students to get to know the Malaysian culture.-- BERNAMA
Article was originally published on New Straits Times.