PPV volunteer learns to speak foreign languages

With more than 50% of the population having received their first vaccine jabs, Malaysia is revamping its national immunisation programme (NIP) to achieve early herd immunity against Covid-19. The current phase of the NIP also includes foreigners who can get their free vaccination jabs at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

But the process poses a challenge due to a number of reasons, such as the lack of proper documentation and communication barriers among others. Despite the difficulties faced, a Malaysian volunteer at the Bukit Jalil vaccination centre is gaining popularity on social media for learning foreign languages to help better communicate with migrants.

M’sian volunteer speaks Bengali & Urdu at Bukit Jalil vaccination centre

Video of Msian volunteer speaking foreign languages at PPV
Image credit: @ainsyawani

On 15th August 2021, netizen @ainsyawani posted a video of her speaking in Bengali and Urdu to Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals visiting the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

The viral video which has racked up over 380,000 views and 30,000 likes has got more than 13,000 retweets on Twitter. @ainsyawani says learning the native languages of foreigners makes her job, which is primarily to communicate with them and direct them to the next station, much easier.

She thanks Malaysians for sharing her videos widely across social media platforms and also for sending her words of encouragement for the attempt to smooth out the vaccination process at the centre.

M’sian volunteer urges Malaysians to treat foreigners nicely at vaccination centres

Msian volunteer tweets on speaking foreign languages
Image credit: @ainsyawani

@ainsyawani also tweeted her experience of how some volunteers at vaccination centres treat foreigners rudely and scold them for not being able to communicate properly. She acknowledged that communicating with foreigners who do not share a common language can be a difficult task, but it should not mean that they can be treated poorly.

She said she’d like to spread some awareness on the matter by urging fellow Malaysians working at vaccination centres to treat foreigners nicely. “Please don’t scold them. Treat them how you want to be treated,” she wrote, adding that foreigners wait for a minimum of three hours in order to get vaccinated. There are also some who starve all the way just to get an appointment for walk-in vaccination.

@ainsyawani says treating foreigners nicely would make them feel welcomed and it makes things easier for both parties. “I took the initiative to learn [their language] this way [as it] makes my job so much easier!” she wrote on Twitter.

M’sian volunteer trying to speak foreign languages at Covid-19 vaccination centre

How uplifting it is to see this Malaysian woman’s thoughtfulness in trying to learn foreign languages to help her communicate better with migrants. We sincerely commend her for the initiative. We hope her message will be conveyed to the rest of the volunteers at Covid-19 vaccination centres and fellow Malaysians to always treat people nicely no matter how difficult things may get. After all, we are in this battle together and we should appreciate each other’s effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

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Cover image adapted from: @ainsyawani and @ainsyawani

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