This Mosque Security Guard Taught Himself 7 Languages So He Can Speak To Foreign Tourists

"I practiced the words or phrases I did not understand over and over again and soon enough, I could speak the language well."

Cover image via Uppre/Free Malaysia Today

A security guard at the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya has taught himself basic sentences in seven languages in order to communicate easily with the mosque's tourists

Mohamad Khairul Azhar Mohd Razali told Uppre that he learnt to speak key phrases in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Persian, Thai, and English in 17 months.

"I'm currently working on learning Filipino," he said.

Raised in Kelantan, the man could only speak in the Kelantanese dialect when he first came to work in Kuala Lumpur

After realising that communicating with others was extremely difficult, Khairul made up his mind to learn Bahasa Malaysia in May 2017.

Within three months, he had mastered the language and was speaking it fluently.

Khairul was first motivated to learn new languages as the nature of his work required communicating with foreign tourists

The security guard asked the mosque's foreign visitor's to teach him basic phrases in their mother tongue, which he would then practice until he became fluent in it.

"Even if you get words wrong, people will help you to properly translate," he explained, adding that he jotted down everything he learned in a notebook.

"I practiced the words or phrases I did not understand over and over again and soon enough, I could speak the language well," he added.

Now that he loves learning languages and meeting people from different backgrounds, Khairul does not mind the difficulties that come with his job

He told Uppre that even the exhaustion from 12-hour shifts do not stop him from wanting to improve himself.

"I'm very thankful to them [the tourists]," Khairul said.

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