LANGKAWI, April 14 (Bernama) -- Middle-eastern tourists who go to the BC Nuri Floating Restaurant will be greeted by a 14-year-old boy who will tell them in Arabic about the fish and other marine life which are kept in cages there.
Muhammad Faris Izhar Mat Yusof’s command of the Arabic language, spoken with the right accent, never fails to impress the visitors.
Speaking to Bernama recently, the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Ayer Hangat student said he started picking up the language about a year ago.
Muhammad Faris Izhar said before working at the restaurant, he used to help out on boats which ferried tourists to the location at Tanjung Rhu on the island.
“When the skippers spoke to the tourists from the Middle East, I would listen and memorise the words. Then, when I started working here about a year ago, I picked up more Arabic words from colleagues,” he said.
He added that he grew better with the Arabic language after he conversed with the tourists like learning the names of fish which differed from one Middle-Eastern country to another.
“I noted down every bit of information in a small notebook and memorised them,” he said, adding that he worked part-time at the restaurant after school hours.
“It took me about six to seven months to master the language and speak it. My interest in the language and the need to be proficient in it has made me more determined to learn it, there are difficult words, but I have set my mind that I can do it,” Muhammad Faris Izhar, who also speaks English well, said.
Muhammad Faris Izhar Mat Yusof
Muhammad Faris Izhar said his knowledge of Arabic has made it easier for him to interact with tourists and made them more comfortable with him.
“There are some tourists who are surprised I speak Arabic well. It makes it easy for me to communicate with them,” he said.
A video of Muhammad Faris Izhar who is from Kampung Pasir Hitam here speaking in Arabic went viral recently, making him a local celebrity on the island.
“My mother said she is so proud of me, and my school friends and teachers praised and sent words of encouragement,” he said.