Chin Student Spoke In Mother Tongue On European Day of Languages In Norway
A Chin student, Salai Cung Cem Bik, yesterday made a short speech, introducing a Hakha dialect to the audience in a Europe-wide celebration of the 8th annual European Day of Languages held at the Upper Secondary School of Nadderud, Norway.
With its motto reading ‘Languages Open The Doors’, the event was attended by more than 500 people with a total of 20 languages including Japanese and Punjabi being heard.
“I feel so privileged and proud to be able to speak in my mother tongue on this special day. As the motto says, it is actually the day that reminds us of the fact that the world opens its door to all languages spoken on earth. That is the main reason why I can stand up and speak on my own dialect in front of the audience from across the world,” Secretary of Norway Chin Christian Youth Fellowship, Salai Cung Cem Bik, told Chinland Guardian.
Hakha is one of the estimated 45 different dialects spoken in Chin State, Burma. There are 135 races or tribes in Burma and 65 of them are all from Chin State, according to a report by ENC (Ethnic Nationalities Council).
Terry Davis, General Secretary of the the Council of Europe, organisers of the European Day of Languages, sent a simple message: “Learn, speak, listen and understand each other”. He also said in his statement that language learning helps to avoid stereotyping individuals and helps to develop curiosity and openness towards other people and other cultures.
Salai Cung Cem Bik who came to Norway from Malaysia as a Chin refugee under UNHCR resettlement programme in 2003 is a student of Upper Secondary School of Nadderud, Norway.
It is estimated that there are more than 900 Chin people living in Norway and only about 15 are students at High School and University. Most of the Chin people in Norway came as Chin refugees from Malaysia and India after fleeing their native place in Burma following the brutalities inflicted upon them by Burma’s military regime.
The European Day of Languages (EDL), a Council of Europe initiative, is held annually on the 26 September to celebrate language and cultural diversity. The Day was first celebrated in 2001, the European Year of Languages and involves more people every year.
Van Biak Thang
27 September 2008