高一阅读-第28期

发布于 2022-01-26 22:26

From poverty to fulfilling the impossible: life for Cambodian boy changed greatly

高一阅读-第28期 00:00 / 03:27

      It has been over three years since Thuch Salik, who can speak 14 languages, went viral because of his talent.

It all began in November 2018 when Salik was speaking in Chinese to a Malaysian tourist while peddling his basket of souvenirs outside Angkor Wat. Then the tourist tried speaking to him in French. He replied fluently before continuing in Japanese. He talked to her in nine languages in all. He had learnt them over three years while peddling his trinkets.
The tourist filmed their conversation, and the video she posted turned him into a global inspiration.
At the time, his mother, Mann Vanna, was selling scarves and clothing, while his artist father was making a living off the sale of paintings. As for Salik, he had to peddle trinkets and souvenirs to tourists to help support his family, only having time to go to school for half the day. But he loved to learn, and dreamt of pursuing his studies overseas in the face of poverty and debt.
After the video went viral on the Internet, donations poured in for the family, and a rich Cambodian businessman became their benefactor. He helped clear the family’s debt of about US$60,000 and sponsor Salik’s studies there.
Then the boy caught the eye of the founder of Hailiang Education Group, one of the largest players in China’s private school sector. “In a video, Salik said that he wanted to come to China to study — he likes Chinese. So these few words touched the heart of my founder and he wanted to help Salik fulfill this dream,” said Chen Junwei, the group’s chairman and chief executive officer.
Salik was “a bit scared”, but he knew it was a “wonderful” opportunity.
“When I was in Siem Reap, we didn’t have good livelihoods,” he said. “I could only study in school. And after school, I helped my mum to sell stuff. And I had almost no time to play with my friends.”
“Nowadays, there’s a lot more studying. After school, during my free time, I have a lot more friends to play with.”
Having taken the Internet by storm, and with the change in his family’s fortunes, his ambitions are set to go further: Now 17, Salik hopes to be a businessman and give back to his homeland.
“With a child like him, who’s so smart, forward-thinking and sensible, I believe that if he can complete his PhD in China and return to Cambodia, he may be able to influence the next generation,” Chen said.

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