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English proficiency boosts Kota Baru trader’s appeal

January 13, 2018 1:29 AM
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A Google screenshot of Kota Jembal Kedai Lalat in Kota Baru. Celoteh Rafeah Jaafar who speaks English with a thick Kelantanese accent, operates out of the farmers market here.PETALING JAYA, Jan 13 — Celoteh Rafeah Jaafar prides himself on his command of the English language, a skill that has become an unexpected attraction at his clothing shop in Kota Baru.

Harian Metro reported that the 67-year-old who operates out of the farmers market in Kota Jembal Kedai Lalat, who speaks the language with a thick Kelantanese accent, has been drawing patrons for over 20 years.

“This [cloth] is RM7 for one piece. I give you special price, RM20 for three pieces,” he is observed saying to one customer.

Celoteh credits his friendship with people of all races and backgrounds for having helped him polish his English. He said he is also fluent in Hokkien.

“I have been practising my English since I was in school and have always tried my best to speak as well as possible.

“I have from all races and this has helped me learn to speak English well, both to better communicate with them and to speak to my customers who sometimes include foreign tourists.”

His “special ability” gives him an edge over the competition, with customers returning to purchase the batik-patterned sarongs and cloth he sells.

“I get repeat customers, who come back because they find it novel that someone in this place can hold a conversation with them in English, it is my gimmick in drawing them back,” he said.


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