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A taxi driver in Singapore has expounded on the benefits of learning his expatriate passengers’ languages.
Speaking to Sheela Narayanan of Asia One, Tay Boon Tee told how he began picking up words and phrases when he started driving a taxi ten years ago, finding it the best way to break the ice with his fares.
"They [the passengers] have told me they feel very happy to hear their language. I find that many expatriates are willing to teach you too," he told the writer.
Mr Tay’s multilingual skills now cover greetings and conversational phrases in up to 20 different languages, including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Tamil, Hindi and Bengali, as well as Chinese dialects such as Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew.
The taxi driver has turned to the internet to help him improve his command of languages in order to facilitate better customer service.
He also wishes to travel abroad after retirement and is looking forward to using his various languages to get by.
Mr Tay’s story comes as the Polish ambassador to the UAE called on more expatriates to learn the language and culture of the country they are relocating to.
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