Thuch Salik can count in 16 languages
A 14-year-old Cambodian boy’s language skills have turned him into an internet sensation.
As reported by Channel News Asia, a young Cambodian boy is stealing the internet with his multilingual skills.
14-year-old Thuch Salik works with his brother and mother every day at Ta Prohm at the ancient temple complex of Angkor, selling to tourists.
A Malaysian tourist discovered the young boy and posted a viral video of him speaking in 10 different languages on Facebook.
Salik picked up key phrases from tourists around the world including countries such as China, Korea and Germany.
His skill initially helped him to sell souvenirs such as fridge magnets and postcards but the young boy decided to hone in on his skills.
Now, the self-taught multi-linguist can count to ten in 16 different languages including Russian, Tagalog, Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian, German and three dialects of Chinese.
“I started to sell when I was 11 years old and now I have been selling for three years already. I only knew one language at the beginning,” he said to Channel NewsAsia.
“I learned some English but then my mother sent me to sell at Bak Kheng mountain. There are more Chinese guests than others there and I learned to speak with them for my little business. If I see them now I will start to sing,” he added.
“The Chinese tourists will say, ‘Wow, you can speak my language well too. You would be a superstar in my country’.”
Salik can also sing in Chinese and English and performs an adorable rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’. He one day hopes to become a tour guide when he finishes school.
Mann Vanna, Salik’s mother, uses the money her children earn to support the family’s education and daily necessities. Incredibly proud of her son’s fame, Vanan said, “I felt very happy and excited and cannot find anything to compare this with.”
“Even though I am his mother, I didn’t realise how smart my son is and that he knew more than 10 languages. I didn’t think that my son could absorb all this knowledge, his brain can remember so much and he can use these languages to sell stuff to support the family. I can hardly believe that and I feel shocked and surprised,” she added.
“I saw others buy new clothes for their children. I feel disappointed in myself because we don’t have the ability to do that and we don’t know what to do. We gave them life but we don’t have the ability to provide for them or give them knowledge.”
According to SCMP, Cambodia’s K01 TV News station will pay for the boy and his family to travel to Beijing. Meanwhile, the Cambodian Red Cross will pay for his and his siblings’ education.
“I might not allow Salik to sell again,” his mother said. “If he is free, he can help me. If he does not have time, I will push him to focus on his study more because I want my son to be educated because I am uneducated.”
“I feel very excited, excited, excited! I never expected that I would become a famous star like this. Even while I’m having lunch, everyone asks to take a picture with me,” Salik said.