10-year-old knows the Singapore pledge in 4 languages

A newly minted Singapore citizen, Thai-born Tanabordee Pansook Lim speaks English, Mandarin and Thai, and taught himself to recite the pledge in all four official languages. With National Day just round the corner, Vanessa Liu meets the 10-year-old to find out his motivation for doing so and looks at why learning new languages is good for the brain.

Tanabordee Pansook Lim did not speak a word of English when he arrived in Singapore from Thailand five years ago. Now 10 years old, he speaks English and Mandarin fluently, and can recite the National Pledge in the four official languages.
Tanabordee Pansook Lim, who was born in Thailand's Korat province and moved to Singapore five years ago, went from knowing not a single word of English to now speaking English and Mandarin with ease. The 10-year-old, who became a Singapore citizen in
Tanabordee Pansook Lim, who was born in Thailand's Korat province and moved to Singapore five years ago, went from knowing not a single word of English to now speaking English and Mandarin with ease. The 10-year-old, who became a Singapore citizen in April, has also learnt the pledge by heart in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

While many of his schoolmates fall silent when the pledge is recited in Tamil on Thursdays, Tanabordee Pansook Lim says the words clearly and confidently.

The 10-year-old, born in Thailand's Korat province, moved to Singapore five years ago speaking not one word of English. Now, he has accomplished a rare feat: learning the pledge by heart in the four official languages.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2019, with the headline '10-year-old knows the pledge in 4 languages'. Subscribe