Friday, December 9, 2011

Korean's Also Love Nasi Lemak

South Korean finds his niche with badminton in Malaysia


SOUTH Korean mathematics teacher Cho Pan Soo has found his active participation in badminton an ideal platform to connect with the Malaysian community.
Having been in the country for the past 11 years, the 47-year-old said it had been easy for his family to interact with the locals and adapt to the lifestyle here.
“Badminton has a strong following in South Korea and Malaysia. I started playing the game when I was in South Korea. I am very fortunate because I share the similar interest with many Malaysians. Despite the communication barrier at the earlier stages, we could relate well to each other because we are passionate about badminton. I am a decent player at social level and it has always been a very pleasant experience to join my badminton friends for regular playing sessions over the weekends,” he added.
Sharing same interest: Pan Soo from South Korea having fun on the court.
In addition, it has been a family affair for Pan Soo with his two daughters — Eom Jin and Ye Rin — strengthening their ties on court with their outings at Kelab Darul Ehsan (KDE) in Kuala Lumpur.
The trio go through the paces under the guidance of the club’s coach and former national shuttler Ramesh Nathen at least once.
The 16-year-old Eom Jin has just picked up the right strokes for the game seriously at the beginning of the year.
“I took a while before giving it a go to learn badminton because I do not fancy the strenuous movements around the court,” said the Kuen Cheng High School student, adding that nasi lemak is her favourite local delight.
Both Pan Soo’s daughters went through the public Chinese school system when they started primary school education at SJKC Lai Meng before they continued their secondary education at Kuen Cheng High School in Kuala Lumpur.
Family affair: Sisters Cho Ye Rin (left) and Cho Eom Jin (right) joining their father Cho Pan Soo for regular badminton sessions.
However, the 17-year-old Ye Rin is pursuing O-Level at the Sayfol International School and is planning to carry on her A-Level at a local college before she returns to gain her tertiary qualification in South Korea.
“As a result of my parents’ decision to shift to Malaysia, my sister and I are well versed in a few languages. Besides English, we are comfortable communicating in Mandarin. We speak Korean at home,” said Ye Rin, adding her 45-year-old mother Kim Yun Joo believes it is a wiser choice for her younger sister to complete her stint at the Chinese school until Form Five before going to college.
At the Berjaya Clubs’ inter-club sports meet at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club in Kuala Lumpur recently, Ye Rin was part of the KDE victorious badminton team for the third time in a row.
In the triangular round robin contest with two other teams — Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club and Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort — in the fray, Ye Rin proved to be a reliable key player and provided a point in the women’s singles.
The other four matches in each tie were women’s doubles, men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Ye Rin said she was satisfied that she has not dropped a point in the series as KDE went on to live up their top billing.
“The education system is not as demanding in Malaysia. The more relaxed environment allows us to have a balanced lifestyle growing up as teenagers. I do not think that I would have the luxury to play badminton on my own pace in South Korea because of the competitive nature to do well in studies and sports.
“Even I do not play at a very high level here, I am striving to improve on my game. My father is a more experienced player and I could hardly take a game off him in recent years,” added Yi Ren, who has represented Kuen Cheng High School in the girls’ Under-15 section at the district schools badminton.
It is trickier for the mature Pan Soo with his latest adventure to brush up on his command of English language at the Universiti Malaya.
In his bid to enhance his trade as an educator, he is hopeful to gain entry for the Bachelor of Science programme specialising in mathematics.
“It has been hectic juggling my schedule between studying English and running the mathematics tuition centre at the moment. Over the years, I have attended several English courses but I gave up when it became too tough for me handle at the more advanced stages,” said Pan Soo.
He added that obtaining a degree from a reputable university would be a stepping stone for him to acquire sound credentials and fulfil his dream to set up a college for South Korean students in Malaysia.

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