When Rhys William came onto my Facebook news feed, I safely assumed it was a run-of-the-mill travel show.
I instantly recognised the skyline of my hometown Kuala Lumpur from the background of the video’s thumbnail, and was too curious not to press play. And just like the most obscene of clickbait titles on the Interwebs, what happened next astounded me.
You see, Rhys William isn’t any other ordinary travel show host – that’s not even his day job. Unlike most Caucasians I’ve met, this man speaks Bahasa Malaysia like a true native. He’s even mastered the accent so well, he could fool most Malaysians if they weren’t looking.
If you don’t believe me, watch it for yourself below. If you need translations, just hit the ‘Captions’ option under the video settings.
William is originally from the United Kingdom, an entrepreneur who lived just outside of London. After a short holiday in 2012, Rhys fell in love with Kuala Lumpur and decided to give a long-term stay a try.
With over a year of immersing himself in the culture and practising the language by ear, William felt confident in speaking the native tongue.
Not only can he speak in Bahasa, William has a blog called Mat Salleh Cari Makan (white guy looks for food) and an Instagram page where he writes in Malay, filled with slangs and shorthand that even Malaysians would be proud of.
It’s a sight to behold but one that makes my inner Malaysian all the more proud that someone would take this much interest in local culture and language to this extent.
All the best, Rhys. We’ll be keeping tabs.