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Think You've Got a Handle on Foreign Languages? Meet Thaksin

Thaksin sells souvenirs, but Cambodian Red Cross will pay for his education after newfound fame
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2018 3:30 PM CST

(Newser) – A young boy who's picked up parts of at least 12 languages and dialects while selling souvenirs to tourists at Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex is about to get a change of scenery—and a free education. Thaksin first won hearts around the world in a viral video showing him speaking fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Thai. (You can get an idea from this video via the South China Morning Post, with translations.) In another video, the boy—who reportedly also speaks English, French, Spanish, Korean, Malay, Filipino and Hainanese—mentions a desire to study language in China. "I can only speak Mandarin, but I don't know how to write it. I want to go to university in Beijing," Thaksin says, per the SCMP.

Apparently too young for university yet (NextShark gives his age as 14, the Morning Post as 9), the boy will at least get to visit Beijing. Impressed by his version of a popular Chinese song, in which he changes the line "we are here waiting for you" to "we are here selling things for you," a Beijing TV station will cover the cost to fly Thaksin and his family to the city for an interview. Inkstone News reports the visit will last three days. After that comes something even better: The Cambodian Red Cross has offered to pay for schooling for Thaksin and his siblings. (Improve your own foreign vocabulary.)

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