Rasyidah Abu Johan is proud to be the first Malay newscaster in Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) to read the news in Mandarin. She is now quite the celebrity on social media and became famous with a tweet sharing her clip of her reporting in Mandarin that blow up.
The tweet gained over 5,000 retweets and 7,000 likes as of time of writing. Check out how fluent she is reading news in Mandarin:
Her first time went on air was on the second day of Chinese New Year
Rasyidah shared the first time she went on air was on January 26 – the second day of Chinese New Year. She was extremely nervous but she did not want to disappoint her superiors who have given her the opportunity to read the news in Mandarin and also the audience who were watching her. However, she is thankful that the Chinese community showed their support for her.
Rasyidah went to a Chinese primary school and took Mandarin lessons
The Penang-born newscaster said when she was six years old, she enrolled for piano lessons and many of her classmates were Chinese. In order to be friends with them, because they were too shy to talk to her she decided that she wanted to learn to speak in Mandarin.
She then expressed her desire to her mother and chose to enroll her in a vernacular Chinese school. She studied in a Chinese school since primary right up to form six.
Her first job at RTM was as a producer for the RTM newsroom
In 2011, the Public Services Commission of Malaysia (SPA) offered her a producer position at the RTM newsroom. From working at the general desk, she then moved to the Mandarin desk later in 2014. The management team then realised her potential as a newscaster and her talent in the Mandarin language. Her job scope includes news production, translation, video editing and voice-over.
When she was at RTM, her superiors asked if she’d like to join the ‘Mandarin desk’. Rasyidah took up the offer as it may be a waste of her ability to speak Mandarin if she did not seize the opportunity.
She is UTAR alumna
Rasyidah majored in Bachelor of Communication (Hons) Public Relations at UTAR Petaling Jaya Campus from 2007 until 2009. Upon graduating from UTAR, Rasyidah worked as a personal assistant to a celebrity. In the meantime, she also delivered video translation work.
Rasyidah wishes to see more Malay newscasters reading the news in Tamil and vice versa
“It will be nice, in future, if we can see a Malay newscaster reading the news in Tamil and an Indian newscaster reading the Malay news and vice versa.”
“We are living in a multiracial society and that would be an ideal picture to show on television. There is nothing wrong in mastering a language that is not your own.”