SEPANG – Muhamad Shahmeer Mohd Nashrul was shocked beyond words when he found that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had conveyed his congratulations over his success at the 16th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students on Aug 12.
The 22-year-old second-year accountancy student in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) , Puncak Alam campus won second place in the competition for Mandarin language proficiency in which 145 students from 112 countries competed for one month in Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
Speaking to reporters when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport early this morning, the Penang-born who is a singer known more popularly as Meer Nash, said he was excited when he read the article written by UiTM on his success in China, quoting the congratulatory tweet by the prime minister.
“I was like, is this for real? In China, we had to have Internet connection through VPN (virtual private network) and only then could we access social media like Facebook or Twitter. So, I tried my best to get VPN because I wanted to see if it was true that the PM had tweeted about me. When I had Internet connection, my reaction was: ‘It is crazy. Oh my God and I need to reply Datuk Seri Najib.
“I replied to the prime minister’s tweet, thanked him and after that I took a screen-shot before posting it on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. After that, many people congratulated me. I am very, very happy and thankful to all, especially the prime minister,” he added.
Muhamad Shahmeer, the sole competitor from Malaysia, won a trophy for the Asian level, the Best Popularity Award and the Best Proficiency Award, as well as a full scholarship from the Chinese Government. The first prize was won by a student from Sudan.
The second of three siblings, he said the competition comprised several rounds, including giving a speech on Chinese culture, as well as an oral and written test on Chinese history.
“In the second round, I opted to sing a Chinese song titled ‘You Are My Eyes’. All contestants had to attend classes each day on the history and culture of China. I felt stressed but very happy because I could increase my general knowledge and experience through those classes,” he added.
Muhamad Shahmeer said prior to the competition, he practised with his lecturer almost daily at the UiTM campus.
Of Malay-Chinese parentage, Muhamad Shahmeer said he was fluent in Hokkien and started speaking Mandarin in Standard One when his parents sent him to study in a Chinese school.