Singapore — Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh took to social media on Friday (Apr 16) to pay tribute to the special woman in his life.
“Happy Birthday dear wife!,” he wrote on Instagram “Just thought that the best way I can wish you is to recognize all that you do for our daughters (and hopefully, your @beebee.ji experiment will help other Punjabi parents out there too)!”
His wife, Loveleen Kaur Walia, known as a Singaporean theatre practitioner, shows another side of herself on Instagram where she posts under the moniker beebee.ji. “Beebee” or “Beebee ji” is another word for “bibi” which, the Oxford dictionary will tell you, is an Indian word for “wife”.
And what “beebee.ji” does on Instagram is post on Sikh religion and Punjabi, among other things.
“Fun Punjabi learning in”, say the words at the top of the page next to a red-and-white Singapore flag. “Full time educator, fuller time mum!” says the next line followed by “Passionate about teaching, creating and exploring
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The page features a Word of the Day section, as well as other commonly used phrases to help teach children Punjabi. She also posts quotes related to education and language to inspire others to learn.
She and her husband are Punjabis, as many people may know. But like other Indian Singaporeans, they are also multicultural.
Father of two daughters, Mr Pritam Singh writes in his post, “Our older daughter takes Mandarin in kindergarten, and she seems to be getting on reasonably (gotta thank her teachers!) We hope she can continue with Mandarin for as long as possible because it is such a useful language to be competent in.”
“But there is also a part of us that wants our children to keep in touch with their mother tongue, Punjabi,” he adds. “Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy making learning a language fun, especially for toddlers and those under 5. So Lovleen has decided to share her experience and promote the teaching of Punjabi to young ones through an Instagram page called @beebee.ji ”
“Knowing a second or even a third language is an awesome life skill,” writes Mr Singh.
But then he also speaks for the minorities.
“Like some parents – especially minorities or inter-racial couples – who are at the junction of deciding which second language their children ought to take up in primary school, my wife Lovleen and I share the struggle.”
Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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