KOTA KINABALU: Collaborative effort is needed between France and the state of Sabah to develop the French language and culture in the state in order to attract French tourists to Sabah.
KK French Friendship Association (KK French’ip) founding president, Veronique Chapeland, said, Sabah is the most exotic place in the world and there is a need to attract French tourists to come here.
Chapeland believed that learning French culture would benefit Sabah and its people in terms of cultural exchange and tourism.
“Not many French people know about Sabah, and we need some sort of collaboration to make them know about the state and we want to be able to welcome them.
“It would be a bonus point to learn French, especially among tourism players, to lure French people to visit East Malaysia,” she said.
Chapeland, who is French and is currently residing in the state, added that most French tourists are making their stop in Kuala Lumpur and only a few fly onwards to Sabah.
“I have met with several Sabah people who have expressed their interest in learning our culture and this is where KK French’ip can plays its role.
“Bringing French culture here is new to the people and we hope to promote the language and culture through organizing social occasions, classes and workshops,” she said.
KK French’ip, established in 2012, currently has 47 members and have organized various activities such as free French and Malay language classes, cooking lessons and also co-organizing the European Union Film Festival.
On Saturday night, the association celebrated the official opening of its new office at Wisma Wanita here, where members gathered to exchange views and were entertained to performances in French.
The event was in conjunction with the French World Music Day also known as Fête de la Musique.
Dean of the Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Center for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language, Prof. Dr. Vincent Pang Ah Fook, said, French language is one of the popular elective subjects among UMS students.
“Many of our undergraduate students have shown a high interest in learning the foreign language and I see KK French’ip as a platform for them to join and actually interact with others.
“Learning a language in a classroom alone is not effective. In the context of life, it is important for them to mix around and attend social gatherings and this is where our students can learn more,” he said.
Pang added that the centre would look into establishing a cooperation with KK French’ip as well as varsities in France in regards to educational development and improvement.