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Bilingual

Dear ______

You are smart

You have mastered the art of two

Two or more expressions woven into your tongue

Seamlessly weaving between two homes

You shift between two languages like it is the norm

Before anyone accuses your accent for being foreign

Hold your head above the critique

You are an asset

A master of two


Photo by tam wai on Unsplash

Photo by tam wai on Unsplash


I wrote this piece after I had overheard a mother and her child skilfully switch between English and their native language on the train. I hoped that the girl would not be made to feel less than in the days to come because of her mother tongue (and neither should her mother).


As I pondered on the poem, I was later reminded of my neighbour who, for the years I have known him, has been a kind man - of Eastern European descent. One early morning during a quick supermarket trip, I stumbled upon my neighbour being rudely addressed by staff. I hope they didn’t make him feel less than because of his mother tongue.


I have heard similar accounts of this type of prejudice.


You are not less than, you hold a skill.

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