Compiled by ERLE MARTIN CARVALHO and R. ARAVINTHAN
A 13-YEAR-OLD boy who became an Internet sensation thanks to his striking resemblance to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has now returned to village life after five years of public appearances at corporate events.
Reporters who visited his home in Jiangxi recently found Fan Xiaoqin, popularly known as “Little Jack Ma”, looking dishevelled and wearing dirty clothes, Sin Chew Daily reported.
“You need to pay to take a photo!” he yelled when cameras were pointed at him, which is believed to be a habit formed from training given by the management company which had handled his public gigs.
The management company had let go of him recently.
It was claimed that Fan had only received three years of formal education when he was in the limelight.
He had trouble answering the question: What is two plus two?
Netizens had been concerned about the boy’s future as his guardians seemed to have neglected his education.
Fan grew up in an impoverished family. His father lost a leg after being bitten by a snake and his mother had polio.
> Educationist group Dong Zong has urged the Education Ministry to stop its latest survey on Jawi calligraphy as 97.3% of Chinese schools have indicated in 2020 that they were hesitant about its implementation, Sin Chew Daily reported.
“Dong Zong conducted a survey among 1,298 Chinese schools last year.
“A total of 1,275 replied they were ‘unwilling to accept’ the new module, ” said group president Tan Tai Kim.
He pointed out that a ministry’s questionnaire last year found about 98% of them replying in the negative as well.
Instead of teaching Jawi calligraphy to Year Four pupils, Tan suggested that the ministry improve on the teaching of Bahasa Malaysia.
> A new sport-utility vehicle (SUV) caught fire in China’s Sichuan province during a ceremony to bless it for Chinese New Year, China Press reported.
The owner had wanted to conduct a prayer ceremony for the SUV in hopes that all of its journeys would be safe.
But the lit candles and joss sticks came too close to the vehicle, causing its engine compartment to catch fire.
The extent of the damage to the car engine is not known yet.
The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.