Malaysia is a land of diverse cultures, race and languages and Telugu is the second largest Indian language group in the country. The Telugu Association of Malaysia, an active community of young people who work towards promoting the language and culture of the Telugu people held their first annual youth convention in Malaysia at the Putra World Trade Centre on May 22, 2011. The convention was a day long event that comprised a job fair, education fair, cultural showcase and a youth empowerment seminar and was attended by more than 3000 people.
Dato’ Vijay Eswaran was invited as a speaker at the seminar where he spoke about Self Development. He told the youth that with focus, committment and determination, they can achieve anything. He revealed that as a young boy studying in the UK who depended on a scholarship for survival, he worked as a security guard and a cab driver to supplement his meagre income. That experience helped inculcate a strong work ethic in him and taught him more about life than a formal education.
“Practice, practice, practice”, he told the youth. “The more you work on yourself, the better you get. Don’t wait for a handout from the government or anyone else. Every one of you has it in you to make something out of your self. Malaysia’s first Nobel Laureate could be sitting here in this audience, amongst you!”, he added.
Dato’ Vijay also spoke about his personal icon, Mahatma Gandhi, who has been a source of inspiration to millions around the world. He explained that both his grandfather and father were staunch Gandhians and he grew up with a picture of Gandhi adorned on the wall of his family home, referring to the man in the picture as “Gandhi Thaatha” (grandfather). Gandhi led an entire nation to its independence and brought the mighty British empire to its knees with the sheer force of his will and determination, by following the principle of ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence.
Dato’ Vijay also played several videos to iillustrate his points and to help his young audience relate to real life examples. While he doesn’t speak Telugu personally, he made the effort to learn specific phrases in Telugu to engage with the audience that got him much appreciation.