PENANG, 6 February 2021 - The current COVID-19 outbreak has led Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to continue holding classes via online learning for its students at various levels.

Students undergoing their studies and those who work at the offices are the two major groups utilising the most of the Internet to complete their daily tasks. Many have been left with no choice but to continue with their work from home using the Internet.

Though the students are located all over the country (and even in some parts of the world), lessons would continue using online platforms that best suited them.

One such class is on the Japanese language, held at the USM School of Languages, Literacies and Translation (PPBLT). The LLJ 300 Japanese Language (Minor) class, taught by Kelana Ahmad is part of the foreign languages programme offered at PPBLT.


Known as ‘Kelana Sensei’, he has been teaching the language for 20 years at the School, along with a few other Japanese language teachers. Japanese language is one of the more popular foreign language subjects chosen by students.

Recently his students participated in a Japanese Skit Contest 2020, organised by Japan Foundation that is located in Kuala Lumpur (JFKL). Having close relations with Japan Foundation has allowed programmes to be held by PPBLT at USM with the support by the Foundation, in addition to having access to other programmes organised by the Foundation.

The theme of the contest was ‘X’, and with prizes sponsored by Panasonic, Kokuyo, Kinokuniya and the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur, it made the challenge all the more enticing to participants.

The students took about a month to prepare for their skits. Their main constraint was that they had to do their part individually at home due to the incidence of COVID-19, limiting face-to-face interaction.

3 groups from Kelana’s class took part in the competition, with all 3 groups winning spots in the Top 10:

2nd Place: Team Himutsu. Comprising of 7 members, the title of their skit was ‘OX: The Secret Diary’. Link:


3rd Place: Team Maguro. Comprising of 7 members, the title of their skit was ‘X’mas’. Link:


5th Place: Team Kagayaku Hoshi. Comprising of 8 members, the title of their skit was ‘What Are You Doing’. Link:


“Learning other languages, especially Japanese will not only provide us with an extra language to use, but it can also broaden our minds and allow accessibility to more opportunities in the future,“ said Kelana.

“In teaching the many different languages, PPBLT not only focuses on language acquisition but also gives the opportunity to students to learn more about the related cultures, life and good values as they learn the respective languages from the country of origin.

PPBLT also provides the career path, especially for our Japanese language students, by inviting Japanese work hunters from industries to recruit our students with potential,” added Kelana.

For further information, please visit this link:

Text: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin 

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