Pic: Chai Yi Lai 


The second winner of The Language Gallery’s (TLG) ‘Cockney Rhyming Slang’ competition has arrived in London to claim her prize. She will be getting one month of free accommodation in the city, along with an English course of her choice at TLG’s central London campus.


26 year old Chai Yi Lai, a.k.a Michelle, a sales executive from Malaysia, won our #TLGCourseWin competition in collaboration with YouTube star ‘Korean Billy’ earlier this year, by answering a question about the East London slang.


We met up with Michelle to talk to her about the beginning of her London journey.


“In my first few days I have been really struggling with jet lag! But I have already been to Tower Bridge – although it is very commercial, it is worth visiting to see and get a good picture!" She said.


She has also been to Oxford Street to go shopping: “I have never walked so much in my life!” Michelle said.


Michelle is a big musical theatre fan, and luckily for her, London’s famous West End has many world class stage shows on offer: “I went to watch Phantom of the Opera yesterday. It was amazing! I have always liked musical shows, so much effort goes into them. I managed to get a ticket for a good price, I purchased it on the spot and got one for £25.” She said.


“While I’m here I want to watch all the musicals! The next one I want to see is The Lion King.”


Michelle is also interested in experiencing a classic English afternoon tea: “I want to try doing things that locals would do, visit, and eat. There is so much, it is hard to know where to start. I have also already visited Borough Market, and got a great hot chocolate.”


Borough Market

Pic: Chai Yi Lai 


Speaking on Malaysian and English culture, Michelle thinks there are a lot of similarities between the two: “The culture I have experienced here in London so far is quite similar to Malaysian culture. There are a lot of different people from different races that speak different languages. It is very multicultural.”


“In my class there are people from Korea, Brazil, France, Turkey, and more. I think it is a good thing because I’m getting to know more about other people and cultures – but it can be quite hard to understand all of the different accents sometimes!” Michelle said.


Michelle has chosen to take the General English course, and has already learnt a lot: “We have been focusing on grammar and punctuation – I think it is really helping.”


This weekend Michelle is planning to visit Mayfield Lavender Farm. We are looking forward to speaking to Michelle later in the week to find out how she got on!