Well ... the speed ... it's both right and wrong. If you translate some code statement-for-statement from C to Perl, then Perl will lose hands down. For a large group of tasks a well written Perl script will beat anything you could write in C in reasonable time to pulp. The built-ins of Perl had been hand-optimized for years so if you can implement the task by a few calls to those built-ins, your program will finish sooner than if you attempt to reimplement them in your own code. In most cases it simply doesn't matter though.
Enoch was right!
Enjoy the last years of Rome.