People immigrating from China has helped shape Nanaimo
Alyson McAndrews, Daily News
Published: Monday, January 23, 2012
She also made sure her daughters understood the reverence bestowed on grandparents and elders in Chinese culture.
On the New Year holiday, that reverence is particularly important as Chong and her family gather in Vancouver to see more distant relatives and observe some of the traditions of her homeland.
For her career, Chong worked at the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society helping people from all over the world transition to life in Nanaimo, and providing much-needed language skills.
As one of Canada’s statistically most successful immigrant groups, Chong’s story is a common one for Chinese-Canadians who move to a city and develop the skills they need to thrive there.
The support she has provided to other immigrants so they can become thriving community members is “the Chinese way.”
Knowing how hard it is to move to a new place where they don’t speak your language and everything is different from home is a strong motivator to help people through that transition, Fang says.
That makes the New Year celebrations so important. It’s a bridge back to China, as well as a way to reach out to your nonChinese neighbour, she says. At last year’s celebration, Fang estimates half of the revellers were not Chinese.
Lim says although it makes her happy to see so many nonChinese Canadians going taking part in the celebrations, she hopes people will think about what it really means to engage in a cultural exchange.
She points out it’s always food, dance and music that people share, which there is nothing the matter with, but she’d like to see a deeper conversation taking place.
“We’d like to think racism is a thing of the past, but it’s not,” she says and she shares a story of a VIU international student from China who was supposedly speaking too loudly at a Tim Hortons, so a person, instead of asking her to speak more quietly, threw food on her.
Lim says she has experienced similar treatment.
“Even people who see an Asian face and automatically think that person is Chinese and treat them with that assumption before finding out, are acting from prejudice,” she says.
FACTS ON NANAIMO’S CHINESE COMMUNITY
. It’s the largest visible minority population in Nanaimo
. the largest VIU international student population
. Four separate Chinatowns existed in Nanaimo from 1860 to 1960. The final Chinatown burned in 1960.
. People began moving to Nanaimo from China during the late 1850s to work in the coal mines
. Nanaimo Chinese Cultural Society is almost 50 years old
© The Daily News (Nanaimo) 2012
Article posted in Asian community, Chinafication, Communities, Demographic shift, Ethnic/Religious/Racial solidarity, Habits/Customs/Traditions/Foreign militancy brought by immigrants, Immigration, Multiculturalism