Chinee not welcomed here.
Even if you managed to go to University, you can’t join my office. No heathen celestials welcomed in B.C.
It was well known that it was difficult for a Chinese to become a Doctor. Almost impossible for a Chinese to become a Lawyer, in fact, no Chinese were allowed to join any profession here in Canada. “Take your University degree and seek opportunities in the U.S., because Chinamen are not welcome here in Canada”.
And being the democracy that Canada is, Chinese cannot vote here in Canada. In fact, from 1927 to 1947, no Chinese were allowed to immigrate here – Canada. That was the order of the day for your everyday Joe Chinaman.
“The luck of a Chinaman” and a “Chinaman’s chance“- were terms once used to describe persons down on their luck …akin to today’s “a snowball’s chance in Hell“. So what happened?
A number of Canadian born Chinese volunteered for the war effort during the world’s last big conflict. And since this was Canada, NO Chinese were allowed to join the Canadian Forces. So many brave young Chinese Canadian boys and young Chinese Canadian girls joined Britain to go around this blemish… to fight for our Canada. And these young people came from the very few families in town who had children, for Canada’s earlier rules had discouraged the production of Chinese flavoured family members (eg. wives and kids) and others (eg. potential mates) from entering Canada for over a generation (21 years), with the Chinese Exclusion Act and the expensive Chinese Head tax before that.
It was our Chinese-Canadian soldiers who were there first, and liberated the POWs interred in Hong Kong. They even saved the life of a young girl who eventually grew up and wrote the “Ann of Green Gables” novel.
from the Chinese Canadian Miltary Museum
“Loyal to Country”
is the motto adopted by our cherished Chinese-Canadian Veterans, and is the tagline for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society (Vancouver). Many Chinese-Canadians fought proudly along side other Canadians – eventually earning the admiration and respect by their colleagues. We were just like one of them.
A great number of these young Chinese Canadian men gave their lives for our Nation. And then finally when the great war was over, Canada finally smiled and gave all Chinese-Canadians the right to become citizens, not with full rights though… it was not until 1967 that we were finally given this respect.
Thanks to leaders like the late Douglas Jung, war Vet and Canada’s first Chinese Canadian MP, we had a voice in the Canadian wilderness.
There are not many of these Vets still alive today. So at every opportunity, we participate in their events and reflect on the work they earned for all Canadians. So all new Chinese Canadians should realize the decent opportunities now presented to them were in fact, earned over blood, sweat… along with some good leadership and cerebral matter.
This knowledge should be a requirement on their Citizenship tests. Maybe it’d go a long way to help heal the rift between some Canadian borns and some (not all) of their newer Chinese-Canadian cousins.
How times have changed.
Now our Armed Forces is having a devil of a time trying to recruit within the Chinese and other visible hyphenated communities. Here’s what was published this week on the Asian Pacific Post:
The Asian Pacific Post writes this week:
Editorial: Canadian Forces
Fri, August 10 200
The question is provocative.
It is one that can create cruel debate and wrong conclusions. But it needs to be asked.
Why are all the Canadian soldiers being killed in Afghanistan white?
Where are our new Canadians from China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and the rest of Asia?
Sixty four of the 66 Canadian military personnel killed in Afghanistan since the start of the mission in 2002 are white Canadians. The other two are black Canadians.
There is something not right with this picture.
Walk in downtown Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal and you will be greeted with a glorious mosaic of cultures, mingling and mixing, sharing and caring, fighting for and defending all things Canadian.
Look at the queue of soldiers heading into a Hercules transport bound for Afghanistan – it is overwhelmingly white and male.
This stark contrast clearly illustrates that visible minorities are vastly under-represented in the Canadian Armed Forces. It is a entirely different world from that found on our home soil.
Of the 1.6 million new Canadians between 2001 and 2006, the vast majority — 1.2 million — were new immigrants, mostly from Asia.
Roughly one out of every five people in Canada, or between 19% and 23% of the nation’s population, will be a member of a visible minority by 2017 when Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, according to the latest ethno-cultural population projections.
Under the scenarios considered for these projections, Canada would have between 6.3 million and 8.5 million visible minorities 12 years from now.
Compare these numbers with the Canadian military and you will find that less than 3 per cent of its 132,000-strong regular and reserve forces are visible minorities.
The Department of National Defence says its target is to increase this to nine percent – but given the current rate of recruitment of visible minority soldiers, that is close to impossible.
It’s not that the Canadian military isn’t trying hard to correct this imbalance and populate its ranks to be reflective of the society it is sworn to protect.
You can rest assured that the Indo-Canadian pilot, the Japanese-Canadian gunner and Chinese-Canadian medical officer are all being singled out as the poster children for recruitment purposes.
They are being used as role models to dispel fears of racism and other undeserving taboos about the military.
But it is apparent that Canadian minority groups are shunning our military.
A random sampling of the ethnic communities in B.C., for the purpose of this opinion piece, drew some unfortunate responses.
“I don’t think Chinese families see careers for their children in the military,” said a Richmond-based political activist.
At a Vancouver Sikh temple, a group of devotees were in unison – “we did not come to Canada to fight”.
“No way.. I brought my sons here so they did not have to join the national draft,” said a South Korean businessman.
The prevailing attitude is that joining the Canadian military meansfighting and going to war.
There was little recognition of duty, valor, peacekeeping, disaster aid and the right – no, the obligation of Canadian citizens to defend the values we all came to Canada for.
If we as new Canadians do not hesitate to fight for equal rights, we must also not hesitate to defend those rights.
Our strength as new Canadians must not only be measured in economic terms.
We must permeate and be present in all aspects of Canada.
That includes the Canadian Forces.