The Vancouver Chinese language media and the English language media appear to work independent of one another. And this ethnic /mainstream media community is a reasonable micro-cosmic reflection of the population at large here in Vancouver.
Vancouver. A city that often pats itself on it’s back for it’s gushing ownership of “diversity” and “multi-culturalism” – two overused words that are the staple of many a politician. If I had it my way, I’d deep six it away with “24/7″, “proactive” and other airy banter.
The city has embracing other fluffy words – words like “harmony”, “tolerance” and other saccharin laden, politically pleasant noise. As long as there isn’t any threat to this status quo, there appears to be a quiet love-hate relationship here. As long as the economy sputters along nicely, and our local leadership involves gestures of racial openness and tolerance, all seems fine here in this city.
So what’s the beef?
Two recent events occurred in Vancouver this past week.
The first, was a well meaning and most informative discussion of our Environment and Money.
The $greening$ of Green.
A forum, branded as the “Valuation summit“, was an international gathering of suits, pocketbooks, and their supporters. It was an informative summit, and worth the $400+ to attend. I found it interesting that the whole environmental and sustainability movement have sort of found their credibility – as these clever folks have found allies in the financial world.
There’s money in the environmental movement. And we all know, money makes the world go round…
The Summit included land developers, UN officials, market analysts, fund managers, and experts in every shade of green.
They spent a good portion of the morning identifying some of the problems… especially the opportunity of a China rising.
Even our Premier, Mr. Campbell, in his swanky new eyeglasses, referred to the recent feel good trip he made to China – and to underscore the movement, Premier Campbell stated, “…the mention of environmental issues occurred at each and every one of my meetings in China!”.
The summit went on with China this and China that.
Chinese this and Chinese that.
Asia this and Asia that.
Newspaper headlines shouting China! were displayed.
Even the chair of one of the keynote organizations waved a recent copy of Canada’s National newspaper.
The chair of the World Green Council had a big Chinese character displayed on the screen. So, with all this Chinesey awareness, I noticed something rather interesting …
…so where are the Chinese in all of this?
Yes, what seemed to be missing were… uh, Chinese. All the organizers were white, almost all the keynote speakers were white, uh, the presenters were WHITE…
Does it really matter if there were no Chinese at this world healing fest?
I always advocate that you find the best person for the job – no matter what flavour of ethnicity it happens to be.
We’ve seen enough of this minority advocate nonsense gone wild. But for the optics and for some semblance of credibility, you’d think that in this City known for it’s diversity and hyped rainbow mosaic, there’d be some sort of token qualified participant.
You’d think, eh?
So the next observation was the lack of the ethnic media.
So here we have the West telling the rest of the world, their problems – but the message will get relayed to believers who are already immersed in the English language environmental efforts.
There was just one ethnic media rep, and he was from one of the Chinese TV stations.
He seemed to be more interested in chatting with his friend on the cell phone than on the content of the summit. In fact, when our Premier finished his speech, almost all of the media left – our Chinese media guy along with all our “mainstream” media folks… Yup, they all just packed up and left. Somehow, I feel that this message about the environment and the opportunities mined, has to be delivered to the people the presenters are targeting. You can’t talk about someone’s problems without including them into the discussion.
Now the flip side.
A couple of days ago, the Vancouver Asian community organized an important media conference, with politicians from all levels of government to express the disgust they have with Japan’s current Prime Minister, “Amnesia Abe“.
Apparently Mr. Abe had made a statement that Japan’s second world war military never coerced any women into their “comfort stations” ( a euphemism for the organized rapes by Japanese soldiers). This unleashed an outcry around the world, making headlines throughout – including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Australia’s Henderson, International Herald, Washington Times and various Canadian papers (Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Edmonton Journal)… and muckluks full of major newsblogs piping along.
However, there has been hardly a peep here in Vancouver’s English media.
Here in Vancouver, where the City boasts of a sizeable Asian population, there was no coverage (other than radio station, CKNW ) on this event.
The ethnic media were at the many events in full strength – Chinese, Indian, Korean, Philipino… but to the dismay of the organizers, no English language media presence.
Contrast this to the media folks back in central and eastern Canada, where editorials and feature articles expressing dismay over Abe’s selective memory loss had been presented weekly, if not daily.
Time to shed tears folks…
So when the Vancouver papers are struggling to make readership in-roads into the various ethnic communities… and even make available, copies of their papers in various languages … they probably squeeze their soft family jewels and wonder why it’s such a tough sell.
And the Chinese Canadian community?
The same can be said about them. All this whining about wanting inclusiveness and acceptance means squat when so many of you choose to be insular.