Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada 150

Born to a Chinese family in the British colony of Hong Kong, I spent my teenage years in an oriental and patriarchal culture that was conditioned, on the one hand, by traditional Confucius and Buddhist values, and shaped, on the other, by the western and Christian way of living due to the influence of the British. At 19, I left the colony to receive university education in Canada. Without knowing it at the time, my departure from my place of birth, meant to be a 4-year hiatus for higher education and better future, turned out to be a permanent exodus that determined not only where I would reside and raise my family for the rest of my life, but also what country my children – and my children’s children – would be proud to call home: Canada.

On this 150th anniversary of my country – the country that extended its welcoming arms and embraced me lovingly 35 years ago when my place of birth rejected me in so many ways, my heart is filled with jubilation and thankfulness: jubilation because this wonderful country of 35 million people is a land uniquely adorned with incredible wonders of nature, enormous resources, polite and pleasant people whose diverse origins are the reason for mutual respect, not conflict, and a constitutional architecture that protects diversity, promotes freedom, and ensures justice and equality under the law; thankfulness because my Canadian citizenship - the immense good and human dignity that it garners - is in the final account not the result of my personal pursuit or anybody's kind assistance but God’s special grace.

Some people see a person’s ethnic and cultural characteristics as the overriding factors that define his national identity, i.e. his country. The absurdity of this view, which we shall call “nationalism of ethnic and cultural identity”, is that, when taken strictly it means Canada is not a real country! With the exception of the aboriginal peoples, the ethnic and cultural origins of the 35 million people in this country are not Canadian, which according to this view means Canada is not their country! To the people who see me in the light of this position, my response is this: as an ethnic Chinese, I pledge my personal allegiance to my Chinese heritage, including my ancestors and 5,000 years of Chinese culture; the former is in my DNA and the latter my heart and sentiments. But as a human being who treasures freedom, dignity, and constitutional rights, as a family person who seeks to marry and raise children, and as a national subject who entrusts his livelihood, health, education, and personal well-being to the governance of a state, I do not hesitate to identify myself wholeheartedly and unreservedly as a Canadian.

The newspaper this morning is like a Charles Dickens novel – a tale of two cities or two places. As celebrations of 150 years get underway here across Canada with fanfare and jubilation, Hong Kong, which is 12 hours ahead in time zone on the other side of the globe, has just finished a solemn remembrance of 20 years of British handover of the colony to China. At this watershed moment of the two places, my heartbeat rises and falls with every jubilation of my country and anxiety of my birthplace….


  1. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 for 156 years to appease the British shortly after the Governor of Hunan, Lin Tse-hsu, who had the guts to order some 20,000 chests of opium destroyed. I remember when I heard this in history class decades ago, my blood boiled. But interesting enough, the Chinese in Hong Kong, instead of celebrating the reverting of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty, dreaded this very idea. From a pragmatic perspective, I can understand why.
    But I think the idea of democracy has been fed to the world unquestionably as the be all and end all ultimate perfect political system, apart from which will be totally unacceptable and is to be condemned.
    I think we’re all duped.
    Democracy “could be” the be all and end all political implementation, given certain conditions. If the conditions are not met, democracy can destroy any country, easy.
    How’s Arab Spring working in the Middle East? Well, it started the current migrant crisis. Are people better off there now compared to the evil reign of Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, & Muammar Gaddafi? At the very least, those evil undemocratic rulers had all the different sects of religions under control, people were able to coexist in relative peace. Christians were able to worship freely. Libya under evil ruler Muammar Gaddafi was thriving economically, probably the only country on earth that was debt free. And let me emphasize, Christians WERE able to worship freely under evil ruler Muammar Gaddafi, and that they’re making a living, a good one. That was until he was taken out by the face of democracy, Hillary Clinton, whose famous quote on Gaddafi: we came, we saw, he died….ha ha ha…..Upon which Libya descended into living hell.
    Am I dissing democracy, and glorifying fascism? Quite the contrary. The “democracy” we enjoy today is quite fascist. I can write pages after pages, but here I’ll give just one example. The Liberal government respect the expression of individuals to the point of defying the objective truth. If you address a biological man “Sir” or “he” or “him” to “his” objection, you’ll be liable to fine and/or imprisonment. But of course, if you’re a politician under the Liberal regime, your voice is utterly irrelevant…..just toe the party line, or you’re out. If this is not fascist and hypocritical, tell me what is.
    And democracy won’t work by simply importing people who want and buy this idea. Case in point: a few weeks ago I went to Sobey’s to pick up a few grocery items. At the entrance there is a wet wipe can, kind of like a hand sanitizer for patrons. It was in the night and I saw a Chinese lady “working” at it. Then I realized she’s pulling the wipes carefully not to break the chain of wipes. And when she saw me approaching looking at her, she pulled a few more before walking away. Imagine you import loads of people with this attitude, on top of the practice of tax evasion.
    Democracy is not about what we get, that’s only half the equation, the lesser half. It’s about what we contribute, building upon the premise that all are made equal. In cultures that don’t practise that, democracy won’t work. The only culture that practise, not just believe, “all are made equal” is Christian.
    For democracy to work in a county, you need enough practising Christians.
    Promoting democracy, imho, is a waste of time. Evangelization is the key.

    1. The above comment is posted out of respect for the readers’ freedom to express their views and feelings after reading the posts on this blog, which doesn’t necessarily mean I agree. Freedom, after all, was one of the noble characteristics I pointed out in my post that made me proud to call Canada my country, not democracy, important as the latter is. Freedom is innate to the human nature - at least that's what we Christians believe. Democracy is just one of many forms of government. Any form of government that suppresses human freedom must be seen as an assault to humanity which Christ has paid a huge price to defend and redeem.