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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Me, Canada and the World


I have been to my share of different countries, experienced the peoples and their cultures, and although I am far from being a world traveller, I have developed a deep love for our global garden. 

As I was born in Canada, the appreciation of multi culturalism comes naturally. As an interested and curious youngster, I read the newspapers with due diligence, and was exposed to Trudeauism. He embodied my idea of a model politician - intelligent, open minded, passionate, charismatic, principled and had a great sense of humour. He was a strong leader, with clearly formed ideas, which made him also quite unapologetic and unwavering at times. 

I enjoyed, not yet loved as I was still relatively young, the Canada Trudeau had shaped. We were proud without the arrogance, liberal and disciplined, hardworking but fun, and we respected each other. They were good times for the country. His son, Justin, seems to have promise but I hope he has the strength of belief and character to stick to his guns.

What I liked most, as a minority Chinese, was Trudeau's respect and love for differences. He loved the variety and nuances of the world and sought to cultivate the wondrous diversity within the country of Canada. 

I wish so keenly that every individual would share this respect and appreciation of diversity. How much better we could work together on the improvement of the important things in life: the quality of our nature, our food sources, our resources, the education of our children, the health of our citizens. One of the priorities to achieve these goals is the universal teaching of music to all children, but this would be another topic for another day.

It seems so clear to me that our outward differences are superficial indeed. Yes, some of us are white, some yellow, some brown and some black, nowadays some of us are even multi coloured!

We eat different foods, different spices, speak different languages; some of us are loud, some soft, some burp publicly, some do not even know their spouses have bodily noises after thirty years of marriage. We are all human.

In fact,we come from the same ancestors who looked very similar back then. The differences we now see are only the result of nature running its course and separating into different continents in different directions. Over time, our genes change to adapt to our climate and surroundings in order to survive best. If you live on a crowded small island, of course you will develop a love or at least comfort level with all things miniature. The familiar is often safer. 

If you live in a country with serene nature surrounding you, you would develop a tendency towards peacefulness and patience. If you are living in a bustling city or region with millions of people, your tempo will accelerate over time. Thus we begin to develop traits and habits to adapt to our "neighbourhoods", and after several generations, those traits and habits become ingrained in our genetic makeup. My young niece, whose father is half Indian, but who has eaten during her grand sum of four years mainly Chinese and Italian food, sweats eau de curry! She doesn't even like Indian food, at least not yet, but her clothes all smell like butter chicken!

At the age of two and a half, I took her out to play and every time she accomplished a task, I yelled enthusiastically "very good!" She ended up trying to climb fences just so, as she so endearingly said, dada ( her nickname for me, the aunt) has to say berly goot ( Indian accent). Just think of those who need to practise hours to get the Indian accent down pat, and here she was, a perfect Peter Sellers. 

On to more serious things again, such as the Middle East eternal crisis. Here we have strife and violence since the Bible existed. I do not think this tragedy will ever stop. It seems that every time we have something precious or sacred, every insecure person will fight for its ownership or at least closeness to it. The very fanatical actions they take indeed are glaring proofs that they are the furthest from the precious or sacred. It reminds me of the words of wisdom, "you only have something when you no longer need it." And that is true of respect as well.