Chinese language politics in Vancouver, something to look forward to.

Some people are more interested in using languages for political reasons, rather than in learning them. Here is an article in the Vancouver Sun, by University of British Columbia history professor Henry Yu lamenting the role of English, the “colonial” language, in British Columbia. He seems to feel that Chinese should have more prominence. He tags on Punjabi and Tagalog, but there is no doubt that his interest is in Chinese. There is strong sentiment here, amongst some in the Chinese community to try to establish Chinese in BC, in the same way as French is entrenched in Quebec. Who knows? Things can change. It could happen.

Of course his advocacy in favour of the Chinese language is just a part of his sense of entitlement on behalf of Chinese people in general. In his article he says “Kits, for instance, does not have a significant ethnic Chinese Canadian presence in a city where almost every other neighbourhood has percentages of ethnic Chinese that range from 20% to 55%. What is wrong with Kits? The same thing that is wrong with so many newsrooms and boardrooms in Vancouver, where a quick glance around at who shapes opinion and leadership decisions reveals a blinding uniformity of faces as white as driven snow.”

First of all, it is a bit of a stretch to say that?? “almost every other neighborhood” is 20-55% Chinese-Canadian. Second, the Editor in Chief of the Sun is Fazil Milhar from Sri Lanka. But beyond that I can imagine the hue and cry if a UBC professor with the name John Smith said ” what is wrong with these parts of Vancouver that have too many Chinese?”

Henry Yu is a history professor specializing in the history of Asian migration in Vancouver and Canada. That’s a subject? I guess people can get degrees studying things like that these days. I remember a person whom I knew whose thesis was on the food hawkers of Singapore.

At any rate I could not resist answering him in this article which the Sun printed today.


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