Gray areas are not so bad.

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Google image. http://www.chinadiscovery.com

We continue our trip in Asia, and we go north of the Philippines to China.

I met Cameron through school. He’s one of the smartest students I know. In second year, when he poses a question in class the room quiets down. Not an easy feat for a room-full of 200 students to achieve. But his questions were always on point. He’s about to graduate with BS Honours in Psychology in a few days and I’m extremely proud to call him my friend.

Five years ago, Cameron came to Canada as an International Student. He still is. He accepted an offer for a masters program at a prestigious university in Ontario. Although his academic pursuits are working out for him beautifully, he misses his family and friends in China (“There are the ones who provided me with almost unconditional love. I barely encounter anyone who is able to love me in the same way as they do since I came to Canada.”). This longing for familiarity, comfort, even struggles in the new country is common with international students.

Like most minorities, he also encountered differential treatment from others. Perhaps it’s his race, his command of the English language, or his quick and sharp intelligence, but this treatment stems from younger Canadians, which is somewhat surprising and disappointing. Canadians are generally congenial, polite, and patient in terms of other races and their differences from Canadian culture. Moreover, Cameron mostly interacts with university people, and some with different cultural backgrounds. So this differential treatment is mostly coming from that population, which in my opinion is even more disappointing because diversity is promoted heavily in this setting. Perhaps it’s not surprising then for the challenges in employment opportunities in terms of diversity if we already see this type of treatments going on in the student level. Continue reading “Gray areas are not so bad.”

At the end of the day…

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Google image. Tolerance.

This week has been jarring for everyone in terms of safety and terror. In Manchester, England, a suicide bomber decided to take lives, young and old, for an ideology that’s full of hate. In Marawi, Philippines, a group of men decided to loot and destroy a city, and kidnap people that were inside a religious establishment that is not connected to their faith. Veering away from the blog’s purpose, let’s talk about the role of prejudice and hate when making decisions that ultimately changes so many lives. Specifically, let’s talk about the role of bystanders of these horrific events.

According to van der Linden, Hooghe, de Vroome, & Van Laar (2017), people tend to exhibit generalized trust. It is an expectation that most people can be trusted, and that feeling towards strangers is mainly positive. Per van der Linden et al. (2017), this trust is linked to increase tolerance and low levels of racial and religious prejudice. However, this doesn’t seem to be a reality in the majority of the US and in Europe nowadays. When the Manchester blast was reported to be claimed by a terrorist group bent on destruction, this fanned the people’s fears and belief that these immigrants and refugees are to be blamed. As the armed men in Marawi pledged allegiance to the same terrorist group who claimed the Manchester blast, I read a post on Facebook that incited a hateful thread. The poster assumed that the attack on that city was due to Philippine President Duterte welcoming refugees, and that she felt safe because US President Trump is against accepting refugees. Both judgements of course are incorrect on the social and political aspects of these attacks. But it reached the eyes and ears of the people who’s been harbouring bias and fear.  Continue reading “At the end of the day…”

It’s All Worth It!

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Google image. http://toursmaps.com

This week is our first trip to another country. We go to Asia first, specifically the Philippines.

Renee finished two undergraduate degrees, BS in Psychology and BS in Nursing. She feels like her calling is to help people, and the two degrees complement when she was working at a hospital back in Cebu, a province in the Philippines. Being a nurse was satisfying and enjoyable for her. A passion. Unfortunately, she only gets an annual salary of just under $3,200, in Canadian money equivalent (“Too small to feed my family every month.”), with no free health care and expensive primary and secondary education. When her daughter turned four years old, an opportunity arose to start a new life in North America. Taking all her savings, she applied for herself, her husband, and her daughter to come to Canada. That was 4 years ago. She misses her old home so much, especially a specialty food called ‘Ginabut,’ a Chinese delicacy Siumai (“It doesn’t taste the same here.”), and the street foods. Although she never felt treated differently by anyone she met because of her heritage, Canada was a disappointment for her in regards to her career. She misses being a nurse, talking to patients, and helping them. A service she can’t offer if she’s working as a valet attendant. Both her undergraduate degrees do not amount to anything in Canada for a professional career in either fields. The educational system in the Philippines is not compatible with ours, and she must go back to school to be a Registered Nurse again. She now has two children, with the youngest turning 3, so school is not on the budget. If there’s a chance to go back to the Philippines, be a nurse again and get paid as much as nurses in Canada, she will not hesitate to uproot her family and go back home.  Continue reading “It’s All Worth It!”

Their words, my emotions

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Personal photo. All rights reserved.

I’m a fairly emotional person. Over the years, I’ve learned to curb most of the immediate outbursts but I still feel it inside. I need a ‘human diary’ to put up with my rantings, gushing, and outpouring of grief, sadness, happiness, or love. It’s a need, not a want. And so, this blog is dedicated to a subject I feel very strongly about, and personally believe is a hallmark of being Canadian: how we treat our Immigrants and Refugees. Starting with a Q & A with people I know over the years, or just met, who chose to, or had to, migrate to this great country of ours. And then finishing with a similar experience growing up and emotions attached to it, or just an opinion, subjective or otherwise.

As an immigrant myself over 20 years ago, my family settled comfortably in Niagara. First impression was how different people are. There’s no uniformity except being kind and generous, and so welcoming. Most especially, on how different cultural backgrounds are celebrated, accepted, and expected. And yet, all of these people are PROUD CANADIANS! I was completely in awe of my new home, and on how they treated my family as new immigrants. Turns out, Niagara Region is a wonderful representation of Canada as a whole.

Disclaimer: Reading this blog will immerse you with another culture, and see how similar it is with how we view life as a decent human being. So, readers will be my online ‘human diary,’ and will be subjected to all the love, fear, happiness, sadness, anger, hope, and all the different emotions coming out of these pages. Please unsubscribe if you can’t handle it. I won’t be upset. However, you’re more than welcome to message me if there’s something I should, but didn’t, or I did, but should’t, include(d) in my posts. I’m only human and makes mistakes. Looking forward to your comments. 🙂

Beginnings

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image: Instagram.com/rjrniagara

As I prepare to showcase the different cultures of Niagara, thoughts of the lives I will interrupt for better or worse, threatens my confidence. Even with wonderful intentions, there will be people who cannot, or will not, accept the obvious differences and the more subtle, if not stronger, similarities. Bias will always rear its ugly head. So for this, I will change the names of my friends. But their identities, not resting entirely on their names, will be presented through their own voices in terms of their religion, race, gender identities, and ethnicity.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to be featured. I am open to all opinions, but not all opinions are open for posting. This blog will be accepting and protecting of all the different cultures of our world.