Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Happy New Year! Today we start a new year - the Year of the Dragon and the Vancouver Sun ran an article on UBC's project on Chinese Canadian stories which reminds me how quickly time has passed.

The days of ol' Vancouver Chinatown remain dear to me as still many of my best friends are from the days when I attended Lord Strathcona school where both my parents had the same Grade 6 teacher - Miss Foster!

The UBC project is an important one to remind us that it wasn't so easy for Chinese in those days. Both my parents were born in Vancouver but my Father went back to China for his formative years and did not return to Canada until he was a teenager. Neither parent got to finish high school because they had to work and contribute to their family. They worked hard doing mutliple jobs for a better life for my brother and I. If not for their hard work ethic, we would not be where we are today. We made it to Downtown Vancouver even though our parents were not given such opportunity.

I remember still that at Colliers where I subsequently became a Vice President bringing in the global wealth from Asia into North America when the investment bankers weren't paying attention to Asians, the words from the Chair and Managing Director were "We've never had a lady in this company since 1898, why should we have one now?". If not for the forefronters like the late Milton Wong and David Lam, Chinese would not have the same prominence that we do now.

My life has been full of firsts and I am grateful to Roseanne Sia of the UBC Chinese Canadian Stories project whose father helped me to translate this press clipping from the Miss Universe Pageant in Acapulco. It says:

Cold? Canada surprised by sending an authentic Eskimo that has also distinguished herself for her kindness and good manners. Her name: Andrea Leslie Eng.

Ha! How far we have come since then.

-- VANCOUVER SUN , 2012 January 23