A role model for smaller towns

Even though I’m a Saskatchewan-born Regina resident now, whenever I visit Vancouver, I feel right at home – probably because I spent five and a half years living there. I didn’t leave because I wanted to, but because of employment opportunities. I’ve now settled back into the prairie life, which was a bit of a…

Canada, who are you?

When I started to think about a working holiday visa, my main goal was to enjoy a new experience, discover a different culture and get to know life in another corner of the world. After weighing all the alternatives, I decided to burn my bridges and fly to Canada. I submitted my application and was…

Get ready for The Battle of Burnaby Mountain, Part II

Three years ago this fall, Burnaby Mountain became a flashpoint in the cross-Canada battle against the Conservative government of Stephen Harper and its aggressive pro-pipeline agenda. In late 2014, the Texas-based multinational Kinder Morgan began carrying out test drilling for their proposed Trans Mountain expansion project. This supposed “twinning” of an existing pipeline from northern…

The making of a cultural hub at the global stage

I am originally from Malaysia – a country that prides itself on being multicultural – but I spent the majority of my childhood abroad. I have always thought that my exposure to different countries and cultures meant that I have a firm understanding of multiculturalism. Despite my international upbringing, I spent the majority of my…

The sweet Canadian shock

One summer afternoon on a Vancouver bus, my mother looked at me wide-eyed, “A lady in transportation asked me how my day was … what do you think she wanted from me? ” she asked, a little bit embarrassed. “Nothing,” I replied. “Except knowing how your day went, I suppose.” I could only sympathize with…

Montreal on my mind

On August 11, my friend and I arrived in Montreal on an overcast day. We were on an Eastern Canada road trip and Quebec was one of our major stops. Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday. Like Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, Montreal is offering multiple free events in honour of the anniversary. I have visited…

Grimace at interracial couples

I cringe at eye contact, or rather, I feel deeply embarrassed when people stare at my partner and I walking side by side, hand in hand. In those eyes, confusion, unfriendliness or even aversion is written. My partner, D., is a Sri Lankan from Seattle. He has brown skin, while I’m a light-skinned Chinese living…

Canadian permanent residency – the ultimate quest

Like many others around the world as I write this, I am currently going through the arduous process of attaining Canadian Permanent Residency. I say arduous here, as among the many other “hoops” you are required to jump through, one of the key facets of the application was to sit an English language exam. Being…

A scene of life in Hanoi

Morning, 7 a.m., the time when the early birds start chirping and hunting for those juicy worms, the time when the sun rises above the gloomy navy sky and also the time when people of the world start their day. You can hear the clanking sound of doors opening and birds chirping to the point…

Uninterrupted

There is an arresting spectacle happening under the north side of the Cambie Bridge in Cooper’s Park. Uninterrupted is a cinematic art installation directed by Vancouver’s Nettie Wild, an award winning documentary film maker recognized internationally. Images of the life cycle of salmon are digitally projected onto the columns and underside of the bridge. In…

Vancouver: my hometown

I’m barely 19 and fortunately my identity crisis, a psychological crisis that begins during adolescence and that sometimes extends into adult life, has quickly passed. For a good part of my life I did not know who I was, partly because I’m “exotic.” By “exotic,” I am referring to the fact that I have ethnic…

Dethroning Christy Clark

With the neoliberal consensus shattered worldwide, the soon-to-be new B.C. government must act decisively Progressive politics should be a broad and ecumenical church. No one is born a socialist, a liberal, or a conservative; we are all learning and evolving beings, with ideas shaped by our upbringing, race, gender, class position – and by the…

Onwards to Tram Mountain

Woken up by my phone notification, I turned on the screen to check what was new. There was an invitation from a friend of mine to Tram Berg – a place where the deep, deep valleys reside, where nature breaks free of the intrusion of human urbanization and also where lies the suburban lifestyle. The…