Reflections on a Hyphen

MC40_TinnieThere are many reasons I am proud to be Canadian. Not because of the obvious reasons, it is a safe, clean, pretty country that allows gay marriage; but because of its real attitude towards multiculturalism. Sure, I was taught the definition of what it meant in school, when they explained the difference between a mosaic and a melting pot, but it was when I actually lived abroad – in America, China and I had to explain who I was, where I was born, and where my family came from, that it was clear to me –  I was a product of something amazing, real and I was one of the lucky ones.

I am Canadian – not because I wear the flag on my backpack, but because where ever I go, and whoever I meet, I exude the confidence that I can be myself and be proud of being me, a crazy chick who is Chinese-Canadian, and …not Asian American…I once spoke at a conference for Asian Americans in Media at Harvard and I had to preface the talk with the fact that although I sounded American, I was in fact not, and I had to explain my Canuck-ness. The pressures Asian Americans feel to fit in never applied to me. Lumping all Asian races into one group and then celebrating their cultures together in a month, called Asia Pacific – Pacific Islander Heritage Month is unheard of. I just celebrate both Christmas and Chinese New Year, so what?

I never had pressure to exclaim my love for the NBA to the world or to say “dude”as much as possible to show I am not really Chinese – Chinese. I am who I am, a complete foreigner in China who is incognito, and a look-alike foreigner in America who sounds American, and in London, I just AM a foreigner. No Mistake.

But no matter where I am, I love to share the fact that I am Canadian, and proud of it. I hope that I can contribute to Canada the way it has impacted me and my life.

Really, I will always love being Canadian. It has always given me confidence to be who I am, no matter where I am. No question, no doubt, I am Chinese-Canadian, and having a hyphen is dead cool.

- Tinnie, most recently in London, England (Vancouver at heart)

Pic –  2008 Beijing Olympics, celebrating track & field races with complete strangers who just happened to be there and are surprised at how excited I was to hang with them – just for the picture.