Telling the Story: A Letter in Response to Call from Ontario Premier

Dear Hon. Ford,

Thank you for your hard work leading Ontario to fight against COVID-19.
Your recognition of the contributions of the Chinese community in this
battle is very encouraging.  In response to your call for details of
organizations and individuals who have worked hard in the battle, I am
writing you to tell the story of a volunteer group.

The Chinese Canadian Volunteers Fighting Coronavirus is a grass-roots group Continue reading “Telling the Story: A Letter in Response to Call from Ontario Premier”

Fwd: Black Lives Matter: Let’s Listen, Empathize, and Learn

I’d like to share with our members and friends an opportunity to learn about
the experience and opinions of the black community in Canada on racism.  The
first part below is the invitation to the live online audio program from one
of the hosts.  I sent her a message, giving my thoughts on the Black Lives
Matter movement, which was attached at the end of this post.
Continue reading “Fwd: Black Lives Matter: Let’s Listen, Empathize, and Learn”

从George Floyd之死引发的一场同学辩论

5月25日美国黑人George Floyd在双手被铐住的情况下,遭到白人警察用膝盖压住头颈长达八分多钟,最后死亡。这成为一场席卷全美的抗议活动的导火索。Black Lives Matter的呼声响彻全球。很多城市的抗议活动演变成了打砸抢烧的暴力行为。美国总统 Donald Trump 强硬回应,誓言要动用军队维护国家法律和秩序。 Continue reading “从George Floyd之死引发的一场同学辩论”

On Racism: Dialogue with Derek Sloan / 关于种族主义:与德里克·斯隆的对话

On Racism: Dialogue with Derek Sloan

By Yang Wang

May 12, 2020

Like many other Chinese Canadian volunteers who have tried to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, I have witnessed the ups and downs of the battle against the virus since the end of January. {1} The early intervention by the Chinese community through the implementation of self-quarantine among travellers from China has a very positive outcome.  Provincial data has shown that Canada’s early cases came mostly from travellers from the US and other hot spots like European countries, while very few were from China. {2} However, as the pandemic continues, its devastating impact has pushed people’s fears and frustrations to a new high.  Some people let out their angers onto Chinese and other Asians.  A poll shows 20% Canadians feel unsafe if sitting next to an Asian on the bus, and there has been a notable rise of racism and hate crimes against Asians across the world, including Canada. {3} It casts a shadow on my sense of security and the outlook of the future.  My big boy, who is in Grade 12 and drives now, volunteers to deliver groceries for my friends who have underline diseases, and send protective caps sewn by other volunteers to nurses.  As a mom I’m so proud of him, but I hesitate to let him go to areas like downtown Toronto, where a couple of assaults on Chinese were on the news in April alone. {4} My kids have developed a firm belief in Canadian values of tolerance and diversity.  My heart aches when I think of the very likelihood that one day when they experience discrimination, how that will break their hearts, and shatter the beloved image on their young minds of this place we call our home now.

Continue reading “On Racism: Dialogue with Derek Sloan / 关于种族主义:与德里克·斯隆的对话”

On Preventing Coronavirus Outbreak in Canada

The Chinese communities across Canada have spontaneously taken precautious measures to help prevent a potential spread of Coronavirus in the country: people coming back from China (not only from Wuhan City or Hubei Province, the epidemic centre in China) conduct 2-week self-quarantines even nobody asks them to do so, and hundreds of volunteers help with airport pick-ups and daily supply deliveries to support the self-quarantine effort.  The letters below, which were written by a member of our club, show why and how the Chinese community is doing this, together with their concerns, and problems they wish the government could act to solve.

Continue reading “On Preventing Coronavirus Outbreak in Canada”

EAWLC Personal Communication In Canada Workshop Excerpt by Eleanor James

The following is an excerpt from a workshop entitled Personal Communication in Canada for the East and West Learning Club held on October 29, 2019. Written

and presented by Eleanor James, to focus on personal communication – what we say to each other and how we say it – within a Canadian cultural context.

Continue reading “EAWLC Personal Communication In Canada Workshop Excerpt by Eleanor James”

Become A Member/欢迎成为学东西俱乐部的会员

We cordially invite you to join the East And West Learning Club as a member! It is free, and open to everyone who loves to learn about eastern and western cultures and improve public speech and communication skills, whether you are a professional, a student or a home-maker. We are a non-profit cultural group based in Scarborough of Toronto (see www.eawlc.org for details). Our weekly meetings are conducted in English. As long as you agree to take turns with other members to host club meetings, and treat all other members with respect and friendliness, you can become a member, and enjoy a wealth of learning and communicating opportunities for free. Your beloved ones will benefit, too! Please see below for membership obligations and benefits in details.  Continue reading “Become A Member/欢迎成为学东西俱乐部的会员”

What We Talked and Learned: An Incomplete Collection of Club Meeting Minutes 2018

We documented more than half of the club events held in 2018, summarizing what we learned and/or shared at the meetings.  All events were conducted in English except for the voice projection workshop and the lecture on leadership.  Some of the minutes are written in English, the others in Chinese.  Particularly, for the East&West Dialogues on October 18 and November 15, we used a thank-you letter and a follow-up mail to and from the guest speakers, respectively, as summaries because they were self-explanatory.  For a sketch of all the activities the East and West Learning Club undertook in the year 2018, please visit Our 2018: A Retrospect.

Continue reading “What We Talked and Learned: An Incomplete Collection of Club Meeting Minutes 2018”

Reading notes: Emily Post’s Etiquette — Common Courtesies

We learned Emily Post’s Etiquette (18th edition) Chapter 3. Common courtesies at our book club meeting on March 22, 2018.  Below is my reading notes.

Quotes from the book:

“Being courteous means taking personal responsibility for the way our actions affect others, showing respect for the space we share and the well-being of those we share it with.”

“Common courtesy starts with acknowledging those around you pleasantly.”

“• Notice, notice, notice. Say “thanks” when someone does you a favor and give compliments when you can.”

For gentlemen:

“• On the street, a man traditionally walks on the curb side of a woman—shielding her from the hazards posed by passing horse and buggies, now cars, splashing through puddles.

  • A woman precedes a man through a door, on an escalator (unless she needs help getting on or off), or in a narrow outdoor passageway.
  • A man precedes a woman into a dark street or building, down a steep ramp or a slippery slope, on rough ground, and through crowds, taking her hand or arm as necessary.”

Things not to do that I was not too sure before reading this book:

“Holding space in a line for friends who are paying separately from you.”

Some examples given in the book (17th edition, Chapter 4: Dealing with rudeness).  I think they are very helpful to people who are learning spoken English:

(Note: 1. Most of the time people just let it go – it may not worth the emotional energy you’d need to fight back; safety concerns; 2. You can also laugh it off – just chuckle, and switch the topic; 3. Take it to the higher authority instead of dealing with the offender yourself.  If you decide to speak up, be calm and polite.)

“Please don’t shout.  I know the space is tight, and kids will be kids.  But your daughter has been kicking my seat since we boarded.  I’d really appreciate it if you could ask her to stop.  Thanks!”

Reply to a rude comment:

“How kind of you to say so.”

“Many of us are trying to read.  So would you mind lowering your voice?  Thanks!”

“Would you please sit down so I can see?”

“Excuse me, but I guess you didn’t realize this is the express lane.  I’m just letting you know for future reference.”

To someone who cuts you off when a new check-out line is opened:

“I’m sorry but I’ve been waiting longer than you.  Would you mind if I go first?”

To a co-worker who always bring lunch with strong smell:

“Steven, are you trying to drive us all away so you can have a quiet lunch?  The smell of that broccoli just may do the trick!”

To someone who keeps gossiping about a co-worker in shared public space:

“Terrisa, I don’t mean to butter in, but if you want to speak ill of Virginia,  don’t you think you should do it in some place more private?  You never know when she might walk in.”

To someone who gives sarcastic comments on your son’s choice of university major:

“Like me, Jimmy thinks the real reward comes from loving what you do, not how much you make.  And I couldn’t be more proud of him!”

“Excuse me, but I’m not sure that you noticed there are children on the bus.  Could you please watch your language?”

To someone who puts a bag on a seat on a crowded train:

“Excuse me, but would you mind if I sit down?”

“Robert, I assume you’ve smoked in the car so you wouldn’t need  to in the restaurant. Would you mind if we move to the non-smoking?”, instead of “First you smoked in my car, then this (picking seats in smoking area)?”

New behaviours I’ve developed after I came to North America:

Say “Excuse me” when I encounter somebody in a narrow space, have to pass by, or move closer to someone.

Smile at strangers on the street and say “hi”.

Hold the door for people right behind me.

When waiting in line to check out in a grocery store, I learned to put a bar behind my items to make it easier for the person behind me to put his or her items onto the conveyor  counter.  I’d  also let the person behind me to go first if he or she has just a handful of items while I have a lot.

If I can’t make it on time, I’d call to let people know, and give the reason, especially the ETA.

Greet the driver when getting aboard a bus, and say “thank you” when getting off.

Unstrap my backpack when it’s crowded on a bus or subway, and stow it down.

Finally, here are a couple of articles I wrote in both English and Chinese about the cultural differences that are related to some topics mentioned above:

Chinese Saying “Thank-you” /中国人说“Thank You”

甜言蜜语 vs 良药苦口/Sweetened Words V.S. Bitter-sweet Pills

Author: Yang