Posts Tagged ‘first generation Canadians’

It’s been a while since I’ve written in this blog. Sorry followers. Life throws curve balls at you when you don’t expect them.

I was never close to my dad, so I was a little surprised how it affected me when he passed away this weekend, despite the fact that we knew he was dying over the last 2 months.

He was not a hands-on or interested father, as were most fathers in his generation and of his culture. He was a traditional Asian dad – he brought home the bacon and he expected to be served and respected by his wife and kids.

I remember as a young child our home was a quiet tiny box when dad came home in the evening. With 7 young children, that was not an easy feat. Only his transistor radio with the horse racing program or the news made much sound in the evening. After our evening meal together, we would do our school work quietly, and mom was at the ready to shush us up along with our grandparents that lived with us. There were 11 people living in a 700 sq. ft. apartment, keeping the noise down was not easy, and there was no doubt who was in control.

All that changed after our immigration to Canada … my mother became independent, learned to drive, got a job and learned enough English to get by; many of the children grew up as “bananas” (white on the inside yellow on the outside), westernized but with some inherited knowledge of some Chinese traditions. That couldn’t have been easy for my dad, who liked control, called the shots, knew it all and enjoyed being “the boss”.

As first generation Canadians, I matured with increasing contradicting feelings towards my own heritage and culture. I don’t know what to pass onto our own children or not, as I can’t explain why we did some of the traditional things and the meanings behind them. All I know is that I inherited the virtues and learned the value and importance of family and duties.

So, regardless what my relationship was with my father, I dug deep and found these AWESOME things to say about my dad as he journeyed forth into another realm of existence. I appreciated:

  • that he was a survivor in the face of adversities, especially during and after WWII;
  • that he was a dutiful and loyal son and brother to his family;
  • his business acumen back in the day when things were done differently; he ran several successful businesses, employed and took care of many of his relatives and friends who needed work;
  • his generosity and largesse towards his friends and colleagues;
  • his foresight to move to Canada to give his family a better life and future;
  • his eventual gratitude for my siblings who bent over backwards to meet his needs and endured his many outbursts and tantrums.

He was my father after all. Rest in peace, dad.



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