The Chinese have come a LONG way since they first landed on Canadian shores. The first Chinese migrants came from extreme poverty in the late 1800s and they faced adversity at all levels. Today, Chinese Canadians make up the largest non-European origin group in the country and one of the most successful groups in terms of income, education and occupation.
So it's shocking to hear what comes out of some people's mouths in 2015 when they talk about or to Chinese Montrealers. Some people suffer from foot-in-mouth disease because these things were all said to me or to my Chinese peers.
1."Where are you from? ... No, where are you REALLY from?"
Why doesn't anyone believe me when I tell them I'm from Montreal?! And I bet money that if you're of Chinese descent reading this, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! It doesn't matter where you were born in Canada, you have to reiterate where you're REALLY from. I literally told this one guy, "Do you want to see my birth certificate dumba$$?"
2. "Oh, you're from Montreal? Do you know my friend (insert Chinese name)?"
Seriously, are you freaking kidding me? Granted, Montreal's Chinese population has dwindled over the years to about 92,000 while Toronto and Vancouver have gained massively, does not mean I know every Chinese Montrealer.
3. "You know martial arts, right? You know, like Bruce Lee?"
This is a moment I wish I knew martial arts so I can kung fu your ass. This is a stereotype perpetrated in the movies. Yes, there's a gazillion types of Chinese martial arts styles and I don't know any of them, and all my Chinese friends do not know any of them either. And no, I haven't watched every Jackie Chan movie ever made either. But smacking you upside the head requires no martial arts training.
4. "Wow, you speak English really good."
It's, "Wow, you speak English really WELL." Now, if only I could say the same to you.
5. "How come you don't have a Chinese accent?"
Like I said before, I'm from Montreal! But then again, YOU don't speak English good.
6. We've all worked in or someone in your family owned a Chinese restaurant.
There is some truth to this for the older generation of Chinese who immigrated and for their first generation of Canadian-born children. This older group of immigrants had little skills, had linguistic problems with English and French, and faced discrimination so earning a living was a constant challenge. So they opened restaurants offering Chinese cuisine and the non-Chinese masses ended up loving it. And so you find a Chinese restaurant every 3 blocks. But newer Chinese immigrants in recent decades are the complete opposite - they're well educated, have sought after skills and work experience in some impressive professions, and they know at least some English.
7. "Your food is good. REALLY good."
Actually, this is true. Thank you and you're welcome. Remember these amazing recipes? You can order these at virtually any Chinese restaurant too. And aren't you grateful there are so many of them around?
8. "I saw dog meat in Chinatown. You've eaten it, right?"
Just because I'm of Chinese descent, does not mean I automatically eat dog you a$$ wipe! And just because you saw something at a store window that you're not sure of does not mean it's dog, OK? The idea of eating man's best friend is repulsive but I am aware dog meat is eaten in some countries, not just in China. (And I'm not proud of it either.) I've never seen it anywhere in Montreal (or anywhere else in the country). The person who said it to me even told me where he saw it. I investigated. Found out it was a small roasted pig. He's a massive moron.
9. "NAY HO MA!" (Translation: How are you?) and then giggles
You're dumber than you look if you honestly think I don't know when you're mocking me? I've given people the stink eye for this. It's usually a bunch of adolescent knuckleheads or a couple of older narcissistic knuckleheads on the street- whatever they are, they're jerk-offs.
10. "You're so good at math and sciences."
I remember half the physics class running up to me when we were given a problem to solve in small groups of 3-4. Literally, one said to me, "You're Chinese. So you're smart." So if there's one stereotype that is flattering is being branded as intelligent. But we're not genetically engineered to be smart. Anyone can be smart in any subject if they put their head to it. It's embedded in Chinese culture by Confucius that ones rank should be based on merit, and to master anything in life is through study. Plus, Chinese immigrant parents want their children to succeed with flying colours and not face the hardships they had to endure to prove themselves so education is of top priority.