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The Ubyssey Mar 21, 2003

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Find your roots
"f\.iiff.if, y/\(,i</,Pi, POM.
^ ... .   ' f *"r-#--*-'—
March, 21, 2003      \,
A Ubyssey Special Obsi\& Zl.kM.
'.7 V*
for routine micro test
Fax resume to Sussan Mathew
" (6<M) 731-7966
8c online avail. Get paid to teach English-
& see the world. 604-609-04II.''
location oa Broadway. Perfect for
freelancer. $150/mo. Unfurnished. 4-
, month lease. 604-696-6877.
Order your copy nowi
- Send cheque or money order for   '
•., ( $15.99 plus $4.00 SSdi along ■-
with return mailing address to:
People Insights; Inc
Main Terminal Station, PO Box 3414
Vancouver BC V6B 3Y4
Website: members.shaw.ca/drearnjob
Professional couple will house-sit/pet-sit.
Long-term avail. Excellent references.
Amanda: 604-733-6905.
EXCELLENT RER Seeks one year term.
May 2003... Skilled with cats, dogs,
birds, teens, fish, plants, gardens, ponds.
washer/dryer/fridge, kitcrjen.
Bright/clean. 3360 W. 29th. 604-267-
3666. $950 + utilities. Anytime.
OFFSHORE OIL 8c Gas Development
in BC" Panel Discussion. Keynote
speakers, incl G-uujaaw, President'of the
Haida Council. Mar 24, 7pm, Robson
Square; UBC (downtown)Voluntary
Donation   * -   Y
Mar 23. For info 8£ registration details,
go to www.ijibcmedicine.cjb.net/2005/rua
GENERAL MpTING: Mar 27; 5pm.
Come' out &C participate in the women- * -
run, women-oriented resource group!
HEALTO Palliative Care, HIV& Ethia
in International Health. Conference by
students from the Faculty of Medicine.
Friday, March 21, 6:30-10:30pm <g
Chan Auditorium (28th & Oak). Wine
& cheese to foljow. No fee. Contact
iraudzus@hotmail.com of
knovak@interchange.ubc.ca. to register.
ri-^-v-o*-"'--:.^. <-.-%*-:».>'
ittT^iTTTrnTm fri ftmivfrm n
STUD'ENT(F) and partner(m) need
. furnished .apartment for July and August
while she interns at the Vancouver Art
gallery. Phone: 604-591-2562
To place an Ad
or Classified,
call 822-1654
or visit SUB
;,.' Room 23
-l v;
~V7^' "^"
BCIT Bachelor of Technology
Environmental Engineering
Construction Management
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A higher degree
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Contact: 604.151690(5
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P'C rt ({ill*; ti-*- p'iplonM or cqiiivilent
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Check our Web site
for dates of upcoming
Information sessions:
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1 .I.'!.
by yi.K. SKaKmci
a mirror is insufficient and an but-of-
body experience wouldn't have the same scope as
. in the shower, against the white ceramic tiles
my hand rests
, And* a smile blossoms when I see my
clean skin is the same
asT,. -  ■
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by CSitanjali Kolanac
by ^ana -Holbrook
There's a rock
High above
On the edge
Of a cliff.
Quite small
It sits unnoticed
By the people
Felt below.
By the wind
,, Arid the rain
And the snow
It teeters i
Barely balanced"
Almost rolling
, Almost falling
Off the edge
To destruction
.On the ground
What holds it
Up from slipping
Up from sliding
Off the edge?
A speck of sand
A dab of dirt
Scarcely stopping
Barely blocking.
Yet securing
It from tumbling
Off the edge.
Would you notice
If it lost it
To its end?
Would you cars
If you saw it?
Would you save it?
Would you stop it?
Would it matter
If it slid off
And it fell off
For forever?
It is just a rock
On the edge
Of a cliff.
'jf "*■ »1;*     7.
■-.- .- -   ' _M— m  /tfimk -,-M Y3 -A -M 7-
by;A.K. Sharma
The tractor and the wind have made
pure sweat become a suspension of
sulphur particles, dust arid leaf        *
of timothy grass! —
things that don't belong on this
motah larkha who doesn't belong on this
British Leland Massey-Ferguson farm equipment,
on the grass that doesn't belong to
The Italian farmer who has the! title to
a quarter section of God's Countiy
are yvelcome.
* by 3av\a -Holb^ooU
__ It's standing right there by the sofa
It's lumbering on down the hall
It's huge arid it's rude and it's standing right there
But no one will say that it's true.
It steps on your toes by the doormat
It throws the dishes all over the room
It falls down the stairs arid nobody cares
But no one will say that it's there.   „
t .
It's always at family gatherings
It makes no attempt to hide
Conteritly it sits right in our inidst
As we drown it out with our noise.
I guess it could be kind of funny
In a way that makes me cry.
They all sit with a sheet over it
And try to eat crumpets and pie
The teapot is spilling ,
The china is cracked     , „ '.,-.-'
Yet they deny that it's there and laugh without care
' As hysteria joins them for tea.
Watching it destroy all their lives
And sitting conlfortably by
Makes me want to scream and shatter the dream
That's trapped them all here in this lie.
They say I'm crazy, I'm nuts   =      *   -
Because I no longer visit lor tea
But I cannot stand to be ripped in half
And have my head crushed fronj inside. -•
by y\my JKAcLacU^an li "*"i Ai* •   ,   .  ,-
AWt-Iv 52'!/ £2003
v 3p«-'c-icil 0s
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2003
Tejas Ewing
John Hua
Nic Fensom
Kathleen Deering
Chris Shepherd
Michael Schwandt
Sarah Conchie
Duncan M. McHugh
Anna King
Nic Fensom
Hywel tuscano
Jesse Marchand
Parminder Nizher
The Ubysseyis the official student newspaper of the University of
British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by The
Ubyssey Publications Society
We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation,
and all students are encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They ar§ the
expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the
views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University ot
British Columbia.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
All editorial content appearing in 77?e Ubysseyis the properly of The
Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, "opinions, photographs and
artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the
expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your
phone number, student number and signature (not for publication)
as well as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID wiil be
checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of
The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done by phone.
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750
words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssc staff members.
Priority will be given to letters and perspectives over freestyles
unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion pieces wiil not be run
until the identity of the writer has been verified
n is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the, ad occurs the liability of the UPS will
not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be
responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not
lessen the value or the impact of the ad.
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
tel: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.bc.ca
Fernie Pereira
Karen Leung
Shalene Takara
Dea/ Dennis W. Visser. I am having trouble with my John Hua.
I know he doesn't love me anymore and is cheating on me with
Dpincan M. McHugh and Parminder Nizher. IfcTiat should I do.
Signed, a broken-hearted-lover, Aman Sharma Dear brokenhearted lover, 1 feel your pain. My Anna King once went on an
all night crazy binge and ended up in seedy hotel with Michael
Schwandt Dave Gaertner, Tim Shand and Jesse Marchand.
Sometimes you just have to let go of your Chris Shepherd and
start looking for a new Gina Eom. But then again an Annie
Thompson or a Hywel Tuscano la always nice. But before you
move on try making you/ Jana Holbrook feel jealous by letting
her see you with a Kathleen Deering or two. Then move on.
Closure from your Tejaa Ewing or Mic Fensom is the most
important diing. Anger is good for people like Kate Hamm but
you must let it go to be a truly happy Lori Charvat My sincerest
wishes for your future, love 5arah Conchie.
Canada Post Sales Agreement Nppppiber 0732141
&<ol4?p\, yjve-c-etfC-es 4»$&,\s
As Special Issue coordinators for this year's
Colours Issue, we were faced with an array of possible themes to choose from. Released specifically
on the International Day for the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, we decided this year's
issue should have a widely focussed 1 direction
towards the elimination of racism and discrimination. A key element in the battle against these
problems is acceptance at eveiy level. Not only
must we accept the cultures of others, but also our
For this year's Colours Issue, we chose the
theme of 'finding your roots.' With that in mind,
our contributing writers were able to learn about
themselves and their roots, through writing highly personal pieces. However, we hope that readers
will gain an appreciation of all cultures, by considering the stories and the processes that went
into writing them. This is our way of bringing
acceptance to the forefront, because all the stories
challenge racial chscrimination from the past,
present and future.
One might notice that there are only a few
pieces that touch on one of Canada's greatest
faults, the maltreatment of First Nations people.
We highly regret that this matter was not fully
addressed. We didn't do enough to solicit pieces
from the Aboriginal community on campus, and
we deeply regret this omission. It is our responsibility to seek out contributions from a multitude of
voices, in order to create acceptance for people of
all colours. -
Today, these issues are even more important
The world is facing a war, partly between cultures
and beliefs. Paranoia and bigotry follow closely at
the heels of any conflict, threatening the progress
that we have made towards cultural acceptance. It
is important to keep an open mind when bom
barded by stereotypes and difficult decisions. We
hope that this issue will allow people to do that
We are fully aware that the conflict in Iraq is on
everyone's mind, overshadowing the positive
impact that was meant to be achieved on this day.
In that sense, we have purposely avoided pieces
that are directly related to racism resulting from
war. Before we can address these issues, we must
address racism on a very basic level. Racism and
discrimination are problems that affect eveiyone
on a regular basis, and it should not take a war to
bring this to our attention.
Finding comfort with pur ethnicities and those
of others will equip us with the open-mindedness
needed to accept each other equally as human
beings.. With this appreciation for all cultural backgrounds, we can deal with the inevitable consequences of war in the fight against racism and discrimination. ©
<*—+*     /*
€ 6 i>ctwes t-&<u €&> f^XLf
Unity in
diversity: A
Kate Hamm
Here we are again, winding down the winter
university year and winding up for .the annual
FESTIVA event. FESTIVA the most popular
multicultural festival on campus, is known for
its wonderfully diverse international food, global displays, interactive workshops, cultural performances and dance party.
Organised by International House and a
team of enthusiastic volunteers (between 50
and 75 people offer to help annually), FESTIVA
promises to be the biggest UBC multicultural
celebration of the year. This year's theme is
'Unity in Diversity: A Cultural Kaleidoscope,"
and was chosen by the FESTIVA Steering
Committee for its message of appreciation for
each other's cultural differences. As Winnie L.
Cheung, the executive director of International
House, says, "I have heard from so many students every year, no matter which cultural
background they come from, that FESTIVA is
such a joyful occasion, which reassures them
that they don't have to be someone else to feel
they belong.*
She would know, as someone who has witnessed the unity demonstrated by UBC's
diverse community year after year since the
first FESTIVA was dreamed up by a group of
students and staff at International House in
Each year since its inception, FESTTVA has
aimed to build a sense of multicultural community, foster student leadership and encourage
inter-cultural partnerships. Everyone—students, faculty and the broader community—is
encouraged to come out and participate in any
way they would like. Each year the 400 FESTIVA tickets sell out and the event is packed. This
year International House and the Graduate
Student Society have joined forces to prepare
and host the event. Tickets can be purchased at
both places.
A lot of work is going into FESTIVA by a lot
of volunteers who have been involved in the
event previously, or want to become a part of
the team for the first time. Joydeep Sengupta,
chair of FESTIVA 2003, has a unique reason to
be involved in the planning this year. "FESTIVA has enriched my grad life at UBC immensely,' he says. "The event provided me with
ample opportunities to meet people from several countries and cultures, and most impor
tant of all, it got me connected with the vibrant
multicultural campus life that exists in UBC
So come out this year on March 2 6 and experience the kaleidoscope of cultures for yourself.
Each FESTIVA is unique, but the one thing that
remains the same is the .energy and vibrancy of
the UBC community coming together to celebrate their diversity.     -    '        ■
Unity in Diversity: A Kaleidoscope of
-An annual party celebrating the cultural
richness on our campus  .
-Multicultural performances (songs, poetry,
drama, dance, martial arts) and displays
-International Food Court sampling booths
-Great music and dancing
-To promote multiculturalism, provide leadership opportunities and build a sense of community
%, Where and When:
-March 26th, 2003, 5-7pm, International
Food Festival and displays at International
-7-9pm Performances at the Graduate
Student Centre
-9-12pm Dance Party
Buy your tickets at International House or at
the Graduate Student Centre (tickets are
5.00/person). @
Ujjal Dosanjh on Racism in The Moot
Courtroom at UBC's Curtis Law Building
Wednesday, March 26 at 12:30pm
BC's Former Premier will be speaking on
"Racism: Global Implications, Local
Action/ sponsored by the UBC Equity
.Office, in support of the International Day
for the Elimination of Racial
Check our 'tween classes and
Weekend listings every Tuesday
and Friday. E-mail submissions
to production @ubyssey.bc.ca
ICED IN BLACK BC Gas-trans Mountain Pipe Line
Cinema at SFU Friday, March 21
The Iced in Black film festival features up-and-
coming Canadian Filmmakers whose work is dedicated to portraying the Black' Canadian
National    Films    Board's    Reel    Diversity
Submission Deadline, April 04
The NFB is awarding a total of $ 1 million in funding to the winners of the Reel Diversity
Competition. The filmmaking competition is targeted towards emerging filmmakers of colour.
$20,000 will be awarded to one winner from each
region in Canada: BC, Western, Ontario, Quebec
arid the Atlantic. The money will be put towards
the funding of a 40 minute NFB documentary,
which will be later televised. For more information
go to www.nfb.ca/reeldiversity. © -
yu.- March, 21, 2003
■A Wbyssey Special Dssue
^\ \3te,tt\,&\sc\, cr t+v<uttc&K,£ta,tsCbC t*vcc6c&
By Tejas £wmg
ha iv iv. g e o s career, eom
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Fax:416-777-0110..  7
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568 Dunsmuir Sg.   (604) 806.4040
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109-1965 W. 4dh Ave.     (604) 739.600?
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Earlimart - The Avenues E.P.
A mid-tempo approach to their start-stop motions
of experimental post-punk and folky undertones
evoling small towns, lost friends, and changing
times are all captured on this intro to the
new sound of Earlimart.
To receive a COMPLIMENTARY CD come to
the Ubyssey Office (SUB Room 23, in the basement)!
[VIP Records}
Lo and behold, on the week that
our multicultural issue comes out,
four perfectly suited CDs cross my
path. I started with Sean Paul
Henriques, a part Portuguese, part
Chinese (but fully Jamaican)
dancehall reggae deejay (which is
similar to an MC over here) who
has become a true crossover hit. I
have listened to other Jamaican
deejays, such as Beenie Man and
Bounty Killer, and Sean Paul is as
legit as it gets. What's interesting
is lhat in the past his multi-racial
bjikgruund .ind appearance made
it hard to get respect, despite the
fi<t that he grew up in Jamaica
and has lived there most of his
life. Sean Paul grew up known to
his friends as the 'copper-colour
Chiney bwoy,' and looking at the
CD liner notes I can see why. The
guy looks about as Jamaican as
Jackie Chan.'-P "• '■' '■' ■:■■■■■-■■'■■-. :
Because of the difficulties he
faced, he is one of the later deejays to hit North America. But,
while Beenie Man is singing with
Janet Jackson, and Bounty Killer is
in No Doubt's 'Hey Baby," Sean
Paul is keeping, things true to his
Jamaican roots. The CD itself
reflects this by not compromising
on the true dancehall sound. The
music is not filtered for Western
tastes, nor is Sean Paul's accent
and slang cleaned, up to make it
more easily understandable' to
Western ears. The title of the
album itself, Dutty Rock, represents a phonetic translation of
how Sean Paul says 'dirty rock."
The authenticity continues into
the lyrics in the liner notes, of
which I'll provide you a sample:
"Unu fi listen to the lyrics 'pon de
riddim weh we state up...if you
love how we sound let me see you
hand dem wave up," That's pretty
much what you can expect from
his music, which sounds great.
The lyrics flow smooth as butter,
and the beats are catchier than the
hip-hop that's sweeping the airwaves these days. What's more,
you won't hear stuff like this every
day on the radio.
Two hands clapping
After hearing Sean Paul, I was
ready to instantly dismiss Snow as
a wannabe joke.; However, I
thought back to the discrimination
that Sean Paul himself had faced,
and I vowed to keep an open
mind. I'm glad I did so because I
found a lot to appreciate in Snow's
new CD Two Hands Clapping.
Doing a bit of research on Darrin
O'Brien, I found that our own
Irish-Canadian reggae star has as
much credibility as anyone. A lot
of dancehall deejaying involves
the same one-upmanship, self-
aggrandisement and glorification
of toughness as hip-hop MCing.
And Snow has the real-life experience to back up any song. How
many other performers have been
to jail? Not Eminem, that's for
sure. How many grew up in a real
ghetto, in a tough city, surrounded
by the people whose music they
would go on to emulate? Not
Vanilla Ice, that's for sure. Snow
paid his dues and was accepted by
the Jamaicans in his neighbourhood. Eminem got a movie made
for doing the same thing, but all
Snow gets is derision. And to top it
all off, Snow has the record for the
biggest selling reggae single and
the highest charting reggae single
in history for his excellent song
There's a lot to respect about
this guy, and I felt that the CD bore
that out. The songs are catchy and
fresh, with a real dancehall feel to
them, including some songs produced by Tony Kelly, who also
worked with Sean Paul and Beenie
Man. Yes, I admit, some of the
songs ire' 'Westernised/ buf Siiow
is proud of that, saying it reflects
his multicultural roots in Toronto.
There is rap, reggae, R&B, and
pure pop mixed into this album,
and it doesn't feel truly original,
because of those mainstream elements. However, when he wants
to, Snow can mix it up lyrically
with the best of them, to the point
where it's easy to stop thinking
about his skin colour—and that's
the point, isn't it?
Enemy of the Enemy
Next, we have the Asian Dub
Foundation (ADF), a collective of
Londoners with mostly Indian
backgrounds. Their new album.
Enemy of the Enemy is truly a
multicultural mix, blending elements of punk, dub, reggae, ska,
hip-hop and ragga (a blend of
house music, traditional Indian
music and reggae that was developed by the Indian community in
Jamaica) into a truly fascinating
and meaningful whole. The elements in each song blend together
as if those cultures were meant to
be mixed. With the colleqtive's
political views it's pretty clear that
it's a message ADF wants us to
take from their music.
The members of the group
have never been able to separate
art and politics, and the songs on
this album show their belief in
this intrinsic linkage. From a song
about harsh immigration policies
in "Fortress Europe* to numerous
references to September 11th, the
political statements can get a bit
heavy-handed at times. Some
songs seem to have been included
on their political merits alone, but
their message against racism and
their promotion of multicultural
acceptance is admirable. And the
overall diversity of musical styles
and opinions makes this album
much more interesting to listen to
than most other CDs I've picked
up lately. ADF could find itself filling the void left by Rage Against
the Machine as the next big thing
in socially conscious music, especially because their sound is much
more accessible. They cover so
many genres, and they do it so
well that you're bound to find
something to like.
Son of Evil Reindeer
[Bright Star Recording]
Finally, we get to The Reindeer
Section/a veritable whb-'s'wno1 of
Scottish alternative rock music,
with their album Son of Evil
Reindeer. This group represents
a collaboration between 27 members of various indie bands,
including Belle and Sebastian,
Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Arab
Strap and Idlewild. As with many
supergroups, the fuel for this
crazy mix was alcohol and a spur-
of-the-moment decision that
.resulted in a full ,album..being
recorded and, mixed in two
weeks. The album'is distinctly
Scottish, so if you are part Scot
(like me) and want to get a feel for
your roots* this is the perfect
album to check out.
Son of Evil Reindeer features
delightful tunes* and melancholy
love songs, such as- the first two
tracks, "Grand Parade" and
"Budapest." There are also soaring orchestral pieces, like "You
are my Joy," that really capture
my idealised imaginings of
rolling green Scottish fields
under rainy skies. The final track,
"Whodunnit," features a rich
Scottish accent on vocals, courtesy of Arab Strap's Aidan Moffat.
If you close your eyes you can picture listening to this song in a
dark pub in Glasgow, where the
album was made. Other songs are
surprisingly upbeat, given what
the bands that make up this
group are known for. For example, I'm used to characterising
Scottish indie music as pleasantly
depressing, because Mogwai,
Arab Strap and Belle and
Sebastian certainly fit that definition. However, when combined,
all of these musicians have created an atmosphere that is much
more winsome and bittersweet
than depressing. It's the perfect
album to listen to when you are
reminiscing about a loved one
who is now across the ocean,
something that I picture,Scottish
people doing regularly. © ft    £%w i%i § II *o ■
%• %J § V 111: 431
jJ|7.;/y    March, 21, 2003 v,
MWif.-'" " A Wkyssey Special OssUe J
Different views of
u>ise> 6
by TTejas Gwing
For reading break I decided to go to Montreal for a day to visit
relatives. It seemed pretty crazy, but I was in Ontario anyway,
so I figured I'd jet over and experience a truly different culture.
I'd never been to Quebec in the winter before, and I wanted to
see what their distinct culture was lile at this time, when it's
about as different from BC as possible. Here's my tale: Y
8:00am: I get out of the busf'and am hit by a wall' of frigid
air. Apparency, it's one of the coldest,winters in years (the
average temperature was minus;,tlurry with wind* chill}. My
plan to wall to my uncle's place disappears as fast as the heat
from my body. I hail a cab, and think of my friends in Hawaii
and Mexico. Oh well, at least it's not snowing. t      ,   7"""
9:00ani: It starts snowing.
10:15am: My uncle, his wife and I head out The weather is
part ofthe Montreal experience, so I decide that I'm not going
to stay indoors and fear the cold. No, I am going to forge ahead
and get as full a Montreal experience as possible. I notice that
the stop signs here say "Arret* Even in France they say "Stop.*
Talk about language poUcel '■ .'
10:30am: I arrive at the door of Schwartz's on St Laurent,
the best Montreal smoked meat shop in town, only to be met
by aline-up. I guess pther people have heard of it too. " ..
' ^ 10:45am:J realise that the line-up is only those w&o-want to
sit down. Clever people (ie, not tourists) push-ahead arid get
something from the tal^-out counter. I go ahead and buy a
smoked-meat sandwich. You haven't Uved as a qieat-eater until
you've tried one of these sandwiches. The puny excuse for
smoked meat we get here'wouldn't be worthy to wipe your face
with afterwards. Here you g?t hot thick, freshly smoled slabs
of meat, marinated in spices, witbYa dab<ol mustard on rye
bread. Make sure you order a pickle to go with it Oh, and don't
Ivo-ok, :
forget to payl In the Montreal laid back European way, the
cashier is on the opposite end ofthe hall from where you pick
up the food, so it would be easy to just wall out with your food
(which I'm sure some people do).
11:00am: I decide that eating more is a good way to stay
warm. I can't beUeve that anyone here is thin. I head over to
the St Viateur bagel shop on the street ofthe same name. It is
well known to have the best bagels in the whole city, and
depending on whether you prefer New York or Montreal-style,
bagels, possibly the best bagels in the whole world. Montreal
style bagels are thinner, crispy on the outside, slighuy sweet
and soft and fluffily chewy on the inside, compared to the larger and denser New York-style bagels. I get one of all five kinds.
Trust me, you won't find better bagels anywhere!
12:00pm: It's been an hour without food, so I'm starving! I
decide to tiy some 'tarte au sucre' a traditional Quebecois spe-
ciaUty, at Premier Moisson, a chain of home-style pastry shops.
12:15pm: I guess I was expecting more than a tart with
nothing but sugar in it Those wacky Quebecois!
6:00pm: I go for dinner at one of the few Haitian restaurants in Montreal It's on Pare Avenue, and it doesn't have a
name, so good luck finding it It caters to the large number of
. Haitian taxi drivers in the area and is run by Haitians. It offers
good prices and huge servings of authentic food. The servers
.i can be- a bit suspicious of outsiders,! though. Hera Van
exchange from ordering, '
Us: "What kind of fish do you have?"
Them: "We have white fish and red fish.'
Us: "Uhh, okay we'll have the white fish.*
Them: "We're out of white fish."
Us: "Thanks for the help!"    v
8:00pm: I forge out into a freezing blizzard once again to
partake in some of Montreal's winter festivities. Hydro-Quebec
spQnsors a winter event called festival Lumie're. It features
avant-garde outdoor performances every weekend for over a
month. I arrive to see. musicians dressed as construction workers erecting a scaffolding to progressive-rock music. There is a
snow slide for the kids, frozen maple syrup desserts, hot dogs
to grill over gas fires, and plenty of beer. All of this is heated
using glowing red UV heaters. Aren't UV rays the main cause of
skin cancer? Does it make sense for everyone to be huddling
around high-intensity UV bombardment devices? Oh well. The
event rounded off with some outdoor dancing to some very
good DJs. One night Anne Savage was performing there.
Imagine dancing to house music with babies, teenagers and
senior citizens, all of them flirting with each other. Then imagine doing it outdoors in freezing cold weather, bundled up in all
your layers. Finally, picture it dumping snow. Only in Montreal!
10:30pm: Our final stop is Club Passeport at 4517 St Denis
Street This place is the oldest dance club still surviving in
Montreal. Part of its success stems from the fact that it is a boutique in the daytime. Every night, they just clear away the _
clothes and get busy. The rest of its success can be attributed to
the fact that it ROCKS! It's truly French-Canadian, and they
were playing electroclash waaay before it got trendy. One of the
patrons explained that it's a French-style, sophisticated meat
market, where you have to be able to hold a conversation about
.cUltureMSr poUtics before you are considered truly attractive. :-
' Here's" "a^tip, if you really want to fit in wear black and practice
dancing against a wall by yourself. The drinks are cheap, the
music is cool and the people are even cooler. They don't mind
Anglos, and you will feel comfortable regardless of your sexual
preference. I've never been to a club where you can relax and
'simply be yourself as much as here. Male sure you go, it will
be the most authentic Montreal cultural experience you
will find. O -
wve-isCC'Ci't^' &*%,.
by JKnnle. TYkompscm
Americans are so easy to male fun of. When
Rick Mercer, from This Hour has 22 Minutes,
came to the United States to film "Tailing to
Americans,' he had no trouble getting
Americans to say really stupid things on tape.
We congratulated Canadians on their national
igloo. We were shocled to learn of the slaugh-
, tering of seals in Saslatchewan. Canadians
were congratulated on finally getting running
water in all five states I The list goes on and on.
However, the humour gets scary quite
quiclly. "Tailing to Americans" loses its
appeal when you reaUse those responses are
coining from some of America' 3 most highly
educated citizens. When New Yorlers agree
with Rick Mercer that "Jean Chretien-Pinochet
should be charged with crimes against
humanity," I worry. Are Americans really that
Perhaps this is my liberal upbringing tailing, but I have to say "No," and I would lile to
offer another explanation for our blatant lacl
of Inowledge. I thinl it's the fault of our media
and our pubUc schools. A UBC professor
recently asled me if it is true that Americans
get most, if not all, of their news from TV. He
was, shocled to hear that we do. However, he
would have been more shocled to Inow that
had he asled the average American that question, they probably would have responded
with, "Well...where else would you get the
news?* This response wouldn't bother me so
much if CNN and its compatriots actually told
the truth, instead of the ridiculous one-sided
news stories that they propagate. Look at the
news coverage on the war against Iraq and the
'Axis of Evil.* Is it any surprise that in a recent
poll run by The New York Times and CBS, 42
per cent of Americans stated they beUeve
Saddam Hussein was behind the September
11 attacks? Y
. Our pubUc schools, however, are the.true
failure in my eyes. How can we not be critical
of an education system that inspires bools
lile Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything
Your American History Textbook Got
Wrorig"(James W. Loewen/ 1996)? Equally
frightening are the huge blocls of American
history that have been mysteriously left but.
Recently, in an e-mail to my politically active
2 7-year-old sister, I mentioned that previous
US interventions in the Middle East could give
some idea of how the situation in Iraq will
play out She had no idea what I was tailing
about. When I responded with information
about our funding of Iranian, Afghani and
other regimes, much to my surprise, her reply
was, "Wow. I had no ideal Thanl you so much
for letting me Inowl" Then I remembered that
it hadn't been until I left the United States that
I learned about all the things my government
had been doing unbeknownst to its constituents.
I was out of the United States for the first
year after SeptembeV 11, arid I remember
returning and hearing my open-minded
friends tell me that the World Trade Center
was attacled because vye're a superpower and
the rest of the world is jealous. I couldn't
beUeve it Did they really think that there
weren't any other reasons? Had it not occurred
to them that perhaps our constant presence in
the Middle East wa3 beginning to be a frustration to those that Uved there? Apparently it had
not _.-■'
Watching President Bush's speech Monday
night was a similar experience. I found myself
remembering daysji when I used to beUeve in
my president (although I can't remember ever
having faith in Bush). I disagree with Bush's
choice to wage war on Iraq, but I also understand why CNN subsequently found that 66
per cent of Americans do supporthis decision.
The simplest reason is that they were reUeved "
to have a decision—any decision. Every time I
go to the United States, I come back to Canada
running. Everyone is changing travel plans.
Eveiyone is tense—even in quiet Uttle Seattle.
But for the majority of Americans, Bush's decision to go to war is not lowering anxiety at all.
So why do they support it? .
When I was in grade 12 1 had one of those"
rare breeds of high school teachers, the kind
who teaches you how to be patriotic while
remaining critical of your government We
were having a debate on whether or not Bush
should be elected, and our teacher made a
statement that really surprised me. He said
that regardless of whether or not we liked
Bush, if we, as a people, elected him, we would
all have to support him. Many people feel that
they have to support this war, because we have
to support our president
Maybe this stems from the patriotism we
are taught since childhood, learning' about
America, "strong and free' along with our
The lack of diversity in the media doesn't
help this compliant behaviour as we age.
Perhaps if the US media provided Americans!
with the international opinion of our actions,
there would not be 68 per cent of Americans'
beUeving that we had done all we could to;
resolve this issue through diplomacy. Although
Bush's administration made two pubUc stat&j*
ments. about their "Shod and Awe* strategy;-
which plans to leave no area in Baghdad safe,
very few Americans who I've spoken with
Inew of this plan. At this point, I'm not sure
what this knowledge would have done to stop
Bush. At least the people would have been able*
to make informed opinions. And if we are to be
a truly free nation, that must be one of our
basic rights. '
I am,aware that this sad story of misleading media and poor standards of education is
not exclusive to the United States. I ara.
reminded of a Canadian friend of mine who
didn't know whkt ocean ran along the coast of
British Columbia, and another who didn't
know what side of a map of Europe was up.
There's something about Americans though,
that makes our ignorance that much more disgusting. But I' ask you, the next time an
American says something stupid, after you
laugh, tale the time to pull them aside and tell
them that, no, Toronto is not the capital of
Canada. Ottawa is. O yVW-U, 21, 2003
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Student (Peer) Advisors, ARTS
In a continuing effort to increase the level of service provided by
the Faculty of Arts Academic Advising Office, the Faculty intends
to hire three to five students to serve as the first point of contact
for students attending the Academic Advising Office.
Successful applicants must be entering their third or fourth year in
the Faculty of Arts and have completed at least thirty credits at
UBC. They must possess good communication skills, and be
reliable and conscientious workers. Their duties will include
offering assistance to,Js|yd^nj^jnJ^^g.^j^CT^t£arJi3i.to
resolution of their, inquiries;1 referringstudentsto[appropriate
Academic Advising Office staff, and scheduling appointments for
Faculty advisors. Pre-employment training is offered and required.
Employment will be 3 to 10 hours a week on regular shifts of
between 3 and 3.5 hours, morning or afternoon. Payment is at the
rate of $14.45 per hour. Term of employment is September, 2003.
to the end of April, 2004. '
Applications, including a resume, two letters of reference, and a
statement indicating the qualities the candidate would bring to the
position must be submitted to:
Ms. Grace VVolkosky, Academici Advisor •    • v
Arts Academic Advising Office
Buchanan A201
Ubyssey Publications Society
A    N     N     U    A    L
March 28th, 2003
in Council Chambers, 2nd floor of SUB
Jf £2*.. "-•<'"■■'.. j I • w.»
,;•*•• a.,     f-;; „ vz ■»,:..
. i.   j 1*,.''..*,  ..       * **
March, 21, 2003 *J
A HUyssey Special Jssue   /
1      «*
magine having grandparents who you don't
know very well.
Grandparents who you
love deeply, but you
struggle to understand.
Grandparents who you
love with your entire
being, yet you are ■
deeply saddened by, even ashamed of.
Such is my relationship with India, a relationship that has troubled me ever since I
was old enough to understand it, and one
that I was finally able to confront. You see,
India is my motherland, and after nine
years away, I finally went back. This is the
story of that journey.
When I stepped out of the airplane with
my father, I was confronted with all my
fears at once. The India I had tried to forget
was staring me right in the face. The overpopulation, the poverty, the garbage—was
this how I remembered India?
I took myself hack 17 year's: I am running through a leafy courtyard, with trees
everywhere. Small houses peek through
the greenery and I can feel the clean.earth
on my bare feet I pick up a twig and put it
in my mouth as I run through the small village. I'm getting hot I run to a house with
a well. I pull up a bucket and bathe in the
cool water, feeling it sink into die: grass
between my toes. I am in the village where
my mother was born, at the house of my
great-grandmother. This place is the
embodiment of peace for me; this is the
India I hold us my heart Yet it is not the <
India that I am confronted with, and it is
not the real India.
India is a countiy that suffers more than
most others. It is practically a continent It
has almost as many people as China, yet is
only a third the size. India is not pretty,
" clean or. organised. India is disgracefully
corrupt, and it is badly run.. Although it's
improving, the rate is far too slow. India is
about as different from Canada as you can
get, and I had forgotten how true that was.
Ensconced in my comfortable Canadian
.life, with my idealised memories ofjhe
past, I tried to forget the troubling*partihf .."
India. This trip was going to be a reality
check, one where I could come to terms
with my feelings arid perhaps understand
my country a Uttle better. ■■'> '
As I travelled through the crowded
streets, I thought about my heritage. You
see, I'm not folly Indian. I'm a mixed-race
child. My father is a white Canadian from
Ottawa. I don't look Indian; in fact I don't
really look like anything at all. Compared
to anyone in India, I've been privileged all
my life. Once I began to realise that, everything I saw in India began to tale on a new
meaning. When you go to India, you have
IV *..*.*'^ f .*  * f '
iii' -£4- ^|i^";ii^-l7i4 rHf*'
|v» * rt t.-;,;Ji,*r k * ti I}, ~
L ' i    i, "(A7ij ?.*'"!•'« ti-t.'
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to just throw yourself into it and I couldn't
do that I would be ^confronted by the
squalor, the corruption and the poverty at
, evgiy turn, and would want to run back to
my. life of privilege. Yet I would look outside and see my compatriots starving on
the street. It made me feel like a phoney,
like a tourist. What kind of Indian was I if
my petty Canadian concerns prevented me
from getting to know my homeland? This
was an attitude that had prevented me
from going back for such a long time.
Honestly, I had been afraid of returning,
afraid of how India made me feel, afraid of
how I was ashamed of India's problems
and more pfoud of Canada than I Was of
my motherland.
That day, I went to a temple, with those
thoughts running through my head in an
endless loop. A temple in India is not like a
Canadian church, or a museum in Europe.
It is a Iivihg, breathing organism, filled
with the vibrancy and contrast that makes
India special*. Bustling with shops, garbage
and crowds, yet austere at the Same time."
It was refreshing to go there, refreshing to
realise that people had been there for thousands of years. I was at one of the oldest
and largest temple complexes in India and
r could feel that it would be there for thousands- of years: more. It seemed that whatever was thrown at it) this facet of Indian
culture would just keep going, and il* gave
me hope.
As I watched the people going about
their daily business, I heard the powerful
clang of bells ringing through the temple
corridors, and it silenced the dialogue in
my head. I walked over to the altar, where
a priest was hefting a rope connected to
one set of bells, while his colleagues struck
the others. Slowly, the rhythm and sound
of the bells built to a crescendo. Everyone
was rendered speechless by the buzz of
power in the air. Behind us, we all heard
■ another' bell ringing, softer. We turned
and? around tKe corner trundled a full-
grown elephant, painted like the other;
priests and wearing a red headdress covered in tinkling bells.
The elephant was swinging a bell in its
trunk and the crowd parted. The elephant
received an offering from the priests-
coconut milk, bananas and a garland of
flowers—and then left as suddenly as it had
appeared. The bells stopped ringing, and
eveiything was back to normal. I had experienced a culture-reaffirming event, something that never could have happened in
Canada. I felt a connectioa to the Indians
around me. I was proud of my heritage.
A few days later, my mpod came* crashing back to earth. Some of India's idiosyncrasies were coming togetler in a frustrating series of events for my father and I.
The hotel we were staying at tried to rip us
off by slipping some extra charges onto the
bill. Then our car broke dqwn because our
' travel agent had provide! us with a far"
worse car than we had paid for. When we
finally arrived at our destination, another
temple, we were late. We rushed around
looking for the entrance to the inner sanctum, trying to see the majnificent golden
roof the temple was famois for. However,
upon arrival at the inner entrance, I found
that only Hindus were alowed further. I
tried to plead my case, and play up my
Indian side, but there was no convincing
the priests. I left, feeling upset and excluded in my own country.
I walked over to a store to calm down. I'
tried to bargain over a Uttle trinket, but my
frustrations followed me there—I felt like
the shopkeeper was tiying to rip me off,
and the bargaining* turned _intq an* argument I was being treated* Uke* a naive
tourist I felt denied by my culture and I
was, frankly, pretty pissed off. Sure,' my
complaints were petty in the bigger picture, but I was starting to feel resentful of
all the differences between India and
Canada. I was falUng back into my old
mindset, denying my Indian side and longing for the ease and safety of Canada.
Then something changed for me.
Feeling morose, we left the shop, ready to
go back to the controlled comforts of the
hotel Suddenly, I felt a tugging at my shirt.
There, next to me, was a teenager f vaguely recognised. "Do you want to see the
golden roof?" he asked, I was ready to dismiss him as just another tout, but there
was a look to him that suggested sincerity.
Then I recognised him; he was the assistant in the shop where I had caused1 the
commotion: Despite my behaviour, he was
trying to help me. "I know a stairway'where
you can get to the roof and see eveiytnirig!
Just give me the money and I'll get you in.*
Normally, it would be pretty foolhardy
to just hand a stranger some money in'
India, but I felt a connection with him, and
I hoped hi felt*the same way. He explained
that the gate was already closed; because
we had arrived so late, but he would do his
best to buy us some tickets 'anyway: He
dashed off, and we waited. Five minutes
later I was ready to leave, ripped off yet
again But then, around the corner bound-
e<J our friend, a big smile, onj hi& faciei rf«r-
grabbed my arm and rushed ihe here and*
there, around this corner and up those
stairs, until we reached an unmarked gate.
He opened it up and led us to the roof. The'
view was amazing. As the sun set," we could
see the*whole temple complex below) with
its golden roof glowing, and all the people
going about their daily worship.
As we* took in the scene, we chatted with
the boy. He explained how he wbrked'odd
jobs all day long at the temple, going from
shop to shop. He told us about his dream to
become a Mahout (an elephant trainer) for
the temple. He spoke with so much excitement and such a positive attitude that you
had to believe he would ' succeed.
Obviously, he didn't let India's problems
get him down, and he went on tiying to
help people. When it was dark, we walked
down the stairs, and I tried to give him
some money, but he wouldn't take it He
had helped us out of the goodness of his
heart and nothing else. He gave a final
smile, and dashed off into the temple.
Again, at a time of conflict within myself,
India had thrown a truly magical event in
my path. I spent the next few days pondering what it meant
Our friend hadn't been ashamed of his
Indian culture. He had accepted it for what
it was, accepted that tourists might come
into a shop and assume that eveiyone was
trying to rip them off because in India people do get ripped off, regularly. He had
accepted that and forged through it, making the extra effort to create a friendship
with me, even for just a moment. Why
hadn't I done the same?
I reaUsed that it was because of my ■
mixed background. When you're only part
Indian, and you don't Uve there, it's easier
to cut your losses and deny India altogether. You can then have one happy memory
in your mind and forget about the rest of
it When it's not part of you, you have no
responsibility to it You can be just another
tourist who shows up, wears a few
khurthas and then leaves. It's easier to be
a Canadian because you have less to worry
It is harder to accept India as part of my
heritage, and try to understand it in order
to male it better. I realised that I would
never.make a difference hiding from my
rodts. I remembered back to when I had
studied the Bhagavad-Gita, perhaps the
single most influential work in Hinduism.
The central message of the poem* is that
"the easiest decision is often not the best
one; sometimes you have to make the hard
choices and fight for the best result For
me, that meant accepting my heritage, for
the good and the bad. It meant learning all
I could about India, absorbing everything
around me and not hiding from, the* problems I saw. Most of all, it meant evaluating
what I could do for my countiy; how I
could make it better, even in a small way.
' So I decided to write this article. I figured it would help me Come to terms with
my feelings. And I hoped it would help
photos and te*t
by TTejas ££wmg
'     -      lO   '* -"r
—      ■- "      1     <
*■  »   "       —       . tJ * 7 .--- "     "
people in similar situations reconnect to
their roots, aryf perhaps jworjc tp. mak'i} *'
their own countries "better in the future.
Maybe some Indians Uving here in Canada
would decide to tale an extra interest in
their home and its problems. Maybe one
day I'd meet one of them in India while
working on a charity project I kept this
hope in my mind as I started to write.
Some days later, our trip was nearing
its end, I was exhausted from opening'
myself up to the onslaught that is India.
We were in a whole different area now, at
a beach resort. We had arrived late;, due to
car troubles once again. I was tired and
stressed out, frazzled from a long car journey on dangerous roads, having narrowly
avoided a few accidents, and..passing
some wrecked cars that hadn'tbeen so
lucky. I was angry, because I knew that the
accidents had been caused in part by the
corruption that kept the roads in such bad
condition. I was feeling tired and looking
forward to the flight home. I crawled
sleepily into bed, wondering what surprise lay in store for me on my final day.
I awoke to a knocking on the door. It
was before dawn, and my father had
woken me up. "It's our last day; let's go
see the sunrise I' I crawled put of bed, and
we set out across the sand. When we got
to the beach, I was met by an amazing
sight As the sun broke out from the
waves, the fishermen of the nearby village were setting off. To the right, an
older man was meditating towards the
sunrise. It was a picture of absolute harmony. Everything seemed to fit; everything was in its place. The angle'of the
sun, the taste of the salty air, and the
sound of the waves—all perfect. '*   '
In the crowded bustle of India, such
moments are hard to find, but when you
find them they are all the more special. I
reaUsed that I was happy to be heading
back to Canada, where such moments are'
more common, and this was nothing to be
ashamed of. But, what really gladdened
my heart, was that I couldn't wait to come
back. Q ' ■'•   Y       * 8
March, 21, 2003
A lAbyssey Special Jssue,' ",.
J      (on Campus, beside Bank of Montreal)       J
Large Selection of
for your enjoyment!
Reservations 604-221-9355
You must be staff to vote in the Mysseyelections
s oil paid staff Laura Blue Jeff HcHenzie
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meetings     |
Bman Sharma
Alison Benjamin =*
Integrated Sciences Program
Making Connections in Science
The Integrated Sciences Program of
the Faculty of Science at UBC allows you
to create your own program of study,
bridging across disciplines of your choice
www.science.ubc.ca/"isp \
Program Information Sessions:
Wednesday, March 26, 12:00 in LSK 462?
• Thursday,"March 27, 5:00 in LSK 460
Seminar: March%7 at 12:30 in LSK 460
Dr. Lee Gass (Past Director, ISP) ;
Reflections on Integrated Sciences
Create your own Science degree (3rd and 4th year)
2nd year students: check it out now!
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University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan
Tell us wfiat you think
In keeping with UBC's evolving University Town, a draft neighbourhood plan is being
developed for the University Boulevard local area.
A campus and community consultation process is being conducted to gather feedback on
the draft plan prior to its finalization and presentation t6 the UBC Board of Governors in
May, 2003. You can participate in this consultation in a number of ways:
1. ' Ihterriet: You can learn'more about the draft University Boulevard Neighbourhood plan
by reading the Discussion Guide at www.universitytown.ubc.ca and give your opinion via
the online feedback form.
2. Open Houses
March 24, 9:30 am to 3 pm in the UBC Bookstore
March 25, 3 pm to 8 pm in Room 214 of SUB
3. Small Group Meetings (February 10-March 31)
Your group can request a presentation by contacting the University Town inquiry line
at 604.822.6400 or e-maifinfo.universitytown@ubc.ca
4. Campus and Community Public Meeting     Y
Tuesday, April 1, 7 pm
Room 214-Student Union Building „,
How Campus & Community Feedback Will Be Used
Feedback gathered through this consultation via the web, fax, campus publications, open
houses, small-group meetings and public meetings will be recorded and summarized in a
Consultation Summary Report, which will be presented with a Technical report and revised
neighbourhood plan to the UBC Board of Governors. The Consultation Summary Report will
also be posted on the web.
For further information contact:
Linda Moore
Tel: 604.822.6400 '
Fax: 604.822.8102
E-mail: info.universitytown@ubc.ca
Web: www.universitytown.ubc.ca
l+&UAs &t$t^ vVCi^^C
What happens when
familial pressures
override romance
by C\\na &ovv\
Gossip: my best friend of four years
was one of the select few whose
romantic relationship was strong
enough to surpass high school
graduation. Most high school relationships do not graduate with you,
and are looked back upon with only
chagrined fondness and sometimes self-pity. But my best friend
and her boy made it, and their silly,
chipper, honeymoonish atmosphere remained preserved. You
know, giggles and delightful gazes
to the point where even die-hard,
proud to be. singles start to turn
green with envy. And no, that is not
my natural skin colour. So when
she recently announced a sudden
break-up with her long-term
boyfriend, it baffled me to the point
where L panicked when she withdrew into her shell and completely
deprived me of details.
It took a week of constant nagging to squeeze out the story
behind the break-up. Since the
beginning of their relationship, her
. fathey had be,en, fiercely against it,,.,
because she Vas" Chinese arid he
was Caucasian. At first, her father's
displeasure was only expressed
with a cpld glare whenever he visited, but it soon evolved into more
vocal expressions. As the relationship grew, so did her father's
resentment towards the 'white
boy.' The two parties polarised
untiji a few weeks before the breakup, when my friend finally broke
down and could no longer endure
the severe lectures she faced whenever she came home after a date.
I couldn't beUeve what I was
hearing. First of all, she hadn't told
me any of this before, and that
alone saddened me. But that's
beside the point I was shocked
about what her father had said to
her. The harsh accusations and
scorching words really boiled down
to 'you must stick to your own kind,
and anything else is a disgrace."
For my friend's father, ethnic culture was more important than
romantic attraction.
After puzzling over this, I decided to apply his values onto myself.
Now, despite my genes spelling out
that I am Korean, I was born and
raised in a small town in Germany.
It is a scholarly town, with its prestigious university producing one
Nobel prize-winning physicist after
another. My experience there was
wonderful and I am immensely
grateful towards my parents who
decided to give me the most
insightful, thorough, and superb
education available. I attended a
Catholic school, and amidst my
schoolmates I was the only visible
Racism is too strong a word to
describe people's initial reaction
towards my presence—it was more
of a discomfort, a certain glint in
their eyes. Por some, or perhaps
even most, I appeared to be someone they wished wasn't there—like
when you have a certain spot that
you really want to scratch but can't
quite reach. That was their first
impression of me, because my eyes
were small and slanted, because
my hair was straight and unforgiv-
ingly black, because my skin had a
yellow tint. Perhaps it was a similar
difference in physical appearance
that sparked resentment in my best
friend's father towards the now ex-
My schoolmates in Germany
quickly overcame their initial reaction and turned into close friends,
friends who still contact me now.
, After experiencing my friends'
quick change, I hoped that a man
who had been in Canada for twenty
years could tolerate his daughter
dating someone from a different
cultural background. However,
when I left Germany to finish my
elementary education in Korea, I
discovered through my own parents that one's original culture
never really disappears. It became
clear to me that Korea was home
for my parents, and that their identity would never be shaken by years"
' of being placed in another culture.'
For me, however, it was an entirely
foreign experience. I wasn't used to
the humid air, the high density of
people, and the lack of wide-open
fields. I felt locked up and trapped,
and extremely unhappy. But my
suffering was soothed by friendly
and accepting people and their
extreme loyalty to one another.
Never before had I seen such a
close-knit community—the powerful bond I got to share was overwhelming and left me in awe.
I learned to love and respect my
family's ancestry, and developed a
healthy dose of pride for the five-
thousand-year history of my parents' home countiy. I was extremely grateful for my quick acceptance,
despite my awkward Korean
tongue and clumsy etiquette.
Therefore, I found it surprising that
my friend's father didn't even
attempt to share the culture of his
origin with my friend's boyfriend.
'Kids from interracial parents are
left with identity crises,* was anoth-
er thing he had said, but wouldn't
this be all the more reason to
embrace cultural education? To
carefully skim off and interbreed
only a population with1 a few common sequences in their nucleotides
seems unnecessaiy.
A source of enlightenment
came the other day when I watched
My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The
father in the movie felt that the
preservation of his culture would
be threatened by accepting a foreign member into the family-
People from different cultures are
difficult to 'assimilate.' And yet,
cultural differences are miniscule
in the big picture of things. Innate
in every human being lies the quest
to be happy. Taking pride in one's
culture is one thing, but exploiting
this pride to deny someone else's
happiness is quite another. ♦ Cofeiiii5
HIT*ai»". i *t';  f.i"..
sii4.w<'r»" \* '-•'if:.'   •'
ffijKW* »   **«  t  pw  •« .'   •
by Dennis W. Visse*4
My parents came to Canada in
1974 as immigrants from the
Netherlands. I was bom several
years later and was raised with a
strong appreciation of Dutch culture. At home, we spoke Dutch and
my parents instilled in me a good
dose of Western European values. I
had always thought of myself as a
Dutch-Canadian, having been
influenced by both societies. It was
not until the age of fifteen that I
became aware of yet a third source
of my heritage: I realised that I was
also Asian." Y*''        Y*.   4 " "'' ■
My mother was actually born in
Semarang, Indonesia. Both of her
parents had also been born there.
My grandparents each had one
fully Indonesian parent and one
half-Dutch, half-Indonesian parent,
making each of my grandparents
three-quarters Indonesian, one-
quarter Dutch. This makes my
mother three-quarters Indonesian,
and it also makes me three-eighths
Indonesian with five-eights of good
old Dutch blood.
In the wake "of decolonisation
after World War II, General
Sukarno took control of Indonesia.
Most of the Dutch nationals who
had lived their whole lives there,
including my family, then packed
up and headed to the Netherlands.
My mother was five years old at
the time. She grew up in Den
Haag, where she would later meet
my father. ,.-,
In retrospect, it seems rather
strange that it took me fifteejjyears
to realise this about my family;
how could I not have known? Of
course I was aware of where my
family had come from, but at home
we never talked about it It was not
until I sat down with my grandmother and started asking her
about our family history that I
started to think of myself as part
Asian. This was. actually quite a
personal epiphany for me—why
had I never been conscious of my
Asian roots before? My mother is
visibly Asian, yet I had never connected her 'Asian-ness' with my
own personal self-identity.
This realisation sparked my
curiosity because it has always
been important lo me lo know
who I am and where I come from.
This was the beginning of a new
time of self-discovery, an opportunity to learn about my Asian heritage. I embarked on a personal
quest to develop my Southeast
Asian 'self.' I have since sought to
learn as much about Asian culture
d^^^V* . »
as possible; first Indonesian, then
Southeast Asian, and now Asian-
Pacific cultures in general. This
interest in Asia has accompanied
me to UBC, where I study political
science and have developed a
keen interest in Asian-Pacific politics and languages.
Amy Tan and Wayson Choy
have both written about
hybridised identities, Tan in the
United States, Choy in Canada. Tn
his book The Souls of Black Folks,
W.E.B Dubois explicitly wrote of
being of two worlds and two
minds, one African and one
American. 'Although" T cannot
equate my experiences with that of
Chinese North Americans or with
the hardships faced by African
Americans, I have also come to
think of myself as having a
hybridised identity, and of being
of two worlds and two minds. The
first world/mind has" been with
me since birth. The second is still
evolving as I seek to discover who
I am.
.Often it seems that we are made
' to choose one culture with which
we feel the greatest affinity, but
why can't we be both? Why can't
we take the best of both worlds? In
a country as rich and diverse as
Canada, we have a unique and fantastic opportunity to do just that.
Vancouver is a city of multiculturalism. Since the 1950s, it has seen
manifold demographic shifts. This
is due to a large influx of immigrants, first mainly European, and,
in, the late 20th century, Asian.
Today, Vancouver is truly another
'gateway to Asia.'
There is a strength in diversity
that we must never lose sight of. All
cultures have merit all cultures are
exotic and exciting, and no culture
is better than any other. Canada
purports to. be a country that
embraces multiculturalism, but
' sometimes we fall short of this.
Still, we should continue to strive
for this ideal, to become- a more
- cosmopolitan society, a mosaic on
which the world can model itself. In
my opinion, this is the essence of
Canadian identity. We are a nation
of many nations, bound together by
shared ideals of tolerance and
understanding. This is something I
have struggled with since I was fifteen. I am still struggling to bring
the two worlds of my heritage
together. When 1 tell people that I
am of mixed descent, I am usually
met with looks of disbelief. After all,
I hardly look Asian myself Still, I
am proud to be Eurasian, as much
as f am proud to be Canadian. ©
c^PyycroCe-cC bc\stx&,ty,c\.
by ~$o\\v\ Hwct
Many of my friends playfully refer to
me as 'the whitest Chinese guy they've
ever known." I have no problem with
this statement because until a couple
of years ago, I would have completely
agreed, and would have also been
quite proud of the label.
Having grown up with ambitious
Chinese parents, I was enroled in
French immersion since the age of
three-, in hopes that with a handle on
both of Canada's official languages, I
would easily obtain success in the
future. In exchange for my knowledge of the French-language, I lost
almost all of my Chinese dialect and
spent the next fifteen years among
mosdy Caucasians, being one of the
few Chinese students in my classes, I
had little problem with this, knowing
nothing else, and had veiy little interest in the culture that was slipping
As    the    Chinese    population
increased in BC, I began to notice .
how different I was* from those who
felt the strong influences of Chinese
culture. Despite my awareness of this
difference, my feelings towards the
culture remained the same. I had ho
interest in it whatsoever and further
insulated myself within Western culture. I began to view other Chinese
people in the light of stereotypes,
becoming annoyed by the same prejudices that I'm sure many people
placed on me. Do not get me wrong,
at no time in my life was I self-
loathing towards my Chinese background, but I simply couldn't relate
to other Chinese people whose
upbringing was so vastly different
than my own.
Today, I stilly barely know any
Cantonese or Mandarin, despite the
fact that my parents are fluent in both
languages. My parents did not fail in
this department; I simply had' no
desire to learn a language that was of
no use to my present life. I would
soon realise what a poor choice in
judgment this would be.
Once I began attending UBC, all
my views and attitudes towards;
Chinese, culture began to change. Not.
only were my classes filled with many
Chinese students with similar backgrounds, but I also found a huge
Chinese community that still held a
strong connection to its roots. I now
find myself among more and more
Chinese friends, and have a strong
respect and desire for my lostculture.
It was a tough adjustment to learn to
accept a culture that I repressed for so
many years, but I feel that I am all the
more lucky for doing so.
Now, I find myself in an odd position, as I am placed somewhere" in
the middle of two vastly different cultures. I still feel very much connected with my Western upbringing, and
will never lose the friends I've had
since childhood, yet I am also trying
to grow into a more diverse person,
who also takes pride in his Chinese
heritage. So, am I still a banana (a
white person trapped in a yellow person's body)? To a certain extent, but I
am somewhat of a spoiled banana,
one that has begun to yellow on the
inside as well As I continue to* go
through my identity crisis, I am
aware that I will never be completely
Westernised, nor will I be completely
Chinese. To be completely honest, I
don't think there's a more perfect
balance. ©
if SC-GCk,
by Pacmmdei* JVJizket*
Allow me to clarify what 'Oreo'
means. As in the famous cookie, an
Oreo is a person who is brown on the~
outside and white on the inside,
describing the package much better
than the popular Indo-Canadian
phrases 'gorafied' or 'whitewashed.'
Let me back up a Uttle and tell you
how I came across it. While driving
with a Chinese friend of mine (to the
tunes of the Bollywood film Kuch
Kuch Hota Hal], he described himself
as a "banana' (the Chinese equivalent
of an Oreo); and was sure Indians
must have a similar word along the
lines of banana. I racked my brain
but all I could think of was whitewashed. Needless to say I. asked my
cousin and she introduced me to,
drumroll please...Oreo. Right then, a
lightbulb went off in my head. Wait a
sec—I've heard that phrase directed
at myself once or twice. Over the
years I've been called whitewashed,
gorafied, weird and Oreo.
So you wanna know why I'm an
Oreo? Welllll...I don't like rap music
(shock). I wear bandannas as headbands. I don't have my hair dyed
bronze, nor do I wear grey makeup.
I'm obsessed with Russian literature. I go to the theatre. I've actually
been to an art gallery (for fun),
rather than hit Adantis. I want to be
a journalist (not a drug dealer's wife,
a doctor or a lawyer). Many Indians
don't see me as a 'typical' Indo-
Canadian, and that makes me white
on the inside? Harsh.
, It- dbe'sn't, matter that I'm fluent
in Punjabi and Hindi. That I can
name Bollywood megastar's Shah
Rukh Khan's films off by heart
(probably his characters' names
also). That I drool when I listen to
the tabla. That I read Indian novels.
That I watch Indian films religiously. That I like ghazels. That I practise
classical Indian dance and think of
myself as Indian. - Clearly I'm an
Oreo, don't you think?
Here's a story that occurred over
the summer. I go to the Indian film
store at least fifty times a week and
needless to say I'm down with the
young Indian guy working there. One
LL&ct LCtc €^6 0,tv K^J^e^c
day he called me whitewashed. I'm at
a place where I rent Indian films and
he's calling me whitewashed?! What
the fuck? I responded by writing a
nice Uttle note in Punjabi, which he
had difficulty reading. "I'm a Punjabi
kuri (girl)l* I felt like screaming.
I'll admit that even I have called
people whitewashedbackin my ignorant high school days. I used the term
on my now best friend, who is
Punjabi. I figured that she must be on
crack because she's Christian and not
a Sikh, I learned early on that I was
being ignorant but the sad thing is so
many Canadian-born Indians don't
reaUse this, and pass this mentaUty
onto others.
What right do Indians have to call
me gorafied, when many of them are
immersed in African-American culture? How many Canadian-born desis
do you see pretending that, well, that
they're black? Calling an Indian
whitewashed is no different than calling an Indian blackwashed—offensive right?
Shah Rukh Khan says it best in his
filin Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustani,
'Apni Chatri tun ko dadon kabhi jub
bharsa pani. Phir bhi dil hain
Hindustani." Translation: I'll give you
my umbrella whenever you're in the
rain...after all, our hearts are Indian.
Cheesy, but you get the point.
Isn't that what it's all about?
Pulling each other up as Indians?
Instead of categorising one another
as white or black, we should only see
ourselves as true Indians. © v^ March, 21, 2003
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obtain a BCIT diploma in one year.
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£-^LvL(^<& ii&LcC' t& &, cHcclct titfbtV
Ike Story'oj 'long Louie,
Vimouver's Quiet 'titan'
i-.(;. pi:rk,\l?i.Y;
by E.G. Perrault
[Harbour Publishing]
The Chinese culture, although
abundant in art, beauty and
power, has always remained
somewhat reserved in presenting
itself to the world. Stemming from
,old, Chinese ,tradition, one was
taught that things must be done at
one's own accord, eliminating any
outside influences; only this would
lead to the possession of complete
, control.
The late Tong Louie was a man
who lived by this principle. Who is
Tong Louie? The fact that many
today do not know him is proof of
his dedication to the old tradition.
E.G. Perrault is the author of Tong:
The Story of Tong Louie,
Vancouver's Quiet Titan, the biography of a man who became one of
the most successful entrepreneurs
in British Columbia while remaining under the radar of the media
and the public eye.
To kill the suspense, if you've
heard of the Independent Grocers
Alliance (IGA) or London Drugs,
you've heard of Tong Louie's legacy. E.G. Perrault's authorised biography of Vancouver's quiet titan
isn't a masterpiece by any means;
rather it is the story of Louie's
humble beginnings that is intriguing and capturing. Dating back to
his father's immigration to
- Canada from rural China, the story
begins' with the cold truth*of a not-
so-multicultural Canada.
Tong's father, Hok Yat Louie,
fell victim to the luring promise of
the Golden Mountain, and decided
to raise a family in a country that
later "denied them the vote federally, provincially and municipally,
maintained a blanket immigration
ban against them, barred them
from public swimming pools and
generally deprived them of
the most important rights of
Louie's story is one of perseverance and loyalty, as his family
struggled with a little business
that barely survived due to the
racist obstacles put in place by
white suppliers and related businesses. The Louie family saw
themselves as Canadian, and
would not follow the many
Chinese-Canadians that left their
homes. Loyalty and honour was
their drive, a drive that would lead
to Tong Louie's brother dying in
World War II for a countiy that
didn't want his kind on its land.
This glimpse into the life of
Tong Louie is only a small portion
of the trials and obstacles he faced
in order to "gain success and
respect ' among his fellow
Canadians. Driven by the principles taught to him by his father,
Tong Louie, defied the rules set
upon him' by Canadian and
Chinese culture alike, turning his
father's humble, honest company
H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd. into one ofthe
largest grocery suppliers in
Canada. With the success of H.Y.
Louie and the expansion into other
markets with IGA and London
Drugs, Tong Louie was recognised
as BC Business's Entrepreneur of
the Year on several occasions. He
has also received such distinguished honours as the Orders of
Canada and British Columbia.
Tong Louie passed away on
April 28, 1998, but his legacy lives
on through the success of his company, now run by his son Brandt
Louie. The story of Tong Louie is a
good reminder of Canada's questionable history as a multicultural
country. Although it may seem
today that the Chinese-Canadian
has little opposition in terms of
racism and oppression, only very
recently has this changed. Only
two generations ago, Hok Yat
Louie was not allowed to vote due
to his ethnicity, despite owning an
honest business that contributed
to his country's economy.
The multiculturalism of Canada
is an important part of our identity, but we cannot forget how this
multiculturalism was slowly and
painfully established, Tong is a key
source to learning about the truth
and history in regards to the heritage of Chinese-Canadians, a heritage that is too often taken
for granted. ©
i    * *
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Comparing media representations of minorities in Canada
and the United States
by £>ave C}ae**fne»*
An integral part of living the Canadian standard, at least as far
as one would divine from Due South ot a blatantly nationalist
beer commercial, seems to be that Canadians are incredibly
tolerant and polite. We like hockey, we can drink pitcher after
pitcher of eight per cent beer and we will—and always have-
encouraged everyone, regardless of race, to come and join the
medicare parly. Yet historically this obviously isn't true. Then:
why is it that Canadians are so quick to see their country as a
cultural haven? Why has this idea become ah integral piece of
Canadian identity, and how did it happen?
One possible answer is concretely linked to Donald
Goellnicht's theories on Black power and its connection to the
Asian-American movement In his essay "A Long Labour: The
Protracted Birth of Asian-Canadian Literature,' Goellhicht
identifies Asian-American culture as piggybacking the Black
power movement in the fight for ethnic equality.
Conversely, the author points to Canada's major ethnic
movement as being Quebec's drive for sovereignty, an event
that could not work in the same catalytic manner for the
Asian-Canadian community. Goellnicht uses this argument to
identify the protracted Asian-Canadian cultural movement as
opposed to that of Asian-Americans. Yet this argument also
seems applicable to the awareness of minority history as
compared between the two countries.
It would seeing that not only did the more radical movements in the United States allow for the rise of other similar
movements, but they also allowed for more historical awareness through the media in North American society.
Growing up, I was familiarised with aspects of US racial
discrimination before I even discovered the same had existed
in Canadav Mobt. likely this was due to the unavoidable
onslaught of American media that Canadian culture is inundated with. Yet, while certain aspects of American culture presented in the media are nothing but distasteful fluff, others
can be an educational experience.
Slavery is not an issue that the American media shies away
from; therefore information surrounding it is available to
Americans and the world on an hourly basis. Initially, the US
media addressed slavery issues because of the pressures from
African-American grassroots organisations who wanted to
increase African-American awareness on all planes.
Obviously, the blossoming television industry was a very
viable means to quickly and comprehensively spread information. Y     •_'.   :' 7
One of the results of this was the groundbreaking mini-
series Roots. Now, slavery issues are addressed in books,
newspapers and on TV because the media and the American
populace are able to see them as relevant and important parts
of their history. This provokes thought and change in all levels
of society, which in turn allows for progressive movements in
the media that can turn away from identity-based ideas and
explore the unlimited facets of what comprises the African-
American culture. Good examples of this are The Cosby Show,
and more recently The Hughleys, which dealt with issues
important to the African-American community today including, ser, education and drug use.
Given that Canada never had a major ethnic movement,
Asian-Canadian culture and history is, for the most part, left
out of mainstream media. Granted, Canada does not have the
industry power held by American media juggernauts, but if
one addresses the amount of Asian-Canadian culture that is
presented in Canadian media, one can see that it is a gross
Without parallel movements in Canada, ethnic history and
the country's racist role in it will be forever left in the shadows
of history, only to be addressed by academics and those specifically connected with those events. As it stands right now,
Canada refuses to take any real ownership for the racial atrocities that occurred in the past, like First Nations residential
schooling, Japanese internment and the Komagata Maru incident. According to the limited historical perspective available
to the public, these events were unfortunate mistakes, one
zero on an otherwise perfect scorecard. Until some move is
made tovyards teUing the history of ethnic minorities in the
mainstream media, Canadians will forever hold their idealist
primetime attitudes about history in their countiy. O
U,*l>&sL  C~ls  fV\sC4s
A visiting student looks at the
potential for institutional
racism in Canada
by Tim SHcmd
If one contends that Canada's past colonial
policies and laws of ethnic segregation and
oppression, irrespective of the recipient, are
tantamount to overt racism, then Canada
marched proudly into nationhood as an openly racist country. The manifestations of this
are still being Uved out by many of the country's ethnic communities, especially First
Nations groups.
, In contrast, at the beginning, of the new
millennium, Canada has fully and wholeheartedly embraced the project of multiculturalism. Today, my perception is that a large
proportion of Canadians would regard themselves as tolerant and unprejudiced, that
their national identity is synonymous with
the language of inclusion and respect for difference—not ethnic polarisation and oppression. However, is this view of Canada's
healthy ethnic diversity shared by those outside its borders? And within this celebration
of multiculturalism, is tolerance and inclusion the reality for all Canadians? Moreover,
could the policy of multiculturalism be in
itself problematic? These questions must be
dealt with in order to create a society that is
truly based on the promotion of racial
justice. „   .,
When I first arrived at the Vancouver air-,
port I was immediately struck by. the
grandiose totem poles and the refreshiiig celebration of First Nations culture. This image
was for me immediately juxtaposed with the
problematic British perception of a typical
Canadian as being a white European—very littie i? heard of th? country's ethnic diversity or
of the maltreatment of First Nations people.
This was a healthy challenge to- my pre-con-
ceived notions. It was further enriching to discover the nurnber of people of Asian descent
that rightly saw themselves as" Canadian "as
much as they saw themselves as Chinese or
Korean. I soon learned that there was no single defining 'Canadian' ethnicity. This filled
me with a sense of joy that I had chosen to
study on exchange within what appeared to
be a great mosaic of happily co-existing ethnic
Canada has without question come a long
way in the project of happy co-existence, but
as my curiosity pushed me to dig deeper, I
found a different kind of multiculturalism,
one that celebrated diversity, while continuing to cement the dominance of those most
powerful: mainly white, heterosexual males.
One in which the oppressions ofthe past, and
their effects on the present, are omitted from
popular notions and definitions of Canada. A
multiculturalism where concerns regarding
racialised crime, the marginalisation of communities and ethnic disadvantages in health,
education and employment were jettisoned,
because they challenge the comfortable
Multiculturalism per se isn't in my opinion a negative thing. A truly multicultural and
equal society has imminent social, cultural
and political advantages. In its current form,
however, multiculturalism in Canada fails the
marginalised and excluded by not questioning the very reasons for the existence of social
inequalities. It does not challenge solutions
that seek to lay the blame squarely at the door
ofthe 'other' (any marginalised group of peoples) for their own predicament. It does not
question the assertion that we have reached a
state of racial equality and that society affords
. the same'oppbrtunities to everyone. ""
In this flawed form of multiculturalism it
'is simply a matter of who is personally moti-
,vated and willing, to work hard to make a living. Assertions of there being a level playing"
field' ignore; oppression and the constant
• struggle" of ethnic minorities against not only
. negative stereotypes, but. also the struggle to
gain material resources and to keep their
identity and dignity.'
This view can often discredit the recognition that sucn social problems lie witnin'a
larger context of historical, structural and
institutional factors. These factors sowed the
seeds of inequality through the degradation,
devaluation, oppression, exploitation and
dehumanisation of people, particularly in the*
context of First Nation communities. The
onus is on the most privileged of Canadian
society to support the marginalised in
their emancipation from all forms of
Talking about cultural diversity and promoting multiculturalism is ineffective if not
accompanied by an active commitment to
challenging inequalities through a fundamental change, of institutions,- attitudes and prao- -
tices. As Martin Luther King Jr argued, we
need a revolution of values, something virtually impossible if we all believe that there is
no more structural inequality or privilege in
Multiculturalism is further problematic
when it entrenches racism by rendering
white privilege invisible, a benefit Peggy
Mcintosh argues in her seminal work, "White
Privilege: Unpacking the invisible backpack."
White people are conditioned not to recognise
that \yhich they enjoy on a daily basis,
Mcintosh argues. Such privilege will remain
entrenched in society until it is acknowledged
and deconstructed, power structures are
altered, and we all embrace dialogue and dissent with a willingness to stand in uncomfortable places. Only then can we celebrate
our passion for cultural diversity, justice and
freedorri for all.
The above is not said to be deliberately disparaging about Canada or Canadians, a coun
try and a people that I have grown to love. It
is said with the hope that—by pointing out the
disparities between rhetoric and reality that I
perceive—I will encourage debate on how
Canada can move beyond racial differentiation and discrimination. Similarly, I don't
mean to suggest that Canada is ignoring solu-
• tion** or* avoiding- the-roacV t&- actualising-
human agency for all its citizens. Instead, I
want to encourage everyone to take ownership of a new destination on this road, a new
paradigm of radical multiculturalism, a new
politics of cultural difference; one that will
not only transform attitudinal discrimination,
but will fundamentally alter power structures
by reconstituting the political economy arid
culture from the vantage point of the most
oppressed and marginalised.
I invite you to join me today in my dream
and vision of social transformation, rooted in
the fundamental belief of a radically democratic ideal of freedom and justice for all, with
a sense of exciting possibility and potential.
Let us together learn from the past and look to
it for strength, not solace; look at the present
and acknowledge and wage war on all forms
of inequality, rather than invest in individualistic profiteering; and look toward the future
and vow to make it different and better for
everyone. ©
r^exJc&t$i*v<fy i^oe c\,tvct
by JLoH C\\ar\>a\
UBC's Equity Office opened in 1994 to implement two important university policies: banning discrimination and harassment and promoting educational and employment equity.
The university's Discrimination and
Harassment Policy has proven to be an effective tool in managing Tjad' behaviour on cain-
pus. Every year, the Equity Office works with
many students, faculty and staff to address
concerns of discrimination and harassment
In addition to responding to complaints of
racism and other human rights-based complaints, the Equity Office takes proactive measures, tackling 'isms' at their roots, by offering
workshops, presentations and other programs.
One such program is the Reviewing Race film
and dialogue series, which the Equity Office is
sponsoring in partnership with other groups
and faculties on campus.
ReVjewing Race is a video and dialogue
series designed to examine the impact of race
and racism on interpersonal and social relationships. The medium of film will.be used to
explore the historical, political, social and personal perspectives of racism. Each fjlrn will be
followed by a discussion session, led by an
experienced facilitator. The discussion component of the series will provide an opportunity
for participants to unpack the film's messages,
to engage in an open and safe dialogue about
race, and to generate ideas for positive change
on the UBC campus and beyond. This series is
the first of its kind at UBC—one targeted at students, faculty and staff—to generate ideas for
improved race relations within our campus
community. The film and dialogue series will
be held at the Norm Theatre in the SUB, starting in April.
For information about discrimination arid
harassment please call the Equity Office at
(604)* 822-63S3. For the Reviewing Race
series, call (604) 8 2 2-215 3. © 12
Match, 21/ 2003
A tAbyssey Special CJsswe
J^^\f\^ i4^i\^cL^CA^^'Cc\>f\>
by K«-rt\leeK\ Oeefing
"I feel a slight sense of guilt for not knowing much about my
Jamaican roots or my history, whereas I know a lot about my
Scottish history," actor Lesley Ewen tells me, as we sifat a coffee shop on Main Street She grew up with a white'mother and
white stepfather, and only met her Jamaican father when she
was 26 years old. People frequently assume she knows a lot
more about Jamaica, than she actually does, she says.
Ewen created a one-woman performance called "An
Understanding of Brown" about eighfyears ago to facilitate discussion and bring awareness about what it's like to be of mixed
ethnicity. She uses a brown box as a prop, symbolising her
struggle to Identify with either of her parents' heritage and the
colour she eventually felt most comfortable identifying with.
She is discussing common issues people of mixed ethnicity
encounter withjamala MacRae, a law student at UBC and organiser of this year's Black History Month events.
Despite being being born in Canada, both women are often
asked where they come from, as if it's from somewhere else. The
question does not stem from people's curiosity about her 'white
side,' Ewen says. It's the Uack side' that people want to know
about They can tell she isn't Ijlack', but they can tell she's not
white' either. "When people ask I say, 'My mother's Scottish and
my stepfather's Scottish too.' Then I just call a spade a spade.
'Where'd I get the tan? Oh, my biological father's Jamaican.'
Then they say 'Oh, Jamaican. Now I feel ok, now you're in a box.'"
People ask because white is the norm, she says. Whatever
makes up that white, whether German or Scottish or English,
that is the norm. "Whatever is outside of that needs to b,e questioned and identified so 'the norm' can feel comfortable with
it," Ewen says, "And that'3 why we get asked and why you'don't
get asked, why people feel they heed to know about our background."
MacRae agrees that at some point she has also felt she
should know more about her background. Her ethnicity is a
mixture of Jamaican, Costa Rican and Scottish. Ewen theorises, "Maybe as opposed to guilt, it's an expectation that has
been put upon me that I should know more."
MacRae reflects that she has identified herself as both
black and mixed. "I guess there's a little bit of me that feels
guilty, but it's not about other people. I mean na one can really place the1 guilt"upon me,' F don t think," MacRae say's* "But
they can bring up questions like, 'Why is it I don't know about
my history?' I could maybe make the generalisation that when
you're of colour, you're almost expected to know."
MacRae said she thinks if people actually thought about
what they themselves know about their own histories they
wouldn't be quite so surprised when neither her nor Lesley
^gg*;£MUffiK ■gtvj
NOT CHOOSING SIDES: Lesley Ewen and Jamala MacRae pojider the need to put others in a box. nic fensom photo
know the history of their ethnic background as well.
Sometimes she becomes frustrated with the frequency of the
question and says, "I'm from here." When people press, she'll
say 'Eastside, Vancouver" or that her parents are from
Canada. "After a while you just get tired of trying to make people nicely realise why their questions can be so bothersome."
Maybe a good question to ask is why people need, to ask
that question in the first place, Ewen says. Why some people
feel discomfort, or such curiousity not knowing. Why people
feel safer when they can put other people in a box, and identify therh by a label. "
Both women agree that the voice of the mixed individual is
starting to become more powerful. "I think there's just more
of us," said MacRae. "I think there were a lot of mixed couples
in the 70s, I think that started to become more and more okay,
and those people had children. And we're those children.
We're getting to a point where this is our country, our first lan
guage, our culture and we're going to have a space iii it'
'I also think the mixed voices might go a long way toward
shifting racism," adds Ewen, "because it challenges the dual-
istic view of black, white or us being the dorqdnant Or being
forced to choose sides. Oh one hand here's my mother who I
love and here's my father who I love."
In one of her shuyvs; Ewen met a girl who had about 10 different ethnicities in her. "How can you even have any kind of
racism? It negates the idea of racism," she said. As people
start questioning what it means to be black or Chinese or
white, 'perhaps the extra voice of people who are mixed will
mean people will start to see each other's similarities as
human beings. "I would really like to see that happen. I think
it would make for a much more interesting world," MacRae
tells me. "To have all those different backgrounds and to know
a Httle bit about each of them and be really proud of them all
and celebrate them all.* ©
by yVAicKael Schwcwdf
(XCV %^&%<U< (^PVU^O
(Xts 4^6(C4y(^V
They seem to be barely acquainted. I'm riding a
crowded bus, holding a newspaper to give my
eyes somewhere to be, but of course overhearing the young woman and man who sit across
from me.
"So, what's your background, anyway?*
"Well, English lit' he says, tapping the
anthology on his lap.
■"Nana..'- f
To me, as a person of (visibly) mixed
ancestry, this is a familiar conversation, a
tiresome interrogation, but I keep listening,
curious as to how others deal with it
"What do you mean, then^ he asks.
She rephrases: "Well, like; what's your origin?"
Clearly, he is an expert I look up, and, like
me, he is quite visibly not white, but not of a
specific visible minority; he gets this a lot
"What about your parents?*
With a gentle sigh, he caves in, cutting
. straight to the inevitable destination with rolled
eyes. "My mom's parents are both from the
Philippines,' he recites. "My dad's are from
"Yeah! Cool.' '*".'"
It's nice to be cool without lifting a finger. I
know. I've been told how cool, how interesting
my 1)ackground' is countless times, far too
often by people who don't know a single thing
about me beyond that
Of course, the queries escalate in their candor. 'Anything else in there?' she asks, poking
his arm.
Any other races to name? No. Anything else
worth knowing? Obviously—please ask.
"Do you consider yourself"to be more black,
or more Asian?*
This can only be answered in terms of
stereotypical assumptions, so assume what you
want to.
Et cetera. Ad nauseum.
Ifs time for me to get off the bus, and I give
him a sympathetic look as I stand. He stares
back at me blankly, our brief eye contact like
that between any other pair of perfect
strangers. Briefly, I feel slighted, but then I am
glad. Is there any reason that he should
acknowledge, or even notice, vague similarities
between him and I, any more than our differences from others should be scrutinised?
We don't think so. ©
Come to SUB Room 23 (basement) with the
answer to the question below, and you
may win 1 of 3 copies ofAFi's new CD
'Sing The Sorrow';
Question: What does AFl stand for?
check out www.aftreinside.net)
Sinq tho Sorrow
Ttieres a lot goirtgon in the world...
Got Something to say? Want[if printed12,1)00t times?
^■.''Tfpieilhirififi&ir^-*----'' fc- ~
lUMMHiiP^ ***A*r*.a4£
AFL release 'Sing The Sorrow', their brand new punk-rock/hardcor'e album that Rolling Stone,
Alternative Press, Details, and Spin Magazine are calling one of the best releases of 2003!
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