A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog
I come from Canada. One of the most multicultural countries in the world. I get back to Vancouver almost every summer. I absolutely love summers in Vancouver!
When I’m back there, I get the chance to see my family and as many friends as possible.
I have a very talkative and somewhat intense family. We have some huge chats about politics, health, sports and everything in between, usually with a few glasses of wine. Sometimes these chats get heated.
I was reminded of one of these chats the other day while ordering a take away coffee from a local restaurant outside my work here in Hong Kong.
The conversation I had back in Vancouver was about a family member’s frustration with immigrants in Canada not speaking English.
Having lived in Hong Kong for 8 years now and only knowing a very small handful of Cantonese expressions, I’m sure you can guess which side I came out on.
While in this small diner I tried doing what I have done dozens of times before, asked for a coffee to go. However this time the man couldn’t understand me. He then asked me something very quickly in Cantonese. I had no idea what he said. I smiled and gestured my unawareness.
This was the point where he could have thrown his hands up in the air like the stereotypical Frenchman.
But he didn’t. He simply laughed it off, and I joined him. He handed me the coffee and I was on my way.
My family member’s belief, and mistake in my opinion, was that language is necessary to being an upstanding member of society.
Speaking of myself, I teach the youth of Hong Kong for a living, help organize a charity in Hong Kong for local children with special needs, pay taxes and abide to most of the laws… But I cannot speak Cantonese.
I cannot recall a situation in Hong Kong where I was told to learn the language or treated poorly because I can’t.
In Canada, it isn’t a law to learn English. And in my opinion, until it is, you shouldn’t make the mistake of judging immigrants that enter Canada not knowing English as bad citizens.
Not paying taxes and cheating the country that has given you residency is another issue.
So that’s my thought! What’s your’s??
Just realized that I’m coming off again on the non-language learning side…
Very interesting from a language teacher…;)
Have a great one!