Celebrating our Asian diversity…

Ruby Jiang, China

Tell us about yourself

I am from China and immigrated to Vancouver in 2006. I became a real estate agent in Vancouver in 2007, and I helped clients purchase properties in Whistler since 2010. I joined a Whistler local real estate company in 2013. That was how I got more chance coming up to Whistler. Whistler reminded me back home my childhood in China and I always love the scenic beauty of the mountains.  I decided to move to Whistler after my son went to university and have been here for over 4 years.

How is Canadian culture/life different from your home country?

In Chinese culture, you can always heard “Harmony comes first” (以和為貴 ). Chinese people commonly link “conflict” with “turmoil” and thus tend to dislike direct conflict and even avoid it out of fear or do not want to be bothered on it. In here, I realize that we would not get respect or appreciation by yielding or running away from issues. People believe that you give up only because you feel you don’t deserve it, not because of your seeking for a harmony with the society.  People here speak out to strive for the thing they believe in, and luckily, they have good chance to win from there fight.  

Child education shows some difference too. I realized that the western parents give their children more opportunities to make their own decisions. Asian parents are more tend to make decisions on behalf of their children  and we always convince to ourselves that it is for the benefit of their children. We as Asian parents need practice how to listen to our kids.

Which parts of your home culture do you try to keep (in Canada), and why?

Language. My son is 24 years old and I believe it’s critical that he communicate with me in Chinese language. Without the mother tongue, no heritage of a culture would be possible, not mention the difficult for our kids to communicate with other family members back home.

Festival.   We have many festivals in Chinese culture.  Most of the festivals back home are related to family.  One isn’t well known here but is very important is the Tomb Sweeping Day ( 清明節).  Family join together to worship and remember our ancestors and report to them the improvement and blessing the family received( usually more good than bad things).  While visiting the tombs of our passed ancestors, parents share family stories with younger generations to help them remember the family tree.  The Tomb Sweeping day is also a good time for family’s spring hiking as it is on April 5th.

Food, Confucius said it 2500 years ago: “If it’s not in season, I won’t eat it.” Back home, we eat different vegetable in the 24 Chinese seasons. Couple days ago, I called my father through WeChat video at my dinner time to show off that we have fresh broad bean ( or some people call it horse bean) here in Canada. It was my father’s lunch time and he was eating the same thing at the same time! How wonderful, we are thousand miles away! Connections through “food” are also unbreakable in our culture.

There has been a significant increase of hate crimes against Asian in Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. How has that affected you personally?

Although most of us might not have the experience, in fact, Anti-Asian racism has been around for quite a bit longer than just the past 14 months. I didn’t pay much attention on this type of issue until the recently Stop Asian Hate movement. I read an article online about “Why I’m speaking out against anti-Asian hate”.   It’s sad to know that there are many people had these experience and are still suffering and carrying heavy burdens of being bullied and hurt in different ways. I will give no tolerance if it happens to me or my Asian friends around.

Why is it important to recognize/celebrate Asian Heritage Month? This year?

Asian Heritage Month is to remind the incredible contributions and achievements of people of Asian descent who have helped shape Canada. People forget things without being reminded regularly. All those contributions should be remembered and be grateful.