Saturday, 13 July 2013

Taiwan Day 53-57: Summer National Conference

Day Fifty Three to Fifty Seven

July 3 to 7 - For five days I attended my first conference outside of Canada. It was different to be an international delegate and I met so many new people everyday.

Delegates from Canada: Win Shi and I with MC Fieja
The days were filled with sessions, training and activities from 9am to 10pm of which my favourite was the 400 people flashmob we did in the middle of Ximending. I never would have imagined participating in a flashmob, let alone one so big but it felt right that it happened while I was in Taiwan.

"Post your dream" activity after flashmob

On another note, it is interesting being Chinese and Canadian at the same time while attending a conference as a Canadian delegate in Taiwan. I say this because when international delegates introduce themselves it is always, “Hi I am (name) from (country).” Every time I say that I am Vivien from Canada, there is a follow up question questioning where I’m really from because in their eyes I should be from a Chinese speaking place since I look like one.

Delegates from Canada and USA
Each time I felt like I had to explain my life story about growing up in Canada and not having memories of a home anywhere else but there. Often I get asked another question about how come I can speak Chinese if I grew up in an English speaking country. I would explain that I took Chinese lessons every Saturday as a child. To them I have to fit in one of two categories: originating from a Chinese speaking country or completely white-washed since I’m Canadian.

I suppose the concept of Chinese-Canadian is more difficult for them to grasp and hard for me to explain. Especially in bigger cities like Vancouver and Toronto, it is increasingly common that people can speak two or more languages fluently because they grew up using English and their nationalities’ language. Participating as an international delegate, I not only acquired knowledge from the sessions but also gained insight on how I am viewed, how Canada is viewed and do my part in explaining some of those stereotypes.

Take care,

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