“Growing up, I attended the Chinese bilingual schools in Edmonton. One memory from being in the bilingual program was learning Chinese pop songs in class. Outside of Chinese class, I rarely ever listened to canto or mando pop. I distinctly remember the lyrics were a bit hard to understand due to my limited vocabulary (looking at you, Jay Chou), but I did enjoy humming the melody or mouthing the words while my classmates sang along loudly. One song we learned was “只對你有感覺” (飛輪海 & Hebe) and some of us ended up teaching the song to a non-Asian classmate outside of class. I remember thinking it was kind of cool that someone who had absolutely no obligation to learn at all was taking an interest in learning the language.
Being able to celebrate certain Chinese holidays at school and home really solidified its importance in my culture. I used to consider certain things connected to my “Chinese-side” and my “Canadian-side”, and I put them into two strict separate categories. Over the years, they have blended together to the point where they’re no longer two separate things but one culture in itself that shapes who I am.
All photos provided by Gene.