Meet Gene

“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.

Gene in a yellow dress. June, 1999

从小到大,我便就读埃德蒙顿中英双语公立学校。我还记得我们在中文班里学唱流行的中文歌。虽然有些词语比较难学,我还觉得有兴趣。我记得有首歌叫“只对你有感觉”,我也教了我的一个非华裔的朋友唱这首歌。我能够在学校和家中庆祝一些中国传统节日,这巩固了中国文化对我个人的重要性。我曾经把事情分开地思考,“华裔方面的想法”和“加拿大人的想法”,再将它们严格地分为两个单独的类别。多年后这两种想法已融合在一起,不再是两个独立的概念,而是一个整体的文化包容为一体,形成我自身的一部分。 “—Gene

All photos provided by Gene.

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