Cana­dian TV pro­ducer re­flects on Chi­nese role abroad

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­

In a dis­cus­sion about how Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties could bet­ter ex­er­cise their strengths as a “key mi­nor­ity” in pol­i­tics in both the US and Canada, Cana­dian Chi­nese TV news pro­ducer, host, com­men­ta­tor and au­thor of nu­mer­ous pub­lished books Ding Guo spoke to a packed au­di­ence at MetroBank’s com­mu­nity cen­ter last Satur­day.

Wea Lee, CEO of South­ern China Daily News Group and the founder of South­ern Chi­nese Writer’s As­so­ci­a­tion, which in­vited Ding to the event, in­tro­duced the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first speaker in 2014.

Ding, who vis­ited Hous­ton 13 years ago, was the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first speaker of 2014. He be­gan by mar­veling how much the Chi­nese com­mu­nity had grown in Hous­ton.

“Chi­nese voices have been mostly heard from New York, San Fran­cisco, Los An­ge­les and Van­cou­ver in the past, but now Hous­ton’s Chi­nese will also be heard, be­cause the vi­brant lo­cal econ­omy and a new di­rect flight to Bei­jing has fueled the growth of the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion here,” Ding said.

Al­though he noted the com­mu­nity’s many pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions, Ding was also quick to note that the com­mu­nity’s Chi­nese-only busi­ness signs in­di­cate a less than open at­ti­tude to­ward Amer­i­can so­ci­ety in gen­eral.

“Chi­nese tend to pur­sue a sta­ble and quiet life over­seas, but this is not enough,” he said.

“In Van­cou­ver, Chi­nese could de­cide 17 dis­tricts’ elec­tion re­sults by play­ing the role of a key mi­nor­ity,” he noted. “The left and right par­ti­sans are com­ing more and more to­ward the mid­dle ground, which could lead to the sit­u­a­tion where the mi­nor­ity Chi­nese would de­ter­mine the out­come of elec­tions. Hous­ton Chi­nese should con­sider how to po­si­tion your­selves and make your­selves count.”

Al­though Chi­nese are tech­ni­cally a mi­nor­ity in Canada and the US, he doesn’t view Chi­nese Amer­i­can his­tory to be sep­a­rate from the his­tory of main­stream Amer­ica and Canada, he said.

“Dur­ing the gold rush and rail­road con­struc­tion time, Chi­nese were not just con­trib­u­tors of la­bor — we were part of his­tory and built the foun­da­tion for the two na­tions’ de­vel­op­ment,” he said. “We need to have a sense of mis­sion, and en­joy­ing dim sum in China Town shouldn’t stop us from vot­ing. ”

He also urged Chi­nese to re­ex­am­ine so-called in­grained cul­tural traits, in­clud­ing those that as­sume Chi­nese should be hard-work­ing, fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion and sav­ing money. These qual­i­ties do in­deed bring fi­nan­cial suc­cess, with the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion now be­ing able to claim the high­est mid­dle class ra­tio and the high­est home own­er­ship rates in the US.

How­ever, “if we are mea­sured by po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion, we are not suc­cess­ful at all,” Ding said. “We need to ex­am­ine in-depth what cul­tural her­itages of ours are ad­van­tages, and what hin­ders us from fur­ther ad­vance­ment. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween cul­ture and suc­cess is worth ex­am­in­ing.”

He also ex­pressed his thoughts on what role Cana­dian and Amer­i­can Chi­nese should play be­tween China, Tai­wan and the US.

“China, Hong Kong and Tai­wan are thriv­ing eco­nom­i­cally, and due to dif­fer­ent sys­tems there ex­ists some con­flicts be­tween China and the US,” he said. “Do we want to see a weak­ened US while China is grow­ing stronger? We don’t, be­cause our off­spring are Amer­i­can or Cana­dian.”


Ding Guo speaks with a Chi­nese au­di­ence in Hous­ton on Jan 18 about how Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties might be more in­volved in main­stream so­ci­ety.

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