James Wang: pas­sion­ate about Burn­aby

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS CANADA -

When look­ing to Burn­aby’s fu­ture, Wang said he hopes to see more Chi­nese Cana­di­ans with tal­ent and ideas let­ting their voices be heard.

“My wish (as a city coun­cil­lor) is to see all the mem­bers in our com­mu­nity will­ing to share their tal­ents and re­spect each other’s iden­ti­ties,” Wang said. “I want to work hard to make sure all cultures and races can sur­vive and thrive on this land be­cause that’s what made Canada a great coun­try.”

Un­like two decades ago when Wang first landed with few fel­low im­mi­grants from the Chi­nese main­land, the pop­u­la­tion of Chi­nese Cana­di­ans has been boom­ing in re­cent years.

“I un­der­stand that get­ting in­volved in pol­i­tics is not in our na­ture as Chi­nese,” Wang said. “But I truly hope my ex­pe­ri­ence can en­cour­age more im­mi­grants here of Chi­nese back­ground to get them­selves out and in­te­grate our cul­ture in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties. And once you’re out there, you’d dis­cover how di­verse and col­or­ful a coun­try we are liv­ing in.

“There are so many ways that new im­mi­grants can feel iso­lated or trapped when adapt­ing to a new so­ci­ety — lan­guage bar­ri­ers, cul­ture shocks, life­styles, cul­ture norms and so forth,” he said. “But what made us dif­fer­ent also made us ca­pa­ble of con­tribut­ing to the so­ci­ety from a unique way that no one else can. That’s what made build­ing a new life here ex­cit­ing to me.”

Wang said that “the idea of ex­plor­ing the out­side world and build­ing a life from scratch is per­haps some­thing comes with my blood. Grow­ing up, my fam­ily was con­stantly on the move. It is per­haps also why I am able to call any new land I’m set­tling in home and im­merse my­self into lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties quite nat­u­rally.”

Wang’s ef­forts have been fre­quently rec­og­nized, in­clud­ing as a win­ner of a Top 25 Cana­dian Im­mi­grant Award in 2014 and as a nom­i­nee for the Bri­tish Columbia Mul­ti­cul­tural Awards in 2015.

I don’t want to pas­sively live in a com­mu­nity as an ob­server or an out­sider. I want to grow to­gether with it.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

James Wang, Burn­aby City Coun­cil James Wang, a City Coun­cil mem­ber in Burn­aby, Bri­tish Columbia, is the first elected mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cial in Canada from the Chi­nese main­land.

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