This is a special issue of the Royal BC Museum’s Curious magazine looking ‘behind the scenes’ at the work of individuals who contributed to the Chinese Legacy Initiatives. We are excited that this special issue of Curious will be professionally translated and available for the first time in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. We are doing so in hopes of reaching a wide audience at home and abroad so that locally, provincially, nationally and internationally we can learn from past mistakes and strive for more inclusive societies. We invited the three translators who contributed to this issue to comment and reflect on what they translated and to talk about themselves as Chinese in Canada:
Graduated with an Honours Bachelor Degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University, Claudia Lau has over 10 years of experience working with a national Chinese media group as a documentary journalist. From covering overseas international events and one-on-one interviews with influential people from different spectrums to breaking local news, Claudia has developed her unique storytelling skills by transforming information into compelling videos that speak to the audience’s hearts, earning her a Jack Webster Award and professional recognition from the Canadian journalism industry.
Claudia’s work focuses on connecting the Chinese Canadian community with mainstream Canadian society—she believes our society can be a better place to live only if everyone who came from different cultural backgrounds can understand and respect each other. She felt particularly privileged to be a part of this special issue for it cleared the stereotypes that had been put on Chinese and reflected the important roles they played in shaping the Canadian society that we are proud of today. This true understanding is the foundation that builds a harmonious society.
Claudia previously worked with Royal BC Museum to transform its exhibit Tradition in Felicities: Celebrating the History of Victoria’s Chinatown into a video, to allow this physical exhibit to travel through space and time without barriers.
Xi Yao holds BA in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Victoria and she is a candidate in the University of British Columbia Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program. She is currently working as a Freelance Translator and Interpreter for the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria as well as contributing to the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Wellness Centre—supported by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society—as a Clinical Interpreter. Her interests lay in building communication bridges for individuals through language services and intercultural knowledge. Xi greatly appreciates challenges and varieties in translation and interpretation and she is excited to contribute to Curious magazine.
Coming from mainland China, Xi appreciates that the Royal BC Museum’s Curious magazine featured this special project, which focuses on acknowledging the history of Chinese Canadians, linking the history and the present to the future, and facilitating connections between cultures. These stories and articles provided her with unique perspectives and insights into the Chinese Canadian legacy and how ‘treasure’ is perceived through different eyes in a multicultural society.
Yichun Dai came to Canada 30 years ago as a student and sees Canada as a great country that has attracted people from all over the world for its prosperity, equal opportunities and, more recently, inclusiveness. However, Yichun sees what we have today is not a given and that over the years the people of this land have struggled against systemic unfairness, prejudice and inequality. To this day some of these struggles continue, such as long overdue issues regarding the aboriginal people and discrimination based on race, gender and social status.
Early Chinese Canadians came as labourers who, though humble and with a low social status, contributed to building Canada into the country we all enjoy today. Not only was their contribution not acknowledged, for decades they suffered systematic discrimination at the hands of the government.
Yichun finds it encouraging to see the government working towards remedying historical wrongs done to the labourers. She hopes the motivation behind this action is due to a conscience awakening to a more fair and just society than simply as a political showcase. Although it is important to correct historical wrongs, regardless of the victims being Chinese Canadians, Aboriginals or Canadians of other minority groups, it is more important to learn the lessons of the past and to make sure that nothing of this nature will ever be repeated.