Wednesday, June 21, 2006

sorry means nothin'...

my great grandpa (l), my grandpa (r)

my great grandpa was born in china in 1868. to seek a better life for himself and his family, he journeyed to canada in 1888. he was smart. he didn't work on the railroad. instead he set up a shack at the side of the railroad and sold cooked oysters to fellow chinese and da man. to maximize profits, he only sold oysters.

he left canada for good in 1930. in between time, he took the slow boat to and fro home in china 3 times. he missed home and was afraid he would forget his roots if he didn't return home.

my mum remembered the forks he brought back from the new world. he taught her the first english she knew. the phrases were: hand towel, the same thing, chicken hen, chicken cock. it was ironic that he didn't learn the word oyster.

by the way, he moved on up from his oyster shack to a real restaurant in kamloops, bc.

he died in 1961.

my grandpa (father's dad), was born in 1906. at age 16, he came to canada to seek a better future for himself. he would run a laundry in golden, bc.

he would make two trips back to the homeland. one of those trips, he married my grandma.

on his last trip, he took back to kaiping, china, the money he made here and started construction of a family tower. he would not see the completion of the tower. in 1949, the communists took over. he fled back to canada.

he would spend the rest of his days in canada. his family would join him. my dad, in circa 1950. my grandma and auntie, in 1952.

my great grandpa and grandpa knew each other over here. it was a small world.

they both had to pay the head tax.

my great grandpa had to sell off parcels of land in china to finance the tax. he never mentioned anything to my mother about the tax.

my grandpa never mentioned anything to me about the tax.

the great stephen harper is suppose to offer an apology tomorrow to all those who were subjected to the tax.

i'm not sure if the apology would mean much to either man if they were alive today.


dean said...

Thanks, but no thanks Harper.

Anonymous said...

Little Brother

Just wondering. What was your inspiration in writing this? Harper?? I sort of view it this way, they were adventurers and entrepreniers who didn't sit back. They scoped the world for opportunity. Travelling the world for opportunity is in your blood; in all of ours. It just surprises me that some in the family just can't see that.


bubba said...

i find that, surprisingly, most of my writing is inspired by stephen harper. he is my hero. i did call him great didn't i?

i never said in the posting the head tax was a bad thing. i just mentioned which of my deceased relatives had to pay it. they must have understood it to be a cost of doing bizness. can't make money if you don't spend a bit of it first, eh.