The flower buds that don’t dare to wither before the sky is dark
Green leaves follow by releasing a painful taste
From now on I won’t be afraid of the dawn, I think I’m only afraid of being awake
The wide, smiling face of Sheikh Mohammed – the absolute ruler of Dubai – beams down on his creation. His image is displayed on every other building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders. This man has sold Dubai to the world as the city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights, a Shangri-La in the Middle East insulated from the dust-storms blasting across the region. He dominates the Manhattan-manqué skyline, beaming out from row after row of glass pyramids and hotels smelted into the shape of piles of golden coins. And there he stands on the tallest building in the world – a skinny spike, jabbing farther into the sky than any other human construction in history.
[CLICK] gripping read
Dr. Henry Sugiyama was turned down by the University of British Columbia 69 years ago, and now at 87 he’s finally getting the chance to be a student there.
Sugiyama is the first student accepted into one of the school’s newest programs, which “aims to tell the oft-neglected stories of Asian Canadians,” according to UBC.
The program is a new minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies and made its debut this fall. “The program was created as part of a tribute to Japanese Canadians who were forced to leave the West Coast during the Second World War, including UBC students who were unable to complete their studies,” says UBC.
In 1945, the Canadian-born Sugiyama was a Kamloops high school student when he applied to UBC, and was sad that he was not accepted, despite his excellent academic record. At that time, Canada’s “War Measures Act still forbid Canadians of Japanese ancestry like [Sugiyama] from living on Canada’s West Coast.”
Sugiyama says his family was uprooted from Vancouver in 1942 and sent to B.C.’s interior.
Ultimately, Sugiyama went to the University of Manitoba, became a doctor, and moved to Toronto.
Even 69 years late, Sugiyama sees being accepted to UBC as a great honour.
This is just one of many steps UBC has taken to make right the wrongs of the past when it comes to Asian Canadians and World War II-era politics.
“We’ve come a long way from being a university that stood by while its own students were forcibly removed from their homes, to establishing a program that focuses on the crucial role of Asian migrants in the formation of our province and nation,” says Prof. Chris Lee, director of the new program.
Grade 11 Student: “Sir, have you ever cheated on a girlfriend?”
Him: “What stopped you?”
Me: “Have you ever hurt someone so bad that they look at you and you can’t ever forget that face? And it makes looking in a mirror at yourself a disgusting experience? As if the inside of your marked soul is suddenly there on your face for everyone to see?”
Me: “Neither have I. And I want to keep it that way.”
4am on the day of, am super sleepy. the forceful imminence (is that a word) of my departure has hammered in what a charmed existence i lead, and i don’t think that’s rose-coloured glasses. i’m acutely aware of how absurdly spoilt i am and how much i get away with.
unconditionally affectionate parents who never smother +++ friends supportive hilarious & equally laidback (that is a euphemism) in equal measure ++++ *mostly* cruised through one of the most stressful education systems in the world = i’ve never wanted for anything emotionally either. all my problems thus far have been of a wholly first world nature, self-inflicted because i am an emotional cesspool.
now that i’m leaving my 3-story piece of suburban idyll i’m cataloguing all the little details - taking a bus back home on a saturday morning, winding through geylang serai shophouses and then down glossy orchard road and past the ugly colonial buildings of bukit timah, both of which i grew up in. arriving home to our perpetually open stained-glass door, my grandma’s going-away hongbao with $50.10 inside (the ten cents presumably there for extra-auspiciousness), nyonya dumplings, shangrila mooncakes. squeezing into the audi for zi char later. batting my brothers’ hands away. i want to write all of this down in case i forget.
new images, evoking shades of home when the english light catches at certain angles: a nightlight, bag of hundred-dollar sweaters, row of new shoes, all thrust at me by worried parents.
i’m playing camera obscura in the background and so happy but so sad. what is new, such is teenage solipsism. super sleepy yet again, just typing whatever nonsense floats from my brain to the forefront of my fingertips.. this is my excuse. just back from a late night curry party on the second floor of our stately brick manor and then outside into the black cold night to walk neighbours back home *and then* adjourning back downstairs to sit and talk on heated carpet floor till our tongues became sleepy and our words tripped lazily.
returned to crackers and tea with my roommates, one of whom cut his finger preparing a blood-sodden breakfast for us tomorrow. (our kitchen’s glass doors lead into a garden out of a frances hodgson burnett book!) and i’m snug in my huge room now… like i thought before i left, i’ve led an inordinately charmed life. i’ve always fit snugly in and now, even here, despite my plans to the contrary, have been almost forcibly swept into the Kenyan-Japanese-Azerbaijani-Korean-Kuwaiti-Taiwanese-Spanish-Filipino-SO MANY fold, out of my sad pool of homesickness. so, i don’t know… i guess i just want to remind myself i don’t deserve any of this and to pass kindness and caring along excessively and exceedingly. ~~~