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Quebec Area Diversity Committee


Diversity is me, you and the others !                           November 2006



 Itís all a matter of attitude

By Dr Thuong Chanh Nguyen

Veterinarian, 39D Berthierville



Mine is the story of an ordinary person who wants to start a new life like anyone else and to live freely and with dignity. Starting out with nothing in a country so different from your own, particularly when youíre over forty and have a wife and two children, is not so easy. The language, culture shock, homesickness, regrets about the past and uncertainty for the future are just some of the ethnocultural barriers that must be faced.    

Iíve spoken with many people who have immigrated as I have and they all have something in common: each one has more or less had to deal with the same problems. However, everything depends on each individualís attitude in facing  a particular problem. Intolerance and racism are normal. They are part of human nature and exist througout the world wether it be in Canada , the United States , France , Morocco , Chile , Romania , Mexico , Africa, Vietnam , Cambodia or China . We are afraid of what is different from ourselves. We are jealous. Itís our protective instinct, particlarly if our interests are at stake. We see others and judge theirs attitudes according to ours prejudices. Itís normal!

Weíre unaware, we have a different culture, we come with our own baggage from a different life, weíve live differently and there is also religious indoctrination wether itís Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, etc.  

ď Iím not racist, butÖĒ Anyone who begins with a phrase like this is in fact racist, nothing more and nothing less. As I mentioned above, this is normal because we donít understand one another and because we are different from one another.  We have to know how to integrate ourselves into the masses, be like everyone else and if necessary go so far as to swear, eat shÖ, g-ddÖ, fÖ like every one else, know how to fight, show our frustation, demand our rights, know how to complain. In short, we have to break down the walls of difference.  

Iím not trying to be crude; all I want is to fully integrate myself into the new culture of my adopted country. Everything thatís good for you is also good for me. Any culture has some very good value as well as some that are less so. Canada is a very rich country. There are currently more than 60 ethnic groups in Canada and they bring with them their culture and knowledge and their strenghts to help build the prosperous Canada of tomorrow. Cultural diversity will be our strength and help to build our country. We are Canadians, but we will never forget our roots.  

As first generation immigrants, we are fully aware of difficulties we must face in our host country. Iís normal and itís all part of the game. We are the bridgehead for future generations. Making a few more sacrifices is nothing; itís peanuts. Hopefully with time and more open attitude on everyoneís part, 300 years from now the situation will be much better.  

It all depends on our attitude and state of mind.