Remembering the LegacyJuly 6th, 2009 by Brian Farn
The adjacent photograph of an elderly woman seated with her bag was taken at Tiger Hill, Suzhou. One can only wonder about the details of her life. Is she the grandmother or perhaps great-grandmother of a growing teen?
My son is a fourth generation Canadian teen of Chinese descent. His great-grandparents came to Canada when they were in their late teens. The circumstances leading up to his ancestor’s departure from their homeland and motivation for their life long adventure will never be known to him. It would have been of great interest to know what his great-great grandparents were thinking, feeling, and perceiving as they watched their children depart for the other side of the world, perhaps never to be seen again.
A fifteen hour flight home with half of the washrooms out of order created long line ups, especially as each in-flight movie ended. However, the annoyance and fatigue seemed insignificant when compared to the hardships of long sea voyages, discrimination, and unfairness that each of our ancestors had to endure while hoping for a better life for their descendants.
With its benefits of health care and education, Canada’s multicultural society provides a foundation in which to create opportunities for ourselves and our children. The brave individuals of our families who succeeded in establishing themselves in this country will endure as personal family heroes.
It is my hope as a Canadian parent that my children will become aware of and be motivated by their family legacy to seek and sustain the dreams of the first generation of Canadians.