The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

APC Parenting Meme

My Powerbook is still on the blink because A) I haven't had time to deal with it and B) I'm too cheap to take it in. If I can pull the data off I'll just buy a new hard drive on eBay, replace it myself and save the service charges. The downside to this el-cheapo route is that I've been without a computer for over a week now. Fortunately P's computer is working.

So Lumpyhead's mom tagged me with a meme about being an Asian Pacific Canadian (APC); the clashing of Asian and non-Asian cultures, and the off-spring that result. "Clashing" with P is one of my very favourite things to do, especially after a bottle of wine. In fact I seem to recall is was a pre-clash bottle of Pinot Gris that brought The Boy into our lives. Hmmmm... either my memory is really that good, or a sign that P and I probably drink too much wine.

Anyways here goes...

1. I am:
Chinese through and through. In terms of lineage Chairman Mao couldn't be anymore Chinese than I am.

2. My kid is:
Half Chinese, 3/16 Scottish, 3/16 German, 2/16 bits and pieces.

3. I first realized I was APC when:
When I realized I was only attracted to white chicks, and as a result I only dated white chicks; to the initial disappointment of my parents (especially my Mom). As much as they embraced the western world they immigrated to, my parents steadfastly held onto the ideal that their Chinese kids would marry Chinese spouses and bear Chinese offspring. They've obviously since come around to my way of thinking, but there were some challenging times for P and me early in our relationship.

This was common sentiment amongst the Chinese community at the time though, and many of my parent's generation still hold onto this old-fashion view. Particularly the women. Even now when P and I walk past older Chinese couples, the women always looks at us disapprovingly. Interestingly the men on the other hand usually shoot me a, "Way to go buddy, you bagged one." look.

Ah... White Chicks, a Chinese man's forbidden fruit.

4. People think my name is:
Winston. Likely the most popular English name amongst Chinese males around the same age as me. Although one time I worked with a guy named Julius. Julius! I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, I'd take Winston over Julius any day. What a ridiculous name." Then I met his friend Starsky.

5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
Pictures. My family loves taking pictures. My parents, my siblings and myself capture almost everything on film or digital. Sometimes we go a little overboard, but looking back through my parent's old photo albums I'm glad they took so many shots.

P's family aren't anywhere as shutter-happy as mine, so sometimes I sense she gets tired of the ceaseless picture taking at my family functions.

What I need to be careful of is to not lose sight of the moment for the sake of taking a picture. I've already got a mini-digital camera (cost me $1.99 on eBay) for him when he gets old enough.

6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
I always wait way too long before getting a haircut. As a result I spend several scattered weeks throughout the year looking like a cross-between Austin Powers, a Beatle and an freak who won't cut his hair. While this isn't really a family tradition in the true sense of the word, it would be tragic if I passed on my poor grooming habits.

7. My child's first word in English was:
Banana (pronounced Anana). At first we thought his first word was Dad (Dah), because he would call that out whenever he wanted my attention, but then we noticed him yelling Dah out the window. So either he hasn't made the connection between Dah and Dad, or there was a hobo outside that looked like me.

8. My child's first non-English word was:
Deet Deet Da. We don't what it means, but he says it all the time. I suppose it could be "Wai", which is Cantonese for "Hi", but I think he's just saying Eh. Yeah I'm really reaching if I think he's learned to say Hi in another language.

9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
There is no good way to spell this phonetically, so the closest I can come is "Sit Ghoh", which means ice cream in Cantonese. For the longest time I would say "I-see Cah-leem" whenever we had ice cream, because that is more or less how a person with a Cantonese accent would say ice cream in English. P finally got tired of hearing that and asked me how it was really pronounced. We've used it ever since.

10. One thing I love about being an APC parent is:
Teaching The Boy to speak Cantonese. I think knowing a second language is great, even if he only learns a little, it's a great skill to have.

11. One thing I hate about being an APC parent is:
Not knowing enough Cantonese. I grew up learning a dialect of Cantonese, and as a result I'm really rusty at speaking the more common variation. I'm slowly relearning it, but I wish I had paid more attention in Chinese school when I was a kid.

12. The best thing about being part of an APC family is:
The melding of cultures. Marrying into P's Waspy culture has been eye-opening for me, as I'm sure my family's giant Chinese banquets have been for her (... would you care for another fish eyeball?). That's the great thing about other cultures, they're all different. And immersing yourself in them I think makes you a more rounded person.

At our wedding you could see who was on whose side of the family. My family loves ball-room dancing and doesn't really drink. The dance floor was packed with Chinese, the bar was surrounded by Caucasians.

13. The worst thing about being part of an APC family is:
Depending on whose family reunion we go to, one of us stands out. When we first started dating, P invited me to one of her family gatherings. I remember walking in and being met with not-so-subtle looks, "Hey! Who invited the cook?"

14. To me, being Asian Pacific Canadian means:
Being a better rounded, more open person.

I'd tag someone else with this, but I don't really know any other Asian parents who have a blog that haven't already responded to this meme.