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Toronto East Regional Fair
Dr.Henry Fong: My grandfather
My Heritage Fair project is a depiction of the changing perspectives of the Chinese in Canada against the backdrop of my grandfather, a Chinese doctor who immigrated to Canada just a decade after legalized racism against the Chinese had ended. His acts in Canada were a representation of a new era and perspective of these Chinese Canadians.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
Throughout this project I have learned too many new and fascinating things, it's difficult to just label one as "most" interesting. It all depends on how you view the project. For me this project was a way to delve into my past and discover a history that I never knew, in this way I would think that the most interesting piece of information I learned was my grandfather’s strong determination to receive an education to attend school that he begged his father even during the time when Manila was under Japan's military occupation. This to me was such an interesting piece of information because we receive an education as its mandatory and it’s just been integrated into our daily lives, but for my grandfather to beg for an education even during such drastic times is to me a strong sense of determination.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
Across the duration of this project I have learned much about my roots as a Canadian. The lessons that I have learned are ones of patience, determination and discipline to rise above all obstacles and in the end accomplish success. This can be seen with my grandfather's strong perseverance in order to become a professional, as well as past Chinese strong determination to create a better future for their children.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
In this project I touch on many different periods of time where the Chinese were in Canada. It's easy to say though that the life I lead today is hundreds of times easier than the life the Chinese lived in. For example, the 1890s when the Chinese were forced to work the most menial paying jobs just to survive. But Canada, I have learned, has continued to evolve and the comparisons of the lives I have studied to my life have continued to change in my grandfather’s time we would be faced with racism and social ostracism but not in the legal kind. It all depends on that specific time period.