Posted in Shorts, Video

Fung Bros: Asian Canadians vs Asian Americans

Interesting and amusing video although I admit most of the Asian Canadian info comes as sort of a surprise to me but then again I’ve only to been Vancouver once (where the Asian Canadian girl, Linda D, is from) and I never really differentiated between Asian Americans and Asian Canadians so if there were any differences I never noticed or didn’t attribute to the American vs Canadian aspect.

I have never heard anyone use the word “Namer” although I have heard “Honger” but pretty rarely. Funnily enough there is no mention of Twinkie / Banana or ABC / BBC / CBC. I always thought Twinkie was more American and Banana more Canadian. I also don’t think Asians are perceived as “cooler” (in Montreal at least) than in the US. I wouldn’t be surprised if this perspective is different in Toronto and Vancouver that have massive Asian populations compared to Montreal.

In regards to typical jobs, you do still see a fair number of nail salons run by Vietnamese. Since I almost never went to laundromats, I never got the impression that they were frequently run by Asians. I will say in recent years you do see a fair number of depanneurs (aka convenience stores) run by Mandarin Chinese. I think young Asian Canadians are pressured into finance, engineering, computers or medicine just as much as anywhere else.

As far as the “breakdown” of different East Asian ethnicities in Montreal, I would say in the 90s there were not many Asians but there were some. The schools I went to were generally quite ethnically diverse but Caucasians were the clear majority. Growing up it seemed like the three most common East Asian groups were Cantonese Chinese, Vietnamese (possibly Southern) and Filipinos. There were some Northern, Mandarin speaking Chinese but definitely not even close to the number of Cantonese. I knew there was a very small population of Japanese. I met a grand total of one Korean up until university and I don’t think I ever met a Thai person growing although I’m sure there were some. It seems only recently (like the mid-late 2000s) that there has been a significant increase in the South Korean population in Montreal, perhaps even surpassing the Japanese population here which is still small. I’d also say that earlier than this there was an increase in Mandarin speaking Chinese. You can sort of tell this by looking at the number Asian restaurants over the years. It used to be mostly Cantonese Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. In recent years there are more Mandarin Chinese restaurants and Korean restaurants.

Also, I’d argue that French as a spoken language amongst Asian Canadians is not common outside of Quebec and eastern parts of Ontario. Generally a lot of Vietnamese spoke French first before English. Younger Asians of any ethnicity born here in the 90s are more likely to go to French school and due to the languages laws in Quebec.

There was racism in Canada, but I agree probably not as bad as in the US but Canada did also have Japanese interment camps and the Chinese Exclusion Act. In regards to personal experience, I was certainly picked on or heard other Asians being picked on or made fun of for their food or accents or whatever but it generally never escalated beyond that. At least, I never heard or saw anybody get beat up specifically because of their race.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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