Country of Origin:
Asian Heritage, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity
Browse while you listen: images with relate to audio
Alvin Ma is a Master of Science candidate in Exercise Sciences at the University of Toronto. He previously graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Although these fields appear to be completely different, Alvin blends them together through his research on multiculturalism and sport. These research findings have been presented at academic conferences in North America, Europe, and Asia. Possessing a strong belief in sharing knowledge beyond scholarly audiences, Alvin has published articles for The Commonwealth Youth Programme about his research and travel experiences. Furthermore, Alvin is an educator: he teaches English at a language centre and has privately tutored hundreds of students of varying ages in subjects ranging from atmospheric science to math to music to French. At heart, Alvin's favourite subject is physical education and he advocates for broad-based participation in physical activity and sport.
Alvin's articles can be found here: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/?s=alvin-ma
“You must study harder...not just hockey all the time.”
A decade after it originally aired, I still love to quote this Tim Hortons advertisement depicting the experiences of Chinese-Canadians across different generations. Similar to many other second-generation Chinese-Canadians who attended honours classes at my Vancouver high school, I had been raised to value education over sports. However, I have always been intrigued by sports, dating back to my early childhood years when I wanted to lengthen my surname to match the longer last names of famous white ice hockey players.
My passion for sports is now my education. Part of my academic research focuses on perceptions of sport and physical education in the Chinese-Canadian community. I question the stereotype that Chinese-Canadians are all about studies and no play, based on their under-representation in mainstream professional sports. Results from my empirical qualitative research indicate that an increasing number of Chinese-Canadian parents view education and physical activity participation as mutually compatible. Nonetheless, the “model minority” stereotype surrounding Chinese-Canadians continues to exist. Although I seemingly benefit from this stereotype as a credible tutor (particularly for math), the dangers of the “model minority” include pitting one racialized bloc against another and assuming the same thought process within one ethnic group.
While many families of my Chinese-Canadian classmates do place an emphasis on educational success, by no means are individual Chinese-Canadians the same. People who love hockey and tennis became my closest friends, and I earned the nickname “Captain” for organizing sport events. More recently, I have gotten involved with promoting Zumba, a group fitness activity that is typically not associated with Chinese-Canadian males. I may not be skilled enough to become a professional athlete or dancer, but to conclude with the slogan of the children’s ice hockey program of Tim Hortons: “The first goal is having fun.”
2006 Tim Hortons commercial link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdrSkoc08gw