Yu Han Linda Chen

Country of Origin:

Taiwan

Themes:

Asian Heritage, Asian Heritage, Adjusting to Life in Canada

Photos:

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Story

My name is Linda, Linda Chen and my full name in English in Yu Han, Yu Han Chen and I’m from Taiwan. I moved here when I was 12 years old in 1995, and I moved here with my family, both of my parents and my sister, she was three years old at the time.

So this object is a hanging decoration of Chinese knotting, so it’s hand-knotted. My mom actually made this. So when I was little I remember that she would take classes, she enjoys art, so she’ll take classes and it’s quite a process to work with the thread strings to make a piece.

I am a youth settlement worker now, working with new immigrant youth, so I actually did a similar exercise with my youth group, bringing an object from your culture and sharing with the group and I actually brought this piece, and that’s when I realized the wooden plaque that’s in the middle of the decorating piece actually says thousands of mountains and ten thousands of water, there is always love. It’s pretty meaningful for me right now as they [my parents] are on the other side of the gulf.

We still keep communicating with each other, especially with my sister, because they moved away, and because she also moved out on her own, as I mentioned I moved here when I was 12, my sister was 3, there is a big gap between us, so I had a Chinese-Mandarin background, so I can speak and write Chinese. My sister was 3, she went to Chinese schools, for a number of years until she couldn’t take it anymore, so she gave up and my sister now actually I think, she doesn’t really say it, but I feel like she does miss my parents being with us. We have this chat app for us to communicate and she will initiate those conversations, like how are you, what are you doing today? And then the most interesting for me is that my parents are still using English because my sister doesn’t speak, read and write Chinese, so our app chat dialogues are actually in English. So it is really interesting and then kind of also really important for me to think about how language, how Chinese is important for myself. So I actually started working with a community group, and then working with young immigrants of Chinese backgrounds to keep using the language, and then helping them to engage the generation that was born here to like Chinese and not only think of Chinese as something they have to learn in Chinese school, we want them to think of it as part of them, their roots, their culture, their heritage