Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chinese Canadian Heros

Roger Cheng

Roger Cheng

Roger Cheng, Grand dad's hero.

Heroes Remember -  Chinese-Canadian Veterans
 in Canada, men and women of Chinese descent, who were born in Canada, were not allowed to vote. As well, the 1923 Exclusion Act was still in effect. That Act essentially banned Chinese Immigration to Canada. Despite this discrimination, when the WWII broke out, Chinese men and women volunteered in the hundreds to fight for Canada. They enlisted in every branch of the armed forces and participated in every theatre of war. The result: on May 14, 1947 Chinese-Canadians were finally granted the right to vote.

Uncommon valour. Reluctant heroes. Unsung soldiers.
These are the phrases that describe the Chinese-Canadian men and women who took part in the Second World War. It is a little known story and reminds us of racist times when the government simply didn't want Chinese-Canadians in the war effort. Regrettably, it is also a story that is fast-disappearing as our war Veterans reach their late eighties and their remembrances pass with them.
Most Canadians cannot even fathom there was a time in this country when Chinese-Canadians were denied the right to vote and banned from entering the professions. But this was the reality for the young men and women of Chinese-Canadian descent, the majority born on Canadian soil, at the outbreak of the Second World War. Why then, did they volunteer and risk their lives for a country that denied them the fundamental rights we now take for granted?
You are invited to share the recollections of these courageous men and women. Heroes Rememberpresents twenty-one war Veterans who speak candidly of their wartime efforts. Some of their stories have seldom been told because they evoke dark, buried memories, while others brim with a youthful “can-do” spirit. There are also stories from the politically astute; those determined to win the vote for Chinese-Canadians by proving their loyalty and serving. Together, these remarkable recollections lay testimony to the Chinese-Canadians who knowingly or not, created fundamental political and social change in Canada.

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