Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Visiting my Childhood Home in Ottawa for the Last Time After My Parents Moved into a Retirement Residence
Returning to my childhood home for the last time a few months ago after the sale had gone through was a signal moment for me. Memories flooded back of the exciting day we moved into the new house when I was 9 years old. It was so bright and clean and modern!
But 42 years later, the carpets were badly worn, the interior walls desperately needed a fresh coat of paint, the curtains threadbare, the furniture upholstery frayed; in general the house looked tired and old. The house where I had grown up was now a dingy and lifeless place and no one lived there any more.
Actually, I still have the keys to the front door that I took with me when I moved out to go to the U of T in 1974. I imagine that by now the locks have been changed, fresh paint applied, new carpets laid, another family's photographs mounted on the mantlepiece.
Perhaps there is another child playing in the room where I once ran my clockwork trains?
Friday, February 16, 2007
About Appearing On-Stage in Toronto at the 2007 Chinese New Year Show and Impressing my Twelve Year Old Daughter
Later, after had I committed to do the show, I was asked to also perform a Chinese comedy dialogue (xiangsheng) as an addition to the program. About a week before, the scripts with my lines were e-mailed to me by Jin Dong. Jin is a well-known personality from Mainland Chinese TV now working in Chinese language TV and radio in Toronto. After looking over the scripts, I started to seriously worry about whether I could really carry all this off and decided to seek advice from the real Dashan, Mark Rowswell, by e-mailing him all the scripts. Mark's replies and reassuring advice considerably set my heart at ease, but Mark also suggested that to be one of the hosts as well as doing a crosstalk all in one show was a lot to ask. It turned out he was quite right about that. I found it hard to memorize the Chinese lines, especially the Crosstalk. Fortunately Jin Dong is really a very generous and kind man who worked hard with me on the Friday and Saturday. My success in performance owes much to his patience.
Basically all I has to do was to walk into the spotlight on stage wearing a Chinese style silk jacket and say a few simple sentences along the lines of "A new year, new events, new beginnings!" (新年新事起点新!) and "In the Pig Year may your every wish be fulfilled!" (猪年万事都如意!). The Crosstalk was about how maybe we should be nicer to pigs in their year, cut out pork and change disparaging sayings about pigs to more positive ones. Much of it involved making plays on words about the Pig character in the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West. Essentially while a Chinese press article published afterwards (see http://torcn.com/cache/43863.html) characterized me as a "2nd Dashan" my performance did not require much talent. Mark Rowswell is genuinely talented. To be frank about it: me, not so much. But the crowd gasped and laughed at my every word because white people speaking good Chinese is to them an affirmation of China's civilization and this means a lot. Well I am happy and honoured to perform this function as I have so much admiration for Chinese culture myself.
Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Citizenship attended the show along with a number of other federal members of Parliament, members of the Provincial legislature, municipal mayors, PRC Consul-General in Toronto, etc. I know Mr. Kenney well and had testified before the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on International Human Rights and Development that he chairs last fall. He seemed surprised (maybe even mildly stunned), but I think, pleased to see me there and to have me introduce him on-stage. But most of all my daughter Lucy loved the show--- the dragons. the brilliant performance by Li Teng who is principal violist of the Toronto Symphony, the Chinese flute solo, the Cantonese opera selection. But she also seemed truly pleased to see the audience reaction to her Dad performing on stage. So, my 12 year-old daughter was evidently genuinely impressed by something her old Dad did! As I am sure most fathers of pre-teen girls would agree, this rare moment made it all worthwhile for me. I think I will draw my performing career to a close now.
Photos of the show can be found (in the folder "Spring Fest Show 2007") at http://photos.yahoo.com/cburton001
Thursday, February 08, 2007
The Chinese language release posted below uses word "nanmin" (refugee) and reads in part:
"Yushanjiang was born in Xinjiang. In 2001 he was accepted by Canada as a refugee. In 2006 while in Uzbekistan he was arrested by the Uzbeki authorities. He was deported back to China on the grounds of suspicion that he participated in terrorist activities" Yushanjiang is Celil's Chinese name. The reference to being accepted by Canada as a refugee is not a random comment in there in my view.
央视国际 www.cctv.com 2007年02月08日 17:41 来源：