Never Left Canada

An excerpt



Wherever I go, it is my transfer point.
Citizenship is like a sports trophy.
It gives you access to benefits.
You get to use the spa, the clubhouse. Membership.
You get connected with people who might offer you wealth.

Canada is not my destination. Because my destination is gonna be somewhere much
more magical than this. But I have a thing for trophies that give me VIP membership.
ACCESS. If access is for all, I really don't care about how my passport looks like.

But when itʼs not, whenever I cross the border, I am put into a box.

What is your citizenship?
Hong Kong.
Illegal immigrant.

What is your citizenship?
Model minority.

What is your citizenship?
Um. I hold a British National (Overseas) passport?
British wannabe.

I am the colonized trying to be the colonizer.

As a teenager living in the British Hong Kong, I had an obsession with the United Kingdom.
My favourite bands were Blur, Pulp, Suede, and Radiohead.
My favourite actors were Jude Law, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Christian Bale. I had a total crush on him when he was twelve playing Jim Graham in the Empire of the Sun.
I watched it twelve times throughout my life, I believe.
I suppressed my love for Leonardo DiCaprio even after Titanic because heʼs American.
And as far as I understood as a teenager, Americans are jerks.
Nobody is truly proud of being American, other than the white Americans.

I bought Reeboks sneakers with the British flag on the shoelace plates.
My favourite accent was the British accent, and I still find it hot.

I didnʼt know nothing about the politics among England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. But there was one thing that I thought they had in common—“they are all really cool.”

My favourite brand of cookies was Walkers Shortbread.
My favourite musical instrument was the bagpipe.

You know that song Scotland the Brave?
I almost got moved to tears every time I heard it.
As if I found my roots.

And I still have some of those feelings nowadays when that memory is triggered.
But now I have to first relive the experience of admiring the British.
And then remind myself of why I admired them.
And then I try to unlearn that idea without invalidating myself too much.

But most of the time,
Whenever it happens, when some random Scottish guy in a kilt decides that he
should play the bagpipe on the street in Toronto,
I still allow myself to indulge in that sense of prestige.

Being British is not in my blood; itʼs in my head.
I heard that the British were the worst people, historically speaking.

But whatever that means,
they still have a special place in my heart.