Friday, November 21, 2008


A chinese worker delivers a nitro chargeWriter: Betty Quan
Artist: Michael Dixon
Publisher: True North Comics
Published: 1999

N is for NITRO!

For anyone who grew up in Canada and watched CBC then you'll know that when I say Heritage Moment, instantly the one liners will spring forth: "I smell burnt toast," "You know I cannot read a word," "Thru the air, across the ocean, the first time ever," "faster than a speeding bullet,"and many proud Canadian more. When I was growing up, one Heritage Moment that stood out for me was: "They say there is one dead Chinese man for every mile of that track." This wasn't because I was especially fond of it, but growing up I met some, no, a lot of people that only knew Chinese people so far as that commercial depicted them. So yeah, I knew that commerical pretty well.

In case you haven't guessed, I am of Chinese descent. But before you go on to think this post is going to turn into a cry fest over racial injustices, think again, because the NEXT 5 POSTS ARE GOING TO DETAIL MAJOR AND MINOR RACIAL INJUSTICES I'VE HAD TO ENDURE OVER THE YEARS!

Just kidding! The only way I'm ever going to dish out that pain is if I'm getting paid to do it. Man's gotta pay da bills so, MONEY, THAT'S WHAT I WANT!

But to answer any questions that I may have brought up during that little glimpse into my past, I'm not really bothered by the whole dead Chinese building railroad thing being quoted towards me repeatedly. Chinese folks are on the upswing, so don't worry, revenge is on its way.

Ok, moving along now. The Nitro comic is pretty much the Heritage Moment expanded a bit. The comic has a bit more grumbling by local workers complaining about the Chinese immigrants, and a bit more on the families the Chinese workers left behind to work in Canada. The comic is nicely painted and definitely delivers the same message it's TV counterpart does.

Also, for anybody who has ever wondered why Chinese immigrants tend to live in communities called "Chinatown," and tended to be owners of restaurants, nail shops, laundry mats, it has nothing to do with "that's just the way they're inclined," but everything to do with immigration laws and the need for self-preservation. Without getting into too much historical record, on July 1st 1923, the Canadian government banned Chinese immigration. This was the only law to exclude people on the basis of race. For the next 24 years, Chinese immigration was next to nil. This destroyed many families and peoples lives and because of this blatant discrimination, Chinese turned to self-employment options, such as restaurants and laundry mats, and began to form communities of their own. Really, it was the only way they could survive.

So, if you're as outraged/saddened as I am over this injustice in Canadian history, next time you're out on Canada Day busting a beer down your gut, take a moment and pour some on the ground for the Chinese and every mile of that railroad track.

Now let's enjoy Bruce Lee fighting:

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