Vietnamese Canadian Experiences in BC
Chrystal Phan Tour of Victoria
Emily Wong on Webster!
Emily Wong came to Canada as a refugee in May of 1979. As a Vietnamese citizen of ethnic Chinese descent, she fled the country to escape persecution. Like Chrystal Phan’s family, she escaped on a small boat from Sóc Trăng and landed on the Malaysian refugee camp at Pulau Bidong.
In this clip from Webster! from September 18, 1979, a caller and the host discuss the different attitudes Canadians have around accepting new immigrants to Canada. Pay close attention to how Webster treats Emily Wong. Do you think it’s appropriate for him to repeatedly correct her pronunciation of the word really? Listen to the argument the caller makes, and to Webster’s responses.
Do you notice any racism in what he says? For example, Webster uses the term ethnic bond to explain why helping people in the United Kingdom is different or more important than helping people from other places. He says that it is “politically acceptable” to help people from the United Kingdom. Webster states that “common sense must be used” when explaining why Canada can’t accept more refugees. What do you think he means by ethnic bond and common sense?
This interview happened more than 40 years ago. Have attitudes about immigration in Canada changed since then?
To hear more of Emily Wong's story watch the entire episode here. Credit: RBCM/BCA, AAAA6809, courtesy British Columbia Television
Learning about Vietnamese Canadian Experiences