Vancouver Sun: Census: Mandarin, Cantonese top immigrant tongues in Metro Vancouver (Kelly Sinoski)

Jun Xiao, who immigrated to Canada from Nanjing, China in 2011, speaks Mandarin at home with his wife Dan, 19-month-old child Michael, and mother-in-law Aiping at their suite in East Vancouver.
Photograph by: Mark van Manen , Vancouver Sun
(Source: Vancouver Sun:

I was quoted in today’s Vancouver Sun on census data that indicates a high concentration of Cantonese and Mandarin being spoken in the Metro Vancouver area. The online version was published yesterday. You’ll find the article in today’s paper on p. A4.

Kelly Sinoski’s article is part of a series she’s doing on emerging census data.  As Henry Yu (UBC History) her, many of the sites where these languages are spoken are in Chinese churches.  Sinoski followed-up with an interview with me on Tuesday morning and then printed this yesterday.  I told her about Chinese churches as extended family sites, as I had written about in my 2011 Population, Space, and Place article on “Making a Cantonese-Christian family.”  She included arguably the funniest quote that I received during my MA research for the article:

Justin Tse, a UBC grad student who is studying the phenomenon, said the church often provides newcomers with a sense of family and connectedness. One of his research subjects, for instance, told him that he often attends church, but usually falls asleep during the sermon and wakes up when it’s over.

“It’s a lot like going to your dad’s house,” he said. “There’s a strong sort of familial feeling.”

You’ll find the exact transcript quote on p. 761 of the academic article.  Thanks, Kelly, for the quote–it was fun chatting! And thanks, Henry, for making the connection!

HKReporter: 天外有天 第19集 [The Sky Beyond the Sky, Ep. 19]- 快必、David、偉業、大曹 / 嘉賓: Justin [Fastbeat, David, Wai Yip, “Big Cho” / Guest: Justin]

I should have posted this earlier. On 5 April, at the tail end of my field work period in Hong Kong, I was interviewed by a bunch of people I had interviewed for my PhD project. They had all finished theological training at Chung Chi Divinity School (崇基學院神學院) in Sha Tin, Hong Kong and were mostly associated with a progressive church movement known as Narrow Road Church (路小教會). I made most of my interviewees, including the theologically and socially conservative ones, aware that I had this interview in my schedule, and most were fine with it, which speaks to a good level of civil discourse among Christians who might disagree otherwise on various issues.

I went to their studio at HK Reporter in Wan Chai, where they interviewed me for about an hour on my PhD work. We talked about practicing cultural geography, social conservatism among Chinese Christians, and the idea that Chinese Christian activism might take place along multiple subjectivities.

The interview is in Cantonese.  You can hear it here. (Note: there are two parts.)

The comments are fun to consider too. The most frequent comment was that my accent is Singaporean and that the hosts had mistaken me for a joksing (“flying bamboo”) North American Chinese. They need to read my post with Schema.

I am open to engaging people from a variety of perspectives about these interviews that I’ve done, and I am happy to be corrected or given alternative perspectives as I develop my thoughts and write them up.