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During the depth of winter, when snow lay deep on the ground and arctic winds sucked warmth from bare skin, small groups of people from countries where snow is as unknown as poutine struggled across the world’s longest undefended border into Canada.
Illegally, of course.
Night after night, TV news showed video of these asylum seekers. Stumbling through snowdrifts, burdened by baby strollers or car seats. Dragging plastic suitcases. Huddled at a roadside, too numbed by bitter cold to go any farther.
They were greeted by police officers. Who led them gently to a warm car. Who helped carry their children. Who delivered them to a border immigration station, where kindly officials helped them fill out their applications to stay in Canada.
This is the Canada we imagine it to be. Compassionate. Decent. Hospitable.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: immigrants, border patrol
Newspaper journalists are supposed to be dispassionate observers of the subjects they write about. They’re not supposed to have feelings themselves.
Stan Chung flips that dictum upside down. In the columns he writes for the Kelowna Courier, he’s more than just personal. He spills his guts. And then he lays his guts out on the operating table and dissects them. Stan bares his soul to grab us by the heart.
He describes his writing technique as “creative non-fiction.” It’s real. It’s fact. But it’s dramatized for impact.
Most of us – and I include myself in this generalization – tend to sandpaper smooth the raw edges of our psyches. We find rationalizations for our actions. We shift some of the blame to someone else.
Stan refuses to buy into that pattern. He’s ruthlessly honest with the feelings most of us try to forget. Or to bury. He writes a biography of pain that is also a celebration of survival.
Tags: stories, immigrants, bullying