Winter 1975, Eaton’s College Park:
Mom: Which jacket do you want?
Me: This one. With the Canadian flag on it.
Summer 1978, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony:
Mom: Son, you will always have to work harder and do better than everyone else, because no matter how long you’ve lived here, no matter that we’re citizens now, there will always be people who will look at your Filipino features and say that you are not “Canadian”.
Summer 1980, following family friend and local historian Mike Filey around town:
Mike: This is Spadina Avenue. The word “Spah-dee-nah” is an Indian word meaning “hill”…
January 1993, speaking as a special guest lecturer in front of computer science students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines:
Student: Do you consider yourself a Canadian, or a Filipino?
Before you answer back, hear me out. Who said you had to be only one or the other? Does being a computer scientist rule out the possibility that you have other skills? Maybe as a businessman, or artist or musician? Can you not be a son, brother, father and friend all at once?
Even computer science says you can have it both ways. Computers are von Neumann machines — the numbers they juggle can either be data or instructions.
I am Filipino by birth and at least part of my upbringing is in the Filipino tradition. I’m polite to elders and parents, I get twitchy if
I haven’t had rice in a week and I can play a musical instrument and tell jokes in front of an audience at a moment’s notice.
(laughter from class)
But I am also Canadian. I’ve lived there most of my life, since I was seven. My parents went there to make a better life for us, and I hope
in return, we’ve made Canada a little bit better too. Even though it’s on the other side of the world from where I was born and several
degrees colder half the year, it’s home. It’s a good place, with all sorts of good people, and if you have a chance to visit, I would highly
October 1998, while visiting an English school in Sanda, Japan:
Student: You are from Canada? You look Japanese.
Me: Watashi-wa firipin-ji des [I’m a Filipino]. But yes, I’m from Canada. A Canadian.
Student: Is Canada a nice place? Do you like it there?
Me: It’s a great place, and yes, I do like it there. Here, let me show you some pictures…
Spring 1999, during the “Worst Date Ever”:
Me: You know where the word “Spadina” comes from?
The Waitress: No.
Me: It’s from an old native word, “Spah-dee-nah”, meaning “hill”…
September 1999, USA vs. Canada desert floor hockey match, Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada:
Referee: And now, the Accordion Guy will play the Canadian anthem of your choice — O Canada or Ren and Stimpy’s Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen…
Crowd: Yaks-MEN! Yaks-MEN!
Me (singing and playing accordion): Our country reeks of trees / Our yaks are really large…
December 31st, 1999, Zamek Roztez Castle, an hour outside Prague:
Cute Czech Czick: You Western guys…you’re all so crazy.
Me: Hmmm…I’ve been called many things before, but “Western”? This could be the first time. I like the sound of it.
Cute Czech Czick: Are all you Canadians so charming?
Me: Yeah, all of us. You know, in Canada, we have this tradition of kissing at the very start of the New Year…
July 2000, DefCon, Las Vegas, in front of the ABC News cameras:
Me and several people from Hack Canada: CANADA 0WNZ!!!1!!!
(Breaks into Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole”)
October 2000, showing the girlfriend from New York around town:
Me: “Spadina” comes from the native word for “hill”…
c|Net Radio interview, February 2001
Interviewer: So you’re from San Francisco?
Me: No, but we have an office here. I’d like to point out that we’re a Canadian company, following in Canada’s great tradition of computers and telecommunications…Waterloo, Seagate, Zero Knowledge, Nortel, the Blackberry, a lot of gaming companies, computer animators…
[Nortel was semi-respectable even then]
December 5, 2003, Pearson International Airport:
December 6, 2003, chez Accordion Guy:
The Redhead: I like Canada.
Later that afternoon, walking around my neighbourhood:
Me: “Spadina” comes from “Spah-dee-nah”, a native word for hill…
Last month, before the National Anthem session at BloggerCon 2:
Me (to BloggerCon’s founder, Dave Winer): Hey Dave, is there any way I could also play the Canadian national anthem?
Last Saturday, in the Globe and Mail:
The heroic efforts of Canadians during the Boer War, the two World Wars, and the Korean conflict, where their fighting spirit was much praised and appreciated, as at Vimy Ridge and during the Normandy campaign, seemed to have (ironically) only weakened the country, by the loss of its bravest and most courageous men. The English-Canadians of those days certainly did not fight with the image of a multicultural Toronto of the 1990s — where their male descendants would be subject to formal discrimination in employment, and be the victims of constant jibes in the mass-culture — in their hearts and minds. Nor, one doubts, even today, would Canadian troops (the overwhelming majority of whom are either English or French) be willing to die for the sake of all of Canada becoming another region of the Third World.
The heterogeneous populations of the megapolitan areas — with a few rare exceptions — have no knowledge or affection for the old Canada, in either their hearts or minds. They are effectively dead to the stone and wood relics in their midst, and to whatever old writings, paintings, or other records of the prior period exist. The “discourse” of the old Canada has no meaning for them.
Me, after reading that article:
Fuck you, eh.
I should kick your ass down the Spah-dee-nah.
I doubt anyone will actually want to use this button, but go ahead.