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LETTER – Kamloops an accommodating city but incidents do happen here

Re: Would you jump in to stop someone’s racist tirade? (Nov. 2, 2019)

It was so nice to read your article regarding the incident that occured at Burnaby. I appreciate that you brought this up to everyone’s attention. I always believe in human kindness and respect for all.

Anyone who moves to Canada has a different perspective and expectations. I would say that Canadians are generally very accepting and generous people. We have had some really good experiences that I would not negate in comparison to a few bad ones. Though I have never spoken about this, but because I could relate to the incident, so Iam writing to you.

I am a lawyer by profession and during my transition phase, which no one can understand, what a person goes through having moved to another country, where you start from scratch. So I was working at Costco for a few months as I did not have a job plus I was prepare to write the exams that I challenged all by myself, no classes.

During my shift , that day me and my colleague were just chatting, feeling happy about something. Then suddenly I said something in my language, Punjabi. Just a line…a few words, which could best be described in my language as it was making us happy.

An elderly lady literally slapped my back…and said “speak in English not in your language.” I was shocked…to the extent that I went speechless and couldn’t utter a word. She went away, but she broke me from inside. I felt humilated. I thought I could tell her that even the Canadian Constitution doesn’t stop me from speaking my own language.

Yes, this happens in Kamloops and many more incidents have happened, my husband being a business owner and the rants that he tolerates from mostly women, you can’t even imagine.

But still I would not genralise this behaviour. We live in an amazing community and my kids have great friends. Our neighbours are just awesome. But sometimes that one incident just jolts you down. I have never heard of any foreigner / traveller in India being ticked off for speaking in English. On the contrary, most uneducated people who don’t know a word of English try to be the best with the international travellers.

My email is just to make you aware that despite Kamloops being very very accommodating, incidents do happen that go unheard or undiscussed.

I can also give you details of my amazing few years that I have lived here and some great friends and people in our lives.

JASPREET BAIDWAN
Kamloops

About Mel Rothenburger (7052 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on LETTER – Kamloops an accommodating city but incidents do happen here

  1. Ian M MacKenzie // November 7, 2019 at 8:30 AM // Reply

    Jaspreet – An unfortunate but disturbing incident in your life. Thank you for sharing it with those of us born and bred here but who have never witnessed such an uncanadian display of poor manners, because a racist display is little different from any impolite outburst aimed at another for almost any reason involving differences. There is no excuse for bad manners and any of us witnessing such an incident should politely remind the guilty party of that fact. To paraphrase a well known adage “It takes a village to raise an adult.”

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