Friday, June 29, 2012

Facebook: You'll never learn if you don't practice

Coincidentally, I saw a Facebook posting today by a Canadian Facebook friend (of a friend):
"I am all for people emigrating from their countries to better their lives....but when you get here and want to be a Canadian...speak English in public. Do not resort to your native tongue even with other family members. It is rude. I hate being in a bank where a teller chitty chats with someone in a foreign language (and you can tell) while you stand in line....waiting and waiting. I love that you have 2 languages and teach your children.....but PLEASE keep it at home. You will never learn if you don't practice."
Actually her remark above runs counter to the Canadian value of "Multiculturalism". This person lives in Surrey, reputedly a South Asian ethnic enclave. Nevertheless, based on my Facebook interactions with her (I am clearly ethnic Chinese from my FB profile photo and our mutual friend is also ethnic Chinese), this person does not come across as racist, so why this comment? One Sociology concept comes to mind -- "limits to cultural absorptive capacity".

Anyway, this reminds me of what I had just written about speaking the official language and/or lingua franca in professional settings.

As I've mentioned before the cons of institutional completeness cannot be ignored. Or to quote my Facebook friend RW once again
"Sometimes this "siege" mentality* can backfire badly. I can almost picture the situation in Vancouver might eventually escalate to that of France and Singapore."  
*Note: I think RW was referring to some new immigrants' refusal to integrate.

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