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CBC is my soundtrack

by May Q Wong, 14 November, 2016

I grew up listening to the radio. The local news buzzed me up in the mornings before school and throughout my working life. Retired now, whether I am creating something at home or travelling on the road, listening (via satellite) to CBC takes me through the day.

Whether it is comedy, insightful interviews, science programming, music, a regional show from across the country, or a news report, this is how I identify as Canadian. I laugh, I learn, I relax; enjoying the familiar voices.

I like that our comedy can make fun of our different cultures and still be kind. I like that interviews are not peppered with banal questions, but are thoughtful and penetrating. I like that we get science explained to us without gimmicks. I like that music includes new, old, hard to listen to, or familiar, and that hosts are knowledgeable and keen. I like hearing about different life experiences, told sensitively, but without sentimentality or judgement. I appreciate hearing differing views on issues told without shouting and posturing.

I also listen to and watch the BBC and NPR, but always come back to CBC, particularly for the news. It is imperative that we keep sharing our Canadian content with the world. It is especially important when momentous events happen in the world, like the recent US Presidential election, Brexit in the UK, financial upheavals, natural disasters, or threats to national security here as well as abroad, that we know we can get balanced reporting and understandable analysis.

I am a first generation Canadian, born of Chinese immigrants. My father came to Canada in 1921 and paid the $500 head tax. My mother couldn't join him in his adopted country until 25 years later, after the immigration laws were changed. I was the third and only child born in this country. My book, A Cowherd in Paradise: From China to Canada (Brindle & Glass), honours their struggles to establish a family, a business, and a life in a place that was so foreign to them. It is a unique story but also one that will resonate with anyone who has experience a profound change in their life. The book chronicles an important, but rarely taught, tragic chapter of Canada's history.

My mother learned about Canadian culture through CBC television programming. It was through listening to stories heard on CBC radio, that I understood that everyone has a story to tell. So I wrote about two of the most inspiring people I knew. My great hope is that readers of the book can learn from past misdeeds, recognize the precursors of potential harm, and continue to work towards a more just and compassionate society: a Canadian society.

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