June 27, 2017 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield

Stereotype of Asians and Money

“Most jump to the conclusion that if you are Asian and you look like you have money, your family must have money. I’m the odd one whose does not. I am somewhat a runt of my race. That’s why I work in construction and the oilfield.”

Growing up in places like BC (especially Vancouver area) where this is a common stereotype, and unfortunately being from a background that frequently evaluates your position on the social ladder compared to other Asians, I’ve grown up in ridicule as my academic and career merit was compared to them. Many came from wealthy families with years of rigorous academic and social nurturing involving deep pockets. They grew up in environments surrounded by their similar kind- even that not Asian- but that of Old Money with similar upbringings. Then they out-compete the majority during university entrance applications, then during university years, and finally historically surpass the masses during the career journeys holding prestigious job titles such as lawyer, doctor, analyst, pharmacist, engineer, accountant, investment banker, etc.- in the days before credential and white-collar job market saturation became a reality.

Like a dog, if you teach and surround him/her with certain samples since puppyhood, then he/she grows to be like them. Then your own family and social circles shun you for being inferior in their eyes- though despite your heart and efforts, you haven’t been able to compete on equal grounds.

Many foreigners and new immigrants associate closely with mostly their own kind, so they do not know the lives of the average Canadian. They’ve seen us as “failures” as we fail to compare superiorly to other Asians or those bred from Old Money. They do not know we are doing just fine compared to most Canadians. They do not know the average Canadian does not usually care whether you drive the latest year Mercedes or one a few years old, or a Toyota for that matter. They do not know that he/she does not care whether you went to the University of Toronto or a college. They do not know that he/she does not care whether you wear a suit and tie, or a hard hat and coveralls.

On some days like this one, I am very happy to have grown up mostly among Canadians absent from these influences, and dated only Canadians (mostly whites) absent from these influences. The experiences really opened my eyes. I may not have come from a family that has money, ever be lawyer, doctor, ever hold a graduate degree from a prestigious university, and they may always view me as inferior, but I feel no need to involve myself with such people- as I get along with the average Canadian just fine, and he/she thinks I am just fine.