« Home | 令人擔憂 » | Electronic Nomads » | 森美小儀(和我們)的困局 » | 男人的內褲邊 » | What are you selling? » | 倪匡 » | Unity and Truth » | What do you know? » | Where can you buy time? » | 卑詩學童再成政治籌碼 »

Head Tax Apology

I read an article on the August issue of BC Christian News today titled "A Different Perspective On The Head Tax Apology". It is a comment made by Wesley Lowe, a filmmake and composer, chaplain for Chinese WWII veterans and on the board of BC Christian News. The article is not available online yet (I'll try to post a link if it becomes available online later). The disclaimer made by the newspaper is that this article is strictly the author's own idea and not to be construed as representative of either a Christian or Chinese veteran's perspective.

The point of the article can basically be summarized in this quote:
...I don't think we needed an apology; I don't think we need compensation - either as descendants of Head Tax payers or as a community. Nada. Nothing.
Why? Because my forefathers came to Canada willingly.
No one put a gun to their head and said: "You must pay the Head Tax to come and work in Canada." In their own hearts, they were willing to do whatever it took in order to get out of the poverty of China, so their descendants might have a better future...

The logic of this argument is completely wrong. Willingness to accept something has nothing to do with the correctness of something. Let me give you an example.
Let say there is someone living in a home where he got physical abuse 7 days a week. Then, someone offered him another home to stay, where he will only be abused 1 day a week. Of course, anybody will "willingly" move out of the original home and choose the new offer. However, does his willingness to move into the new home makes physical abuse 1 day per week a correct thing? No!
Of course issues confronting the Chinese head tax payers many years ago were much more complicated, of course. But at least what we know is that, they did not have much choices like we do today. What they could do to survive was only to choose the less evil option. But that did not make that option non-evil.
When you did something wrong, you apologize. This is simple logic.

Labels: ,

Sometimes,the line between right and wrong for certian political decision is difficult to discern. Whether a decision is right or wrong often depends on who is making the veiwpoint. To illustrate my argument, I would like to use the present conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. I notice that most Israel people think that they are doing the right thing. But, on the other hand the people in Lebanon think the otherwise is true. I also notice that head tax was first imposed on the Chinese in 1885 by the federal government, the amount was $50 and was gradually increased to $500 in 1903. Of course Canadian governemnt of the day had good reasons to make such decisions and I think Canadian national interest had always come first in the mind of the politcal leaders of the time. I believe it would be wrong if we use the present day expectaion as far as moral or humanitarian standard is concerned to pass judgemnt on a policy decision made over 100 years ago.

Post a Comment
  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


I work at Westside Baptist Church. Of course, that doesn't mean they agree with everything I post or link here. Everything here is my personal opinion and is not read or approved in advance. Consider yourself warned.