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Tung Chan: Jade Music Fest serves as a bridge connecting generations through ancestral languages

Tung Chan
Tung Chan was awarded the Order of B.C. in 2014.

Former Vancouver city councillor and Order of B.C. recipient Tung Chan wrote the following letter to the Jade Music Fest after this year’s event, which ran from October 18 to 20.

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the successful organization and execution of the 2023 Jade Music Fest (JMF). Your mission, which is “to showcase a majority of Chinese language artists from Canada, with the aim of providing Chinese-speaking Canadians with representation and equal opportunities in the Canadian and international music scene,” aligns perfectly with my personal ambition. I have always strived to foster a community where individuals can thrive in harmony with nature and each other, and your festival is a testament to this vision.

The benefits of promoting Chinese Language Music through JMF are manifold. Firstly, it provides a significant boost to tourism in BC and Canada. The festival, with its unique focus on Chinese language music, is bound to draw considerable attention to the region. This interest is likely to increase manifold with the introduction of the award component, transforming our region into a top destination for Chinese-speaking tourists worldwide.

Secondly, the festival serves as a platform for bilingual talents in the arts and business to excel. In a world that is increasingly globalized, bilingual talents are a valuable asset. Companies looking to break into Chinese-speaking markets can leverage the talents available within Canada. Given Vancouver’s reputation in film and gaming, these bilingual talents could significantly boost businesses in these sectors.

Tung Chan commentary
Tennyson King was one of several multilingual singer-songwriters at this year’s Jade Music Fest.

Thirdly, the festival plays a crucial role in revitalizing the music sector. By garnering global interest from the Chinese-speaking community, it stimulates sectors like production and recording. This not only benefits the artists but also contributes to the overall growth of the music industry.

However, JMF is more than just a music festival. It serves as a bridge connecting generations through music. It reignites connections for those who may have drifted away from their ancestral languages, encouraging creativity, and enhancing identity communication. Such reconnections can reinforce familial and communal ties as people uncover common stories and shared histories. Future generations will find comfort and pride in their heritage, leading to a deeper appreciation of their language. Music, as a universal medium, can overcome linguistic barriers and play a vital role in preserving language.

The festival also plays a significant role in showcasing Canadian talents. While English and French are Canada’s official languages, promoting the acceptance of ancestral languages can create a unique bond, bringing Canada closer to the global stage. Bilingual Canadian talents, particularly those fluent in Chinese, bring a distinctive style and perspective. This uniqueness sets them apart from their counterparts in the Chinese-speaking world and should be celebrated and emphasized. Their ability to bridge East and West through language can foster closer ties between these two regions.

Lastly, JMF serves as a symbol of our cultural diversity appreciation. It helps to reduce stereotypes and prejudices that fuel discrimination and racism. By celebrating the richness of our cultural diversity, we can create a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Sincerely,

Tung

Tung Chan, OBC, HCapt(N) Ret’d, LL.D(hc), BA, FICB (陳志動) (he/him)

(Read Pancouver’s coverage of this year’s Jade Music Fest by clicking this link.)

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.