Dr William Quan grew up an ABC, an American Born Chinese. Quan never went to Chinese school and spoke only English growing up. It wasn’t until he was older that he realized he needed to learn his culture and his language to understand truly who he was, he told the Imperial Valley Press
“I only knew English while growing up. It wasn’t until I got older did I teach myself Cantonese,” Quan said.
Now he worries the tradition of the Chinese culture in America is not being passed on to the younger generation and those traditions will fade with the passing of time.
I can relate to that. In my house, my parents spoke both Cantonese and English. I did not go to Chinese school as a child until almost high school. When I did go, I didn’t learn much as I didn’t take it seriously. I picked up some Cantonese listening to my parents, but to this day, can listen to a Cantonese conversation better than I speak.
My children, one who has already graduated from college and the other about to enter college know even less Chinese than I am. My mother tries to teach them about the Chinese culture, but there’s a strong possibility those traditions will be lost in my family when my mother dies.
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