現任加拿大 Smith Lyons Torrance Stevenson & Mayer法律事務所全國合夥人的毛學強說，他在台就讀的小學文風鼎盛，作文、演講、投稿等活動未曾間斷， 爲他打下良好中文基礎，但重要的是，即使移民之後，他在加強英語能力的同時， 仍然刻意地保持、提升自己的中文能力。
【圖片】： 毛學強十一歲隨父母移民加拿大前攝於台北。 (毛學強提供)
English translation: The Stories of Young Immigrants
《Article Eight of a Series of Reports》
Having Too Many Choices: It May Make It Hard to be Successful
Mao Xueqiang Suggested that New Immigrants Should Make Up Their Minds to “Take Root” in Canada
Talking with the lawyer Mao Xueqiang in Chinese would be a challenge even for someone who has received complete Chinese education. He is sophisticated and accurate in using Chinese language at the level of a lawyer as well despite the fact that he immigrated to Canada with his parents after finishing grade five in Taiwan.
Mao Xueqiang, currently a national partner of Smith Lyons Torrance Stevenson & Mayer, a law firm in Canada, said that his primary school in Taiwan had a teaching style where the children practiced uninterrupted activities such as writing, performing speeches, and other contributions, which lay a good foundation for his Chinese. But more importantly, even after immigration, he still deliberately maintains and enhances his Chinese while strengthening his English skills.
At that time, there were not many Chinese in Vancouver, and there were only a handful of Chinese books and magazines. Therefore, the Mao family brought a large number of Chinese books to Canada. Mao Xueqiang said that he often stood in front of the many bookcases at home and looked for books to read. At that time, the overseas edition of the Central Daily News was a must-read. What was most remarkable was that he had been keeping up a regular correspondence with his primary school classmates and teachers. Mao Xueqiang said that the correspondence not only kept him up to date in language rhetoric skills but also allowed him to keep up with his friends’ “thinking” in Taiwan.
However, recalling the embarrassment of not understanding English when he first arrived here, Mao Xueqiang, who always has a high expectation in his language expression, still feels that it was a "very depressing" experience.
Mao Xueqiang said that when he first arrived, he could not understand the language and was quiet in class for a long while. Especially in English writing, he tried for a long time but had constant setbacks. Finally, he realized that Chinese and English are not only different in form but also in how they work. From then on, his English began to improve greatly. Around Grade 11 or 12, he was finally able to use English freely. When he was a first year student in university, he deliberately chose a course that combined the essence of language, philosophy, and political science. After many intensive debates with his teachers and friends, he finally laid a solid foundation [for his English expression].
Mao Xueqiang said that he is introverted and not good at making friends. However, he is good at painting. This talent was affirmed by his teachers and classmates and helped him rebuild his self-confidence and make many good friends. His experience was that it took a long time to get closer to other students because of their different experiences during their childhoods, but real friends accept each other’s differences. Therefore, he also suggested that when making friends here, it may be better to first recognize the difference between yourself and others. Let it happen naturally, and it will be easy to be open-minded.
Looking back on his childhood, Mao Xueqiang is very grateful that his parents set an example in integrating into local society so that their children could feel at ease when developing here. “Sometimes, too many choices are not necessarily a good thing. Once you have alternative choices you can easily turn back from the one you already made.” He said so when comparing the differences between the past and the present, and the problems faced by immigrant families in adapting to life in a foreign country and social integration.
Mao Xueqiang said that the world is changing, and the current environment often gives immigrants more choices. However, some people are not very decisive. It is easy for children to have doubts about where to put down roots in the future. This is not a good thing for the growing of young people. He believes that immigrant children, like uprooted seedlings, need more care when they are being transplanted to new soil. Whether they can grow roots in a foreign land in the future depends on how well their parents take on the responsibilities of gardeners.
By He Yuan, journalist of World Journal Vancouver
[Photo]: Mao Xueqiang immigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of eleven, seen here in Taipei. (Provided by Mao Xueqiang)
[Photo]: Under the impact of the Western law profession, which is logically rigorous, Mao Xueqiang still retains a very "Chinese" refined temperament. (He Yuan / Photography)