剛來的時候，何信昌在台灣才唸了幾個月的初中，英文能力實在有限，只有先就讀類似現今的ESL課程。他記得該課程的名稱爲新加拿大人班(New Canadian Class)，顧名思義，班上的成員全來自世界各地，包括香港、日本、南斯拉夫、印度、捷克等。二年的就讀時間裡，他並不覺得學到了很正統的英文，反倒是對各方言中，兒童喜歡用來駡人的詞語學了不少。
English translation: The Stories of Young Immigrants
《Article 13 of a series of reports》(Part one)
He Xinchang Made His Own Way
Architect He Xinchang immigrated to Vancouver with his family in 1968. At that time, his hometown Taipei was not as prosperous as it is today. However, compared with Vancouver, which is surrounded by natural scenery and has a fairly low population distribution, even the 12-year-old [Xinchang] felt like a “city slicker” coming to the countryside. But this is also why his parents decided to immigrate to Vancouver. As He Xinchang's father said, “this place’s territory is vast and has abundant resources and great potential for future development.”
When he first arrived, He Xinchang had only been studying in junior high school for a few months in Taiwan. His knowledge of English was limited and he had to take a class similar to an ESL course today. He remembers that the course was called the New Canadian Class. As the name implies, its members came from all over the world, including Hong Kong, Japan, Yugoslavia, India, the Czech Republic, and so on. During his two years of study, he did not feel that he had learned very orthodox English. Instead, he learned a lot of words that children like to use to swear in various dialects.
A classmate from Greece often harassed him in class. Once when he was pushed too far, he showed some “showy but not practical martial arts” taught by his brother, who knew Kung Fu, with a hope to frighten that classmate away. The teacher saw and said they could have a small competition. As a result, the "Western Boxing and Oriental Martial Arts Competition" was officially launched under the watch of their classmates. He imitated Bruce Lee’s moves from his movies, shouting “Ada!” to make his voice strong while doing a series of high kicks. Seeing [his actions], the teacher quickly suspended the game. After that, that classmate never bothered him again. This incident made a deep impression on him. He understood that you can't always deal with difficult problems by retreating. Gradually, he found out how to deal with things in the western world.
After joining the normal middle school curriculum, he became very close to a Canadian classmate. With his help, He Xinchang’s English progressed quickly. He was no longer shy. Now he dared to express his opinions in class. Their friendship continued until they graduated from high school. As the classmate did not continue on to university, contact between them whithered as time went by.
In terms of disciplines, He Xinchang is most comfortable with mathematics and science. He is also very interested in design, perhaps because his father is an architect. In grade eight, he made a peacock whose tail was propped up with an umbrella rib and was free to open. He was greatly praised by the teacher because of the peacock’s lifelike appearance.
In his second year of high school, he used his summer vacation to decorate the unfinished basement in his home. These two experiences, together with his brother's encouragement, made him decide to go in the direction of architectural design. (to be continued)
By Zhang Yizhong, journalist of World Journal Vancouver
[Photo]: He Xinchang completed decorating the basement of his home in the summer of his second year of high school. He took a photo as a souvenir. (Photo provided by He Xinchang)
[Photo]: He Xinchang designed and made an ingenious, lifelike peacock in grade eight. (Photo provided by He Xinchang)