First Human Rights Experience in Canada

Traveling to a Western country for the first time, Duong Tran from Vietnam shares his thoughts and observations about the differences between Western countries and Asian countries.

Duong Tran is an international student from Vietnam attending the University of Regina in Canada. He shares with International Student Voice some of his initial thoughts on the differences between Western countries and Asian countries after just being in Canada for a couple of weeks.

Canada is the first Western country that I have ever been to. I have seen and realized a lot of differences between a western country and other Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. I am going to express my thoughts about difference of the human rights and government’s control between a western and Asian country.

Most people have a conception that Western people are more intelligent, smart, and educated than Asian and African people. Yes, I may have to accept that as what I have witnessed since I came to Canada, though I am an Asian. However, have you ever wonder why God is so partial to Western people. Why they are naturally born smart? Yes, I did! In high school, I usually asked myself and sometimes my friends why I was not born in America, Canada, or France. I was fed up with my life in my country. If I was a western person, my life would be better. I could ask a charitable organization to give me a pair of glasses. I was short-sighted, but my parents could not afford to buy it for me as they were so poor. No charitable organization could help me too. But, we are so lucky that my family’s finances are getting better now. But, there are still a lot of poor people with bad living condition in my country. I read a newspaper and saw that in Western country, if you are poor, they government will raise you. Moreover, you can ask for food or anything from those charitable organization. Not only that, but also kids are usually given gift on Christmas or New Years. This is something I’ve never seen in my country before 2005. A sister of my friend back from U.S. in 2004 said that “Here (in my country), if you don’t have food to eat, go begging or robbing, but if you are there (in U.S.), go and ask the government to give it to you”. This is why more Asian and African people keep moving to Western countries nowadays.

Duong and friends

However, as I grow up and I have a chance to see things around me in Canada, it is different from what I thought. God is not partial to anyone. But, it is because Western people are born with more human rights more than any other nations in the world. If they are displeased about something, like the reasonless law, they have the right to oppose it. Just in the few weeks since I came here I have seen a lot of strange things. I have to say that it is strange because I have not ever seen it in reality. Students set up a campaign to ask the government lowering the tuition fee. A newspaper reported that a kid was beaten by his mom for not cleaning the room, went to the police and sued his mom; a man pretended to rob one dollar so that he could be put in jail where he thought it was much better than outside. This is quite funny. In my country, prison is like the hell, prisoners are treated so badly by the wardens and older prisoners. They are bitten barbarously if not obeying those people. You do not commonly, or nearly never, witness anyone especially the prisoner that sues back the policemen. And I think that it is the case happening in most Asian and African country.

I do not say all as some countries like Japan and Korea are different. What I am listing here are all the evidences why I think Western people have benefits over Asian and African people. And the benefit has allowed them to develop so fast, compared to others in the world. When people have human rights, they feel more comfortable, confident, and safer to live and work. Back into the case of Asian countries, people do not have human rights, they are afraid of having problems with policeman or people working for government. Sometimes they know that they are right, but they have to admit it is their fault. How can a country develop with this problem?

Watch this video picked by Duong Tran about his home country, Vietnam

I am not politician and I also have not gone to any political school, but I wish I would have a chance to work in my country’s government sector. Then I would do as much as possible to help my country to grow up quickly. The most important thing to help a country developing is to help the people first. Give them the rights and confidence, so that they feel safe to live, work and devote for the country. In some countries, people usually say that the government is being completely controlled by the money. This is why most people working for government are rich. They just know to put the money into their pocket without caring about their residents. I have travelled to some Asian countries and had a chance to communicate with other people. This problem is like the disaster to them. A natural disaster, for example an earthquake, comes and destroys the country once and then gone. However, the “money disaster” formed by government is a huge and permanent issue of a country. Most families ask their children to study abroad in Western countries and stay there forever after graduating because there they will have a better life.

Duong and international students, University of Regina

However, I realize that there is an issue that is still happening around the world. Everything should have the balance. I see that in some countries the residents just keep asking the government to help them. The students ask government to reduce tuition fees, the elders ask to have more retirement bonus, the poor ask to have more food and clothes, the businessmen ask to have more money and advantage to their companies. However, no one asks to increase the tax. The funding is limited; to please A, the government cannot at the same time please B. This is why a lot of presidents are losing the trust by their residents. From my point of view the importance is that the residents know that government is working well, and using the money for good things to develop the countries.

Back into the case, let’s take an example of U.S. Its government keeps putting more money into military, as most residents want. They want to be the strongest nation in the world and they are proud of this. However, then there may not be enough funding to help the elders or the students. Finally, its president is losing the trust from his residents because they think that he does not work well enough. However, has someone ever thought what should the government do to please all the people?  Therefore, if A wants to increase the funding for something, tells the government what should it do to redeem that gap. For example, if elders want to increase the retirement bonus, Ok, give the government some solutions, such as increasing tuition fees or increasing tax.
Possibly what I am writing here is not completely correct. However, this is all just my thoughts. I feel pitiful for some people working hard for their country but at the end they are hated by many people.

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