A Blog About An Asian Medical Student. Yes that's redundant.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

David Poon: Forever Longing.

David Poon: Forever Longing – An Experiment in the Distance

When I was young, I’d go to the Canada Day festivities around Wascana Lake, fighting mosquitoes and waiting in line for pizza. Quite alike the day signifying the birth of my country, it was also the origin of my distaste for the outdoors and my subsequent weight gain.

Perhaps most vividly, I remember watching happy (heterosexual) couples enjoying themselves walking around the lake, the man buying the girl some ice cream, the girl then obligated to consumed the creamy goodness he offered. It is no secret that I was a fat kid back in the day, and as elementary social hierarchies dictate, fat kids never get to talk to girls (unless they listen to the Backstreet Boys, see previous POON blog posts).

As such, I was left to aimlessly wander in the park, holding my Mommy’s hand, and looking at girls who I could never have.

In short, I dreamed of being kissed underneath the fireworks. Silly, I know. But those were big hopes for a kid. Heck, those are pretty big unattainable goals for me even today.

For as long as I can remember, every Canada Day has been spent with my family. In particular, we would watch the fireworks together, despite the incredibly short duration Saskatchewan fireworks last. Even when I somehow ended up in Saskatoon (for what is otherwise known as the ‘Great Pre-Med Rush’), waiting up late for an exciting, yet a consistently brief and unsatisfactory big bang.

Yep, I hear you, sounds like a typical night with me.


Perhaps the closest thing my family has to a tradition is watching the Canada Day fireworks. I realize I’m not the most exciting guy ever, but I usually would never pass up the opportunity to host what my friends would call ‘Poon Parties’ (pretty much sobre karaoke and Dance Dance Revolution nights… actually, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably been to one. You’re lame).

But when it came to Canada Day, maybe the biggest excuse to celebrate of the year, I would look away from all the drinking, dancing, and partying (ie; avoid fun) and spend a relaxed time with the family. And that was okay.

Well, until recently. In 2005, Saskatchewan celebrated its centennial in what may have been the greatest Canada Day Party on the lake that I ever missed out on. I remember my lame buddy telling me about it:


Yes, he sounds like that. And no matter how dumbass the guy talking about the party sounded, I was jealous. Maybe it was time for me to cut the proverbial umbilical cord, and follow all that Canada Day partying. Family time can be any day – July 1st is for superfun.

I’m going to wager that we’ve all had those moments where we’ve wondered how much more exciting could things have been should we wander from the wegular woutine of weveryday family life (10 ‘w’ words in this sentence… no, 11! Elmer Fudd would be proud).

Besides during Canada Day, high school gym class, and porn watching, I’ve never felt lonelier than in Calgary Chinatown. My Grandparents live there, and honestly, it’s hard to pick up hot Asian chicks (yes, I once had a fetish) when Grandmom is repeatedly telling you to eat more so we don’t waste food.

“Aiya, Lee Ling, that fat Asian kid being excessively fed by his Ah-Ma (grandmother in Cantonese) is so totally hot.”

“You’re right Che Xie Wong, we should so totally put on our schoolgirl outfits and invite him out to bubble tea!”

No. No. I wish. But no.

As a kid, I would look across the dinner table, above the Dim Sum and the Peking Pork Chops to glance at a girl I know I could never follow or get to know. Have you ever felt like that? Wondering how things could be if you could connect with someone for only one day?? That pit of longing in your gut is only felt by hopeless romantics – normal people think that’s just gay.

But exploring Chinatown to welcome the (apparently) exciting night life would never be an option – a commitment to family is obviously the priority. Yesterday, on a Saturday night, I’m eating rice porridge with my Grandmother and Father while the rich Asian kids outside race their RSXs.


This Canada Day, in between actually having a girl who likes me and hearing about my friend dressing as a beaver for a drunken orgie-esque party, I knew it was time to go to the Edmonton river with my friends, and maybe have some ice cream with my girlfriend.

Recently, my Grandfather has been hospitalized. Nearly 90 years old, it’s been quite different going to Chinatown now. This is my second consecutive weekend here. Visiting him last time left him thinking that the only reason I would come to see him is because he is going to die. Dad told me I had done what I needed to do, and it was unnecessary for me to visit again.

After much debate with my Father, when I finally convinced him that I should get to Calgary he advised me to stay only a day, worried that my presence in his hospital room wouldn’t be too helpful. This meant I would be back Sunday night, July 1st – Canada Day. Perfect.

Despite being told repeatedly by family that I shouldn’t stay, that I couldn’t be of any real help, and that my Grandfather may actually live, it became quite obvious that despite being given every oppourtunity, and in fact having been encouraged, to go out and have a good time, there is an important difference between enjoyment, and happiness.

All trials considered, there may be no stronger correlate to happiness than family.

What shocked me over the past couple of weeks was my Grandmother and Father both having advised me not to stay in Calgary, even though they are going through so much. Though typically I don’t disobey family, I changed my bus tickets to stay as long as possible.

A little after, my Grandmother told me, not knowing my travel changes, that she hopes that I’d be able to stay longer, even though she also wants me to go back to Edmonton and ‘have fun with my girlfriend.’ Really.

Due to my Grandfather’s seemingly declining status, my Mommy and sister flew to Calgary today. In apparently the greatest collision of fates ever, I’ll be in Chinatown, on Canada Day, staying at home with my family, girlfriendless, watching the parties across the way.

I hope the fireworks are beautiful tonight. They always are.

- David