The year was 1967. Oshawa was a quiet little place tucked along a string of “bedroom towns” near Toronto. As a 17-year-old with limited English, I didn’t quite understand the meaning of the phrase “racial discrimination”. We were a group of poor students relying on part-time work provided by our school, Kingsway College, to make ends meet. The locals treated us more than fairly and with respect. Perhaps they sensed that these underfed, scrawny kids with near-refugee status could do nothing to threaten their lifestyle or well-being. Two school physicians, Dr Morgan and Dr King (we had been told before leaving Hong Kong never to address elders by their first names), would invite all foreign students to their homes during Christmas and public holidays. These outings would last the whole day, from lunch to dinner, to be followed by board games and table tennis. Still very vivid in my own memory is standing at a bus stop on bitterly cold Sunday mornings and total strangers stopping their car to yell out, “Hey guys where are you going? Hop in, it is cold out there!” There was so much caring and camaraderie on display that we did not feel we lived in a foreign land at all. Not once in the two years we lived there did we experience tension, name calling or racial slurs. A physical attack was unthinkable. Fast forward five decades, with China well on its way to eradicating poverty and now the second largest economy in the world, we observe a gradual mood swing in Canada. Despite being net contributors to society, we don’t feel welcome or safe any more. We have heard horror stories recently of Chinese people being attacked verbally and physically in cities such as Vancouver, Markham and Toronto. This will be the new reality, the “new normal” as they call it. The worldwide pandemic is just a convenient excuse. Philip S.K. Leung, Pok Fu Lam Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.