Paul Tomkowicz, Switchman

I always wonder about the street cleaners I see around Hong Kong, small and weathered by sun and age, who sweep the pavement with coarse straw brooms. Their wide-rimmed hats, like the kind traditionally seen on Tanka “boat people,” seem oddly anachronistic next to their reflective safety vests and surgical masks. Who are they? Where […]

Half-Truths and Reflections on Home

[youtube]aY9BtROpNQ4[/youtube] If it hasn’t yet been made clear to my regular readers, I’m on the verge of moving to Hong Kong, maybe for only a year, but likely for much longer than that. What this means, of course, is that I’m going to leave Montreal. (I would take my beloved city with me, but the […]

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Indo-Fijians, Filipinos and Romanians

Winnipeg: it’s a long way from the Philippines. Photo by Jezz I’ve been pouring over the new 2006 census data on language and immigration released by Statistics Canada last week. Nationally, all of the attention is being paid to the fact that one-fifth of all Canadians are foreign-born, one of the highest rates in the […]

I Hate Winnipeg

When John K. Samson, lead singer of the Weakerthans, croons “I hate Winnipeg” in his song “One Great City!”, he’s merely excavating the civic self-loathing that seems buried beneath the skin of every lifelong Winnipegger. Beset by a sluggish economy, high crime, mortally cold winters and muggy, mosquito-ridden summers, not to mention complete and utter […]

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