I am now a retired 65-year-old professional reading this article about renaming George Jay Elementary School after they finally found out this Jay person’s attitude toward the Chinese community. How ironic.
I was FOP (fresh off the plane) from Hong Kong in 1960 coming to Victoria to live when I was only six years old, not knowing one word of English. If this regulation he initiated that Chinese children had to pass an English test before being allowed in public schools, I would not be where I am today: retired, had all the formal educations and a great career to provide for my family. The Chinese community had suffered a lot and our growth stifled. Including that head tax and restriction of any spouse coming to Canada to be with their loved ones.
My grandfather could not be with my grandma for 30 years, except for a few visits during those years going back to the Far East. It was too costly to go and he had to save that money to send back to her to live.
I am grateful that they allowed me to come to that school without knowing one word of English. With the help of all those wonderful teachers I managed to graduate from the University of Victoria. And that led to a successful career afterwards. Had this Jay fellow got his wish and continued to shove us Chinese people to facilities on Kings Road and Rock Bay and not been given a formal, normal education, I do not know where I would be now.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that whatever name you finally give this beloved school of mine, it will not erase the pain of those poor kids that had to endure Mr. Jay’s wrath because he did not think we Chinese could amount to much in the regular schools. All those Chinese kids are doing just fine and most of them turned out to be quite successful citizens of this wonderful country.