I have always loved speaking to new immigrants, they seem to view our nation so differently than we do, mostly because everything for us is normal and we take it for granted. Having said that talking to them in English is the natural thing to do. Over the years I have had hundreds of really enlightening and interesting conversations with people from all over the world.
Recently however I have noticed more and more immigrants, either cannot speak English, or simply to not want to talk to Canadians, in particular immigrants from India. Maybe someone could write to me to explain why? The men from India are very polite and respectful, I enjoy and appreciate that, while the women seem to be much less chatty, and want strictly to talk business, and do not want to be social. Its not like I am a young male hustler trying to pick up women, I am an old happily married man, with a wife I would not give up for anything or anyone, I just enjoy talking to people, I am a social animal they say.
In talking to a local landlord I had an interesting conversation, he was frustrated by a number of them shutting down or removing the fire alerts or sensors. Then when he wanted to let them know that is not allowed, they would mumble and clearly indicate with hand gestures they could not speak English? How is that possible? I thought English was a prerequisite to immigration in Canada. Then from others I learned there are people from India who have lived here for a decade or more and have never learned English, again I ask how is this possible?
Turns out with the help of a translator the fire sensors are removed due to the smoke created by their cooking. Another issue seems to be the smell of their cooking, for some odd reason they are reluctant to run the exhaust fans in their units (apartments) and when they toast or burn their spices it stinks up the entire building, only what can you do other than tolerate it? I was born a skeptic so I asked next time it happens, call me over, I love Indian food so I want to see if what your saying is true. Well I put my foot in my mouth, on a call I went there and holy jumping Jehoshaphat, it was all I could do to get out without using a barf bag. Considering I have a strong stomach, that says something, and this was in the hallway at the front door. In fairness he did say this only happens a few times a week, and clears after about 4 hours to a tolerable level.
So what is the civilized way to fix this issue? I also assure you this is not about the smell of curry, I love eating curry dishes. I would love to hear from you the readers.
The primary cause of all misunderstanding revolves around the inability to communicate, not understanding basic English so they segregate themselves from the rest of us Canadians.
Do not misunderstand me, I love their cooking and food, I wish one would be a part time chef for me, but I also empathize with those who have weak tummies and feel the need to barf from the strong odours that emanate throughout the building. It seems the problem of smell is limited to only a few middle eastern nations, and the response from goverment seems to be that we Canadians must fit in with them, not the other way around. I have a brother-in-law that is Pakistani so its not like I am unfamiliar with other cultures, I enjoy them immensely, in my books immigration officers are doing Canada a great disservice by allowing so many what should be failed applicants into our country.
These are just a few of my thoughts and observations, write to me so I can share your thoughts of new immigrants, not just the negative memories but also the positive connections.