Volume 93, Issue 39

Tuesday, November 9, 1999


Maclean's rankings reveal Western makes the grade

New London web site to aid volunteers

Vandals deface Holy Roller in Victoria Park

Wong talks China and identity

D-Day Canada's top news event

Laptops, nudity top campus crime

Bass Ackwards

Wong talks China and identity

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Over 200 people convened in the University Community Centre's McKellar Room yesterday to hear journalist and novelist Jan Wong speak about her life and the philosophy surrounding her latest work.

Wong read from her book, Jan Wong's China: Reports From a Not-So-Foreign Correspondent, which describes the time she spent as a foreign correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Beijing. Afterwards, Wong fielded questions concerning her opinions on prevalent societal issues in China and about her personal identity.

"It took me a long time to find my identity," she said. "The more Chinese I became, the less Chinese I felt."

Overall, Wong said she is truly a Canadian, adding the title of her latest book reflects how she felt being a Canadian in China. "It doesn't mean it's my China," she said of the title, explaining it reflects a more personal account of her time in the world's most populous country.

"I was just completely captivated," said Curtis Jones, a first-year social sciences student. "It's just so amazing because I haven't really taken an interest in China prior to this."

"She's very well researched and she's very candid," said second-year political science and religious studies student Cat-Dan Lai. Lai said she was touched by Wong's comments on China from both a foreigner's and a reporter's, perspective.

"She's a very interesting, provocative speaker on many topics," said Bob Klanac, co-organizer of the event who, along with The BookStore, invited Wong to visit Western.

Lynn Wilbur, general books manager at The BookStore, said she invited Wong for several reasons. "We knew there was a large Chinese population at Western," she said, adding the store has sold numerous copies of Wong's books.

Wong said she could not turn down her invitation to visit Western. "I like students," she said. "I think communities with a large university generally read books. And I'm just in book mode right now."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999