Why I am Proud to be Tamil-Canadian


Take a moment to pat yourself on the back.

This article is not about current affairs. It is not about parents and family. It is not about dating and relationships. This article is about you. Yes, you.

Take a moment to step out and appreciate you. You should be proud. Very proud.

Now, I don’t know how many of you were born in Sri Lanka. Maybe not a whole lot. Most of you were probably born in Canada, or another continent (*cough*) and migrated to Canada at a young age. Regardless of what your history is, the fact is you are here today and you are working towards a world of opportunities and success. And for that, you should be proud.

Our parents and grandparents went through some horrific experiences back home. I don’t even want to imagine what they had to go through just to survive day-to-day. We should consider ourselves lucky as our families had the means and resources to escape a war zone and to provide a better future for us.

Now as children, we came home to parents who insisted that we become doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants. Anything else was not an option. A lot of those times, you probably beat yourself up for coming home with a C on your report card. How on earth would you ever get into medical school with a C in grade 7 Geography?

Many of us faced constant pressure from our parents to excel in school because it would determine our success in our future. And guess what? Our parents’ wishes are now becoming a reality. And for that you should be proud.

With the exception of a few bad seeds (who exist in every community), we Tamil-Canadians are on a tremendous path to success. Look around you. We are surrounded by numerous young Tamils who are pursuing Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, professional designations, and are established in their careers. We know people who are becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants as our parents wanted. Whatever your passion may be or the field you are pursuing, you are working hard to strive for success. And for that, you should be very proud.

We have come far since our parents migrated to Canada. We’ve had to work hard to play hard. We understand the value of money because nothing was ever handed to us. All of our successes are due to our work ethic. And today, there is a plethora of Tamil stores, doctor’s offices, dentists, real estate agents, paralegals and anything else you can imagine. We have proven to never let ourselves down even when the toughest storm hits us.

But who am I kidding? If we can withstand a war zone, a storm is nothing. Migrating to Canada with almost nothing, escaping fear and death, losing families and relatives, and coping with traumatic experiences hasn’t stopped our community from pursuing success. And for you to be part of a determined and strong community, you should be proud.

From having a young Tamil woman as a Member of Parliament, to students involved in breakthrough scientific research, to young Tamil men and women performing for high-end music producers in India, to people looking for ways to always improve cinematography, we are at the centre of a community that is evolving incredibly fast. And we are striving for the best.

Often, we forget how successful we’re becoming and we beat ourselves up over the minute failures we experience in our lives. Without those failures, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Each and every day will be challenging. But what’s a sunny sky without grey skies?

If you are still in the midst of figuring out your life, that’s OK. If planting your money-tree in the backyard didn’t do any good, try the front yard. A bit of trial and error never hurt anyone. Test the waters and see what you excel at and where your passions align. To have so many people in our community to look up to, we should be proud.

And to be a member of an up-and-coming Tamil-Canadian community, you should be proud. Very proud!

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