When Asian’s weren’t Canadians…

“We were prepared to lay ourselves down for nothing.” – Douglas Jung, Canadian Armed Forces, Spy, Member of Parliament, Delegate to the United Nations

Douglas Jung started as a nobody, not even a real Canadian citizen, and worked his way up to the influential, history changing person he’s known as today. Douglas Jung stood for something that every person should stand for, human rights and freedom. During a time of oppression against Asian-Canadians, Douglas Jung rose up and stood for his beliefs, as a soldier, lawyer, and then politician. Douglas Jung hanged laws and removed stigma around Asian-Canadians, standing up for his beliefs and what was right to make Canada a better place. I look up to Douglas Jung, he stood for things that allowed me to stand here today. Mixed marriages wouldn’t have been a possibility if Asians didn’t have citizenship, so me, being a mixed-race Asian, wouldn’t be here without him. I look up to his deeds, his ideas, and his courage, all things I hope I can learn from him to make me a better person too. I share many of his characteristics as a leader, courage, faith, teamwork, and resourcefulness when faced with challenges. I hope I can learn from what he did to keep building off them. Today, I’m a Canadian, half Caucasian, half Asian, with much more than Douglas Jung had at my age, but a similar integrity and will to good. I’m proud to be an Asian-Canadian like Douglas, I hope I can share his story and continue to live my own doing as much as I can to do the right thing just like Douglas Jung.

In his life, Douglas Jung experienced so much from war to politics, outcast to citizen. He showed many of the characteristics I hope to work on and learn during my time in TALONS. He was a leader, unafraid to stand up for his beliefs, leading his comrades and friends into a war that wasn’t his own, and becoming someone people can look up to. He was also courageous, persevered, and selfless, always doing the right thing. His character, and his leadership abilities exemplify much of what I aspire to learn and work on in TALONS. He’s a role model I can look up to, and someone I can learn so much from and about.

When people hear the name Douglas Jung, they might not know much about the person or have even heard about him, but I think sometimes it’s the unknown people that can make the biggest difference in the world. I wanted to share Douglas Jung’s story because of all the good he did, the ding in the universe that not many people have heard about. Before World War 2 Canada was a harsher place. People were more racist, discrimination was common, and being an Asian in Canada was hard, you weren’t even a citizen. Douglas Jung worked to change this and became a soldier to gain respect, working to solve the problem of World War 2 when it wasn’t even his war. He then worked his hardest to become a lawyer and fought against the Canadian government to remove laws discriminating against Asians. Finally, he became a Member of Canadian parliament becoming a key Asian-Canadian figure and inspiring others to do the right thing. Canada wouldn’t be the same as it is today without all the change that Douglas Jung enacted. He might not be remembered by everyone, as most people haven’t heard of him, but people will continue to benefit from the good he did, and they’ll remember his deeds that made Canada into the free place it is today.

Douglas Jung is an eminent person, doing more in his lifetime then some people could do in multiple ones. His influence on minority Canadians, his humble beginnings and facing adversity, and dedication to advocating for equal rights are all things that make Douglas Jung eminent. Canada could’ve been a very different place without him, but he changed Canada for the better. He just wanted to make Canada better than what he started with. He feared people having the same terrible experiences of discrimination and wanted to change that. He was smart and calculated doing it and left behind a legacy for all Canadians to look up to. He used his weakness of being an Asian and turned it into the strength that made him the person he became.

Just like all eminent people, Douglas had to change the world in a big way. For him it was “breaking the mold” of what being Asian was. He changed peoples views of Asians by abolishing discriminatory laws, joining the army for Canadian good, and becoming a Member of Canadian Parliament as a visible minority. He set the stage for generations to come. Giving them a chance to be the people they wanted, not held back because of how they looked. He was persecuted for it but fought through. If that’s not “breaking the mold” in a big way, then I don’t know what is.

Role Models: Both these role models helped steer Douglas Jung to all his accomplishments coming before him and helping him become an eminent person.

  • Andy Joe: First ever Chinese-Canadian lawyer in BC, even before the Chinese exclusion act was repealed making his job even harder and paving the way for Douglas Jung.
  • Kew Dock Yip: First ever Chinese-Canadian lawyer in Canada, helped Douglas think of and achieve being a lawyer in the first place.

My goal is to learn more about how Douglas Jung changed Canada to make it a better place. I want to learn about him and what he did because of it’s affect on me, and maybe if I learn how he made Canada better maybe I can make something better too, even if it’s just something small. Douglas Jung overcame so much discrimination but continued to persevere and learning about how he did it will help me in my future. I’ll better understand how I can overcome my problems that are small in comparison to others and continue to stretch my knowledge. I hope to accomplish my goal through my research and presentation of Douglas Jung.

Without Douglas Jung I might not be here, maybe I was meant to learn about who I am and the history behind my heritage. I haven’t had all the same experiences as Douglas, I haven’t faced the same discrimination, I haven’t gone through war, but I do want to understand why Douglas Jung became the person he is today. I can’t wait to start…

  1. Edward Butts. “Douglas Jung” The Canadian Encyclopedia, January 18, 2019. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/douglas-jung
  1. Wesley Lowe. “Douglas Jung” Veterans Affairs Canada, July 30, 2019. https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/those-who-served/chinese-canadian-veterans/profile/jungd
  1. Unknown Author. “Douglas Jung” The University of British Columbia, unknown date. https://historyproject.allard.ubc.ca/law-history-project/profile/douglas-jung