His parents sent him to work in a Chinese restaurant in Edmonton telling him he would have residency in a year which turned out not to be the case. He thinks this may have been punishment for not doing well enough at school. This accusation of him not being bright enough (although he never failed) has left him with a need to defend how he works now as a pipefitter. He says he works slowly and well, his work is done correctly and will not have to be done again. As a young man working as a cook he bought a necklace with an eagle on it because it represented freedom.
He was venting a lot of frustration about work and his wife when we met. “This place is terrible, everyone is back stabbing, I just keep my head down and don’t say anything. The stuff you see on site … you just carry on … there’s a lot of people you don’t like, you don’t say anything … you just carry on, the company can screw you. My wife pushes, pushes too much – she doesn’t know when to stop. She pushes me to my limits. We already have a new house with an extra room and now she wants an even bigger house … on a development that is built on un-cleaned waste land.” He describes his wife as coming from a more upper class family in Beijing and she has a managerial position in a bank. He feels if he goes against her she will punish him. He went to Edmonton to see his daughters school celebration and instead of going home he avoided further dispute with his wife and went to the casino only to loose $500.