Dear Vancouver

So, I can’t help but blog about this and I would be a bit neglectful to not blog about the upcoming topic. What topic would be so needed to be blogged about? That would be the recent riots that occurred after the loss of the Stanley Cup Final game. I will not be talking about the riots themselves and feel that to do so is rather unnecessary (for me) and two Blog Squad members have already done so as I am typing this out.

First, I’ll have to admit two things that came to mind as I followed the events unfolding here in Shanghai. The first is that I initially felt shamed to have felt immensely proud to be a Vancouverite. I have always held Vancouver and its people (especially its people) in high regard. The second is that upon hearing about the events, I immediately had the urge to somehow return to Vancouver and throw myself “into the fray” (so to speak) in order to take photos and document the event. Keep in mind that I had the exact same urge when the earthquakes in Haiti and, recently, in Japan occurred and when the various protests started in North Africa and the Middle East (among many other major news events). I’ll explain the latter first.

I’ve always had an urge to document events worth documenting (granted documenting the riots may be considered not that worth it, I guess I just like having pictures) and it makes me wonder if being a photojournalist would fulfill that. Maybe. We’ll see. In that sense, I was a bit envious that the riots occurred while I was here in in Shanghai. As for the former, like I said previously, I was shamed initially. Initially, I had a great sense of sadness, disbelief, and anger towards what was going on and towards the people who were participating in the riots. I also felt a sense of anxiety as (through the magic of FACEBOOK!) I discovered that many friends and folks I knew were in Downtown at the start of the riots. Just in case you’re wondering, yes they’re all safe. So my feelings towards what was going on at the time were, put simply, utter confusion. On one hand, I was envious that I wasn’t there to document it and on the other, I was extremely sad. I suppose that’s all ok though. A lot of people have documented the event (both friends and strangers).

So how about the aftermath? Thanks to time zones, I’ve basically had an entire day to dwell on what unfolded back home and honestly? I think I know where I stand now. One thing comes to mind at the moment and that is my previous comment about how I held Vancouver and its people in high regard. I still do, but just not as much as before. This is thanks to an odd set of coincidences here in Shanghai and what unfolded back home.

I always loved (and still do!) the Stereotype that Canadians are too freaking polite. Hopefully that stereotype stays. However, what occurred back home after the hockey game has show me that even back home, we have stupid and trouble making people that borderline the extreme side. That, of course, can be considered subjective, but even then, seriously? Of course, on the flipside, I also doubt that every single person who participated in the riot(s) is in need of wearing a dunce hat. Why do I say this? Because of an article I read online that a friend of mine showed me (thanks Andrew!) a while back. Here’s the link:

You are not so smart

If you opened it and went “DANG THAT IS LONG”, I’ll shorten it a bit for you. Basically, when a person is in a large group, it is extremely easy for said person to do things normally considered off limits, such as looting, rioting, and protesting. Having that stay true, I can not and will not say that every person who participated in the riot(s) was a complete and utter moron (however, I would say there were A LOT of them). I will say, that even despite this phenomenon, shame on those who participated.

As for a series of events that occurred here in Shanghai? Admittedly, I held Shanghai in a rather low regard. Based on previous visits when I was younger, I had the image that most (if not all) people in Shanghai were either rude, focused on money, or had terrible manners and focused solely on themselves (and worst of all, had no sense of humor). Being that I am out and about on my own this time around, I’ve had the pleasure of talking/mingling to various strangers (both local Shanghainese and folks from outside of Shanghai). Not everyone here is what I thought them previously to be (and sorry mom & dad because I did talk with some people you probably wouldn’t approve of, what can I say? I really like talking with people). People here do have a sense of humor (and honestly if they didn’t that would be weird), they are able to smile, and there are people who are very polite and well mannered (you just have to keep an eye out for them). In other words, the point I’m trying to make is that every place on this planet has people who are great and people who are not so great. Where you call home is no exception.

To me, Vancouver is home. I will probably always regard it as home even if I move elsewhere. I love Vancouver, I love its people, and I love what the combination of the two has taught me over the years. While I cannot feel for those who were hurt during the riot(s) (be it directly or indirectly; think injuries and the businesses that were trashed and the workers that worked in those businesses), hopefully time will help heal what occurred. Despite what happened, it still remains the greatest city to be in for me. I can not wait to get back and if any scars remain, well I’ll have to go find them and get some photos.

P.S. Take heart that social media is, in theory, making the job of catching those truly responsible so much easier for the Police. Just bare in mind I’m no expert in law, especially laws regarding evidence collected online. But let’s just say there are a very large amount of photos taken during the riots and a large number of photos taken after the riots (screenshots) that are being uploaded for all to see, and make fun of. I took a look through some and I got quite a laugh.

P.P.S. Yes I was extremely bummed that the Canucks didn’t win the Stanley Cup. I was hoping to have missed some happy, crazy, awesome celebrations. Anyway, grandma isn’t too happy that I’m up at 12:45am typing up a post for my blog. LULZ.

Edit: After posting this originally, I took a look at the Facebook page “Post Riot Clean-up-Let’s Help Vancouver“. I am very very happy to see that the turn out was great. If any good came out of the riots, it would be the coming together of so many people to “fix” what shouldn’t have happened in the first place on their own time. Kudos to all that participated! If I was able to I would have been on the first plane back to Vancouver to help clean up.

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