Monthly Archives: January 2015

2.1 The Story About My Home(s)

Home is where I was raised. It is where my mother and father raised me into the young man I am today. Home is where I took my first steps and said my first words. Home is where I learned about the importance of family, love, and respect. For me, home is in South Vancouver. I grew up on Main Street in South Vancouver, near the Sunset Community Center. My home is not the house I lived in, but rather the community that I lived in. I was raised by everybody in that community. Growing up as a child, my home was my entire neighborhood. I considered everybody on my block my family. Whether it was walking to school every morning, or playing basketball with the other children in the streets, I always felt as if i was at home. When I look outside my house window, I am looking at my home. The people that surrounded me is what made this place my home. The community had a huge hand in raising me. Whenever my parents were not home or during the many instances I had forgotten to take my house key with me, i would not panic because I knew that I was already home. I did not define my home by the physical boundaries that kept me safe. The Sunset community was my home.

For the past ten summers, home has been a small trailer on my family’s apple orchard in Othello, Washington. I love Othello and sometimes I wish I can permanently call this place my home. It brings me such joy to even have the opportunity to write about it. I like to refer to it as the most peaceful place on Earth. The closest neighbor I have in Othello is 10 miles away. Whenever I am at home, I am alone with my thoughts. I consider the apples and trees as my family. The pace of life is much different than that of the city. Everything is quiet and you can hear yourself think. I spend my hours working on the fields and walking around the beautiful apple trees. The best feeling I’ve had is waking up and opening the door to the trailer on a sunny Sunday morning and observing the complete silence that is around me. This is what home is to me. A place where I am alone with my thoughts and the safest environment which allows for me to be myself.

othello apples

There’s nothing like being surrounded by hundreds of your silent, little red friends!

I consider the Ross Street Gurdwara (temple) to be my home too. It is a place where I can be myself and give back to my community. My grandparents started taking me to the temple on a daily basis when I was very young. They wanted me to build a relationship with God as well as learn the values and history of my own culture. The temple feels like home to me because I am surrounded by family every time I enter. We all share a common goal, regardless of our race our religious beliefs. This home is beautiful because it opens its doors to everybody. It does not matter whether you are white, brown, black, purple; or if you are from Mars or Jupiter. You are always welcome to make the Gurdwara your home. Home is about a sense of camaraderie and respect. There are no outsiders in my home. I learned about Sikhism and the importance of treating people with respect. I learned how to conduct myself outside of home and appreciate everyone for who they truly are. I learned not to judge people because everyone has their own story and path they travel in life that is different from my own. Most importantly, it is continuing to teach me the true meaning of home.


Home is not defined by an ownership of property or a physical structure. Home is synonymous with peace of mind. It is something internal rather than external. Home brings comfort and serenity to a person. Home is where you feel most comfortable being yourself. Home is where you can learn to succeed and fail. Home is where you can create, share and experience anything you want to. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever you want it to be.


My Poem About Home

For the past several years as I have matured as a student and person, I have been wondering about life in the terms of “home”. Where am I from? What nationality do I identify with the most? Why does this question matter to me so much? For me, home is a place to identify with. It is a safe haven, somewhere where I can be myself. I love interacting with different people and hearing different stories from all walks of life, and I would love to think that the entire world is my home. I am trying to get to that mind state, but I am not quite there yet.

In my spare time, I love to play sports and write poetry. I don’t think I am any good at it but it is an awesome hobby that I don’t plan on giving up anytime soon. Sometimes i need to just be locked in a room for hours with pen and paper in hand, and just constantly write, write and write. I love the material and issues that we are tackling in this class, and it has inspired me to share a poem with you. This poem is written from the perspective of an individual who is searching for his own identity and sense of belonging in the world. He is searching for the meaning of home. I hope you enjoy it, thank you for taking the time to read it!

Anonymous by Rajin Sidhu

Among a sea of people,

my existence feels trivial.

In the event of my demise,

should be a tombstone.



No pride to engrave.

What deems a life worthless,

or full of purpose,

this defining feature,

I wish I knew.

1.3 Reign Beau’s Creation

I have a great story to tell you. It is about a boy from the light who stepped into the dark.

A long, long time ago there once was a boy named Reign Beau. He was a jolly little boy, full of life. He had a smile that he carried with him everywhere he went. He was always laughing, and playing with the other children. Reign came from a small area across the other side of the world called Starville. Everything was so colorful and full life in this place! The valleys were green and purple, the sky was always blue, the sun was always bright yellow, and all of the houses as well. Starville seemed like the perfect place to live, well, except for one minor detail.

You see, in the middle of Starville there was a big white house with nothing else surrounding it. It seemed out of place in such a beautiful part of the world. Everyday when Reign would go to play with the Unicorns, he would skip by the house, curious about what was in there. All of the other children paid no attention to the home and they never had the urge to enter the home. But Reign, well, Reign was different. It wasn’t until one Saturday morning that he decided to enter the home.

When he went up to the front door, he came across a sign that read in big, black letters: ENTER AT YOUR OWN PERIL. Reign read the sign and asked the sign, “What does peril mean? Is that even a word? Don’t you mean pearls?”. At that moment, a thought entered Reign’s head, there are pearls in the house! He quickly turned the handle of the door open, and that permanent smile that Reign always had on his face was transformed into an expression of confusion.

The inside of the house was a blank canvas. Everything was white and there were no rooms, furniture, or any sense of life in the home. Reign walked around the home and in the far left corner he spotted a red and black box. He opened the box and found crayons, rulers, paints, animal figurines, Barbie dolls, action figures, and blocks that were different shapes and sizes. A devilish smile came across Reign’s face as he realized that he was alone in this world with everything at his fingertips. He opened up the black paint and began to color at the top of the of the floor. He only used dark colors when he was painting, and everything he created was nothing that had ever been seen in Starville. After he finished creating his own world, Reign opened the door to go outside and his smile was back because Starville had changed forever.

My Commentary

I told this version of the story to my 10 year old sister.  I changed the character’s name and setting in order to accommodate my listener and have her use her imagination in order to comprehend the meaning of the story. I chose to tell the story in a fairy tale narrative after I read the transcript of Thomas King’s interview with Jordan Wilson in which King discusses the different genres he writes, and process of transition that takes place from writing different genres of story.

The name of the character as well as the setting of the story represents beauty. My tone of voice expressed happiness while i was telling the beggining of this story to my sister. It is the same feeling I got while reading Thomas King’s retelling of Leslie Silko’s story of how evil came into this world. In King’s version, my mood began to fluctuate from happy to sad once the twins were born. To me the twins represent good and evil on Earth. They both have different ideas about how their world should be created. In my story, Starville represents the right-handed twin, and the white house on the valley represents the left-handed twin. Once Reign Beau entered the house, he was no longer a part of the peaceful world of Starville. Inside of the house he was free to create and discover whatever he wanted, even if it happened to be something evil.


1.2 Orality and Scripture = Culture

Explain why the notion that cultures can be distinguished as either ‘oral culture’ or ‘written culture’  is a mistaken understanding as to how culture works, according to Chamberlin and your reading of Courtney MacNeil’s article ‘Orality’.

The notion that cultures can be distinguished as either ‘oral culture’ or ‘written culture’ is a mistaken understanding as to how culture works, because it creates a dichotomy between two fundamental cultures throughout human history that are in essence, one in the same. The written culture abides by many of the same rules from the oral culture. Scripture evolved from orality and has many of its key principles and ideas associated with it. The same goes for oral culture in the sense that it contains ideas that predominantly belong to the written culture.

In If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?, Chamberlin suggests that the idea of written and oral culture “divide(s) the world into Them and Us” (8). He writes about the conflict that this brought in history, and how people created their own communities based on how they communicated with each other. The conflict that struck me “had to do with the babbling barbarians and the written languages of civilized people” (Chamberlin 18). Chamberlin attacks the idea that oral and written cultures are different, and claims that it “encourages people to treat other societies with a blend of condescension and contempt” (Chamberlin 19). Chamberlin argues that written and oral cultures are intertwined with each other, since many oral cultures are “rich in forms of writing” (20), and the trademark institutions that form our written cultures are “arenas strictly defined and highly formalized oral traditions” (Chamberlin 20). Without orality, scripture would not exist. As Chamberlin also points out, “Just as we learn how to read, so we learn how to listen” (Chamberlin 21).

Chamberlin brings the reader’s attention to an Italian pun on “traduttore and traditore. The first means “translator”; the second “traitor”. (Chamberlin 14). I am thankful that this custom is not followed by our society today because even though I am not able to understand the oral culture of this beautiful composition, I am able to read the translation and intertwine both components of oral and written into one culture.

After I fully grasped Chamberlin’s message about the danger that a distinction between oral and written culture presents to our society, I was reminded of a book I read titled The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor, written by Bruce R. Smith. In the first chapter, Smith explains to the reader that orality can be a “sensory experience” (Smith 6). He argues that speaking is a physical act, because it requires a listener and once a word is spoken, the “Thereness of sound becomes the Hereness of sound in the ear of the reciever” (Smith 8). This physical idea of oral culture makes me think that it is similar to the physical tool of written culture that is used when an individual transfers their own sound (the private words in our brain) to a another platform (physically writing our thoughts on paper or on the computer).

In the article titled “Orality”, Courtney MacNeil agrees that oral culture and written culture should not be distinct from one another. She argues that both are a means of communication and that “oral and textual society need not be viewed from a hierarchical perspective” (MacNeil). The main reason she believes that these two cultures are intertwined is due to the influence of the internet, as well as our society’s immersion into the “multi media world” (MacNeil). She cites Walter J.Ong’s definition of orality and his distinction between primary and secondary orality. She concludes her article by stating that “the study of orality must recognize all means of communication” (MacNeil). Oral culture and written culture both communicate messages in a fashion that is paramount to our history and future, and thus should be recognized as one in the same.

Works Cited

Chamberlin, J. Edward. If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground. Vintage Canada. Toronto. 2004. Print.

MacNeil, Courtney. “Orality”. The School of Media Theory. The University of Chicago, 2007. Web. 15 Jan, 2015.

Ong, Walter. Orality and Literacy. Routledge. New York. 1982. Print.

Smith, R.Bruce. The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1999. Print.


Canada – Home Sweet Home?

Hello everybody! My name is Rajin Sidhu and I am a fourth-year student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a major in English Literature. This is my first experience with blogging and it has been very difficult to get used to for me so far, so please forgive if I have made any mistakes, I promise I will get better! This is also my first time taking an online course and I am very excited and nervous at the same time.

Is this what it means to be Canadian?

I am a first generation Canadian as both of my parents were born in India and moved to Canada in their adult years before I was born. Even though I was born in Canada, my childhood felt as if I was in India rather than Canada. I grew up in South Vancouver, in a predominantly Indo-Canadian community. I attended a Sikh private school during my early elementary years where we only learned about Sikhism and Indian history. My family would always tell me to remember my roots and where they came from and that India is the “motherland” and Canada is our “home”.

Last year I was fortunate enough to take a course at UBC titled English 405A – Canadian Drama, which was taught by Dr. Jerry Wasserman. I will never forget what he asked us during our first lecture – the first thing that he said to the class during our first lecture – What does it mean to be Canadian?  We studied many plays that looked at national identity, and the play that had the most impact on me was “Problem Child” by George F. Walker. It looks at the lives of two troubled characters who are trying to find themselves in a motel room. I can somewhat relate to this story because I too am trying to find out where I belong in this world in terms of my national identity.

I am excited to embark on this journey with my fellow classmates and read stories from others, and learn what it means to be a Canadian. At the end of this course I hope to have gained more appreciation for the first nations history and their influence on Canada. I can’t wait to share my insights and gain more from all of you! Let’s get this party started eh!!