A photo of an Asian toddler peeing into a garbage can in a Richmond mall won't come as a surprise to some long-time Hong Kong residents.
I've heard complaints from one Hong Kong–born Canadian about the arrival of large numbers of mainland Chinese into the former British colony after it was returned to China in 1997.
Some have lots of money, but not all were schooled with the same manners as those born and raised in Hong Kong.
I don't want to paint all mainland Chinese with the same brush. And we don't know if this mother was from the mainland.
Keep in mind that people from Shanghai are known for their urbane sophistication and business savvy. Their kids rank highest in the world on math scores. And those from Beijing are often incredibly knowledgeable about political issues.
City dwellers from around the world—whether they're from Tehran, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, or Cairo—often make the transition as immigrants to Canada more easily than those from small villages. That's because urban residents are usually exposed to far more diversity than those from rural backgrounds.
So if one mom allows her kid to pee in a garbage can in a Richmond shopping mall, it shouldn't be that big a deal. After all, how many white adults have you seen peeing in the streets of downtown Vancouver in the early-morning hours?
I'm sure that over time, this woman will adjust to Canadian ways. Culture is never static. And given all the media attention this is receiving, she probably already knows that this isn't something that most Canadians want to encourage in this country.
There are far bigger issues to deal with—for example, the high likelihood of climate change raising sea levels to a point where Richmond residents will have more important concerns than a little kid peeing in a garbage can.
Look at the bright side. At least he didn't urinate on the floor.