Katherine (Ching Ching)
“I'm a pianist but not necessarily capable of playing the piano.”
When did you leave Hong Kong?
August 7, 2013 was the day when I packed my bags to start my new chapter of life in Vancouver.
What’s the reason behind you leaving HK?
Originally, I wanted to stay in Hong Kong until I graduated from secondary school. However, my parents wanted me to study abroad earlier than I initially wanted. Nevertheless, I am fine with it because I’ve known that sooner or later I will be studying in another country anyway. If it weren’t for my parents telling me to do so, I would do it myself too.
What was the new experience for you to go to school in Vancouver?
To me, friends are like acquaintances when I was at school in Vancouver. I am only there for school and not so much of “I belong here.” At first, I felt distant. It is not so much about the language barriers but the cultural differences between me and my Canadian friends. Sometimes, I just can’t relate to them.
Would you identify yourself as a Hong Konger or a Canadian?
After living in Vancouver for years, I would say that I’ve settled down. Hence, when people asked me where I’m from, I would tell them “I’m from Vancouver,” instead of HK. On top of that, most of my relatives also moved here during that time so I felt like Vancouver is my home. So, yes I see myself as a Canadian.
What makes you come to Toronto now? How does that feel?
I don’t feel like I have a home in Toronto, especially when I am renting a unit and living just by myself. I come to Toronto because of school, U of T.
Out of the three places you’ve stayed in your life, where has been the most special for you?
I would still say that Hong Kong is my special place. First, that’s where I grew up. Second, HK’s language is so unique. It’s very different that sometimes words or slang can never be translated to another language. It’s just different.
What are you studying?
I am majoring in Music at U of T. To me, music means so much. It’s part of me. When I have to choose what I like, I would always go for music, with no doubt! Hence, piano is a thing that will never leave me and will also keep me going.
Since you mentioned that “Music is part of you,” how does studying music at U of T feel like?
I realized that there are a lot of competitions and more talented pianists at U ot T. They are all confident in themselves which makes me feel like I am at the bottom of the group.
What’s your biggest fear when playing the piano?
Performing on stage is always my biggest fear. Sometimes, no matter how much time or how hard I practice, I am just never good enough for people to listen to. I see performing as presenting myself which is why I want to be perfect. However, the fear inside me is too big that internally I feel small when I perform.
How could you overcome it?
Stage fright is never easy for me. I have always been scared to present since I was young. However my teacher mentioned that, “there is no perfect performance.” Nevertheless, I wish there is a day that I could completely fight against my fear and simply show my passion through playing the piano that I love.