Love Hard. (L to R) Jimmy O. Yang as Josh Lin and Nina Dobrev as Natalie Bauer in Love Hard. Cr. Bettina Strauss/Netflix © 2021

Here in Raincouverland, the wife and I needed some cheering up, so we watched Netflix’s rom-com, Love Hard, this evening. This movie caught my attention because it starred Jimmy O Yang, a stand-up comedian often popping up in my FB feeds. It also featured an interracial AMWF romance, a rare sighting for one who grew up in the US during the late 80s (yes, when dinosaurs roamed). So, we decided to give it a try and were pleasantly surprised, finding it mirroring much of the multiculturalism we experience daily in Vancouver.

在每天都下雨的溫哥華(Raincouver),我與老婆需要一些精神糧食,所以今晚我們看了 Netflix 的浪漫喜劇《真愛難題》(Love Hard)。我之所以會注意到這部電影,乃因男主角是港裔美國人歐陽萬成(Jimmy O Yang),我經常在臉書推送的貼文中看到他的單口喜劇 (stand-up comedy)。這部電影也以亞洲男性與白人女性(AMWF)之間的跨種族戀愛(cross-cultural romance)為特點,這對八O年代(是的,恐龍橫行的時代)生活在美國的我來說,相對罕見。因此我們決定觀賞這部電影,而它也反映了我們在加拿大溫哥華的多元文化 (multiculturalism)。

I have to say, in the three months I’ve been here, I’ve experienced nothing but warmth from everyone ranging from the local bank teller to my university professor. People here seem cognizant of racial differences but treat each other with, at the very least, a modicum of respect. More often than not, people are greeted with all the friendliness, kindness, and warmth one would expect from family and friends. I see kids of all ethnicities playing and mingling with one another, not a rare occurrence in itself, but adults behaving in much the same way! Definitely a big contrast from what I’ve personally experienced in parts of the US, where the population is diverse but remains divided by race.

來到溫哥華已三月有餘,不得不說,從當地的銀行出納員(bank teller)到我的大學教授,大家都對我非常友好。這裡的人了解一個人的種族及其所具備的優缺點,因此人們多秉持著尊重的態度對待彼此。更多時候,人們得以從他人身上獲得與自身期待相符的友好、善良與溫暖。我看到不同種族的孩子玩在一起,這在加拿大並不罕見,而成人的行事作風也幾乎與之相同。這與我個人在美國部分地區的體驗截然不同,那些地區的人口雖然多樣(diverse),但各群體的分別仍以種族為基礎 (divided by race)。

Perhaps it’s because I live in Vancouver, where the city’s affluence masks socioeconomic inequities. Perhaps it’s because I’m fresh off the boat and have yet to experience the more subtle racial tensions reported by Bloomberg. Perhaps it’s because of my own privileges, which have blinded me from the discrimination and prejudices faced by marginalized groups. Nevertheless, so far, my experience has pretty much reflected the portrayals seen in Love Hard, where very different-looking people are treated in very much the same way. The film envisions a utopia of a sort: a society in which race would no longer be a limiting factor. How, then, would we work toward such a society? As the movie suggests, we could start by looking beyond the surface, listening and empathizing, and being willing to renegotiate our understanding of others. And be kind! Love shouldn’t be so hard!

也許是因為我待在溫哥華,城市裡的社會與經濟不平等(social and economic inequities)似乎藏在富裕的背後。也許是因為我在這只待了三個月,尚未察覺到彭博社報導中那更為微妙的種族緊張(racial tensions)。也許是因為我自己本身的盲點(溫哥華有許多華人),使我對其他種族、群體所面臨的歧視與偏見視而不見。惟目前為止,不得不說,我的經歷呼應了電影《真愛難題》對社會的刻畫——即便人們的外表迥異,但卻都以友好、善良與溫暖的方式對待他人。這部電影呈現了一個我所亟欲安身立命的社會:一個不再受限於種族的社會。我們該如何邁向這樣的社會?誠如電影所示,我們可以超越表面,去傾聽、同理、一再調整我們對他人的理解。並且,善待他人。其實真愛未必是個難題(love isn’t really that hard)。

As for Love Hard the movie, it’s no Casablanca but does make you feel warm and fuzzy on a cold rainy day.