Community Affiliate

Apó Amā

Walking down de la Gauchetière street in Montréal awakens all of one’s senses: the flashy Chinese signs on the stores, the sound of a nostalgic song sung with the crystalline voice of Teresa Teng (a singer who left her mark on our parents’ generation) and, of course, the smell of dim sum, of various sautéed wok dishes, and of Chinese herbs from the corner store. Here we are, in the heart of Montreal’s Chinatown.

The Chinatown of Montreal doesn’t compare in size, nor extravagance or reputation to the one in New York City or even the one in Toronto. Nevertheless, this place holds memories, traces and stories: of those who simply cross its streets every day, and equally of those who have taken up residence here. In this diverse crowd, you may also come across these grandmothers. They are discreet and barely noticeable. But who are they? What is their story? What have they experienced?

In Cantonese, we call our maternal grandmother A pò and our paternal grandmother A mā. In creating a series of short video clips highlighting A pò and A mā and their knowledge of traditional remedies, not only do we seek to share their tips to fight colds or their solutions to soothe a broken heart, but we especially strive to learn these excerpts of stories and memories that are such a significant part of these women.

Thus, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the lives of these women, seize the opportunity to meet them and, above all, get acquainted with the A pò and A mā who are our grandmothers.