Ashok, more known under the name "shokin" on the web, was born in India in 1984. Living a system of casts he could not stay with her mother - who had this baby with a man which did not belong to the cast. Let in orphanage he got the chance to be adopted - when he was 4 - by swiss people. Finally there were 7 adopted, all french-speaking (6 from India, 1 from Switzerland).
Ashok speaks french.
Chapter 1 :
Having begun his studies in Fribourg in economics in 2003, Ashok get quickly interested in politics. He was already well used with internet and the fora.
One day - june 2004 - he decide to know more about politics. He began his research with google and did simply typewrite "politique" ("politics" in french). He found some sites but he was not satisfied. He wanted to discuss about politics, even if some of the found sites seem good to him. In google he did search with "forum politique". And he found some political forums, for example : http://www.quebec-politique.com/index !
He found http://www.quebec-politique.com/index
Chapter 2 :
Ashok read and read some and many discussions. He was understanding nothing - or nearly nothing. He felt a bit discouraged, when... he discovered, on this forum, a section about music (actually about arts, culture and media, but you all know what interests Ashok). One topic was named : "Vos chansons préférées québecoises" ("Your favourite quebecer songs"). He read the different answers and read many times some names like "les cowboys fringants" and "loco locass".
Ashok read "les cowboys fringants" and "loco locass".
Chapter 3 :
Ashok decided to research for some songs of these two groups. He easily found the respective websites http://www.cowboysfringants.com and http://www.locolocass.net . And he could download - it took more time - some songs, with what-you-know. And he loved some of their songs. He gave his answer to the topic "Vos chansons préférées québecoises" and progressively become known on the forum. "Un Suisse qui aime la musique québecoise !" (A Swiss who likes the quebecer music !) But however... he had not advanced much, he thought. And yet ! He was not yet conscious that these songs were the path to his political approach. In the forum there was a section named "Société" ("Society"). He did spend much time in this section.
Ashok get interesting in society.
For some obvious reasons , Ashok decide to talk himself, and shokin-named.
END OF THE BREAK !
Now it is december 2004. For some months I have known much society, about the Quebec, about its sovereignty, about the federalists (against the sovereignty of the Quebec), about the quebecer culture. But I don't know much about Quebec because I've never been to the Quebec. So I decide to go the Quebec. I see when my next holidays are... february-march. I buy a ticket to the Quebec. Of course I had to forsee many things : budget, lodgement, clothes, cultures, etc. I did take two wine flashes from the Valais to share my culture to my new friend which offered me the free sleeping in his home (only that, of course ; is there somewhere else in Canada where people offer you home ?). All was ready for my first travel to the Quebec.
Ashok is ready for his first trip to the Quebec.
My friend had to take me at the airport. Ah. I forgot to say : seeing atlantic ocean was very nice. Service in plane was very good. At the stopover in London, everyone spoke - of course - english. So... when I saw him - we had exchanged our faces on internet - I approache him... he sent me salutations ! Surprise ! the quebecer accent. I did not expect so... very different, even if I had read some many expressions and the forum... when you hear this. Happily you get used to hear it. I had no choice.
We discuss much in the car, even if I did not understand everything. When we arrived to his home, I was "used". Of course we began by a pack of beer, [url="http://www.unibroue.com/products/fin.cfm]la militante[/url]. I "had to know" the quebecer beers. He at once took me to a restaurant for eating the poutine and for trying some others beers (the stout imperial, l'éphémère, la fringante, la bleue, etc.
Because he worked during this period I had to visit Montréal alone ("alone" is not right term ). He drove me each day to his work (he live in Boisbriand). Then I took the bus to Montréal. So I visited much in Montréal :
Museum of fine arts
And that is all, for the museums.
I forgot to say you that it was terribly cold (and not the coldest in the Quebec) : often - 20 celsius (-6 Fahrenheit) ! colder with the wind, warme with the wine.
I did visit much the bars of Montreal and found many new friends. [But the quebecer accent, , very funy !]
I did go to a concert in Quebec (the Quebec = the province,... heu the country... of Quebec / Quebec = the town of Quebec). A concert from Les Cowboys Fringants ! Happily I could buy a ticket !
When I was waiting, I saw many young people, who seemed to know Les Cowboys Fringants very well. I had a funny feeling. Then the doors were opened ! it was full !
Hearing some songs, I recognize some. I did not know some others. In all cases, it was very good. Many young people knew many (or all) songs by heart !
There was some breaks during the show. I had time to drink beers and to buy a t-shirt (un chandail) of the group ! I put in on for the rest of the concert ! everyone was wearing a t-shirt of them. [Now I tell myself that I should have bought more than only one t-shirt.] They played many songs from their last album.
At the end, I was happy (and disappointed that it was ended, indeed !), and sleepy. I went to the youth hostel in Quebec (Quebec is at 3hours from Montreal by bus).
Another thing : the "cabanes à sucres" (sugar shacks), with the famous "sirop d'érable" (maple syrup). In one of them, we eat together with my friend's family ! very much ! very good !
One last thing :
before I came to the Quebec :
Striking students march in Montréal. Photo: Dru Oja Jay
Over 230,000 students are now on strike in Québec, in opposition to $103 million in cuts to bursary programs by Jean Charest's Liberal government. Other demands made by the students include an end to tuition hikes for international students and an end to "the privatization of universities and CEGEPs."
According to the CBC, Liberal Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier offered to reinstate $40 million of the cut bursary programs, but the students have argued that giving up the bursaries this year is compromise enough.
Students have staged strategic blockades of highways and port facilities and have occupied various buildings in Montréal. Dozens of students have been arrested in confrontations with police. Thousands marched on the National Assembly in Québec City, repeating their demands. Hundreds of students recently occupied the offices of the province's largest business lobby group, the Conseil du patronat du Québec.
Some student organizations are organizing a march in solidarity with those affected by the Liberal government's cuts of $150 million to social assistance and the welfare reform of Bill 57.
While there are varying levels of enthusiasm and radicalism among students, all those currently on strike voted on whether to join. It reportedly is the largest student strike in Québec since 1974.
With Charest's government low in the polls already, the striking students are convinced they can win. "If the government has the means to lower taxes by $750M, we have a hard time understanding that it does not have the means to reinvest $62M in grants," said Québec Federation of College Students President Pier-André Bouchard.
It was a long strike of the students (and then of the teachers), which I gave participation to, being myself a student.
It was an unforgettable trip !
After my first travel to the Quebec I kept getting interested in the Quebec, and... I learned about the "Saint-Jean", the Quebecers' national holiday, each 24 june. On some others forums, I learned that there was going to be many good groups, especially my two favourite from the Quebec : Les Cowboys Fringants and Loco Locass. I decided to go there, but there were my examinations. I did not yet when exactly they were. Argggg... So on a forum, I planed all in case I could come : one person bought me the ticket (that I could not buy from Switzerland), some other offered me home, some other was to take me from the Airport to the home (a taximan !)... and even... one offered me spontanly a part of the plane ticket ! But I didn't know my examinations date.
One day... I received a letter from the university... about my examinations...
I opened it... and I read it...
my examinations were on...
on... 19 june
on... 20 june
on 22 june !
So I could go to the Quebec on 22th june in the afternoon. I did go at once to the travel agency... bought my ticket ! came back home, announced that all was good ! (they were as anxious as me ).
This time, I had an stopover in Amsterdam (main city of Netherland) with KLM, so I heard english and dutch. [And I project to visit Amsterdam, and a part of Netherlands, that's why I learn now the basis of dutch. But that is another story.]
All happened like we had projected. The second travel was not very different from the first travel :
- some museums, many bars
- much walking and discussing
But the great differences :
- it was between 25 and 30 celsius (between 77 and 86 Fahrenheit).
- I knew much more than the first time
- La Saint-Jean ! very great show of many quebecer music groups ! All good and the best ones ! guess who ! Loco Locass and Les Cowboys Fringants !
How to express this event :
you have to know that all Quebecer who came to this show are determinated to the sovereignty of the Quebec.
you have to know that they are conscious of the specificity of their culture, of french in the Quebec, in middle of english-speaking North America
you have to know that they fight for their sovereignty for centuries
you have to know that they lost two referendums : first one (1980) 40% only of the Quebec said YES, the second one (1995) 49.4% said YES, in spite of an anti-sovereignty campaign of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau.
So you understand that most Quebecer are for the sovereignty of the Quebec, that they feel that the moment is coming versy soon. [Even if there are some federalists in the Quebecers.]
You have to know that all music groups which were there are for the sovereignty of the Quebec, that many songs of Les Cowboys Fringants are for nature and social (green social-democratie), that many songs of Loco Locass say loudly the reality that many think discretly.
At this show I bought some t-shirts of Loco Locass and of Les Cowboys Fringants ! I bought some cd's of these two groups, one of each for me, some others for giving to others friends.
You have to imagine that there were at least 30 000 people.
That all these people know by heart some songs.
And that they all together sang loudly !!! (it was heart at some km)
Then I came back to work !