Working Lives Vancouver: Police officer
- 11 May 2012
- From the section World Radio and TV
Terry Yung is, in his own words, the typical Vancouver immigrant story.
Born in Hong Kong, he emigrated to Canada in the 1990s, part of the wave of immigration which led to the city's nickname of 'Hongcouver'.
What isn't typical, however, is his job. A sergeant with the Vancouver Police Department, Mr Yung says his family was initially sceptical of his career choice.
"In a typical Chinese family, policing is not often viewed as a real viable and encouraged career," he says.
That scepticism was perhaps also tinged with fear.
Although he started policing in Chinatown, where his fluency in Mandarin and Cantonese was and continues to be a huge asset, he's also worked as an undercover agent and patrolled the Downtown Eastside, Canada's poorest neighbourhood, which has been plagued by heavy drug abuse since the 1980s.
It can be a scary place, where daylight only helps to point out the ravaged faces of addicts, but it's an area that he navigates with ease and compassion - a testament to his love for his adopted hometown.
"After 19 years on the job, you constantly ask yourself why do you do this for a living and you do it because you know you make a difference," he says.