It was in early childhood that the persecution of religious minorities altered the course of Sandra’s life. Sandra was born to a Catholic family in Surabaya, Indonesia in 1971. Her mother, a teacher, and her father, a criminal lawyer, lived in a climate of discrimination and violence. Before leaving the country to immigrate to Canada in 1973, the local church was ravaged by a bomb on Christmas Day. Sandra’s parents, who speak Indonesian and have Chinese ancestry, did not allow Sandra to learn Indonesian. Their new life in Canada, which was made possible by the sponsorship of uncles and aunts living in the country, threw Sandra into the English-speaking world of London, Ontario. Unable to receive the provincial accreditations for their professions, her parents had to take up new careers. Her father became a factory worker in an automotive plant and her mother a hairdresser. Having grown up in a Christian family with Christian values, Sandra believes that her parents made the right choice. Canada follows the rule of law, ensuring the physical safety of its citizens, while also providing access to healthcare and education. Critical of frequent half-heartedness regarding Canadian nationalism, Sandra argues that the status quo often makes us forget the extraordinary quality of life we enjoy. There is no doubt that respect, inclusion and political and economic stability are ingrained in our daily lives. However, she does mention how pay equity between men and women is still an issue. How can we explain the substantial pay gaps between jobs traditionally held by women, such as teaching and nursing, and those traditionally held by men, such as police work?
The expectations Sandra's parents had for her academic career were ultimately justified. When she was finishing her Bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Toronto, she developed a blood clot in her left leg and was rushed to the emergency room. Strangely, this led her to re-evaluate her choice of profession. After completing a specialized nursing degree at Ryerson University, Sandra worked in oncology hematology at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto, where she's spent the last 18 years of her professional life in the intensive care unit. Observing Sandra, it is easy to see how her calm demeanour and meticulousness are well suited for her work. While she does recognize the exceptional nature of her job, she confesses that it can be quite abrasive. Bullying and verbal abuse are unfortunately realities of the field.
Sandra is delighted to provide an overall impression of her living environment. In addition to her daily life in Toronto, Canada provides a huge playground to enjoy sports and have fun. Without disregarding the appeal of the wilderness, Toronto itself has so much to offer: Nuit Blanche, the Asian night markets, the numerous ethnic festivals and, of course, the Toronto Film Festival. It truly is yours to discover!