Lee: Throughout my career, my uniform has been a suit. It complements my image. Having said that, I’m comfortable in anything. When I’m casual, I’ll wear cargo pants and a t-shirt like any Joe Blow going into Canadian Tire. When I’m cycling, you’ll see me in tight spandex; which I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever wear, but it’s functional. In business, fashion is like role playing. When I was a banker on Bay Street, I had to dress like a banker. Image is everything and it makes a difference. Despite skills, a person wearing the right suit can sell more than a person who isn't. That’s reality.
Lee: I find it amusing how differently people treat me based on my appearance. I once walked into a Home Depot dressed up and they addressed me by: “Sir, sir, sir.” I received the best service, but when I wore cargo shorts and a t-shirt, they treated me like a bum. There was no ‘sir’. You often hear people say, “Clothes make the man.” Well, those people lack confidence and are very insecure. I have insecurities like anyone else, but I’m very confident. I remember when I was a shy, short and fat kid. I’m turning fifty this year and I’m happy with who I am now.
Lee: Yes, Black people still face overt racism. There’s that stereotype. Whereas with Asians — Chinese, Japanese or Korean — the stereotypes are: they’re smart, they’re good with math or they’re hard working. It’s racist, but a good form of racism. I’ve been in Canada since 1975. I’m more Canadian than Korean. A lot of people tell me, “You don’t have an accent.” Well, I’ve been here since I was nine. I think they’re dumb-asses for assuming I would speak with an accent.
TV: What’s the biggest misconception that people have about Asians?
Lee: Most people who don’t have experience with Asian men assume that we all like Asian women, Oriental food, have an accent, probably don’t play hockey or golf and don’t understand Canadian culture. Sometimes I hear, “You’re not Asian. You’re White.” It’s funny. They think it’s a compliment to say that. Again, I think they’re dumb-asses. I’m very Korean because I have Korean parents and my ex-wife and girlfriend are Korean. I can fit in whether I’m with Westerners or Koreans. I have limited Korean vocabulary so my Korean friends think I’m more Canadian than Korean.
TV: So you get it from both sides.
Lee: Yeah. People call me ‘banana’; which is yellow on the outside and white on the inside. In reality, I’m a Korean-born man raised in Canada so I’m naturally Canadian. Your first language is the language you dream in or do math in and my first language is English.
TV: Ok, I have to ask: What’s with the Trump button?
Lee: [Laughs] I knew you were going to ask me that. One of my best friends is a huge Trump supporter and when I found out, I asked, “What’s wrong with you?” Like most people, I think Trump is a sociopath, but most politicians are. My friend and I had great debates about it. I'm a conservative — I always have been. If I was American, I would be with the Republican party and he’s their candidate. In my opinion, both Trump and Clinton are shitty choices for President and between them, I’d vote for Trump. He’s the lesser of two evils. As a Canadian, I think Trump would be better for our economy. I think he’s going to f@%k up America and actually make Canada stronger. Some Americans say that if Trump wins, they’ll move to Canada. I’ve learned through good sources that major banks in New York say they’ll leave America if Trumps wins. They’re still going to do business in America, but they’ll move their headquarters outside the country. I personally think they’ll move to Canada. Who knows, the Bank of America could have their headquarters here. I’m a betting man and I would wager that Trump will become the President of the United States.
After Trump’s recent hot mic fiasco, that’s one bet I should have taken.
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