Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Naked underwear & help for the hungry
Thank you so much for those who responded with their kind words of encouragement after being denied entry to a Christmas party.
My festive spirits have not changed.
For your knowledge, and to clear the air, the reason I didn't disclose the personal details on the whereabouts of the party was because this would never bring closure to the issue.
It would drag on and on, and this is something I am not prepared to do during the holiday season.
The main concern and focus should be that these issues still exist. It's time to move forward and there will be plenty of time in the New Year to hash out these concerns.
With the recent hiring of Abbotsford's diversity co-ordinator Med Manzanal for a three-year, federally-funded Building Connections Project, our future is in good hands.
Also, if you're still searching for last-minute gifts don't forget to try on a pair of Canada's newest underwear line, Naked Boxer Brief (www.nakedboxerbrief.com).
Naked has a local twist that has captured the imaginations of international audiences.
CEO and founder Joel Primus, while filming a documentary for his charity, Project World Citizen (PWO) in South America in 2008, came across a new style of men's underwear.
Primus took his underwear line to the Canadian reality TV show Dragon's Den in 2009 and did not get what he wanted. But later, Abbotsford entrepreneur Rick Rake teamed him up with now-Naked chairperson Ross Brown of Altitude Consulting in Abbotsford.
Brown, former marketing manager for Abbotsford Airport, linked Primus with WestJet co-founder Tim Morgan and other major investors to prove the Dragons wrong.
And did they ever. Naked launched its men's underwear line last September at a packed Boys Co. on Robson Street in Vancouver, in Toronto, and at Ronald Allan Clothiers on South Fraser Way in Abbotsford.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness all three high schools in Mission in action, preparing for their second annual Dinner for the Less Fortunate at Heritage Park Secondary, organized by the Mission District Student Leadership Committee. What an afternoon it was. Seeing students and teachers put clothing, sleeping bags and other necessities in well equipped care packages, which were then handed out to approximately 150 people.
Heritage Park Secondary Principal Wade Peary spoke about the passion demonstrated by students' efforts to work together and make this event a another huge success. Something he claims the entire district school staff are extremely proud of.
Mission Secondary student Alicia Setter said: "The Dec. 4 dinner was a great success, and a eye opener for many of today's youth."
- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Denied entry to Surrey Christmas party for being East Indian, Herar speaks out
Two weeks ago, diversity columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times, Ken Herar, was denied invitation to a Surrey Christmas party, because he was East Indian, he said. Herar reports that just prior to the incident, a friend had given Herar a residential number to call and direct RSVP inquiries to. When Herar called the number, he said, a woman answered the phone. After a couple exchanges, he said, the woman asked, “are you East Indian?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Sorry, we’re not allowing East Indians at this party,” said the woman.
After the conversation ended, Herar said his initial reaction was laughter. When asked why he thought the woman on the phone would not invite East Indians, Herar speculates that “(she probably had) the stereotype that too many South Asian guys together are going to cause trouble.”
At first, Herar said he didn’t want to expose his story too much, “if they didn’t want me there, fine.” But after a day, he thought to himself, “this is kind of a interesting subject here.” So he decided to post his story on Facebook. Within the first hour alone, Herar received up to sixty responses. Some were shocked and some were thankful to Herar for bringing the issue up.
“It’s a reminder that racism still exists,” Herar says.
In a telephone interview with the Vancouver Observer, Herar shares his insight from more than fifteen years of diversity writing experience. He believes that this sort of race-fueled animosity has been growing in the past thirty years. But what has changed between the 80’s and now? Demographics.
Herar grew up in Abbotsford during the 1980’s and notes that “thirty years ago, the South Asian community was small.” Because the community was small, the desire to integrate into the Canadian mainstream was high. Now, in 2010, when you arrive in Canada as an immigrant, there still is the pressure to assimilate, but now there are choices to settle and root yourself in various communities that have established strong ethnic community support networks. Herar speaks of Abbotsford in particular.
In terms of community fundraising, if money needs to be raised within the local South Asian community: money will be raised from local South Asian avenues. But these self-supporting communities have some problems as to how they fit within general society. Some view these communities as self-segregating while others view them as self-supporting.
“The incentive of being Canadian is becoming lost.”
One of the problems is that there is a lack of coverage on incidents like Herar’s within mainstream media. It is seems to be a very “Canadian thing” to promote multiculturalism. Multiculturalism: it’s what Canada is known for. The problem is no one is talking about multiculturalism: the good and the bad.
Herar predicts that if the current growth rates continue throughout the next thirty years, the South Asian community will compose a majority of the population within the Lower Mainland. Herar adds that as these minority communities have grown, “isolation has grown. And from isolation can foster hate.”
Herar decided to come out with his story to raise awareness that this type of hate exists, a wake-up call that often surprises people. He wants to help prevent the growth of xenophobia in the Lower Mainland. He wants to see more joint-initiatives between different communities. “We need to be more interactive with each other, ” Herar says, “it’s important to have friends outside your culture.”
Ken Herar is a diversity columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. In May/June 2011, Herar will be cycling from Mission to Victoria, visiting communities, school and local councils. The project is part of an effort to listen to citizens across the Lower Mainland and engage the local governments into building stronger interactive communities.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
No place for prejudice
Editor, the Times:
It saddens me what happened to Mr. Herar (Wrong number - South Asians turned away, Times, Dec. 10). Being rejected because of race is offensive to me.
My daughter was engaged to an Argentinean and because she was not Spanish they disowned their son, so I have experienced racism, I wanted to strike back.
Since moving here from Ontario six years ago, most of my friends are South Asian. My workout partner is an South Asian, I work for a South Asian, and my best friend is South Asian.
We have gone often to the temple, listened to the service which I did not understand, but had explained to me. I was always made to feel welcome and treated with respect.
To insinuate that young South Asian in a group cause trouble maybe we should open our eyes to all the gangs and see who is causing the problems.
Many of the attitudes exhibited by the Christian church make it embarrassing to be associated with them.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
A local diversity advocate was shocked after recently being refused entrance to a Christmas event because of his ethnicity.
Mission resident Ken Herar, who writes about diversity issues in a column for the Abbotsford-Mission Times, was making arrangement to attend a Christmas function only to have the host say, "Sorry, we're not allowing East Indians at this party."
Bemused at first, Herar later got angry and posted his thoughts about the incident on his Facebook and blog pages.
"My feelings weren't hurt, but I was disappointed in society," Herar said.
"[She probably had] the stereotype that too many South Asian guys together are going to cause trouble."
Reaction to the story on his social network was fast and furious.
"My Caucasian friends were really shocked . . . and one of my South Asian friends didn't believe it," said Herar, who also posted letters received in recent years that he believes illustrate that racism and the cultural divide between different ethnic groups is getting worse.
"We all need to make an effort to eliminate racism," he said.
Larger society has to overcome stereotypical thinking, but minority groups need to take more steps to integrate themselves, particularly in communities like Abbotsford and Surrey that have concentrated ethnic populations, Herar said.
"People feel very comfortable in their own ethnic communities, and there's nothing wrong with that," he said.
"But we need to break those barriers. [South Asians] need to recognize we need to get more involved in larger society."
Herar said in the 1980s when he was growing up and attending school in Mission, there was more integration among different groups of people.
"Now, I rarely ever see people from different races walking together. Young kids generally stick together," he said.
There is a growing culture gap that needs to be addressed both in schools and the larger community, according to Herar.
"If we don't recognize the problem, we can't fix it . . . isolation creates hate and this affects [all of us]."
Friday, December 3, 2010
Not allowing East Indians was a surprise to many
Knock knock. Who's there? Sorry, no East Indians allowed.
Yes, it's true. That's what I encountered last week when I was making booking arrangements to attend a Christmas party in Surrey via telephone.
The polite lady asked me if I was East Indian and I replied, "yes". She said: "sorry, we're not allowing East Indians at this party." I kind of thought it was funny at first. But, it started to bother me a few days later. Let's say this wasn't the first time for me and I am sure it won't be the last.
So, to take some of the frustrations away, I posted this on my Facebook. Well, in a matter of a few hours, I had a lengthy stream of comments faster than I could push the reply button.
Some of my friends found it hard to believe that this still exists. I guess for many they just don't see it. I view it first hand constantly with the feedback I receive. A few of my so-called friends challenged me to prove this. I wasn't in a position to broadcast the address around the world. How childish and foolish that would be. And I wasn't looking for revenge, either.
So, I posted the six worst letters I could find in my e-mail box from readers to prove my point. Well, that created a whole new avenue of discussion and opened many eyes. This was the first time I have done such a thing. What I clearly discovered was when we speak about a "cultural divide" it's a generational topic. Youth clearly view it differently than adults. Kids in high school still see it as "us against them" and adults generally want to find ways to build bridges. For example, one of the youths commented to my friends that I was against the East Indian side. Not true at all. I don't play favorites.
If someone is wrong, I will let them know. Parents have a special role in educating there children on this topic. I urge them to take an interest. Let's not forget that isolation creates hate, and this affects you and me. Hey, some people might of had bad experiences with East Indians. I don't know. But, don't judge me based on the actions of a few. Painting everyone with the same brush is something we all need to avoid, including me.
Speaking of brushes, one Abbotsford resident is using her camera to challenge social stereotypes. Deesh Sekhon is involved with Help-Portrait, a community of photographers that are taking portraits individuals and families who otherwise couldn't afford them. Sekhon is working to provide positive images of people within the community.
This is about giving back - giving a family or individual something they may never had before said Sekhon. But I think it's also about changing people's view of their community. For more information please contact her at deesh.ca.
- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Ready to be the wheel deal
Snow can't put the freeze on training for multicultural bike trip
As we all get prepared for the snowfall that is scheduled to fall from the skies today, take a moment and think of me as I sweat it out at the gym preparing for my cycling expedition to Victoria early next summer.
Yes, I have been hard at it cycling, running and doing whatever it takes to hopefully land my bike and I at the provincial capital.
The sole purpose of this journey is to promote cultural diversity and the awareness of the growing cultural divide here in the Lower Mainland. As a writer for 15 years, I value the feedback I receive from readers. This open relationship allows me to hear of issues from a different set of eyes and ears.
Over the course of the last few years I have been noticing a downward trend in how people view some of our ethnic communities. More and more people have been approaching me with concerns about how certain groups, including South Asians, are becoming more actively discriminatory in how they live. Actually, people are going out of their way to share their negative feedback in detail.
I don't doubt the fact that these examples are real and I have decided to take steps to bring change. Unfortunately, I believe not enough is being done and we need to promote the awareness of these concerns.
People are extremely angry and frustrated of the growing isolation. Changes need to happen sooner than later. In 10-20 years, we will have some serious issues on hand if we don't discuss them now.
I can't change how people live, but we can certainly make them think.
The engine of diversity is working, but some major repairs are needed.
One important point, I would like to make very clear. I don't represent the South Asian community nor am I their spokesperson. I am just one of the many individuals who cares about building an inclusive community where everyone participates and shows equal respect. To help conquer this issue, I have decided to cycle from my hometown of Mission to Victoria in seven days. Along the way, I would like to stop through every Lower Mainland community and meet with representatives to discuss some of these issues.
Meeting and speaking with people is always fun and exciting. I am not planning doing this alone. If you believe in this message and would like to be part of this team, even if it's for only part of the distance, drop me a line. This has to be a group effort; we all have to make some sacrifices to make our communities better.
The bike that I will be pedaling on has been generously donated by Wentings Cycle & Mountain Shop in Mission. During the trip, I would like to raise enough funds to buy the bike and donate it to a worthy individual who is in need.
The end goal of this week-long spectacle would be to arrive at the Legislature and meet with the next premier and highlight this awareness. The political structure at all levels needs to be more involved and active in how we shape our communities.
Stay tuned. I am looking forward to coming to a city or town near you.
- Ken Herar is a freelance columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: email@example.com.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Trailblazer happy to be close to home
She's Mission's first South Asian female officer
I had the opportunity of meeting up with new Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Joanie Sidhu. She holds the distinction of being the first South Asian female police officer to patrol the streets of Mission.
Going out on ride-alongs with members of the police are practical ways of appreciating their service.
The evening started with a quick visit to a local residence to straighten up some relationship issues with a former husband.
For the most part, it remained relatively quiet, which allowed time to get to know one of Mission's finest.
But, we did hand out one ticket and suspension to an individual, who blew over 0.05 and violated the new provincial drinking law.
During the many patrols around the city, she spoke about growing up in Abbotsford and how excited she was about getting her first posting to Mission.
"I was so happy, knowing that I was coming close to home," said Sidhu.
"Mission is a great community. I go to work everyday looking forward to seeing my co-workers." Being the only member from the South Asian community, who speaks Punjabi, she knows the importance of language barriers. Sidhu said: "Having a member from the South Asian community, it makes it much easier on staff to do a better job. It is important that everyone gets heard, no matter what the problem."
Her boss, Inspector Pat Walsh, just recently came out and celebrated Diwali in Mission.
Walsh, who has been attending this event for the last few years helped prepare the evening supper , said: "We are very pleased to have Joanie stationed here in Mission.
"Simply by virtue of being a South-Asian woman employed as a fully operational police officer, she destroys many stereotypes that perhaps still exist.
She certainly brings a much deeper cultural understanding which both aids in our overall detachment service delivery as well as broadens our own horizons internally.
"Taking in the Diwali festival last week, I can't say enough about how pleased I am to be part of the community here in Mission that celebrates diversity - diverse culture, language, dance and food."
It is part of being a healthy community and as we know, a healthy community begets a safer community, said Walsh.
Sidhu encourages people and especially females to apply to the RCMP. "It feels good knowing that I am a role model for others to pursue their lifetime dreams." One thing, became evidently clear; being a cop in Mission would be difficult task. I simply know too many people. She and I both agreed.
I had the opportunity to speak with Abbotsford Police Deputy Chief Const., Rick Lucy about some diversity issues in his department.
He said: "At the Abbotsford Police Department we are committed to our mission of making Abbotsford the safest city in British Columbia. We understand that we cannot be successful with our mission on our own, and that we must be partnered with the community."
He outlined various strategies to have his organization more representative of the community.
Lucy said: "A current example of this can be seen in a target we have set to hire 50 per cent of our police recruits from the Indo-Canadian community. We are pleased to realize some success from these efforts, having recently added a couple more officers from the Indo-Canadian community, including the department's first turban wearing officer Harvinder Mangat."
Steps such as this see us heading in a vital and proper direction with respect to diversity in our organization, said Lucy.
- Ken Herar is a columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I find it perfectly fitting to include the six top contest finishers as part of this Diwali feature. Don’t forget to come out and celebrate Diwali tomorrow at Mission’s Clarke Theatre from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Personally, it’s been an educational two-month journey promoting this worthy writing contest.
One thing became obviously clear after listening to and meeting so many great people in Abbotsford and Mission: There is much work to be done to build an inclusive, diverse community. The “culture divide” here is unfortunately growing and a strong response is needed.
When I started this event four years ago, I wanted to create a broader community discussion with the public. This region is one of the most diverse in the country and many challenges still exist.
Main contest goal is to empower people and give opportunities for writers to engage in a creative, dynamic discussion.
Too often talented minds don’t get an opportunity to be discovered. One of the simplest ways that I discovered (as a veteran columnist of 15 years) to create an inclusive society is to constantly write about it. The message itself creates awareness.
The six-member judging panel led by Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce director Rick Rake was asked to look for creativity and fresh ideas.
This diverse group of community-minded individuals spent hours carefully evaluating the entries.
“I was happy to support Ken in this endeavor because I was there when it all started four years ago. I believe in encouraging and building harmony amongst the cultures and faith groups in Abbotsford and Mission. The judging panel knew the issues and were adept at pinpointing contestants with the best ideas from this amazing collection of essays,” said Rake.
This year’s question was: How do we create an opportunity for different cultures to work together towards a harmonized, inclusive, multicultural community?
We received some 100 entries in our youth and adult categories. Many of the writers touched on similar themes like: multicultural festivals, saying “hello” and sharing foods as some of the common solutions for bridging our cultural gaps.
Hailey Connor, a Grade 9 student at Mouat Secondary finished on top of our youth category. In her essay, she wrote about the need for different cultures to interact with each other.
“We need to continue our efforts at increasing people’s awareness and understanding of cultures other than their own,” she wrote.
I totally agree, Hailey. Congratulations.
Hailey’s mother told me her daughter looked daily in her email box to see if she had won. That really touched me. Hailey’s mom also shared that her daughter is an avid reader of newspapers.
The two honorable mentions in this category were: Andy Lee from Yale Secondary and Nimret Dosanjh from Dasmesh Punjabi School. Congratulations Andy and Nimret. You can view their essays on the Times website.
In our adult category, Wendy Lindquist-Pronick finished first.
Wendy was one of the people who last year suggested we should open an adult section for this contest.
When I contacted her to tell her she had won, she simply couldn’t believe it. We both chuckled.
She wrote about breaking language barriers and having monthly potlucks. Bravo! Wendy.
The two honorable mentions for this category were: Sharon Nijjar of Abbotsford and Rita Dyer of Mission. Way to go, Sharon and Rita. To view these two beautifully written essays, go to the Times website.
I would like to praise Times Publisher Fred Armstrong and editor Darren McDonald for allowing me to engage in this important and educational writing contest. I believe we are a better community because of it.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Almost time to announce the winners
The judges have met and spoken. We will announce the recipients of the Times Building an Inclusive, Diverse Community essay contest very soon, likely with our Diwali special on Nov. 2.
I am super excited to introduce the winners of the adult and youth categories. There will be one winner and two honourable mentions for each category.
The winners will get his/her essay published in our diversity supplement and the two honourable mentions will have their essays published on the Times website.
All three selected winners for each category will have their faces published also.
Well, what can I say, it's been a fun and exciting two months promoting this event. I have met so many inspiring folks in our communities, who believe in the message we've been promoting.
Diversity will not work effectively if we're building isolated communities. In order to see the realization of our multicultural societies become a reality, there has to be an equal partnership and a genuine acceptance of our unique differences. This contest has not only become a local event, but is also getting international attention. I have received at least a dozen responses from writers in different countries.
Unfortunately, I advised them this was only for Abbotsford/Mission residents. I hope we don't have an international crisis on our hands. I may be hearing from Ottawa shortly. But, it's nice to see our message being heard far and wide and putting Canada on the map.
In the past eight weeks, I have visited local schools and had an opportunity to speak at the University of the Fraser Valley to the Sociology 101 class.
I faced many interesting questions. A university student stated during my presentation, "you are promoting two different goals: diversity and inclusiveness. That is simply, not achievable. We should all be the same."
I said, "I understand your concerns, but diversity exists everywhere around the globe and right here in this classroom.
"By keeping your religious beliefs and cultures this only makes our community stronger. It would be extremely dangerous if we took that all away. As an example, we don't have to look very far into Canadian history and see the destructive decisions made by past governments toward the First Nations communities, removing them from their homes."
The heart of this contest is to give people of all ages an opportunity to share in a positive discussion and discover ways to make our community more inclusive.
Going through the many essays the future looks bright. If you don't mind, I have to make some phone calls and notify the winners. Thank you.
n Ken Herar is a columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at email@example.com.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Let's see what they say
The Abbotsford/Mission Times essay contest, entitled Building an Inclusive, Diverse Community, officially closed last week.
After going through the submitted entries, I am surprised at the volume we received for the adults (over age 16) section.
I am looking forward to submitting these thoughts to our five esteemed judges. Winners will be appearing on these pages later this month.
A guy stopped me the other day after seeing a photograph of me in the Times recently, speaking to students from Dashmesh Punjabi School about our contest. He asked me why would I promote multiculturalism in an all-East Indian school?
Good point, I thought, and replied: "The main reason that brought me to this fine school was not only to promote multiculturalism and this contest, but to share in a discussion with some bright minds on finding ways the South Asian community could be more inclusive with mainstream society."
I told the class that the "culture divide" in Abbotsford is growing quickly and we all have a responsibility to be part of the larger community when we leave through these school doors each day. I shared examples of how to make it happen, like inviting kids from outside our own ethnicity to their homes for events like birthday parties. Festivals and parades or even writing contests for that matter are fantastic ways of interacting and getting people to mingle.
Lastly, I told them they have a special role and part of the equation in creating an inclusive, diverse society. I concluded with this thought: "We all have it within us. We just have to discover it."
Since we're on the topic of integration, another person shared some unfortunate news. She said her family went back to Montreal for a few weeks in the summer and found the city to be very integrated and friendly. Much more than here, she noted.
"People are very separate from each other in the West," she said, adding that her daughter came home crying one day because at school South Asian kids wouldn't play with her. For as much as I don't like to admit it. I know these examples are real. Honestly, it hurts every time I hear this. The general public does not openly discuss this because they don't want to be perceived as racist. But, they're certainly talking behind closed doors.
As someone shared with me a few years ago: "Ken, when I come to Abbotsford, I can feel racism."
This is the exact reason why I took my message to the South Asian community.
I am not trying to pick on South Asians, but there needs to be more of a community effort and not just from the same few.
I have said it before and I will say it again: South Asians can be equally racist just as any other group. South Asian leaders need to rise up and address these concerns.
We must remember the concept of diversity wasn't strictly created to cater to South Asians. Is it time we change how we practice diversity or is it too late?
Let's see what Times essay contest winners have to say.
- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Uncovering the sticky sheets and exposing the untold story of South Asian "John's" and "Escorts" in Greater Vancouver
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I also encountered a huge bi-sexual presence in this section. In the 30 or so emails I sent out most of them replied back immediately asking for my photo. Fair enough. I did send one out initially and what I discovered was it turned out to be gay man posing as a women on the site. This made me angry and I learned not to send out anymore personal information to hackers. If people were serious in meeting they would call. At the end, no one ever called and all the profiles were flagged or removed a day or two later. Ultimately, many on this site are unfortunately only photo collectors. Once some of these hackers get your photo they use it to set up another account with your face on it. This can be damaging to a person’s credibility and reputation.
Every hour new profiles are created and existing are taken down or flagged from complaints. There seems to be an existing pattern in many of the profiles in how they were written. Most of these fake ads had the same repetitive word structure and read like they were written by a female. They were generally well-written with no visible errors and sounded too good to be true. These bogus profiles come in all shapes and nationalities, including South Asian.
On average you’ll find every second or third profile under casual encounters to be a phony catch. Next time you’re searching for sex please be aware of some of the dangers that exist. Don’t waste your time and play safe. Actually, I urge you to stay away from visiting this site so hackers won’t gain access into your personal life.
Remember Sex is highly desirable but finding it on-line can be an entrapment for the weak and vulnerable.
Friday, September 24, 2010
It's certainly multicultural season
I believe the moment has arrived: we name September/October as our diversity months for the Central Fraser Valley.
Living in one of the most diverse areas of the country, this would bring a much needed focus of inclusion, with the recent announcement of funding from the federal government for programs in bridging cultural gaps in Abbotsford and the 41st annual Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale and Festival assisting communities around the globe.
These months often highlight some of our proudest moments of the calendar. Bravo.
The Abbotsford-Mission Times is also offering the Building an Inclusive, Diverse Community essay contest this month. There will be two categories: For youth, participants must 16 years of age or younger. The adult category is open to everyone over 16 years.
All essays must be 300 words or less and e-mailed to me at the address below or dropped at the Abbotsford-Mission Times office (30887 Peardonville Rd., Abbotsford) before Oct. 8. Include your name, category and contact information.
The question is: How do we create an opportunity for different cultures to work together towards a harmonized, inclusive, multicultural community?
September and October are definitely unique months before we head into Christmas rush. Sure, the weather is changing, but our cultural mosaic is shining through.
Speaking with community minded people on both sides of the river these months are often crucial in preparations for upcoming events.
For example, South Asians next month around the globe will be lighting their candles and popping firecrackers marking Diwali.
So if your horoscope is Capricorn/Aquarius, don't worry. Good fortune is right around the corner.
Here are just a few diversity functions for September/October:
- There will be a international potluck supper on Sept. 28 at Christian Life Community Church from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 35131 Straiton Rd., Abbotsford. From 7p.m to 8:30 p.m. come and hear Korean keynote speaker Teresa Seo of Abbotsford, who will speak on the continuing series, "Discovering our Neighbors."
- Oct. 1-3 the Mission World Community Film Festival will be hosting their annual event at Heritage Park Centre. This year's theme is "Communities in Action." People will be uniting their efforts to defend the lands and waters that we must protect for our own survival and for the survival of all living beings.
This will be a weekend dedicated to taking action for environmental, social, and global justice.
- And, of course, don't forget to celebrate Diwali at various locations throughout Abbotsford in October.
Mission will be hosting its annual Diwali celebration on Nov. 5 at the Clarke Foundation Theatre from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him with your general questions, or cultural diversity essay submissions at: email@example.com.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
The growing Mission Tennis Club hosted its annual Labor Day weekend tourney for members and Mission residents. Having played nine matches in two short days, I was physically exhausted like a marathon runner at the end of his journey.
My muscles haven't seen this kind of action all year.
This three-day weekend brings many special childhood meanings. Looking through my aging scrapbook, this was the first tennis tournament my parents put me in as a skinny 15- year-old junior high school student.
My father Tok and older brother Daljit set the pace in the earlier years before people took me seriously.
I recall packing my tennis bags wearing my tight Jimmy Connors shorts and shirt just trying to fit in.
My personal interest grew watching my uncles, father and brother bring beautiful tennis hardware and displaying it throughout our home. I wanted my name engraved in stone, too. Well, it didn't happen overnight.
My father gave me my first opportunity in 1983 to play doubles with my older brother.
The pressure was on and he wasn't the easiest partner to be on the same side with. He and I would win the double titles for several years until the late 80s when my younger brother Harry and I teamed up and won it for a few years consecutively.
I also had the fortunate opportunity of teaming up with my father Tok and won it for a few years back-to-back in the early 90s.
When I entered this year's event, I decided this was going to be my last year participating, having played almost 20 times.
There is no reason why. Now I would rather watch and support local tennis initiatives from the sidelines and mentor players.
Having organized local tourneys for 15 years and raised money with tennis pros in 1992 for upgrading the courts, I was given every opportunity to make a difference on and off the court.
Here are just a few of the former local Mission tennis legends that deserve Wimbledon Centre Court praise: the late Art Wood, Peter Brand, John Young, Phil Paul, Fay Holt, Shelia Walker, Roy Tremblay, the late Billy Gill and Jack Ziefflie.
Having won this year's men's single event for the 17th time against Brandon Wood, whom I have been coaching, it's nice to exit on high spirits.
Speaking with club president Mark Gervais, who has been running the organization since 1985, he said: "I've had people contact me from all over the world to play with the club during their stay in Canada. We are currently pushing for better courts and lights at the park. It would extend our evening playing time two to three hours. The District of Mission has always been co-operative in assisting our club."
Also, don't forget to get your entries in for the Building an Inclusive, Diverse Community essay contest before Oct.1.
The question is: How do we create an opportunity for different cultures to work together towards a harmonized, inclusive, multicultural community?
- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.