Friday, February 26, 2010

Canadian pride has never been hotter..

Winter Games heat national pride

Kulwinder Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, February 26, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be wrapping up this weekend. What an amazing sporting competition it has been for Canadians. The patriotic climate has never been hotter in the mighty north. As athletes and fans get ready to head back to their respective countries and communities, the lasting legacy that has been seeded for Canadians is our unconditional love for Canada. Over the past two weeks, Canadians have stopped being humble for a moment and demonstrated just how proud we are of our nation and flag, while being exceptional hosts.

We might not flash the Maple Leaf in your face often, but never underestimate our gritty determination and passion when put to the ultimate test.

When Canadians get together they are a force to be reckoned with. Canadian athletes have truly made us proud whether they made the podium or not. Let's not forget to continuing cheering "Go Canada Go" over the next few days until the final whistle blows.

We have been extremely fortunate to have hosted this diverse sporting event exposing our beautiful region to our wonderful guests. Many are already commenting that these could be the best Games ever. I believe it.

Despite the long line-ups at venues, many shared positive experiences. We don't have to remind ourselves that we live in the best place on the planet. Canada is a vast country of small communities consisting of a diverse, vibrant population. You can go almost anywhere and get involved in almost anything at anytime.

This is the beauty of our nation. It's our small towns that makes Canada thrive as a nation with glowing hearts. Here are just a few quick examples from my hometown.

After almost a year of planning, the Mission Community Archives' newest exhibit, Dreams of Glory: Mission's Sports History, opened Feb. 14 as part of local celebrations to mark Heritage Week in B.C. With more than 100 people attending, the event was a great success. Officiated by Steve Sharpe, 2000 Sports Volunteer of the Year, the opening ceremony featured Eden Donatelli, an Olympic and world champion speed skater, as the keynote speaker and demonstrations by members of the Mission Karate Club led by Peter and Tracy Motut and the Mission Boxing Club featuring Cody and Jessy Brown. The exhibit is on display in the community archives until the end of April during its regular hours on Thursdays (9 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and Fridays (9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.). For more, contact the archives at or at 604-820-2621.

- Kulwinder Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford & Mission TImes. Contact him at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Did the Olympics Opening Ceremonies fail to capture the image of Canada's diverse population?

Not quite multicultural

Opening ceremonies were great, but did not reflect all of Canada's diversity

Kulwinder Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, February 19, 2010

It's hard to believe the Olympic Games are almost half over. Time flies when you're having fun. Go Canada Go.

Many of the people I have spoken to said they had a wonderful time visiting the various Olympic venues in Vancouver. Well, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and the opening ceremonies last week did just that.

The audience of 60,000 strong at BC Place and 3.5 billion viewers from around the globe watched possibly the show of their lifetime. Some broadcasters referred to as the best Winter Olympics opening ceremony ever.

There hasn't been a more proud moment in our nation's history to wave our mighty flag as Canada hosts its third Olympic Games.

The promising day was filled with tragedy when an Olympian lost his life earlier in the day at Whistler, but the sense of hope and spirit was felt throughout the opening.

There were many special moments. For example, Yellowknife's Shane Koyczan's poem 'We Are More' captured the hearts and souls of Canadians as he read: "We are young; we are cultures strung together then woven into a tapestry. And the design is what makes us more than the sum totals of our history. We are an experiment going right for a change."

A commentator also noted during the show that Canada could be one of the most diverse nations to hold such Games. Diversity is Canada's strength and we have collectively proven not only to ourselves, but to other lands that everyone has a place. Until I came across this. Reading an article by Alden E. Habacon in the Georgia Straight, he said it fails short of being multicultural.

To tell you the truth, I was a bit surprised myself.

After the ceremonies, I was wondering where were the Bhangra dancers? Did I miss something? Everyone loves Bhangra.

Some of the French-Canadians were also muttering about the lack of their culture in the program. It would have been nice to see more Chinese, French and South Asian content to bring an accurate cross- representation of Canada's and B.C.'s population.

Don't get me wrong. First Nations, along with the many other performers, did a first-class job. Just equal partnership would of been multicultural.

Keith and Kelley Chalmers of Mission attended the opening and shared these words: " The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was sensational, we felt very blessed to be at B.C. Place for such a moving event. Perhaps the best part was the Four Nations Aboriginal dancers that performed throughout the 82 Country introductions. The crowd at B.C. Place enthusiastically took part by wearing white smocks to allow the audience to be painted by lights creating various visual effects while they were also beating drums and shining special flashlights to create thunder storms, and the Northern Lights."

We should all be proud of what we have accomplished. We showcased ourselves to the world and our family, along with many others will never forget this event, said Chalmers.

- Kulwinder Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsfor & Mission TImes. Contact him at

© Abbotsford Times 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ken Herar, Wally Oppal and Tok Herar at 2007 Cultural Diversity Awards..

Herar Tennis Classic Entry Form

A bunch of stuff....

Tok Herar cutting the Mission Rotary Centennial Cake..

Kuldip Herar being honored for her kindness and thoughtfulness

Mission should host the BC Games

Fitness story..

Snapshots of Herman Braich, Naranjan Grewal, Indar Gill, Paul Dhaliwal...

Mission losses great community Sikh leader Major Rai..

Proud tradition..

Politics for the wrong reasons..

Herar Lane

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let's focus on the positives. Comments from Wendy McCormick and Polly Betterton..

Spirit stays long after flame

Kulwinder Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, February 12, 2010

Abbotsford/Mission residents should hold their heads high as the 21st Winter Olympiad opens today at BC Place. Everyone did a fantastic job with record crowds in both communities.

Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to capture, via Internet, runner by runner as they carried the torch through the streets of Abbotsford. There were tons of supporters who took to the sidewalks cheering our heroes closer to the finish line.

The celebrations that took place after each runner completed his/her distance was captured on my computer screen across the river in Mission. There were hugs, little dances, high fives and many other moves. The online service was eventually stopped as they entered the 15,000-plus packed Rotary Stadium.

The following day, the torch run was celebrated bright and early in Mission. The spirit was high and the place was jam-packed with thousands crowding First Avenue.

"Yet the mood of the growing crowd was infectious. Everyone was happy. Neither of us could see much, but we enjoyed the entertainment," said my former Grade 5 teacher, Polly Betterton. Wendy McCormick, Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture said: "The Olympic torch celebration was fantastic, we had a wonderful morning and were certainly overwhelmed with the number of people that showed up to experience the flame. We estimate approximately 9,000 people came out on Monday morning.

"We have had nothing but positive feedback from those who participated. I am so very proud of all the volunteers."

Over the next several weeks we should focus on the positives in our communities showing our visitors some of the great contributions Canadians are making. Here is an inspiring local story:

Heart to Heart is an Abbotsford-based charity that operates a school, church and orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti. The recent earthquakes in Haiti have devastated the Heart to Heart facility along with much of Grand Goave.

Over the last two weeks, Heart to Heart working with the Vineyard Church has been able to partner with many local organizations to raise funds and gather rice donations for Haitian relief, including the Abbotsford School District # 34, the Mennonite Educational Institute, St. Jean Brebeuf Secondary School, Dasmesh Punjabi School and many others. To donate or for more information:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

End cultural ghettos...

Tok and Daljit Herar collecting..

Losing a tight match to former Canadian champ..

Grand Prix tennis..

Tok and Ken Herar on one side of the net...

Herar first in tennis tourney...

Remembering good friend Billy Gill ..

44 years of local activity and counting..

Tok Herar's backhand slice..

Daljit and Ken Herar take titles..

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another shot at BC medals..

Second term for party president..

Herar wins again..

Supporting Indo- Canadian Studies at UFV..

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Tok Herar and UBC Grad Daljit Herar

2010 Olympics are here, its our time to shine..

Long time coming, but the Games are finally here

Kulwinder Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, February 05, 2010

Back by popular demand on the requests of many readers, I will be using my real legal name once again as my column signature. You know the rules: Kulwinder or Ken, just not Kenny please.

I am super excited about the Olympic torch coming to Mission on Feb. 8. Yes, it's finally here folks. The time has come for everyone to get on this bandwagon and embrace the 2010 Olympics. I realize there is much opposition and rightfully so. But, there will be plenty of time after the two-week event for post-game discussions. Let's welcome the 80-plus countries competing in these Games with some Canadian style. It's for the athletes and coaches who have trained for countless years to come to Canada and hopefully earn their place on the podium. If you don't agree with the Olympics or the money spent - that's fine. Point made. Some should remember 64 per cent of Vancouver residents voted in a referendum accepting the responsibilities of host city in February of 2003. On that point, there is no better place in the world than Vancouver-Whistler to host thousands of talented Olympians

I still recall getting up that morning on July 2, 2003 to hear the International Olympic committee's decision.

It was between two cities: Vancouver and PyeongChang, South Korea. PyeongChang had the most votes on the first ballot beating Vancouver 51- 40. On the second ballot Vancouver overtook PyeongChang 56-53. I almost fell off my couch with excitement when IOC president Jacques Rogge said "Vancouver". I couldn't believe it.

Seven years have passed and final preparations are underway to make these the best Games ever. The Olympic flame is on the final leg of its 106-day journey before the Feb. 12 lighting in downtown Vancouver, visiting more than 1,030 communities over the past several months. It will be here in Abbotsford on Sunday, Feb. 7 at Rotary Stadium from 5:45- 8 p.m. and spectators will be treated to lively local entertainment that includes award-winning vocalists the Sabir Sisters, native dance groups Hannah and the Inukshuks and much more.

Local resident Gerry Swan has been named as Abbotsford's community torchbearer. He will have the honour of lighting the community cauldron during the show.

My alarm clock is ready to ring and I am planning to get up bright and early, put on my red Canada baseball hat and whatever else I can find that says Sea of Red as we welcom the torch to Mission. My huge Canadian flag sounds like a terrific patriotic symbol to wave.

The Olympic Torch Committee will be hosting a community celebration on First Avenue this Monday, Feb. 8 from 5-6:30 a.m.

"For all the kids who get out of bed bright and early we have 1,000 small torches, Coke hand flags, car flags, Olympic tattoos and buttons, Olympic torch flags, and much more. RBC bank has free handouts and Hemlock Resort will be on sight with free Olympic souvenirs," said Mission Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture Wendy McCormick, who has been diligently chairing the Experience the Flame celebrations.

It's our time to shine.

Abbotsford Times 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dating bidding wars..never do that again.. how embarrasing

Kehar Singh Braich and Tok Herar raising funds for crematorium..

Speaking with Kris Foulds from the Reach Gallery during my blog research...

Ken Herar: Call him Mr. Tennis..

It's all about building a community..

It's all about building a community

Ken Herar, The Times

Published: Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I received probably the nicest e-mail from a reader that I can recall in many years. It read as follows:"You don't know me but I have been reading your columns in the Abbotsford Times for a long time. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your columns as they are quite informative and could be beneficial for the community at large in a variety of ways. I also wanted to say thank you for your involvement with community, especially young kids as you did a little while ago with an essay competition about diversity. I hope you keep doing this for a long time."

Thank you, for such inspiring words and just for your knowledge I have no intentions on leaving in the foreseeable future. One of the reasons I am committing myself for another year is I want to continue to build on our discussions of building an inclusive, diverse community. I still have many people to speak to and topics to explore here at home. Don't get me wrong, we have come a long way in Abbotsford/Mission, but it's still far from perfect.

I just recently created an online blog allowing for a continued discussion on this model.

It sets up a stage beyond our borders were people can plug into our progress on community building anywhere in the world.

Kris Foulds, collections manager at the Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has been patiently assisting me with my research on microfilm dating back to 1995.

Harwant Brar, who was doing his research on the history of the local Sikh's shared his comments with me: "it is important what you are doing because we are creating history."

Foulds said: "A big part of my job as The Reach's collections manager is documenting the stories or an artifact and share those stories in exhibits and programs. Research is a major part of being able to do that and an aspect of my job that I enjoy most. I enjoy helping visitors to the archives try to document their own or family history. I invariably learn something during the process and the researcher leaves with a sense of his or her place in the community, something to share with their family and great dinnertime conversation material."

The archives is a great place to visit and I encourage anyone with an afternoon to spare to make an appointment and come in and check it out, said Foulds.

Social media is the way of the future and there is an opportunity for everyone to publish and post. All they have to do is develop trust with their audience.

Feel free to visit me at:

- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford & Mission Times. Contact him at

© Abbotsford Times 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tok Herar and Gus Cheema and Abbotsford Mayor George Ferguson celebrating the opening of the 'Brooklyn'

1985- Athlete of the Year

Winning a Silver Medal at the Games

Please help find Poonam Randhawa killer and lets put him behind bars where he belongs ...

Welcome to Canada....

A nice letter of support from a reader....

Hi Ken,

You don't know me but I have been reading your columns in Abby Times for a long time and now I have seen you contribute in Punjabi Patrika. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading those columns as they are quite informative and could be beneficial for the community at large in a variety of ways. I also wanted to say thank you for your involvement with community, especially young kids as you did a little while ago with an essay competition about diversity.

I also have some strong views on various topics involving our local community and its issues, that's why I enjoy reading such material.

I hope you keep doing this for a long time.