Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is it time we elect a South Asian from the Fraser Valley and send him/her to Victoria or Ottawa?

Are South Asians In The Lime Light Or Sidelines?


 I can’t help but ponder when it comes to politics…are South Asians just standing pretty on the sidelines? With respect to the  Moe Gill and BC Liberal fiasco the bottom line here is Gill should have been an opportunity to a fair nomination process -something he has been working at for some time. Don’t get me wrong Darryl Plecas and Gill would be both outstanding candidates. I am looking at this controversy from a totally different perspective and that is it would have been historical to seen a candidate from the South Asian community who would have had a reasonable chance of getting elected and representing us in Victoria. Unfortunately, the Fraser Valley region has always struggled to get ethnic minorities elected to public office whether it be to Victoria or Ottawa. Until a city like Abbotsford which is one of most diverse communities in Canada elects someone from the South Asian community being the largest visible minority group in the area the cultural divide will continue to exist in many forms. A hurdle that has yet to be conquered. Here was a perfect calling and it was unfortunately taken away undemocratically. In a nutshell, too many South Asian candidates have ran provincially and federally in the past, but were never in a position to win in the first place. This has to change and running to lose shouldn’t be an option if we are going to break cultural barriers. I am not suggesting we strictly vote on someone’s race, but if there is an opportunity to bring new voices and ethnic backgrounds into the political discussion our community becomes a better place because of it. For this to all become a reality there has to be also stronger unity within the South Asian community as a whole.
This leads us the big question: Are South Asians taken seriously in the political game or they just people who watch on the sidelines and vote every four years? Well, they have certainly watched for a long time here in the Valley and it’s time for this to change.

Ken Herar is a Champion of Diversity and also the Founder of Cycling4Diversity. He can be reached at or at his blog at

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Audio interview with LifeTime Learning Centre on our families journey

Mission History – The Sikh Community

August 15, 2012 − by LLC_Admin − in Education, Industry & Business, Multicultural Traditions, My Story, Oral History − No Comments
Ken and Tok Herar discuss their family’s immigration to Canada. They explain the factors that led to the decision to leave India, how they arranged to immigrate to Canada, the reasons for their desire to come to Canada and why they chose to settle in Mission in particular. They discuss the history of the growth and development of the Sikh community in Mission, the state of the Sikh business community, and such community institutiions as the Gurdwara and school.
Title: Mission History – The Sikh Community
Box: I
File: 9
Topic: The Mission Sikh Community
Interviewer: Susan Mathieson
Interviee(s): Ken Herar, Tok Herar
Date: June 15, 2005
Scope: 1 audio tape
Length: 90 min.
Summary: The interviewees discuss how and why they immigrated to Canada and Mission, business, the Mission Sikh community, temple and school

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let's stop Fireworks in neighborhoods during Halloween and Diwali.


Fireworks, talent show and solid Samaritans

The use of fireworks is still a major concern and illegal in our communities. In Abbotsford, more than 50 pounds were seized during Halloween by Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service.
On that day, I had to walk over to the neighbour's and ask them politely to stop firing their missiles over people's homes for safety reasons. The answer I received in return from the father of the kids was, "Don't worry, they're being careful."
Also during Diwali, explosions could be heard loud and clear from all over, causing much discomfort for residents and animals.
My dog was terrified and ran from room to room for hours, barking non-stop.
Since we all live in this town, we need to think about our neighbours and the people who live around us. I don't care if it's Halloween or any other celebration, the fact remains that fireworks are illegal.
 I attended the Sada Virsa Sa-da Gaurav Bhangra Club talent show in Abbotsford last week as judges. The students prepared speeches on Diwali and Sikh soldiers in the Canadian Army. This club is a non-profit organization which promotes Punjabi culture through teaching Punjabi folk dance (Bhangra and Gidhha), and Punjabi cultural values.
SVSG Bhangra Club was formed in 2001 by Jas-bir Singh Pannu, who said, "Sada Virsa Sada Gaurav enforces a drug-free message, hoping to instill enough self-respect and confidence in the young dancers to resist the temptation to engage in drug and gang activity that may lure them in their teens."
The team of judges were extremely impressed by the children's talent and the time and effort they put into each topic. Selecting a winner was not easy.
I'd like to make special mention of two people in our community who went out of their way to make the lives of others better. I don't know their names but their actions speak louder than words.
A couple weeks ago an ad was put in the Times regarding a miniature schnauzer that had been lost and picked up. The lady who found the dog made every effort to find the owner so they could be reunited with their pet.
Through her diligence in trying to do something good, the owners saw the ad and were able to be reconnected with their dog.
Just this past week I gave an anniversary card. They placed it in there purse and was running around town doing errands and it accidentally fell out.
She later realized it was missing and called one of the shops. Thankfully it was picked up by someone and left at the shop to be picked up. We are both grateful to the woman who took the time to do this and now we have it back.
Doing a good deed, even when you don't know the person, can mean a great deal to someone else.
 Ken Herar is a freelance columnist, writing for the Times.