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ISSN 2371-2481 July-August 2016 Vol. 11 Issue 4 $4.95








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Recognizing history in the making, this issue of AAJ Magazine is a very special one for myself and the rest of the South Asian community. First and foremost, we would like to shed light on the Komagata Maru incident, a tragic event that took place more than a century ago. This past May, the Canadian government issued a formal apology in the House of Commons. I am honoured to have witnessed this historical event because of all the people who pushed for justice.

We highlight leaders in the community including Jazzy B who will be receiving recognition from the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, with an induction to the Star Walk of Fame. As well we reflect on the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali who will forever be remembered. Let us take a moment to recognize the history being created both locally and internationally, through this special issue. Thank you once again to all of our readers, we hope you enjoy our content!

THE TEAM Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu

P: 604.590.0007 E: info@aajmag.ca AAJ Media Group Surrey, BC ISSN 2371-2481

Editors Navkiran Brar Matt WIlliams Investigative Journalist Salim Jiwa Travel Correspondence Nalini Bhui Editorial Lima Abedin Sonal Bakshi Ruby Bassi Nerinder Bains Jordan Bateman Jai Birdi Jaskiran Brar Navkiran Brar


Preet Dhaliwal Harvey Kooner Lisette Mai Sunny Mangat Imtiaz Popat Jaspal Randhawa Ashwani Sharma Esha Singh Jahnavi Singh Alexander Williams Matt Williams Ofir Vaisman Madhu Varshney Design & Layout Brugge Design Adrian Brugge Principle Designer Advertising & Sales Paul Baraich Kelly Uppal Paul Baraich Steve Sandhu Sonali Pangalia Suki Pangalia

Jay Nair Jaswinder Saggi Jyotika Jasuja Distribution: Sahil Pangalia Photography Aziz Ladha Adrian Brugge Sonali Pangalia Imperial Photo Studio Images Credits 123RF Pixabay Thank You! Sandiya Prasad Sasha Ramnarine Dr. Paramjit Bhui Nalini Bhui Dr. Raj Bhui

AAJ Magazine is published by AAJ Media Group, doing business as AAJ Magazine Inc. AAJ is a magazine that is published every two months. Any reproduction of the magazine, editorial content, images or advertisements cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without written permission of the Publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not the views of the Publishers or AAJ Media Group. The Publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright 2015 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved.

IN THIS ISSUE HEALTH Good Habits for Good Sleep 15 A Dietitian’s Tips for Healthy Celebrations 19 FEATURE ARTICLES The Komagata Maru 22 Immigration from the Pages of History 31 POLITICS & LAW Dalit Assertion- Strategic Considerations 36 The Problems with Pricing 40 What is a Nation and When Does it Become a State? 42 BUSINESS Negative Effects of Technological Advancement 47 Committed to Making a Difference 50 WORLD The Unforgettable Trip to India 54 FASHION & BEAUTY Makeup Tips 59

CULTURE Goodbye Letter Writing, Hello Social Media 62 Surrey Gangs 64 Genes vs Race vs Culture 66 FAMILY Divorce to Happiness 69 Cyberbullying 72 Stop Sexual Abuse in the South Asian Community 75 AUTOMOTIVE Share the Road With Motorcycles this Summer 76 After the Accident 80 AAJ PROFILES Businessman Bruce Kehler Supports Local Youth 86 Q & A with Perminder Chohan of Desjardins Financial 88 Burneet Bisal 91 Nana’s Kitchen 92 South Asian Pride Shines 94 The accomplished Jazzy B 96 On Scene with AAJ Magazine 99

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AAJ Magazine is published by AAJ Media Group, doing business as AAJ Magazine Inc. AAJ is a magazine that is published every two months. Any reproduction of the magazine, editorial content, images or advertisements cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without written permission of the Publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not the views of the Publishers or AAJ Media Group. The Publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright 2015 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved.


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Early in the morning of May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver. She carried 376 passengers, all of whom came to Canada with the same dream of a better life for their families. It was a Saturday. After months at sea, you can imagine the hope they felt when they finally saw land and arrived at Burrard Inlet. And you can only imagine how they felt when they were turned away. In fact, they weren’t even allowed to dock, sitting in the harbour for two months before heading back to India. They were denied the same chance at a better life granted to thousands of others simply because of their ethnicity, and the colour of their skin. For 100 years, we have been trying to atone. Thankfully, attitudes changed. South Asian immigrants and their children have become pillars of their communities in towns and cities across Canada and British Columbia. This obviously represents progress – but it’s worth pointing out that, for the Komagata Maru passengers, it came too late. When you think about the accomplishments South Asians have made in this country over the past 100 years, you can’t help but wonder what opportunities we missed. What contributions would the Komagata Maru passengers have made? What would their descendants have accomplished here? We’ll never know. In 2008, the B.C. government joined with the opposition to pass a motion of deep regret. And this year, Prime Minister Trudeau apologized on behalf of the entire country. These events transcend politics. And they serve as an important reminder to us, and to future generations that we must value, respect, and welcome all immigrants who seek to build their lives here. They enrich our communities and culture, and strengthen our economy – and make our country better. And by coming here, they have given Canada and Canadians the highest possible honour, entrusting us with nothing less than their future, and that of their children. We have learned a lot since the Komagata Maru was turned away. We owe it to the next generation to make sure they never repeat these mistakes.

Christy Clark Premier of British Columbia


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GOOD HABITS FOR GOOD SLEEP Our internal clocks follow a 24-hour cycle of light and dark (i.e. the circadian rhythm), and require us to have one major episode of sleep during the night lasting about 8 hours (ranging between 6-9 hours). Due to variations, it is up to the individual to determine how much sleep he or she requires. Your ideal amount of sleep can be determined by assessing whether or not you feel rested in the morning and alert during the day.



Changes in sleep across the lifetime

Depending on the age and health of the individual, it typically takes about 10-20 minutes to fall asleep. Thereafter, the sleeper will cycle through 5 stages of sleep throughout the night. Approximately 50-60% of the night is spent in stage 2 sleep (light sleep). Stages 3 and 4 occur mostly in the first half of the night. REM sleep approximately every 90 minutes, and therefore, the sleeper can experience 4-5 REM sleep episodes per night.

The amount of sleep that an individual needs changes throughout his or her lifetime. An infant needs as much as 16 hours of sleep per day. Adolescents sleep an average of 9 hours per night, and prefer to go to sleep later and wake up later than adults. Since school schedules typically do not accommodate for this sleeping pattern, teenagers tend to be chronically sleep deprived. Adults tend to sleep quite efficiently (i.e. they sleep at regular clock times, fall asleep quickly, and have very



What is a typical night’s sleep?


March 2016

STAGE 1 Transition to sleep

Lasts about 5 minutes. Eyes move slowly under the eyelids, muscle activity slows down you are easily awakened

STAGE 2 Light sleep

This is the first stage of true sleep Lasts 10-25 minutes. Your eye movement stops heart rate slows body temperature decreases

STAGE 3 Deep sleep

Deep sleep begins Brain begins to generate slow delta waves

STAGE 4 Very deep sleep

Rhythmic breathing limited muscle activity Brain produces delta waves


Rapid eye movement Brain waves speed up and dreaming occurs Muscles relax and become temporarily paralyzed Heart rate increases Breathing is rapid and shallow.


little wakefulness during the night). Lifestyle factors and behaviors, however, can disrupt sleep in otherwise healthy adults. Later in life, sleep duration decreases (about 5 hours per night on average) and there is less time spent in deep sleep. Arousals during the night are more frequent and last longer, therefore there is an increased tendency towards daytime napping.

Avoid napping. If napping is unavoidable, limit them to 20 minutes, earlier in the day.

Use the bedroom only for sleep and sexual activity. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials outside of your bedroom will help strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.

What about naps?

Maintain a sleep-inducing environment by keeping the bedroom cool, quite, and dark. Avoid bright-light exposure (from television, computer, and phone screen) during the night. Lower the volume of outside noise with ear plugs, and use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block out any light.

Develop a relaxing bedtime routine: -- Drink a cup of warm, herbal tea -- Draw yourself a hot bath -- Read a book -- Listen to soothing music

Go to sleep when you are truly tired. If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed,

Naps are a common occurrence in toddlers, however by age 6-12 years old, children should be opting for one long period of sleep at night. Naps are acceptable for individuals who do not have difficulty falling asleep/staying asleep at night. If you have difficulty sleeping, napping throughout the day may take away fro your total sleep at night. The optimal duration of a nap is 10-20 minutes. 20 minutes should be enough to feel rested, but is short enough so as to not interfere with your nighttime sleep or your alertness upon waking.

Sleep Hygiene •

Try and maintain a regular bedtime and waking time, even on weekends

6 hours Stop drinking coffee

3 hours Stop drinking alcohol

2 Hours 1 Hours Bedtime Stop exercising

Turn off electronics

Go to bed



go to another room, and do something relaxing (e.g. bedtime routine tips) until you are tired enough to sleep. •

C a f f e i n e : Av o i d c a f f e i n e 4-6 hours before bedtime

Nicotine: Refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime

Alcohol: Although alcohol may induce sleep, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant, increasing the number of awakenings and decreasing the quality of sleep. Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per day (or less) and avoid drinking within three hours of bedtime.

Reduce fluid intake for several hours before bedtime to decrease the need to urinate during the night.

Avoid heavy meals just before bed.

Regular exercise, especially during the late afternoon or early evening, may help promote sleep. A hot bath or sauna at least several hours before bedtime may be helpful.

Turn the clock face away and do not check the time if you wake up at night.

ESHA SINGH, ND CAND. 2017 is a student of naturopathic medicine,a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer and has worked for many years in the fitness industry, focusing on women’s and geriatric fitness.


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March 2016




HEALTHY CELEBRATIONS As the wedding season approaches, families look forward to the pre-nuptial festivities, and enjoy eating an assortment of flavourful food such as; pakoray, samosa, jalebi, gulab jamun, butter chicken, and even mango shakes. Relatives and friends will enjoy the days of family gatherings alongside the variety of food. The following information can help you make an informed decision when choosing foods for you and your family and can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.

Eating all these foods in one day can take a toll on your body as they are high in carbohydrates and fats. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Our body converts carbohydrates into energy; however, when simple carbohydrates are eaten in excess they can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol and weight gain. Simple carbohydrates are found in sweets, potatoes, roti, white pasta and noodles, pizza, white atta and rice. These foods spike the blood sugar and digest quickly, leaving you hungry shortly after. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, vegetables, dahls, nuts and seeds. They are high in fiber so they digest slowly, thus helping control blood sugars, managing weight and may also lower cholesterol. aajmag.ca


So when you are attending a reception and reach for a samosa, it is like eating four teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of fat. Pick up three pakoray, which will be like another three teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of fat. Add something sweet and deep fried like a jilebi, you are looking at three more teaspoons of sugar and almost three teaspoons of fat. Grab a cup of chai made with homogenized milk and two teaspoons of sugar; it is like drinking three teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of fat.

To put that into perspective, an average healthy adult with no health problems should aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. This can be two slices of bread, one small banana, ½ cup of yogurt. It can also be one six inch roti, ½ cup aloo sabji, ½ cup yogurt, salad and one small apple. To help keep your eating in check during celebrations have a healthy snack before you go, take a bottle of water to drink or put an apple in your pocket to snack on to help keep you from feeling hungry.

Fraser Health’s South Asian Health Institute (SAHI) is working to raise awareness and educate the community that self- management can be used as preventative tool to living a healthy lifestyle. Making small changes to your diet can make a huge impact on your health. This information is not to deter you from enjoying the auspicious festivities, but a reminder to consume the foods we enjoy in moderation.





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THE KOMAGATA MARU The end of a tragic story, closure, a renewal of faith and new beginnings of hope!

"The difference between the most evolved species Homo-Sapiens and the other species is the ability to see, plan and do right, with a moral conscience and dignity. It is never too late to apologize, heal and correct a wrong. That is the civilized world we currently choose to live in." Eight years after the BC legislature took its first step towards righting a wrong perpetuated more than a century ago, the federal government followed suit.


March 2016


Immigration for a better life is an age old concept. We are told that, in 1914, Canada accepted a record high number of people around 400,000. However, they were all from Europe. Not even a single person was from South-East Asia particularly from India. The Komagata Maru became a test of Canada’s increasingly strict immigration policies. The incident is a living example of the violation of human rights, racism and exclusionary immigration policies of the British Raj at that time. The continuous passage regulation, instituted by the Canadian government in 1908 stated that immigrants must “come from the country of their birth, or citizenship, by a continuous journey and using tickets purchased before leaving the country of their birth or citizenship�. The problem was, that no steamships travelled directly between Calcutta and Vancouver. The policies were specifically designed to curb the flow of Indian Immigrants in the early 20th century. Baba Gurdit Singh Sarhali decided to tackle the discriminatory regulations imposed on Indians, by physically reaching the Canadian border and challenging the law. He chartered a ship called the Komagata Maru to sail to Canada but, was unjustly arrested by the Hong Kong authorities and imprisoned for a few months. The allegations made by the Governor General were that, he had sold tickets for an illegal journey. This further solidified his determination to reach Canada by all means. Two months later, the ship was allowed to leave Hong Kong waters. The

arduous journey started on April 04, 1914 from Hong Kong, via Shanghai (China) to Yokohama (Japan) and finally ended in Vancouver (British Columbia). One hundred and two years ago on May 23, 1914 the steamship Komagata Maru with 376 Indian passengers comprising of 90.4% Sikhs, 6.4% Muslims and 3.2% Hindus landed in the Burrard Inlet on the coast of Vancouver, hoping for a brighter future. The then British Raj in India, being desirous of the support of all Indians in the impending World War 1, permitted passage for these individuals from one British colony to another i.e. India to Canada. However, Komagata Maru was denied entry by the Canadian authorities. Only 24 passengers were allowed entry into Canada others were turned back. Although the Captain started a lawsuit in the courts of law in Vancouver, the case was dismissed on a legal technicality. Entry was refused and on July 23, 1914 the ship was forced to return to the country of its origin. During those two months, it was the Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver that provided them with food and essential supplies. Noteworthy however, is the fact that any British subject was legally permitted to travel to another British colony. Yet, in order to circumvent this legal right, the Canadian legislature quickly passed a bill in parliament changing the law to allow only direct passage from one British colony to another. They took advantage of the fact that 23

...in 2006 Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal Member of Parliament for Surrey - Newton started this process of an apology in federal parliament.

the ship had stopped at both Japan (from where the ship was chartered), and Port Hong Kong before proceeding to British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian government then had the B.C. Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s own) to enforce this order of containment and extradition. Upon their arrival in India, on the basis of misinformation, some British officials went to arrest the Captain Mr. Gurdit Singh Sarhali. When the other passengers went forward to protect him, the British Raj army fired upon these unfortunate souls as they embarked from the ship in the Port of Calcutta. Without any proof they were dubbed to be freedom fighters and hence potential mischief makers. This resulted in many fairly serious casualities. Obviously the shame, sadness, bitterness and anger created many problems for the victims and their families. This was known as the Budge-Budge riot. So, a story of hope and survival ended in heartache and tragedy as twenty six passengers were shot dead, some were imprisoned in their villages and several others imprisoned to an unknown fate in the much feared ‘Kaalapani prison’ on Anarkalli Island. Other pertinent facts in this timeline, show that the Province of BC under Premier Gordon Campbell, contributed $20,000 to the Komagata Maru Foundation of Canada in 1990 for an historical and educational video to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Komagata Maru. The Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation a non-political, non-


profit organization formed (1990) to preserve the memory of South Asian Canadian pioneers, while promoting the continued growth of an open, tolerant, and 'just society'. In 2002, Sahiv Thind, founder of the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, presented a petition to the Canadian Parliament signed by thousands of Canadians demanding an official acknowledgement and apology for this unfortunate incident on Canadian soil. The Komagata Maru Tragedy remains an open grievance of the community. The healing process for the community can only begin with a respectful and honorable apology in the Canadian Parliament. Mr. Gurmant Grewal represented them and raised the issue on the hill, six times starting in 1997. Despite much ridicule, Mr. Moe Sihota pursued this cause fairly consistently during his tenure in the BC legislature. Then, in 2006 Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal Member of Parliament for Surrey - Newton started this process of an apology in federal parliament. Next, in 2007, the late Jack Layton and his party called for an official apology from the Government of Canada in the House of Commons. The B.C. Legislature under the premiership of Mr. Gordon Campbell, took the first step to correct this wrong with house leader Mike De Jong making a formal apology during its sitting in 2008 on the 94th anniversary of the incident. Attorney General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism Mr. Wally Oppal expressed regret at the incident. “Today, this country and, particularly

this province, embraces immigration and immigrants, no matter their point of origin or ethnicity,” said Dave S. Hayer, then Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Immigration. “This motion is another step forward to right the wrongs of yesterday.” In 2008 then Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in public at a major event ‘The Gadri Babiyan Da Mela’ at the Bear Creek park in Surrey B.C. The statement addressed the government's treatment of hundreds of South Asians that came by boat in the 1990s. However, Nimrat Randhawa, the great granddaughter of the ill – fated ship’s captain said that a formal apology would only be valid if the story ended where it began - that is, in the House of Commons in Ottawa. She refused to be satisfied by an apology anywhere else. This was echoed by Jaswinder and Raj Toor of Surrey BC also descendants of one of the passengers on that ill-fated vessel. The federal government had already apologized to the Chinese, First Nations and Japanese communities in Parliament. It was felt that to be fair to the Indo – Canadian community the apology must come formally in the House as well and not at a public event in BC. Rona Ambrose leader of the opposition spoke eloquently supporting Prime Minister Trudeau and said, “Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to join with Prime Minister Hon. Justin Trudeau and all members of the House in gathering to reflect on a tragic chapter in our country's history.

As Canadians, we have always taken pride in our country's commitment to our shared values of justice, freedom, tolerance, and respect for human rights. We are rightly proud of our country's openness to newcomers from all over the world. Canada has been enriched by the generations of hard-working men and women who have come to our country to seek a better life. Ours is a society that offers opportunity for all, regardless of one's background. It is a life free from the violence, persecution, and insecurity that so many have been forced to flee. However, there have been times when Canada has not fulfilled these aspirations. We must recognize and try to set right those periods in our past when we have not lived up to our values. We have to reflect on and learn from times in which Canada acted unjustly. The tragic events that we are gathered here today to remember was one of those lapses…It is for that refusal that the Canadian government, and all of us here, stand today to recognize the terrible events that occurred when Canada failed to accept those seeking shelter in a new home. This side of the House welcomes today's apology. We wish to join with the government in offering a deep and sincere commitment to honour the memories of those who suffered and to learn the lessons of this tragedy. Today's apology is the culmination of a process of recognition that began with steps taken by our previous Conservative government about a decade ago. This process began with the previous prime minister's

In 2002 Sahib Thind, founder of the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, presented a petition to the Canadian Parliament signed by thousands of Canadians demanding an official acknowledgement and apology


“It’s an honour to sit as a Member of Parliament in the very chambers that created, debated and enacted the laws that excluded and deliberately prevented our ancestors from trying to make Canada their home – it showcases how far Canada has come in the 102 years since”. Randeep Sarai,

MP for Surrey Centre


public recognition of the injustice committed against the passengers of the Komagata Maru in 2006. It was followed by his apology to the community in Vancouver in 2008. That marked the first time the Government of Canada gave official recognition of this tragedy, and the recognition was backed up by a deep and meaningful commitment to never let the memory of this event fade. The federal government in 2006, created the community historical recognition program, which offered support to Indo-Canadian groups seeking to acknowledge, commemorate, and educate Canadians about the Komagata Maru. This program supported the development of books, documentaries, websites, and other resources so that future generations could learn from this tragic event. Our government was also very proud to support the first public museum dedicated to the Komagata Maru, opened at the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver, in 2012, and the first public monument in Vancouver's Harbour Green Park. In 2014, we were all proud in the House when Canada Post commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru with a special stamp. It is through actions like these that we sought to recognize this historic injustice and ensure that future generations understood the mistake that was made. We took these actions because we want to live up to our own values. We cannot change the past, but we can demonstrate that Canada has changed. No nation can grow without re-examining our

past and seeking to move beyond our ancient prejudices. We can show those communities, who have been wronged, that their tragedies are understood and their experiences are valued…” “The face of Canada is somewhat better represented now in our Parliament than years before,” says Moe Sihota. “With that comes a collective understanding, sympathy and appreciation of the significance of these events and the need to apologize for them.” To quote Mr. Gurmant Grewal representing the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Society, “Though the historical wrongs can never be undone but the apology acknowledges and redresses the wrong, expresses the regrets on behalf of the lawmakers in parliament; and would serve as a reminder to the future generations assuring that racial discrimination must not be tolerated. Apology heals the long left open wound, restores the dignity of the oppressed community and would help pave the way for better integration of cultural communities in the most multicultural country of the world – we proudly call Canada, whose major strength today is diversity”. In 1914, Nimrat Randhawa’s greatgreat grandfather chartered the ship Komagata Maru, filled it with 376 Indian passengers, nearly all of them Sikhs, and they sailed to the shores of British Columbia in search of a new life. Her family member was turned away. Fast forward more than a century and South Asians are

the single largest visible minority community in the country. Statistics Canada estimates that they will represent one in every three people in the Toronto area alone by 2031. The community influence is also obvious in Ottawa with 23 South Asians, 17 of them Sikh, elected last fall. Randhawa watched the apology from the public gallery and said that it, “Proves that the Canada her family moved to is entirely different from the one that rejected them all those years ago. We can say that Canada is a multicultural community,” she said, “but when you start to see things like this happen, you realize that it actually is.” On May 18th 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Mr. Justin Trudeau made a formal apology in the Parliament in Ottawa. He stated that, “A century ago, the Defence minister Mr. Harj Sajjan’s family might well have been turned away from Canada. Today, the minister is an essential member of this government and sits beside us, here, in this House. Canada cannot solely be blamed for every tragic mistake that occurred with the Komagata Maru and its passengers. But Canada’s government was, without question, responsible for the laws that prevented these passengers from immigrating peacefully and securely. For that, and for every regrettable consequence that followed, we are sorry. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident. More than a century ago, a great injustice took place. Just as we apologize for past wrongs, so

too must we commit ourselves to positive action — to learning from the mistakes of the past, and to making sure that we never repeat them.” A thunderous, unanimous standing ovation followed both by the specially invited guests and public in the galleries visiting from across the country, as well as all members present and across all parties. Mr. Randeep Sarai, MP for SurreyCentre, applauded the Government’s apology regarding the incident. His official statement was, “As of yesterday our government has created an Office of Human Rights, Freedoms, and Inclusion (OHRFI) so we can protect human rights at home and abroad, and today will be a historic day for the story of the Komagata Maru, for all the descendants of the passengers and their families, and for Canada. There will be no tolerance for racism, discrimination, and exclusion by this government and we are committed to carrying through on those values together” “The Komagata Maru incident hits close to home for myself and my family as, my wife’s ( maiden name Sarabjeet Sidhu) great grandfather, Narang Singh from Munday Pind in Punjab, was a passenger on the Komagata Maru ship. Upon his return to India he was shot at but, thankfully survived. He had returned to an uncertain fate.

"The Komagata Maru is an important part of both Canada's and British Columbia's history that we must never forget. Christy Clark

Premier of British Columbia

The apology today fulfills a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Trudeau many months ago to the families of the descendants” “It’s an honour to sit as a Member of 27

Parliament in the very chambers that created, debated and enacted the laws that excluded and deliberately prevented our ancestors from trying to make Canada their home – it showcases how far Canada has come in the 102 years since”.

“Whether you came one hundred years ago or ten years ago, everybody had to start somewhere. And those struggles weren’t easy. But look at, in this country, how quickly from those struggles we can achieve things”. Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defense


BCs Premier Christy Clark in 2016 the only invited Canadian premier, who led the BC delegation to the apology in Ottawa observed that, "The Komagata Maru is an important part of both Canada's and British Columbia's history that we must never forget. In our great province and country, it is vital to remain steadfast in our goal to create an inclusive environment for all cultures that celebrates diversity and refuses to tolerate racism and hatred.” A sentiment echoed by many. “He’s got honour now,” said Jasminder Singh Ghuman (relative of Sukhi Ghuman from VIBC), travelled from British Columbia to pay tribute to his grandfather, Dhyan Singh Ghuman, who was one of the passengers. Min. Harjit Sajjan said the Sikh community across Canada has long awaited this apology in the House of Commons. “It’s a great way to have closure…but look at the success of Canada and how fast we’ve progressed as well,” he said. The irony of this story is that it was the very same BC Regiment that enforced the oppressive law on the ship’s passengers and turned them around in 1914, had as its commanding leader Mr. Harj Sajjan in 2011 and who currently, is the Defence Minister for the whole country of Canada.

Rightfully, PM Trudeau points to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as an example of how far Canada has come in the span of one century. To quote Min. Harjit Sajjan, “Bardish, Nav , Raj and I (we) are here today to make change. But we all know that success and glory don’t come easily. Every single one of us has experienced that. Whether you came one hundred years ago or ten years ago, everybody had to start somewhere. And those struggles weren’t easy. But look at, in this country, how quickly from those struggles we can achieve things. I will share with you a personal perspective about what the Komagata Maru means to me. Not from a historical sense – I think most of you know the story behind that – but some of you may have not known that I commanded the regiment, one of the regiments, that pushed away the Komagata Maru. Over a hundred years ago. Think about the irony of that. The Sikhs who travelled, and a hundred years later you have a commanding officer who is wearing a turban, one of the most multicultural regiments in Canada, a hundred years later - the irony in that. The additional irony is, that on the Komagata Maru, I don’t know if you know, there were veterans on that ship, and there’s one gentleman there( in the pic), he’s wearing a sash, it’s a cavalry sash, we couldn’t figure out exactly which regiment that might have been, but he’s a combat veteran, and the reason I say a combat veteran now, because you know

what that means? So he’s fought for the Crown, and he’s on the ship to come to another part of the British Empire, with fellow Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims also there. Then he comes to the shores at Coal Harbour and they’re not allowed to disembark. And fast forward a bit, with all the turmoil that happens trying to convince people that they too belong here, they’re pushed away. And that ship was boarded by the soldiers of my former regiment. Did they know at that time that there were veterans there, on that ship? They probably didn’t, because we don’t have the global connections as we do today. Would they have made a different decision? Probably not, because it’s a government that makes that decision. The government at that time made those decisions. Our soldiers follow and execute the policies. But here’s the irony. Now imagine what that combat veteran felt when they had been told to leave. Told to leave by fellow soldiers. And they left. You know what happens when they return. But you also know in that same month, a month later, World War I breaks out. And those soldiers, and many more that were recruited, from the very regiment that goes off to fight in World War I in Europe, only to find that the Indian troops of the British military are already there. And one of the biggest battles that my regiment fought, had many battles from Vimy and the earlier battles – battle of Saint Julien, when the first time gas was used, and we know the history where all the Sikh regiments also fought. My regiment

was there. Now think about it. The very Regiment and soldiers that pushed the Komagata Maru away now are relying on each other, the same way that they were pushed away with turbans, are now relying on each other to stay alive - because at that battle, the Germans used gas for the first time. So, did my soldiers at that time make that connection that we pushed away the Komagata Maru with those soldiers and now we have to rely on each other just to stay alive? The reason I mention this – I don’t know when it was in the history of the regiment, that our own regiment just became very multicultural, and accepting, but it was way before I joined in 1989. So I’d like to think, as a former Commanding Officer of that regiment, that that might have been that pivotal moment in history that our soldiers realized that we cannot change the rest of government, but we can change what we can do within our regiment. And our regiment, from what I had learned, went all the way back to I don’t know how many years, have been very accepting of other soldiers and we have pictures to prove this. From Sikhs in our regiment – actually seen in pictures, and people from different nationalities – Chinese soldiers as well, First Nations, and the reason I mention this, is because even though it was an absolute tragedy, over a hundred years later, because of the challenges that they faced, the courage that they had to take that risk, all of this becomes possible.

Harbhajan Singh Gill

Komagata Maru Foundation

That’s the true legacy of this story. 29

Even though it’s a black mark in our history, we have to be able to learn from that. This communication is not intended to cause/induce breach of an existing listing agreement.

WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL YOUR HOMEI firmly believe that every human being has a gift. But unfortunately WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL YOUR HOME YOU AND A FRIEND WILL GO TO LAS VEGAS ! YOU AND A FRIEND WILL GO TO LAS VEGAS ! not every human being is able to realize the gift that they have inside WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL YOUR HOME them. That internal gift is what YOU AND A FRIEND WILL GO TO LAS VEGAS ! let’s them make an impact on this world and make change, and make that difference. So we have to find YOU BUY WHEN OR YOU SELLBUY YOUR ORHOME SELL YOUR HOME mentors to do this. But it’s up to us to D A FRIEND YOU WILL AND AGO FRIEND TO LAS WILL VEGAS GO TO ! LAS VEGAS ! be able to pull that gift out of people. We are going to help them realize that their gift, and make changes in the world. When you come together collectively, a people who want to make a difference, you become an unstoppable force. They’re able to connect globally, realize what’s happening, and make far different interpretations than what we had. So it’s up to all of us now to set the conditions for them to change the world because if we don’t… I deal E with conflicts all over the world, that’s what I’ve done – and I can !

assure you that, the results of the Komagata Maru, the positive side of it, the apology coming from the House of Commons, all of this is an example for the rest of the world changing for the better.” As is obvious, much has been said and done about this incident thus far but, I conclude in the wise words of our Minister of National Defence Hon. Harjit Sajjan. “Ladies and gentlemen, I firmly believe the rest of the world needs a little bit of Canada. It’s not Canadian values. These values are human, universal values. We really can change the rest of the world. What are we now going to do with the legacy - the lessons for positive inclusion that this story has brought us?” Yes my dear readers, let us all each in our own way, strive towards kindness to all, reduce conflict and make the world a happier and safer place for our future generations.

NALINI BHUI is a talented award winning author writing on a variety of topics, a great motivational speaker and a community leader. 30


IMMIGRATION FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY Immigration to Canada is not a new thing. Many people from around the world tried to reach their dream country but very few succeeded. Canada accepted a record high number of people (around 400,000) in 1914, but all from Europe. Not a single person was from SouthEast Asia, particularly India. The Komagata Maru incident is a prime example of the violation of human rights, racism and exclusionary immigration policies of British Raj at that time.

The Komagata Maru was, in a sense, designed as a test of Canada’s increasingly strict immigration policies. Among the most cumbersome requirements for new arrivals was the continuous passage regulation, instituted by the Canadian government in 1908. It stated that immigrants must “come from the country of their birth, or citizenship, by a continuous journey” and using tickets “purchased before leaving the country of their birth or citizenship.” The trouble was no steamships travelled directly between Calcutta and Vancouver. The policies were specifically designed to curb the flow of Indian Immigrants in the early 20th century. aajmag.ca


Baba Gurdit Singh Sarhali was well aware of the discriminatory behavior meted out to the people, who tried prior to him. Babaji made up his mind to challenge the discriminatory regulations, by physically reaching the Canadian borders and breaking the law, to see what happens. Babaji gathered some like-minded people and also rented a chartered ship called Komagata Maru to sail to Canada. Babaji was arrested by the Hong Kong authorities for few months, who put him in confines. The allegations made by the Governor General were quite simple. He was accused of selling tickets for an illegal journey. The arrest of Babaji could never dampen his enthusiasm to reach Canada by all means. After almost 2 months later, the ship was allowed to leave the waters of Hong Kong. Hence the arduous journey started on April 04, 1914 from Hong Kong, via Shanghai (China) to Yokohama ( Japan) to Vancouver (British Columbia). The steamship with 326 passengers on board (mostly people from Punjab) anchored in Burrard inlet, Vancouver. But the ship was denied entry by the Canadian authorities. Only 20 passengers were allowed entry into Canada. Others were turned away. Babaji started a lawsuit in the courts of law in Vancouver. The case was dismissed on the grounds that 1908 regulations deemed the passengers illegal, and as such they could not be allowed entry. On September 26, 1914 the ship was forced to return to its country of origin.


Komagata Maru arrived in Calcutta on September 27. Upon entry into the harbour, the ship was stopped by a British gunboat, and the passengers were placed under guard. The government of the British Raj saw the men on Komagata Maru not only as self-confessed lawbreakers, but also as dangerous political agitators. When the ship docked at Budge Budge, the police went to arrest Baba Gurdit Singh and the 20 or so other men that they saw as leaders. He resisted arrest, a friend of his assaulted a policeman and a general riot ensued. Shots were fired; 19 of the passengers were killed. Some escaped, but the remainder were arrested and imprisoned or sent to their villages and kept under village arrest for the duration of the First World War. This incident became known as the Budge Budge riot. Ringleader Gurdit Singh Sandhu managed to escape and lived in hiding until 1922. He was urged by Mahatma Gandhi to give himself up as a 'true patriot'; he duly did so, and was imprisoned for five years. A demand was constantly raised by all the right thinking people that the Canadian Government must acknowledge that injustice was done with Komagata Maru ship and its passengers. The previous governments’ were hesitant to accept this on the parliament floor, but thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the wrongful nature of the act was accepted and he apologized from the core of his heart. May 18th, 2016 was fixed for formally tendering

an apology for the great injustice. As soon as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finished apologizing for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident, a roar rose in the House of Commons. “Bole so nihal,” shouted Amarjeet Singh Sidhu in his native Punjabi, using a common phrase to express the Sikh community’s deepest thanks for the gesture. Hundreds of spectators who packed the galleries responded enthusiastically to the Sikh activist from Brampton, shouting back with a saying that roughly translates as: “Long live the truth.” Canadian government apologizes for Komagata Maru incident (Reuters) The impromptu cheers capped the Canadian government’s solemn apology for turning back a ship that arrived in Vancouver’s harbour 102 years ago with 376 passengers on board, mostly Sikhs from India.

Calling it a “great injustice,” Mr. Trudeau expressed the country’s shame as only 24 of the passengers on the Komagata Maru were allowed to land, while the rest remained on board for two months, victims of the era’s exclusionary laws. The remaining passengers and crew returned to India, where 19 people were killed on the ship’s arrival in Calcutta in a skirmish with British soldiers. “Those passengers chose Canada. And when they arrived here, they were rejected,” Mr. Trudeau said, pointing out the rules of the day were specifically targeted at people from countries such as India. “Canada’s government was, without question, responsible for the laws that prevented these passengers from immigrating peacefully and securely. For that, and for every regrettable consequence that followed, we are sorry,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Jasminder Singh Ghuman travelled from British Columbia to pay tribute to his grandfather, Dhyan Singh Ghuman, who was one of the passengers. “He’s got honour now,” Mr. Ghuman said in the rotunda of the House of Commons. “I got honoured too, because I belonged to the family who suffered.” B.C. Premier Christy Clark was the only Premier invited by the Prime Minister’s Office to attend the ceremony. The province made its own apology in 2008. “This means a lot to the community in our province. And the B.C. government was part of it – part of the injustice that was done, and also part of the apology that was offered,” Ms. Clark said in an interview. She said many British Columbians are still connected to the ship’s history.


10 Proposed Liberal Reforms to Canada’s Immigration System 1. Double the number of immigration

applications allowed for parents and grand-parents sponsorshipfrom 5,000 to 10,000 visas per year.

2. Double the budget for processing family class immigration applications to reduce wait times

3. Increase points allocation to

applicants who have siblings in Canada on their Express Entry application

4. Lift the visa requirement for Mexican travel to Canada.

5. Eliminate the $1000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee for families seeking caregivers to care for family members with physical or mental disabilities.

6. Restoring free access to healthcare

f o r re f u g e e / a s y l u m s e e k e r s pending a decision on their case by the government.

7. They have pledged to make it easier for international students to achieve Canadian Citizenship. The

exact details are not specified, but

they have stated they will do this by making adjustments to theCanadian

Experience Class program that will ‘remove barriers’ to international

“People have a lot of memories about it. You can walk down in the harbour and people will tell you where it happened 102 years ago,” she said. “I think the community still feels racism. It’s not like it was, but I think that people still feel like they’re sometimes a little bit less welcome. And I think this was a really important statement from government that they are included fully in our society as equals,” she said. Harbhajan Singh Gill, president of the Komagata Maru Heritage Foundation, travelled to Ottawa from Surrey, B.C., to witness the apology. “It’s a long time coming. I think we have a different Canada than what we had 102 years ago. With this apology, I think it’s a fresh start for the descendants and the community,” said Mr. Gill. Standing alongside Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the time is right to focus on the fact immigrants can now thrive in the country.

“Today is about how Canada has evolved from the mistakes of the past,” he told reporters shortly after all five leaders in the House had spoken. “We can show the next generation what is actually possible in Canada.” Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the incident in 2008, but at an Indo-Canadian community event in a park in Surrey, B.C. and not in the House. Former NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu repeatedly tried to persuade the Harper government to offer a formal apology between 2011 and 2015, to no avail. In an interview, he praised the Trudeau government for delivering on its commitment. “A statement in the House allows for closure, and also constitutes a recognition that this should not happen again,” Mr. Sandhu said. The Conservative Party’s interim leader, Rona Ambrose, said after Mr. Trudeau’s statement that her party “welcomes today’s apology.”


8. Restore the Canadian Citizenship

residency time credit for international students in Canada.

9. Bypass the two year wait period for conditional permanent residence “ ” for spouses of sponsored individuals.

10. Restore the maximum age for

dependents from 19 to 22, making it easier for immigrants to bring their older children to Canada.


ASHWANI K. SHARMA is a an articled student with Remedios Law Group.




STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS 2016 marks the 125th birth anniversary and 60th death anniversary year of Dr. Ambedkar. Over the past year, a significant amount of attention has been given to increase the profile of Dr. Ambedkar and to establish various monuments as tributes to Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy. While there have been celebrations, there have also been frustrations and challenges because of the continued atrocities and boycotts experienced over the past year by Dalits.


March 2016


To understand Dalit movement and how dalits are now asserting their identity and demanding selfrespect and share in the nation’s assets and resources, one needs to first understand the context in which the movement is being led. In short, Dalit movement:

Is very complex

Faces many threats (e.g. concerns around appropriation)

Is fragmented and is vulnerable to further fragmentation (e.g. multiple Dalit-based political parties and no singular religious identity), and

Rohith Vemula alleged suicide and attacks on Jawharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Hyderabad University (HU) – seems to have united north and south India and created opportunity for a common platform to educate, agitate, and organize from.

Is lagging behind in number of social indicators across India (e.g. rate of land ownership among Dalits even in states such as Punjab is still very low).

Collaboration between “the left” and the “Ambedkarites” is now being encouraged and realized as indicated by profiling of common slogans such as “Jai Bhim Comrade”, a title of Anand Patwardhan’s film (2011).

On a positive note, it seems that there are also a number of strengths of the Dalit movement that if utilized effectively, it can lead to greater and more meaningful opportunities for moving the Dalit agenda forward, and, for turning weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities. Following is a summary of key strengths and opportunities that I believe are now available to leverage upon:


Almost 15% of the BJP’s Lok Sabha strength consists of Dalit MPs elected from reserved seats. In this system, the BJP has 40 MPs elected from seats reserved for Dalits – making it the largest “Dalit party” in the Lok Sabha/House of Commons.

I n c r e a s e d c o n ve r s i o n s t o Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and other religions or sects, signalling a protest and attempt escape caste-based discrimination. In Kite Mil ve Mahi, a documentary film, Ajay Bhardwaj featured well known Dalit Poet, Lal Singh

‘Dil’, who eloquently explained his rationale for converting to Islam. •

The uprise of ‘missionary singers’ in Punjab- since the assassination of Sant Ramanand in Vienna (Austria), there has been a significant growth of singers who have made a livelihood by singing songs that glorify the mission and vision of Dr. Ambedkar, Guru Ravidass, and motivating y o u n g s t e r s t o h a ve D a l i t Pride- similar to the Black Pride movement in the United States that announced “Black is beautiful”, these missionary singers are reinforcing the message of “Dalit means dignity”.

Power of social media that supports activists with connecting and networking for their specific, as well as, common agendas.

In spite of these strengths and opportunities, one may wonder why or how has the caste-system survived in India even in postindependence era. One possible explanation is that the joint electorate system is failing Dalits. It must be noted that joint

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electorate system was not the choice of Dr. Ambedkar- he advocated for a separate electorate system. In the 1931 Second Round Table Conference, held to discuss India’s constitutional future, Ambedkar had argued for separate electorates for Dalits, in which Dalit voters would elect Dalit representatives. In 1955, Ambedkar minced no words when he said that Gandhi’s system of a common electorate would elect Dalit nominees who “would really by slaves of the Hindus”.

Recommendations: Considering various degrees of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats Dalit movement faces in the current environment, I propose the following actions: •

Clarify, vision, mission, and value statements- without clear vision, it is much easier to be distracted, fragmented, and settle for the short term gains instead of championing the longer term gains.

Re-examine and advocate for separate electorate system as this will improve accountability of Dalit MPs.

Right to Education is one of the fundamental objectives of the UN. Government bodies such as Ministry of Social

Justice can play a positive role in establishing benchmarks and reporting framework for the advancements (or lack thereof) can be easily identified and monitored. •

Collaboration and partnership with other social justice, environmental groups, and student bodies and identify common-ground and common outcomes so the available resources can be utilized more effectively and bridges among various movements can be constructed to leverage each other’s talent, passion, and strength.

JAI BIRDI is a is a Surrey-based activist with interests in social justice, inclusion, sustainable developments.


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PRICING Politicians are masters at spin. Governments don’t “spend” our money; they say they “invest” it. Government doesn’t have “debt interest payments” any more; it now “services” debt. Giving taxpayer money to companies is never “corporate welfare” or a “handout” – it’s a job creation grant.


March 2016


The latest fiction? Government would never, ever dream of “taxing” your roads; they’ll simply “price” them instead. But make no mistake. Put the TransLink mayors on truth serum and they’d confess that road pricing is just another way to take more money out of your wallet and give it to an agency that still hasn’t proved its effectiveness or efficiency to taxpayers. It’s another TransLink tax. The road pricing debate has taken two forms in the Lower Mainland, both of which should worry drivers. The first idea, suggested by Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, is to put a $1 toll on every bridge in the region. However, the math simply doesn’t work. In order to cover the construction costs of the Port Mann, Golden Ears, a rebuilt Pattullo and a new Massey – plus generate the money the TransLink mayors want to give TransLink for their massive expansion plans – we estimate tolls would have to bring in more than $770 million a year. Given current crossing numbers, that means a toll of $2.04 every time a driver crosses one of those dozen bridges. Even if you cut the extra TransLink funding out of the mix, the toll would be more than $1.50. That’s going to get very expensive very quickly.

Those bridge tolls would come on top of the 48 cents per litre we already pay in gasoline taxes in the Lower Mainland – the second highest on the continent. Ever wonder why gas is cheaper in Abbotsford? It’s because gas taxes are lower there. Ever wonder why gas is even less across the line in Washington State? Again, gas taxes are far lower there. Even with road taxes, there would still be unfairness, as the City of Vancouver would almost certainly refuse to allow its downtown bridges to be part of the scheme. The other road tax option is to charge Lower Mainland drivers for every kilometre they drive. This would again need to be set at a rate tocoveroffthebridges,andwouldsimplyadd more cost to already overtaxed drivers. If the TransLink mayors really want bridge tolls, we believe four important taxpayer conditions must be met. First, the people must be allowed to vote on the plan and the calculations that will be used. This is a new form of taxation and therefore must be approved by voters. To her credit, Premier Christy Clark agrees. Second, all bridges must be included. If fairness is one of the justifications for taxing roads, then every bridge – even the ones in the City of Vancouver – must be part of the system.

Third, a strong, publicly-accepted privacy plan must be put in place. Giving government the ability to track where we go is a slippery slope, especially given their record of not taking privacy seriously. Think of the concerns over Compass Cards expressed by groups like the Battered Women’s Support Services Society; one can see how those problems would be even worse if where we go is being recorded by a government agency. Fourth, taxpayers should demand revenue neutrality. This should not be a cash grab for government. Simply adding road pricing to our already exorbitant gas taxes is double dip taxation – we already pay a form of it in gas taxes. Every dollar in road tolls should be matched by a cut in gas taxes. The TransLink mayors still haven’t responded to the top line message of last year’s tax rejection. They are still not reprioritizing TransLink or municipal spending to cover off what they continue to claim is the top priority in the region. Instead, they are trying to find any way possible to get into our wallets without our permission. We told them no once – we can do it again if need be.

JORDAN BATEMAN is the B.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation





March 2016


At first glance, the definitions of the words nation and state appear straight forward and perhaps they are even the same thing. What's your nationality? I'm German, I'm Kenyan, I'm Brazilian. It all seems very simple and the same can be said for states. A state or a country is (in most cases) a geographic entity that can be clearly defined by its borders or coastline and is governed by a single government. But are both of these definitions really that simple? Of the two, state has the simplest definition. States are more easily recognized, as well as having definable boundaries, which can be drawn on a map, they will have institutions of state. They have governments and laws and the governments have branches that perform functions and provide services for their citizens. Perhaps most importantly, states are legal entities that have existed for a period of time. They can make decisions, conduct business, enter into agreements such as treaties and they can recognize each other therefore giving each validity and authority. So what about nations? Is a nation the same as a state? First, we need to define a nation. In many cases they have a geographic boundary, particularly with island nations but this certainly isn't the case in all cases. Not all German people live within the boundaries of Germany and what of Scots living in England and the fact that more than 50% of

people who identify themselves as Italian live outside of Italy. So how do we define a nation? For many a nation is more of an ethnic or cultural entity than it is a legal one particularly as often nations can predate states. In many parts of the world the borders we recognize as defining states are relatively new. And this applies not just to regions such as Africa and the Middle East where the borders were created in the 20th century but also much of Europe and the Americas. In fact contrary to popular belief for many most of the borders in Europe were redefined in the mid 20th century and were somewhat fluid before that. With border towns changing hands often European borders were ad-hoc at best for a considerable period of time. With this in mind, nationality and national identity often have more meaning than simple statehood. It can also be said that in addition to predating states, that nations where created more naturally through human activity and that states were subsequently created through legal processes. Prior to states even existing nationalities started to form as similar groups such as tribes or ethnicities joined together and created national identities. They shared languages and cultural practices and de facto formed governments. Over time the groups got larger and joined together to form even larger groups and in many cases chose to become aligned to a monarch or feudal system where-by they chose to pay taxes to or provide services such as military service in return for 43

security. Although not democratic by today's standards it was democratic in nature in that people chose to accept the authority of the monarch in return for security such as when William the Conqueror imposed the Common Law on England. In doing so he created a state by taking a nation and providing it with a legal system that provided security and allowed the economy to function by enabling rights to be determined and disputes settled. The nation was still there and now, so was the state. And the process was repeated (with variations) around the world. Groups formed based on cultural and ethnic similarities and as the groups became larger and more complex laws and states were created. Being more clearly defined often the state took priority as an entity over the nation. As legal entities states need to be clearly defined and borders were created and constitutions adopted. In many cases it was simple, there were few differences between nation and state and to the point that they may even become one. But what of the nations that did not readily identify with the state that was created around them? On occasion groups would even relocate to live within the country that formed the state with which they identified or they may remain in

one state while holding an allegiance to another or they may choose to identify themselves primarily with their nationality rather than the state. Does this make their nationality any less valid or should their nation be recognized as a state? Examples of this can found throughout the world where groups, often indigenous population's live in a state with which they do not identify or even a combination of states where their territory transcends an international border. From the Basques of France and Spain to the many First Nations of North America and beyond there are nations that could arguable be states but are not.. They are a culturally and ethnically homogenous groups that have existed for time immemorial living on their traditional land. They clearly identify themselves as and are recognized as nations but they also have many of the characteristics of a states. They have their own laws but perhaps most significantly, they have even entered into treaties with recognized states and some have been issuing their own travel documents, passports, for longer than many recognized states have. So, with this in mind, why is it that they are not recognized as states and what does a nation become a state?

MATT WILLIAMS is a Geopolitical Analyst, Military Veteran, Law Graduate and a Co-Founder of Global Intelligence Solutions.



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ADVANCEMENT I remember the days when the only time I used a phone or computer, was when I had to call my friends or type up my homework. These moments were rare, as I saw my friends more in person than chatting with them from a distance, and teachers preferred hand written assignments, as computers had just been introduced and not everyone had access to them. Soon, MSN messenger came along, making

it easier to chat with peers. Years later, I got my first cellular phone and started text messaging. Fast forward to 2016, and technology has advanced and changed so much that I can barely keep up! Smart phones, tablets and computers are everywhere, containing vast social media applications and increasing the world’s connectivity to a capacity never before comprehended.



The advancement of social media and technology has brought about many positive changes across the globe. First and foremost, we are now better connected to our peers and relatives who live in different countries, and it feels great to be able to pick up a device and see our loved ones face-to-face. Chatting on Skype or FaceTime is definitely a better experience than just hearing a voice on the other end of a line, and it is much easier to keep a conversation or stay in touch with extra sensory involvements. Applications such as Facebook allow us to stay connected with people we may otherwise lose contact with. Another benefit is that important global news is much more easily transmitted through advanced technology or social media. Although there are many benefits to these technological advancements, we should not forget the negative implications that are making their way into our society. For instance, people today are more obsessed with “capturing moments” than actually fully experiencing them. At weddings, for example, every second person has their phone out, and is taking pictures or making videos to send to their friends. During dinner parties, people are busy texting, rather than enjoying the time they are spending with their friends or families. People are also using technology to seek “revenge” on their enemies. A public website called The Dirty, for example, is used to anonymously bash people and ruin their reputations, without any of this posted information ever even being verified. These are just a few


examples of the negative implications of advancing technology. For the purpose of this article, however, I want to focus on the psychological effects of social media, particularly in relation to self-esteem. What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is essentially how a person views him/ herself; it has to do with their sense of self-worth, and their attitude towards his/herself. With the rise of social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and more, I have noticed a decline in self-esteem and an obsession with appearance. People are forgetting that the images or videos that they see on the Internet may have been altered or edited. Because of this, they are holding unrealistic expectations of how they should look and even how they should live. The most popular pages on Instagram, for example, are ones that have to do with lavish lifestyles, “perfect” bodies, “perfect” makeup, fitness or fashion. Seeing this influx of images is starting to brainwash our youth. People are forgetting about the moments and things in life that are the most important: spending time and creating memories with family and friends, educating yourself and making positive contributions to society, helping those less fortunate, etc. What can we do to fix this trend, this desire to have an unrealistic body/face and live a life of luxury? We need to remind everyone that there are bigger and more important things to focus on. We need to distract children from their devices by enrolling them in fun activities (such as sports, art classes, music lessons), limiting the time that

they are allowed to spend using technology, or taking them on trips around the world. One of my most memorable and eye-opening experiences was my trip to India in 2015. I was born and raised in Canada and had been to India once before when I was just 5 years old. I had no recollection or memories of that first trip so travelling to India in 2015 felt like I was going there for the first time, and it is important to note that I had not yet travelled the world much. I also had limited internet connectivity,

so I was forced to put away my phone and actually live in the moment. As soon as I got out of the airport, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe the way some people had to live, and the poverty that was apparent throughout the entire country. Children were coming up to me and begging for food, their faces covered in dirt, their feet shoeless. My cousins told me about their inability to find jobs, even after completing reputable degrees in the field of engineering. Streets were jam packed with cars and animals. My uncle and aunt, hardworking farmers,

toiled away everyday in the boiling heat to provide food and money for their family. I realized that I had been undervaluing my life and my blessings, complaining about unnecessary things while living a life that other people could only dream about. India is a beautiful country but it lacks a lot of systems, resources, and laws that we often take for granted in Canada. I came back from this trip with a new perspective on life, vowing to respect the country I was born in, help those in need, and never again complain about things that truly don’t matter.

NAVKIRAN BRAR is an editor and whiter for AAJ Magazine, and a social media entusiast

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March 2016


The Association of South Asian Professionals of British Columbia was formed in 2007 by a group of concerned South Asian Professionals from various disciplines including lawyers, engineers, brokers, financiers, doctors, notaries, media and business people. The group was established to determine what they as professionals could do to positively impact the troublesome issues of drugs, violence, domestic abuse, youth disengagement and declining postsecondary education enrolment facing the South Asian and greater communities in BC. The vision of the Association was formulated to exhibit social responsibility through positive action in the general community, foster leadership by acting as role models and mentors, and advocate for social issues in British Columbia, all in a professional manner focusing solely on need. We need your support to help resolve the issues that affect our community and the general society. Our goal is to make a difference through positive actions. ASAP believes that together we can help guide our youth to achieve great success and help improve the perception of South Asians in the general community. ASAP Founding President Mr. Jindy Bhalla states: “We have been conducting our events for almost ten years now and

unfortunately the problems we have identified have not been eliminated. By raising awareness, we have been able to attract support from socially conscious individuals, businesses and organizations who share our vision of giving back to the community. While we have been honoured to do so, there is a compelling need for more South Asian Professionals to get involved. Together we can make an even greater difference, especially with our youth. We encourage and challenge other South Asian Professionals to join us and give back to the community which has benefited them greatly. While ASAP appreciates financial assistance, our mandate is to encourage participation by South Asian professionals in events benefiting the community.� ASAP strives to recruit individuals who are looking to make a difference. For those who are interested in joining the team of professionals on a volunteer basis, here are a few ways ASAP makes a difference:

School Mentorship Program Started January 2010, ASAP members speak to elementary and high school aged children regularly at various schools throughout the lower mainland. ASAP role models discuss their career path and help children learn about options for their future. For the past three years ASAP has helped organize a student leadership event in Surrey for over 3,000 students. Since 2010, ASAP professionals have presented to over 2,500 students. Help ASAP expand their outreach to other schools; get involved.


Hot Dogs for the Homeless Campaigns

To learn more about how you can make a difference, please contact ASAP’s President: Jindy Bhalla at jbhalla@ekb.com, visit our Facebook page or log onto our website www.asapbc.com

Since 2008, ASAP has been handing out thousands of free hot dogs and other food to the underprivileged in the downtown eastside and Surrey. Each time we do this event, there is a sense of fulfillment when you see how appreciative the less fortunate are for the basics which many of us take for granted. Volunteering at this event brings perspective to your life. Over 10,000 hot dogs have been served to the needy through this program.

Awareness Campaigns Join ASAP in their many community initiatives, including: promoting Stem Cell registry sign up within the South Asian community, building homes with


Celebrating the historic apology by the Canadian government for the Komagata Maru. Sasha Ramnarine

Barrister & Solicitor Former Liberal Member of Parliament candidate New Westminster-Burnaby 2015 52

Habitat for Humanity, participating in the World Partnership Walk, Surrey Christmas Bureau Toy Drive, The Victor Ghirra Toy Drive and many other upcoming campaigns.

ASAP Networking Nights Since 2008, ASAP has had a full house at each of its networking nights. This is a great way to get to know other professionals in the Lower Mainland area and help ASAP raise awareness. Over 700 professionals have participated in this popular networking night. You are only limited by your imagination. ASAP strives to challenge its members to give back to the community in a variety of ways.

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March 2016


When Royalty spelt magic, when charm and mysticism was in the air and the aura of opulence was the dream of the day, life in Indian palaces was the envy of all. On rolling back the wheels of time, we find that the rulers of the princely states of Rajputana, Gujarat, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Viceroy of British India travelled by these luxurious coaches. After independence, these coaches were parked and remained thus, for a quarter of a century until in 1981-82, when the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways launched a special heritage tourist train for providing a unique memorable experience to the tourists visiting Rajasthan. The name Palace on Wheels was derived from it's royal background of the coaches. Gradually, the State govt. and the Indian Railways collaborated to bring about many infrastructural changes in the coaches while keeping the same aesthetics of the interiors alive and matching the interiors of the royal estate. The train itself however, was replaced by the newer air-conditioned broad gauges train, which have 14 saloons, 2 restaurant -cum- kitchen cars, one bar- cumlounge, a library and 4 service cars. The cabins of each saloon has a private attached bath and shower. So, with all modern amenities of everyday life, one would find the royal past haunting you in the historical coaches. The names of the saloons given are based on the princely states of Rajasthan- Jaipur, Jodhpur, Alwar, Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Dholpur, Bharatpur, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Bikaner, Udaipur and Kishangarh. What a vivid combination! The practical aspect brings piped music in every saloon, and interesting games for children. The restaurant by public demand, offers traditional

Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine with the Chef's special variety of the day. Its well -stocked bar serves Indian liquor and options for scotch and wine. T h e n e wl y i n t r o d u c e d s p a saloon, offers refreshing Ayurvedic massages. Other services include laundry and a Doctor on request to complete this picture. The sheer opulence and comfort offered by the heritage train offers a memorable historical experience. So, due to its great success and demand, several such experiences have arisen to treasure India’s past and present. To name a few, ‘7 Nights Pride Of South Golden Chariot’ from Bangalore to Goa - covers the Tiger reserve of Kabini, Mysore Palace, Goa beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hampi, Pattadakal, Badami & Old Goa. ‘The Golden Chariot Train Tour’ takes one on a luxurious voyage of discovery through the cradle of Stone Architecture, a journey through the magnificent World Heritage Sites at Hampi & Pattadakkal,


& and Halebid, Bangalore, Mysore,

The configuration of Saloons & their literal meaning are:

Badami’ also the golden beaches of Goa

Chandra Mahal -Palace of Moon

Hawa Mahal-Palace of Winds

Jal Mahal-Palace on Water

Jogi Mahal -Palace in Paradise

Kishori Mahal -Palace of Youth

K u m b h a Pa l a c e - Pa l a c e o f immortal nector

Moti Mahal-Palace of Stars

for the physically challenged offer

Suvarna Mahal-Palace of Gold

accommodation for all. One can visit

(Restro Bar Lounge 1)

Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Auroville,

S h e e s h M a h a l - Pa l a c e o f Crystals

Kanyakumari , Alleppey & Kochi as

(Restro Bar Lounge 2)


Taj Mahal -One of the seven wonders of modern world

Padmini Mahal-Famous Queen of Southern Rajasthan

Phool Mahal-Palace of Flowers

Sukh Mahal-Palace of Happiness

Surya Mahal-Palace of Sun

Umed Palace- Palace of Hope

covering the exquisite temples at Belur

& Wildlife Reserve at Nagarhole. The ‘Pride of South’& ‘Southern Splendour’ train tour circuit Saloon interiors are inspired by the intricately carved Hosalya temple architecture dating back to 12th century. Forty- four AC cabins in 11 inter-connected saloons in a combination of 26 twin -bedded Cabins, 17 double- bedded cabins & one cabin

Pondicherry, Tanjavur, Trichy, Madurai,

The Maharajas Express Train has been honoured as the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” at 2012 & 2013 World Tourism Award function. This luxury train operating from October to April, covers mainly North-Western India, particularly magnificent Forts & Palaces of Rajasthan with Champagne Breakfast overlooking The Taj Mahal & an Exhibition Elephant Polo match in Jaipur. Another luxury version of the Palace On Wheels - called ROYAL RAJASTHAN ON WHEELS Train Tour, covers a different circuit combining the best of Rajasthan with Kama Sutra Temples & Holy Ganges. The Cabins are more spacious richly furnished in hues of Pearl, Ruby & Sapphire. There are two bar – cum dining lounges with gorgeous traditional crystal décor and the recent addition of a Spa Saloon Carriage. 56

To put this informative piece into perspective, is the observation of two youngsters, cousins from Vancouver who and their entire family went on a trip to Rajasthan with a first hand experience on, “The Palace on Wheels”. First let us hear their proud grandmother Madhu Varshney’s story: My husband, Hari and I were very lucky to have this family trip to India with our children, their spouses and all our eight grandchildren from December


27, 2015 to January 14, 2016. One of the most exciting and fascinating itineraries of this trip was the week on the luxury train, Palace on Wheels which departs from Delhi to Rajasthan. We had a one day private city tour of Old - and New Delhi before we boarded the Palace on Wheels. The train took us to Jaipur, popularly known as the pink city. There we saw Hawa Mahal, a remarkable architecture and well maintained museums with arts and weaponry. Next to the entrance of the palace is the historic Jantar Mantarobservatory,beautifultemples,Amber Fort and its strikingly beautiful Sheesh Mahal, whose walls and ceiling are illuminated with colored glass. Shopping in Jaipur is also quite an experience - famous for its jewelry, gemstones, Rajasthan’s typical tie-and dye textiles. Thiswasfollowedbyfunandrelaxing elephant rides.

made entirely by thin, polished sheets of white marbles. We spent the next day in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and Agra. In Agra, we visited the beautiful Taj-Mahal, which is one of the wonders of the world representing a moment of undying love. Agra is known for its splendid marble inlay work as well.

We reached Sawai Madhopur the next day, one of India’s finest tiger reserves. Chittaurgarh is a city full of numerous historical monuments, imposing towers, astonishing palaces, victory minar and temples. In the evening, we attended a very nice laser light and sound music show regarding warrior Maharana Pratap. The following day, we arrived at Udaipur- the Lake City. We visited the palace which is well known for its green and blue glass inlay work. One palace, Nav Lakha Mahal, has been donated to Paropkare Sabha of Arya Samaaj. Next, the train took us to Jaisalmer, the Golden City known for the fact that it lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. We saw beautiful sand dunes, had a camel ride and watched the breathtaking sunset.

the trip and learnt about India and India’s

On day 6, we reached Jodhpur, the Blue City that has the beautiful fort Maharanagarh. Near the fort is Jaswant Thada, the miniature Taj Mahal which is

“The house deeply regrets that the passengers, who sought refuge in our country and our province, were turned away without the benefit of fair and impartial treatment befitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted.”

On Jan 7, 2016, we reached Cochin in South India after we left Rajasthan. We stayed in CarnoustieAyurveda and Wellness Resort. We had a very beautiful beach holiday and Ayurvedic Spa treatments. We also visited Kumarakom Lake resort where we had lots of fun and enjoyed many cultural activities learning about classical dance, music, art and henna painting, etc. The whole family loved history.” Children’s observations are very precious so, let us hear what her fourteen year-old grand- daughter Lauren Lecky had to say about her insights on this trip. “India is truly a land of fascinating culture, expressed through architecture, fashion, cuisine and art. Recently, I had the privilege of visiting India and experiencing this first hand. Throughout the trip I gained new perspectives in so many aspects of my life. At first, I was overwhelmed. This foreign place was immensely different from my home country. I was unfamiliar with the language, mannerisms, land and how their society functioned. The warm hospitality of the Indian people is what really made me feel welcome. Everyone we came across was so genuinely friendly and caring. They wanted to make you feel at home. My favourite memories were visiting the

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beautiful Taj Mahal as well as riding camels through the Thar Desert. Though, the part that really impacted me was the poverty. While I knew about this issue going into the trip, I did not expect the amount or severity to be so high. When little children came to me asking for an apple or banana, which they would then share among their siblings, it made me reflect on my life and put things into perspective. These moments are of the most valuable things I learned on my journey throughout India and they influence my thoughts and actions now in my daily life. I find myself more appreciative of what I

have and, if I find myself acting ungratefully, I think about my touching encounters with those children. This family vacation not only taught me about the history of India, but also about the importance of empathy and gratitude.” Young Jaiya Varshney age sixteen, saw the same trip through slightly different eyes! She says, “Indian culture is among the oldest and very rich cultures around the world; thus making it very diverse and unique in its own way.Irecentlycamebackfrommythree-week triptoIndiaandIlovedit.Itwas26degreesand I was wearing tanks tops and shorts but locals

wheredressinginearmuffsandscarvesasthat is what they call winter! India is by far one of the most colorful places I have ever been too. It’s not just the different colored saris or lengas orcitieslike;Jaipur,thePinkCity;Jaisalmer,the GoldenCity;Jodhpur,theBlueCity.Butit’sthe beautiful bright people all around you with the biggest smiles that make this place truly colorful.Overallthiswasatripofalifetimeand I got to experience it with some of my favorite people in the world” Needless to say they had a trip of a lifetime with valuable lessons learnt!

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Fashion & Beauty

MAKEUP TIPS With wedding season around the corner, the key concepts to making sure your makeup is bullet-proof, without the use of extra products, is how you apply the product. It seems that everywhere you go these days, companies are using any marketing technique they can; from advertising, to paying social media personalities to promote their products. New formulas, and new colours are always being released, and your favourite makeup artist might have rave reviews, designed to make all of us want to buy the product. The most important part of any makeup routine, is not what you apply, but how you apply it. We all, I myself included, want the newest product on the market, and yet over time,



The most important part of makeup application is how you prepare your skin for application. As always, this part shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes. • Use a good alcohol free face wash in the morning, • followed by any toner you may have, or the age old Witch Hazel, found in supermarkets everywhere. • Apply a moisturizer BEFORE your primer! And if you tend to have oily skin, or well hydrated skin, then try to stay away from any serum in the morning. This will cause the skin to look oily, while in reality, your skin is just healthy.

and as a MUA, I have realized that it is never what you use, it never was. The three things to remember for all-day stay makeup, are as follows: how you apply the product, how you prepare your skin, and the amount of time you take to apply the product. Layering your makeup is quite possibly the simplest, yet most overlooked technique when applying makeup. More often than none, and I myself am a victim, we tend to spend our time on YouTube, or Instagram, watching makeup videos, that teach us new techniques, but also mislead us. It is important to note that YouTubers tend to apply copious amounts of product on to their face to cover any and all imperfections that they think they have; hence why they apply one thick layer. The best technique to make sure your makeup lasts all day, is to apply two thinner layers, while correcting, and at this point, using cream based highlighters, and contour, if you so choose.

Before you continue onto your next products, make sure you have blended everything together. Blend, Blend, Blend! If you are still unsure as to whether or not you have blended enough, blend some more. However, there is a difference between blending, and spreading the makeup across your face. The best way to blend: away from the nose, and with whatever tool you are most comfortable. Just because something is hot on the market, doesn’t mean you to need to purchase it. Time is always a factor. Regardless of what you are putting on makeup for (from a day in the office to a formal event), the more time you let your complexion products, primer and/ or tinted base sit for without being powdered, the longer your makeup will last.





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SOCIAL MEDIA When seeking relief from painful relationships there are many things we must consider. We must consider our external world as well as our interior world. Rather than simply sorting through various medications or treatment modalities, we must consider our external world as well as our interior world.


March 2016

It is said, that when you pass on to the other life, amongst the things that are used as a memory of yours, your handwritten letters or notes should always top the list. Clothes, shoes, reading glasses etc. can all be given away but whether it is that one little note or a five-page long letter, anything handwritten always leaves a personal touch, makes the beloved left behind feel close to you and keeps you living on forever.


Till recently and by recently I mean a few years ago (at least when I was a school girl), before the onset of electronic media and the birth of Texting, E-mails, Tweeting, Whatsapp, you name it; writing letters, sending out greeting cards, leaving little notes were considered something personal that undeniably had a subtle romantic touch to them, which is why, utmost importance was given to how you spelled, what you wrote and how it would sound to the person reading it. The LOL’s, ROLF’s were nowhere in the picture. If you wrote, you wrote the full word and absolutely no abbreviations. Which may be the reason why till today I haven’t been able to understand most of these “texting abbreviations.” Call me old school, but back in our day, we were taught the creative art of writing and given endless knowledge on how to express ourselves using it. Anyways, coming back to the main issue, something we have very conveniently started ignoring and try not to pay any attention to, whatsoever. Sadly, the ancient art of writing, and by writing I once again will emphasize on handwritten notes, letters, anything that requires you to pick up a pen and scribble on a piece of paper, is dying. The credit of which goes entirely to the forever and fast changing technology. Upon talking to a group of young school children, I was not only surprised but also disappointed

to know that kids these days would rather just text on their smart phones, chat on the vast social media or simply send an email. According to them, it is just “too much work” to write. I pity the now generation with their fancy laptops, i-pads, smart phones and a whole new lot of gadgetry that in the coming times is bound to change; I pity them, not for being able to move on and become these tech savvy people, but because in the race of doing so, they’ve lost their originality. The mark that comes with one’s handwriting, that makes every thing written so personal and original. Yes, I do celebrate the onset of great technological revolution but along with that I fear the death or extinction of something that defines a person, his or her personality. Even today, my mother’s eyes well up at the sight of my late father’s handwriting in the letters he used to write to her while posted on the border. That personal touch which till date has the power to connect her with him, would not have been there had he too e-mailed her or texted her. No doubt, with the technology growing at a lightning pace, the distances have lessened or rather diminished; but having said that, so has the anxious feeling that one would have while waiting for a letter to come or the sigh of relief and excitement at receiving it, which

is priceless beyond words. I remember keeping a dairy when I was this young new teenager struggling with puberty, trying to comprehend if I was infatuated to the opposite sex or had I actually fallen in love and yet amidst all of it, trying desperately to keep my scores up. I can’t say if it helped me at that time, but one thing is for sure, years later when I went through it, it did a good job of taking me back in time and eventually putting a smile on my face. I doubt that had I written any of that on a computer, I would have been able to retrieve it some “X” years later. Once again, I’m all in for the latest in technology and myself support change but along side that I also bat for the good old writing. So while we gear up and look forward to the launch of yet another technology marvel, let’s also take a while to revive the old but amazing creativity called Writing.

SONAL BAWA-BAKSHI, is a freelance writer that lives in Vancouver



SURREY GANGS It is about time we stop romanticizing the gang behaviour amongst the Indian youth. The gang shootings that are occurring in Surrey, B.C. are nothing new. We can all recall the days of Bindy Johal. I remember a time when people thought they were “cool” to name drop the names of thugs and gang bangers – sadly those people never really were. What is even more unfortunate is many of youth of today still think it is “cool” to do that – but it’s not. We as a community, as well as the media, television and music industry, need to stop romanticizing gang behavior. I recently watched the movie Beeba Boys, and the film was great in the sense it created space for the community to discuss gang violence. However, it still 64

March 2016

had an overall romanticizing feel, and you felt a sense of desire towards the gangsters in the film. The community had no real place in the film and there was no idealistic response to gangs. However, I suppose that is the reality of gang life, as these gangsters have no connection to the community, hence their ease in shooting openly in public spaces. On the other hand, the community continues find itself to be attached to the individuals involved in the gangs. The admiration of the money, the penthouse suites, the fancy cars and jewelry is where the romance for gang life begins. We as a community hold the value of money higher than the value of community and integrity, and that is where we have failed.


The simple truth is gang members do not always stem from the lower socio-economic neighborhoods, they do not always stem from certain groups such as Sikh or Vietnamese, or certain races such as black or white. The individuals that involve themselves in gangs are the ones with zero to low confidence. Yet, these are the individuals that are being admired by everyone, but for the wrong reasons. The admiration of their materialistic belongings such as the fancy cars they are driving, or fancy suits or jewelry they are wearing only goes so far. We will all pass on at some point, but what people are remembered for is their character, integrity and what they did for their community – no one remembers the fancy car you were driving. The youth involved in gangs, for some reason, are not feeling loved or cared for the way they need to be - so they turn elsewhere to look for that sense of unity or confidence. Many of the Indian gang members are coming from homes with abusive or alcoholic fathers, or mothers who are repressed. In some instances, it may not be either of those things. They simply do not feel a sense of inclusion within the community. These youth are struggling, and have nowhere or no one to turn to. These are the youth that are involving themselves in

gang behaviour and it is about time we start recognizing that. The senseless shootings occurring in our neighborhoods are not the result of RCMP capability, but a direct result of the community burying its head in the sand. What can you expect from the police if no one will talk to them? When parents of these gang bangers either fear their own children or plead ignorance and in some cases flaunt their children’s dirty money? I understand that no parent wants to see their child in handcuffs, but I hope they would prefer to see them in handcuffs rather than in a coffin. As a community we need to ask - Why are the youth in our community struggling with their confidence? What can we do to change that? This is not a simple answer, because if it were then there would be an easy solution and end of discussion. The situation is complex and there is are multiple issues that need to be addressed. However, I can say we need to start somewhere and that is with confidence building at a grass roots level.I am tired of opening every newspaper and reading “Indo-Canadian gang member shot to death” or “Indo-Canadian male suspected of shooting” and I am also tired of hearing the “Only in Surrey” jokes.

We are a very strong community, when we need to be. We work together whenever there has been a crisis or disaster. Recently, the Sikh community came together and sent over 1 million dollars’ worth of goods to Fort McMurray. In 2015, the South Asian community in Surrey raised approximately $725,000 in donations for the Surrey Memorial Hospital. In 2010, the South Asian community raised over 1.5 million dollars in donations for the earthquake that hit Haiti. We now need to recognize that our community is in crisis and in dire need of repair before our streets are overtaken by gangs and drugs. We need to recognize this is not something that will only be solved through financial donations, but through perseverance and hard work. We need to get our hands dirty and provide more activities for our youth. We need to make ourselves available to become that soccer coach, or teach poetry or an art class or dance class. We need to get out of our comfort zones and make sure our youth are happy, healthy and mentally confident. We need to take back our streets and let everyone know that we will not tolerate this behavior in our neighborhood.

SUNNY MANGAT, M.A. (International Politics & Human Rights), B.A. (Psychology) , a Vancouver Islander who was raised in Surrey,is a full-time PhD student at Roehampton University in London, U.K., researching sexual violence in India.



GENES vs RACE vs CULTURE I recently got into a heated debate over something science has had a handle on for quite some time. “How related am I to my neighbours?” I refer not only to the families residing next door to me, but also to that of the global community. The disagreement cornered on several facets and interpretations of terms. I was not acquainted with my opponent; we shared a mutual friend that I attended Catholic elementary and high school with years ago. Needless to say that our mutual connection strayed in closeness over a decade or more thus we represented very different experiences and opinions, but that never crossed my mind until the end of the conversation. 66

March 2016

We both saw a video that made the statement of genetic diversity of Africans to European and Asian decent by way of Neanderthal genes. According to the video, and this makes logical sense to me, those who made their way from Africa, mixed populations with the Neanderthals and then continued to spread eastbound where the genetic diversity continued. Thus, African populations who lacked the genetic traits of the Neanderthal were a more “pure” (for lack of a better term) example of homosapien said the professor in the video (who was indeed Anglo). Great! Science at work and it makes sense from a practical logical point of view. I agreed with the information and said that “We all are related within the last 30 generations.”. Granted my statement is geared more towards a recent time scale of the last few thousand years rather than the dawn of mankind but I felt it relevant and in a way an embodiment of a “global

family”. Who does not like statements that bring us together as a species? I was very wrong. I was immediately rebutted with the statement that I and this gentlemen were not related because I was “white” and he was “black”. It is a noteworthy fact that the elementary school my friend and I attended was extremely diverse and my friend wasAfricanAmerican and I was white and issues of race were seldom brought up in that environment. Also, I am confident that they would have been put to rest swiftly by the faculty if they in fact did arise. Anyways, I proceeded cheerfully to share articles and the math’s that proved that the human race was in fact very much inbred and that we all can find common ancestors within 3,000 years…a mere blink in human existence! This is where I and this gentleman’s interpretations of the facts split. I made the cardinal mistake of telling and African American man that race


did not exist. I honestly believed that such a term does not have bearing on science. I believe that the color of one’s skin, genetic traits, etc.… are a product of selection of breeding pairs of a species, time, and place. Scientifically speaking these are true. We have hardly any real differences in humans once you get beyond visual cues. Race is more of a geo-political charged issue than a scientific issue. I have been to plantations, I have been to Auschwitz and seen the clumps of hair and piles of shoes. It is sickening to think of what has happened on the basis of race and eugenics. It is not science, it is rubbish. This, as I learned, was the hardest point to make. Granted, I am not a scientist, and neither was he, but I am sure he was educated in a manner that was not dissimilar to myself. He made the point that I was ultimately African by decent, I agreed. I have no pride that I am white, I do have pride in being human. I told him we were related, but he said “only because we raped and stole his ancestors”. We battled on the facts that we both presented but the part I was not expecting in this scientific discussion was the issue of race and its issues in the modern day. He assumed that I needed to be informed that race was a big issue and that Black men are murdered every day and that his ancestors had been taken advantage of by mine. He firmly believed I was essentially living in a bubble and needed a “reality check” to the present. Frankly, this was offensive to me. Just because I am a white male in America, does not mean I am blind the

racial gulf that separates people. I tried my best to maintain the conversation as a scientific debate about how we were more similar than different and racial issues were political and did not apply to the scientific conversation at hand. Ultimately I just had to thank him for having a discussion with a person he did not agree with. Who was in the wrong? Was it me not allowing the conversation to turn into how “I” wronged “him”? It cannot be! If I had been Asian, would it of been easier for him to accept that we were long ago relatives with a common ancestor? I must believe this spiraled due to a cultural difference. To him I must seem ignorant and blinded by my white privilege that I could say something as idiotic as “race is not real”, though I had stressed I meant in a scientific way. I know some people would say he was playing the victim and using his ancestors to make that argument. I must strongly reject that argument as it reeks of the exact privilege he may have thought I evoked.

We have hardly any real dif ferences in humans once you get beyond visual cues. Race is more of a geopolitical charged issue than a scientific issue.

I truly did enter the debate with the pureness of science in mind but was quickly dragged back to Earth. It seems hard to converse with a new person without having to show your “I am not a racist credentials” and that saddens me. Science should be the one place that we check our cultures/races/ religion at the door and speak openly and truthfully. Where is that place? And how do we nurture and spread it everywhere? Sadly, I haven’t a clue.

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS is a social commenter, and first generation Texan, and graduate of the University of Houston.


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DIVORCE TO HAPPINESS When seeking relief from painful relationships there are many things we must consider. We must consider our external world as well as our interior world.

It is possible to use our divorce as a catalyst for change and create a new life that is filled with promise, possibilities and freedom. I believe that people who come into our lives and mirror our buried emotions are here to wake us up to loving and healing ourselves.

Rather than simply sorting through various medications or treatment My divorce taught me many things modalities, we must consider our about taking responsibility for my external world as well as our interior emotions and connecting inwardly with my pain, to sort through the world.

layers for conditioning and arriving



at a place of empowerment and clarity as a result.

were embedded deep into my cells dating back to birth.

changed my own life, I have changed the life of my two boys.

When we look at the exterior world, we lay blame on others for contributing to the stress in our lives. I played the victim role for many years - pointing my finger at others. As I looked outside myself for blame, I also looked outside of myself for healing. Many of the problems I was experiencing in my marriage came from my own self-denial.

The root cause of all my problems was depression and now it had come up to heal. With a new outlook on life, I looked towards examining all aspects of my life. I could no longer relate to my husband of 22 years. It was like I had woken up from a coma and the people in my life were total strangers, but it was actually me that had changed. I was now fully awake at the soul level and examining life at every turn. I set boundaries and had more expectations for my family for their support on staying healthy. I now expressed what I wanted from the people in my life. In 2015 my husband and I divorced.

When I lived in emotional chaos, my children also lived in emotional chaos. My two boys are much happier and emotionally grounded. All of these positive changes happened because I took control of my own life as a mother and woman. My emotional health has also helped me gain clarity in other areas of my life - such as having more financial freedom and making clear and grounded choices. I now realize that our emotions are connected to every area of our lives. Having emotional clarity also affects the way we deal with relationships. I now have more heartcentered and meaningful relationships. My own healing journey has made me see that we are all connected in so many different ways. I am excited about my new venture as a divorce coach, where I will be supporting women through the divorce process on an emotional level.

I experienced health challenges as a result of being in a relationship that was not serving me. I believe my body had developed a survival mechanism and shut down on me to cope with the situation. In the course of my treatment, I learned that my symptoms were manifested as a result of subconscious beliefs, cultural values and a lack of self love. I was living a life full of expectations of others, yet did not have my own voice. The treatment plan brought every symptom to the surface to heal, and allowed me to make connections as to where the symptom had originated from, and how it was still affecting my life today. Healing resulted from a combination of inner work and supplements and life coaching. I was coached through layers of illness that

I found the real me underneath layers of symptoms. I had stuffed every emotion deep into my body, but never learned the tools and skills to deal with life. I now live life from the soul level, and listen to the wisdom within that my body has to offer. Our body is our temple and it is up to us to decide how we nourish our soul. It was though my healing journey that I discovered my life purpose. Today, I am in total control of my emotional health. I have transformed my life on all levels. Not only have I

My dream is to show other women through my own personal story, that living an empowered life is possible. Let me help you make your transition from divorce to happiness. I am currently offering a complimentary session. Visit http:// www.divorcetohappiness.ca/ for more information.

NERINDER BAINS is a Master Empowerment Coach in British Columbia. Certified through The Swat Institute (Simply Women Accredited Trainer) an international coaching certification designed for women


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CYBERBULLYING What is cyberbullying? How do you know if your child or teen is being victimized? What can you do about it? How do you prevent it? In the age of technology, Canadian kids and teens are connecting more often and easily with one another than ever before. Exchanges over the internet can occur almost instantly visually, via audio, or by text. There are potential benefits of this technology for young people such as the ability to stay connected with distant friends and family. Youth who have difficulty making friendships in traditional settings have an opportunity to make meaningful social connections online. The internet also allows youth to have access to knowledge quickly and easily on various topics and provides opportunities to practice technical skills. Whether for entertainment or school purposes internet use has become ingrained in young people’s daily lives.


March 2016


Despite the benefits, this medium of interaction can be used in a negative manner and has become an avenue for cyberbullying to occur.

3. Inform your local police

Cyberbullying is when computers, cellphones, or other electronic devices are used to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass someone else. Research has shown that cyberbullying is most common in teenagers, although it has also been observed and reported in young children and also in adulthood.

5. Save the cyberbullying messages/ content (this is evidence you may need later on)

Cyberbullying victimization is a serious issue with negative consequences that may include poor academic performance, school dropout, and physical violence. Cyberbullying can affect a person’s reputation, happiness, feelings of self-worth and overall mental health. It has also been associated to suicidal ideation in some victims.

How can parents help prevent cyberbullying?

It is important to stay calm when you learn your child is being cyberbullied. Many youth feel ashamed, are afraid of having technology taken away, and fear they may make things worse if they do tell their parents.

4. Inform the students teacher or school principal – find out the school policy on bullying

6. Get outside help—if your child is showing signs of depressed mood, isolation, anxiety, thoughts of dying or self-harm seek the help of a mental health professional immediately

Educate yourself on the devices and websites your child is using

Develop rules with your child about safe behaviours on all technology

Be aware of cyberbullying and educate your kids on how to prevent it

How can youth prevent cyberbullying? •

N e ve r g i ve o u t p e r s o n a l information or passwords

Don’t believe everything you see or read online

1. Talk with your child about cyberbullying and how to prevent it in the future

Learn about privacy settings and reporting features on any sites you use

2. Inform your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone provider

Be careful about what comments you post and which photos you share online

Examples of cyberbullying include: • Posting rumours or lies about someone online to cause embarrassment • Distributing embarrassing o r i n t i m a t e p i c t u re s o f someone by posting in a public area or through email • M e a n o r t h r e a t e n i n g messages sent to someone via text, email, or a social network site • Tricking someone online into sharing personal or embarrassing information and sharing the information with others • Hacking into someone’s account (or using their password) and pretending to be them to post or send hurtful messages to others with the intent of causing the other person harm • Making up fake accounts to ridicule others


Unique features of cyberbullying: •

The bully can be more aggressive and cruel since it is easier when they can’t see the hurt it causes or be seen by their target.

The bully can be anonymous and consequently harder to trace, cause more fear and feelings of helplessness in the victim.

Victims can be reached at anytime and anywhere, even when they are at home. Insulting, or embarrassing information can spread quickly and widely, making it difficult to delete the content and increasing the humiliation.

Parents may help their child sooner if they maintain open communication and watch for signs they may be experiencing cyberbullying. Some warning signs include:

Avoidance of computer or mobile device. Or, an increasing amount of time online or via text

Upset, withdrawn or angry mood after spending time online or on mobile device.

Secretive online activities and avoidance of conversations related to computer and mobile device.

Reluctance to attend social functions once enjoyed, refusal to go to school, not wanting to leave the house, and/or withdrawal from family and friends.

Falling behind in school/ marked reduction in grades.

Difficulty sleeping, or showing less interest in eating.

For more information visit:











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community and we, as a community, need to take some responsibility to speak out and do something to change this situation. We have sisters, mothers, daughters and nieces who are venerable. Young boys and girls are also venerable from abuse including sexual abuse. Our seniors are also susceptive to domestic abuse and violence.

We hear of a lot sexual assaults in India, but we say that that is over there and not in our back yard. But we have seen that it is happening in our back yard and this is of only what has been reported. We can say that this happens not only in the South Asian community, which is also true. But it does happen in our

Men Against Violence and Sexual Abuse – MAVASA is a face book group that was started after a profile Delhi rape case a couple of years ago to talk about sexual abuse by men. The Warriors Against Violence Society are a group of men who speak out against sexual abuse among indigenous communities. This is something we need to take seriously.

The South Asian Community needs to take some responsibility for the number of sexual assaults by men in our community. Recently two young men were charged with Sexual Assault at UBC. Another South Asian man was also allegedly sexually assaulted a female real

We need leaders and role models in the community to speak out to say that violence against those who don’t have the power to abuse is not acceptable because if we don't speak out many cries will go unheard. We n e e d f a t h e r s , b r o t h e r s , husbands, uncles and friends to teach the children under their care not to abuse others and speak out against such behavior in our community when it takes place. We must also speak out against sexist portrayal of women as submissive to men in our media advertising of business as well as events. We can’t just sit back and do nothing when we see such behavior continue in our community.





SHARE THE ROAD WITH MOTORCYCLES THIS SUMMER Crashes involving motorcycles peak in our province at this time of year. In July and August, on average, six riders are injured in crashes every day. May is motorcycle awareness month in B.C., and ICBC is asking drivers to share the road and look out for motorcyclists now and throughout summer. As with other vulnerable road users, the majority of car crashes involving motorcycles happen in intersections. Drivers need to look out for motorcycles ― especially when turning left. ICBC is asking riders and passengers to wear motorcycle riding gear whenever 76

March 2016

getting on their bikes. “All the gear, all the time” is the best choice, even during warm days when wearing street clothes might seem preferable. Motorcycle operators and passengers must wear an approved motorcycle safety helmet ― it’s the law. An exception is made for people of the Sikh religion with unshorn hair who wear full turbans. ICBC has produced videos so you can see a graphic illustration of the difference between wearing riding gear or street clothes. Go to www.icbc.com/road safety/sharing/ motorcycle-safety to see the videos.


Here are some safety tips for drivers: •

Always scan intersections and look carefully for motorcycles.

Watch the rider for clues — sometimes a motorcycle’s turn signals are hard to see. If the rider shoulder checks or the motorcycle leans, the rider is probably planning to change lanes, adjust lane position or turn.

Make eye contact — whenever possible, let motorcyclists know that you’ve seen them.

Don’t assume that a rider in the left part of the lane is planning to turn left. Some riders do this to be more visible.

Passengers should also wear motorcycle gear for the best protection.

According to the law in B.C., you must wear a motorcycle helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE standards. Be sure it displays the proper label and meets safety-helmet labelling requirements.

When approaching an intersection, adjust your lane position and reduce your speed so you'll have time to stop if you need to.

When turning left — look for oncoming motorcycles. Motorcycles can be hard to see, especially at night, at dusk, in bad weather or in heavy traffic. The safest choice is to yield the right of way to an oncoming rider as it can be hard to tell how fast they’re travelling.

Tips for riders: •

All the gear, all the time ― Choose a jacket and pants made for motorcycle riding; sturdy gloves that cover your wrists and protect your knuckles; and boots that protect your ankles. Street clothes offer little or no protection from the weather or in a crash. Wear bright or reflective clothing that comes with ventilation to help prevent over-heating. Use a safety vest or clothing that features fluorescent material or reflective striping to help make you more visible, day and night.



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AFTER THE ACCIDENT A Counsellor’s guide to dealing with ICBC Have you been in a car accident? Are you suffering from more than just physical injuries? Do you feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the appointments, while trying to recover from your injuries? Did you know you are eligible to receive coverage for counselling/therapy sessions? Have you heard of something called Part 7 benefits? Whether you are found at fault for a Motor Vehicle Collision (mvc) or not, as long your vehicle was insured with ICBC, you are a member of the vehicle owner’s household, were in the vehicle during the accident, or someone hit by an insured vehicle, you are likely eligible for Part 7 benefits/funding, under the Motor Vehicle Act.


March 2016

Part 7 benefits are meant to provide quickly accessible rehabilitation services to the injured individual involved in an mvc to the “highest level of gainful employment or self sufficiency that is reasonably achievable.” In other words, these benefits are meant to get you back to your pre-mvc state. ICBC is liable to provide up to $150,000 in Part 7 rehabilitation benefits on top of the coverage provided by the BC Hospital Plan and the Medical Services Plan. The benefits cover services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, transportation, medications, and more. In this article, however, we will focus on the psychological benefits available under Part 7. In our practice, our team of six therapists, have the experience of working with hundreds of ICBC cases of acute trauma, depression, driving anxiety, and more that was due to a mvc. Our clients have been aajmag.ca

approved for as many as 30 sessions per client, per collision, and we take care of all the documentation and approval processes so that you do not have to worry about this. We will work with your legal team, if you have one, and if you do not have one, we will work on your behalf to advocate for your case to get you the support you need to heal from your mvc related injuries. We can also collaborate with your occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and doctors to provide a full circle of care, if you wish. At Burnaby Square Counselling, we truly care about your well-being and want to get you back on your feet, both physically, and mentally, so that you can get back to being and doing what you did before the accident, and put this experience behind you. In order to do that, it is important to learn what trauma is, and how we work with it. We may have the misconception that trauma comes from major catastrophes or violent disasters. These events may lead to trauma in many individuals, but even what some may consider a minor car accident, such as a fender bender, can have damaging effects on a person. Peter Levine, PhD, has been studying stress and trauma for more than 35 years and helping people heal from it. The effects of accumulated stress on our nervous system can be debilitating affecting your digestion, muscles, health and your sexual drive. Car accidents can have accumulated compounding stress if

we do not deal with the after effects early on. Certainly, you have felt the psychological symptoms of stress in your daily lives, which may include, and not limited to, headaches, fatigue, pain, and anxiety. When the initial stress that the car accident caused, our bodies and mind may pay a severe price: people end up suffering from initial anxiety and mild depression, and when this is not looked at, can lead to severe panic, despair and long-term suffering. Levine goes on to describe automobile accidents, even fender benders, as less obvious but potential causes of stress and trauma. He demonstrates that early symptoms are hypervigilence, intrusive imagery, sensitivity to sound, startle responses, nightmares, abrupt mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. If the trauma is not healed, the next list of symptoms show up later, and this could be even years later. These symptoms include: panic attacks, anxiety, phobias, avoidance behaviours, addictive behaviours, forgetfulness, etc. The next phase of symptoms shows up numerous years later accompanied by the earlier symptoms. These include: diminished emotional responses, chronic fatigue, immune system problems, chronic illnesses, asthma, digestive problems, and feelings of detachment. These are just a few examples of the symptoms that can escalate over time if not brought out to the surface. The symptoms of stress and trauma can stay with you in your body until you have found a way

to get help. It may be hard to imagine that a minor car accident could have the listed implications. Research has shown over and over again the negative consequences of not dealing with our emotional hygiene. We have forgotten that our bodies speak to us in various ways. When our body is suffering, it is communicating with us that something in our life is not going right. When we do not listen to our body, we suffer, especially after a car accident. You need to minimize the damaging effects after the car accident for your body as well as your mind. You do that by acknowledging that the accident was a stressful event and you are experiencing stressful symptoms. Often when we do not deal with the acute symptoms, the symptoms accumulate and the damage to our minds and bodies become bigger ailments and illnesses. We are not machines. We are human beings who feel emotions. It is completely okay to feel emotions. During an accident, our stress hormone, cortisol and adrenaline are released in our bodies. We are in a fight or flight mode. Unfortunately, we may get stuck in this response even after the accident because we do not know how to allow our bodies to feel through the responses. After the accident, if we become aware of the negative symptoms, we may brush it off or not give it another thought. But your body is telling you that it is not resolved.






March 2016





MUHAMMAD ALI Muhammad Ali, a three time world champion boxer and international icon, passed away on Friday June 3rd, at the age of 74. He fought aggressively in the ring for numerous championship wins, but also ended up fighting a personal battle with Parkinson’s for decades. He was the most exciting, if not the greatest, heavyweight champion ever – carrying into his sport a physically unique and unconventional boxing style. He combined swiftness, agility and strength more flawlessly than any other boxer before him. Ali was much more than a superb athlete. Gifted with an upbeat and charismatic personality, intelligence

and outstanding self-confidence, he was a magnet for the public. The world was interested in him not only for his athleticism, but also for his clever wit. Ali reached superstar status at an astonishing rate, which came with both good and bad consequences. Sometimes he was hailed as a hero and idolized; other times, he was depicted as a villain due to his religious and political opinions. Despite all this, one thing remains certain: whether he was loved or hated, he continued to be one of society’s most celebrated icons for more than 40 years. He became legendary. Not only did he earn the respect of millions of sports fans around the world for his success in boxing, but he captured the attention of everyone else through his stance on war, his battle with illness, and his charismatic personality and friendly nature towards his evergrowing fans. A legend may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.







March 2016


With the support and encouragement of successful B.C. business owner Bruce Kehler, students at Princess Margaret Secondary School had the opportunity to participate in an international robotics competition known as FIRST Robotics. Bruce, owner of Canex Building Supplies in Chilliwack, is a key sponsor of the Princess Margaret Robotics Club. Lead by their teacher and mentor (Mr. China), a team of sixteen students designed, built and programed a robot to perform various tasks, in relation to the competition’s chosen medieval theme. The robot was required to be multifunctional in order to pick up “boulders” (dodge balls), surpass enemy defences (gates, terrains, etc.), shoot the boulder into a high or low goal, and climb a rod for additional points. After working on this project for six weeks, the team travelled to Calgary for the official competition. Princess Margaret Robotics Club won their first four matches, and started off ranking 3rd out of 34 teams; in the

end, they placed 27th due to an issue with the wheels of the robot. Although they did not advance to the world finals in St. Louis, the team is very proud of their accomplishments and what they learned in such a short period of time. None of this could have been achieved without the generosity of Bruce Kehler. Along with running a successful business as the President of Canex Building Supplies, Bruce is highly active in the community. Over the past 10 years, Bruce has donated over 1.5 million dollars to various organizations and causes: he has given away thousands worth of school supplies to students from low income backgrounds, sponsored summer day camps, provided donations to the Surrey Urban Mission Society, Open Door and the Mamta foundation, among others. Bruce is a valuable member of the Lower Mainland communities and is a highly honourable and noteworthy individual.



March 2016





Perminder Chohan, managing director at Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network, is an honourable entrepreneur in British Columbia. From humble beginnings and little knowledge of the business world, Mr. Chohan has created a noteworthy reputation in the community as a philanthropist, trail blazer and businessman. We had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Chohan and learn more about who he is and what he does for the community. 1. You wrote a book with Brian Tracey (UNcommon); please tell us a little bit about this. My chapter in this book is called “Dreams with Deadlines” and it helps people achieve their goals by establishing proper deadlines. 2. How did you and Brian come up with the title of the book, UNcommon? We wanted to write about common people with uncommon qualities, and I believe that I am one of those people. 3. Are there other books in the works? Yes, my second book will be released in August and is titled Performance 360. 4. What is your personal favourite book to read? I have a lot of favourites. I prefer motivational and positive books, such as books by John Maxwell and Brian Tracey. 5. You have received endless awards. Can you tell me about your most recent one? At the end of May I received an Appreciation Award from Kids Play Cafe in Surrey. I sponsor many of their events, such as sports events, which help keep children on the right track.

6. Which award or achievement are you most proud of? I am proud of the achievement of having the #2 Desjardins Financial office in Canada. This recognition will always be special to me because I reached this level with no business knowledge when I started. My goal is to reach #1 within the next 2 years, and this will be an extremely special moment. I know I can achieve this by establishing deadlines, and I genuinely love helping people and focus on honesty and integrity. 7. You are highly involved in the community. Can you tell me about some of your past projects?

and a participated in a blanket drive for the homeless, among other initiatives. 8. Are there any current or upcoming projects? There are a lot of things in the works. I am always supporting good causes in the community, and I do this because I did not have the resources before but always wanted to. My dream was to help other people. Finally, I have the opportunity and funds to do so. So I will continue for a very long time. Furthermore, after my second book is released, I will be releasing my very own book, written 100% by me.

I’m involved with more than 30 different charities and organizations. I am a project sponsor for the Surrey/ Newton Rotary Club. One of the things we are working on is building a sound studio near Ludhiana for deaf and blind students. We also built a school in the Philippines after a typhoon. I was also a sponsor for the Sahara Mental Health fundraiser that took place in May, lead by Bindi Bains. $75,000 was donated by Desjardins to the Red Cross for the Fort McMurray wildfire crisis. I also donated individually to other fundraisers associated to the Fort McMurray situation. I provide scholarships to students through SOAR philanthropy; I was a sponsor for a cancer awareness fundraiser, 89




Buneet Bisla, 18, is making the community proud with his impressive boxing skills. Just last week, he took home the B.C. Light Heavyweight Championship title; he also previously held the WBC Youth title. When asked about his proudest moment to date, Bisla stated that he loved “coming home and showing grandma [his] belt.”

Buneet says that “waking up early is sometimes annoying, but you just gotta push through and do it.” Overall, he loves the sport and enjoys training. His biggest motivation to do well is the kids that are around him, looking up to him, and watching him train and compete at his best level.

Bisla trains daily, sometimes even two times a day, at his dad’s martial arts studio. Bisla Martial Arts has been in operation since 2008. Inder Bisla, Buneet’s father, loves martial arts and related sports, and wanted to see his sons and other youth fight as well.



NANA'S KITCHEN A TRUE & HONOURABLE EXAMPLE OF HARD WORK Nana’s Kitchen has broken more glass ceilings, receiving a Surrey Board of Trade Award this past May. The company was honoured in the Small Business Category, with revenues under $15 million. Nana’s Kitchen produces various food products for grocery retail and food-service sectors. The company was initially well-known for its’ production of 25,000 samosas per day; but their production list has grown to include chimichangas, apple pies, mexi-rice and more. The organization started out representing Indian food, but has grown well beyond that scope. According to Shelina Mawani, co-founder and director of sales and marketing at Nana’s Kitchen, “we were known as Samosa Queens, but we have now shifted to a company that produces convenient comfort food for the global taste.” Shelina Mawani first launched the organization with her sister, Nasim Dhanji, in 2000. Shelina and Nasim surpassed numerous obstacles as they delved

in the world of business. One of their first business ventures together was a restaurant that they opened in 1998, but were forced to shut down in 1999. Shelina recalls the days when she used to wonder how she was going to pay the bills and make ends meet. When asked what kept them going despite obstacles and adversities, Shelina states that the two sisters supported each other through hard times. Through hard work and perseverance, including conducting door to door campaigns in the community, Shelina and Nasim slowly and steadily grew their next venture. Now, Shelina leads the marketing aspects of the business, while Nasim manages production. Just a few weeks ago, Shelina was a keynote speaker at the Alliance Conference in Toronto. This is an annual event held for Ismaili business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs. This conference allows individuals to come together and exchange ideas, connect and form longstanding relationships, and gain insight on market and business trends. These two women are an excellent example of hard work winning success.





Crashes involving motorcycles peak in our province at this time of year. In July and August, on average, six riders are injured in crashes every day. Alex Sangha may just be the first

Four Feathers Society. Alex is the Founder of Sher Vancouver which is a social, cultural, and support group for LGBTQ South Asians and their friends, families, and allies. Sher has over 600 members. The DOSTI project is an anti-

Sikh in history to be the Grand bullying, racism, homophobia, and Marshal of the Vancouver Pride transphobia workshop that Alex Parade. Surrey is also making history by holding its first ever pride parade. Sher Vancouver will be present in both parades. For those of you not familiar with Alex's work in the LGBTQ community, a brief biography is below. Alex Sangha is an award winning author, social worker, and advocate for equality and human rights. He has an MSc in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Department of Government from the London School of Economics and a Master of Social Work from Dalhousie University. Alex has worked as a instructor, counsellor, clinician, social worker, case manager, and youth counsellor. He currently works as a team leader for a mental health team with a health authority. In terms of his LGBTQ advocacy, Alex was elected Co-Chair of Pride UBC. He fundraised close to $10,000.00 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Outweek. Alex was involved with the Gay Warriors talking circle and was elected Secretary on the Board of the

launched from scratch in April 2009. As part of his Master of Social Work practicum, Alex decided to bring the LGBTQ community together to develop affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors and allies called Dignity House. Alex secured close to $40,000.00 to do a market and feasibility study. Dignity House is now a non-profit society.Alex is currently working to advance LGBTQ programs and services within Fraser Health Authority. He has developed the DOSTI Project (HIV edition). The Out and Proud Project celebrates the strength and diversity of amazing queer South Asians. This popular blog has attracted approximately 20 profiles and over 10,000 hits. Alex is currently producing a documentary film about the late Sher Vancouver social coordinator, January Marie Lapuz, who was a trans woman of color. Alex also founded and supports the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award which is a $500 annual cash prize.

are persecuted if not executed. We have a duty to advocate for equality and fundamental human rights for everyone everywhere. Our beautiful corner of the world can provide support and strength and a blue print to implement improved laws for queers around the globe. Alex is a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for Social Work and is the Grand Marshal of the 2016 Vancouver Pride Parade.

Sher Vancouver which is a social, cultural, and support group for LGBTQ South Asians and their friends, families, and allies. Sher has over 600 members.

Alex feels we can all be “role models.� We can set an example for other countries. In India and many parts of the world homosexuality is illegal and our queer friends aajmag.ca






March 2016



istory has officially been made! A few weeks ago in May, the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame announced the 2016 StarWalk inductees, including Surrey’s very own Jazzy (Jaswinder) Bains. Jazzy B is the first South Asian to receive this recognition, which includes being featured with a plaque on the Walk of Fame on Granville Street, and in a gallery in the Orpheum theatre in Vancouver.

Jazzy B has been pushing boundaries and breaking barriers since the early days of his career. Born in India but raised in Canada from a young age, Jazzy faced many challenges as he was growing up. He always enjoyed singing, but never really thought about pursuing it as a career until someone close to him suggested that he take his talent to another level. Jazzy B set out to do just that; but his parents, siblings and other people in the community were skeptical. They often advised him to focus on school and getting a “proper” job, rather than pursuing a “dream.” Another obstacle was that he was breaking into the IndoCanadian music scene at a time in which there was blatant racism, and youth were hesitant to even speak let alone listen to Punjabi music. People also teased him about his creative fashion sense

and unique hair styles. Despite the adversities he faced, Jazzy B stayed focused and went on to become an international superstar. As of today, he has received countless awards, released epic singles and albums, and one of his songs was even featured in Hollywood’s Deadpool movie starring Ryan Reynolds: “Sat Rangey” by Jazzy B is played in the taxi scene approximately one hour and seventeen minutes into the movie. AAJ Magazine recently had a special opportunity to sit down with Jazzy B and discuss his achievements over the years. Keep a look out for our next issue where we cover the official BC Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and also release 15 personal questions and answers with this superstar!


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On Scene

Vaisakhi on the Hill



Vancouver & Surrey Vaisakhi


March 2016


Komagata Maru Apology

Komagata Maru Apology



Komagata Maru Premier's Reception


March 2016


Knowledge First Career Fair

Awakened Man



Friday May 6th 2016 saw the launch of The Sahaara Mental Health Foundation annual fundraiser. The event which was hosted and coordinated by Bindi Bains Mackoruk and Deljit Bains was a huge success with over 400 in attendance and generous support from an impressive list of corporate sponsors. The night was emceed by Lenny Andrichuk who is a Special olympics and para Olympics spokesperson and it featured Dr.Rami Nijjar as the keynote speaker. Dr Nijjar provided insights into OCD as well as research and support updates. Following her informative talk was a dazzling fashion show from Armaan DBG and a moving musical performance by 14 year old Isaiah Mackoruk and 18 year old Shaneese Ali. As an inaugural event there was a solid foundation laid for future dialogue in the area of OCD, Tics and Tourettes. In addition to providing information and raising funds for research and support, the night also provided a platform for discussion and interaction amongst people affected by mental illness and the community of supporters. The general consensus from the attendees was that this type of exposure was long overdue and that it was a great first step to providing much needed support to the silent sufferers of the affliction. 104

Sahaara Fundraiser for Mental Health

Gujarati Society of BC Event


Moving Forward Society Fundraiser

Pacific Oral Heath Centre Free Dental Clinic


March 2016


Surrey Board of Trade at Morgan Creek

Surrey Board of Trade Awards Event



James Street CafĂŠ & Grill

Veerhood Launch


March 2016


Meet & Greet with Minister Bill Morneau

Protecting Our Daughters



Classical Music: Pandit Harvinder Sharma & Sunny Matharu


March 2016


On Scene with Aziz


Capturing your

life's Greatest Moments

Fijian Talent Show


Vaisakhi Reception at Surrey Gallery

Fashion Portrait Photo Restoration Photography for all occasion

C: 604-418-7867 E-mail: musicandphotoart@gmail.com aajmag.ca 111

World Partnership Walk

Johnny Lever


March 2016


Profile for AAJ Magazine

Aaj magazine July August 2016 Volume 11 Issue 4  

Aaj magazine July August 2016 Volume 11 Issue 4