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This year, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, is the year of the Rooster. And this year certainly has woken us up to the inequality that is still in our world! From the inauguration of Donald Trump to the Women's March on Washington, which became a rallying point for women all around the word, these first few months of 2017 have been full of people speaking up and taking steps towards making change. Change should not be feared, rather it should be seen as the process through which both the people and the politicians in power work to create the world into what they want to see. This is the power of democracy, every single person has the power to create change.

This year also sees AAJ Magazine continuing towards publishing the latest stories that matter to our readers. In this issue we cover stories about the changes we have seen in the world this year - from "Brexit and the U.S. Election" to the first time buyer grant instituted here in British Columbia. This issue of AAJ Magazine also salutes the solidarity and strength of women, in stories like "I Will Go Out", and other International Women's Day-themed articles we are proud to present. This March 8th AAJ Magazine will celebrate International Women's Day, and on behalf of everyone here at AAJ Magazine, I would like to wish you, and all the women in the world, a very happy International Women's Day.

Suki Pangalia CEO

AAJ Media Group Surrey, BC ISSN 2371-2481

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 2017 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved. 10

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It Doesn't Have To Be That Way

ISSUE Be A Superhero Not A Bully Yes All Women It Doesn't Have To Be That Way Seasons Of Love How To Choose The Perfect Pair Of Glasses Creating Good Mornings Sleep Debt Coaching, Not Just For Sport Meditation - Human To Being Don't Suffer In Silence Brexit & The US Election First Time Buyers Grant Will Drive Prices Higher Great Gadgets 5 Tools Every Business Needs Orion Water Drop The Importance Of International Women's Day Record Monday Ticket Sales Chohan & Desjardins Gala An AAJ Christmas Shakti Awards

12 18 22 26

Seasons Of Love

28 32 34 36 40 44 46 48 52 56 60

Be A Superhero 64 Not A Bully


68 72 74 78



Create Good Mornings

Great Gadgets

52 Yes All Women



The Importance Of International Women's Day





Sean Bindra knows a little something about the meaning of life. In some ways, he’s a regular guy – he’s a friend, a neighbour, a son, a cousin. In other ways, he’s a superhero – a crusader who champions for a healthier, happier, more meaningful and loving world. This Delta resident has purpose and is committed to delivering a positive message: be yourself and be true to who you are because our differences are what make each of us special.

The negative effects of bullying have caused too many kids to drop out of school, avoid social situations, or in some cases, commit suicide because they feel it’s the only solution to ending the pain. No one should suffer in silence or alone. A Little History Over 30 years ago, Sean’s mom and dad immigrated to Canada from India. In their 20s, they arrived with a plan to live a simple, honest life and raise a family. His mom used her passion for sewing to earn a living and his dad, along with his brothers, opened the Supreme Pizza pizzeria in Vancouver. The pizza business became a core setting for the family. Members of the extended family came together and helped build the business from the ground up. Sean and his brother, along with a crew of cousins, worked there but they didn’t just make pizza – they created an atmosphere where they not only built a business but a solid family whose values are about giving back.

The Anti-Bully Superhero Sean understands what having, and being, a role model is all about. As a young student, Sean was bullied – physically, verbally, and online. He recalls the feeling of thinking his worth was less than someone else’s and the emotional pain that persisted long after the bully has gone. Bul lyi n g a ffe c t e d h i s s e l festeem and his ability to feel safe in a place where kids are meant to be educated and learn how to be good world citizens. It should be alien for anyone to experience the torment of being laughed at, pushed, kicked, and made to feel like there is no escape. But



instead, it’s a reality for so many of our youth. The negative effects of bullying have caused too many kids to drop out of school, avoid social situations, or in some cases, commit suicide because they feel it’s the only solution to ending the pain. No one should suffer in silence or alone. In 2014, the need to relay the

With the help of the Vancouver-based Shiamak Dance Team, over 650 kids from the Delta and Surrey communities came together and an antibullying dance flash mob was born


message that bullying must stop guided Sean to do his part to help make this change happen. With the help of the Vancouver-based Shiamak Dance Team, over 650 kids from the Delta and Surrey communities came together and an anti-bullying dance flash mob was born. For weeks, Shiamak instructors visited three elementary schools and a high school and choreographed a dance routine with the intent of having all four schools come together and spread the message through dance on Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day originated in Berwick, Nova Scotia, in 2007 where a grade 9 student – Jadrien Cota - was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on his first day of school. In a supportive response, two goldhearted kids, David Shepherd and Travis Price, bought and distributed 50 pink shirts to stand up against bullying. Today, anti-bullying events take place all over Canada and around the world. Furthering the anti-bullying initiative is something that Sean would like to promote. Why? Sean has superheroes who left a lasting impression on him and planted the desire to live a life of giving. His parents are simple, humble folks who find great reward in sharing what they have with others. They taught him that giving is the best form of receiving and is what makes life meaningful. They instilled in him good values as well as the strength and courage to step forward and find ways to make a difference. To Sean, his parents mean the world and in many ways are his definition of happiness. He calls them Undercover Superheroes. But there’s a third superhero who left a mark on him and for whom he has enormous gratitude. Sean’s older cousin by 4 years, Binda Khun-Khun, was a role model. Binda lost his parents at a very young age. He lived with extended family and referred to Sean’s parents as his second parents. His father provided Binda with the love and support

every child deserves. Growing up together, Sean looked up to his cousin and wanted to be just like him. Binda lived a very straightedged life. He felt that the definition of fun was changing and that with a partying lifestyle, people soon

what you get, or what job you have, there’s nothing more important than family and in particular, your parents. Binda left a permanent impact on Sean and further motivated him to find ways to do what’s important. Sean has followed

To Sean, his parents mean the world and in many ways are his definition of happiness. He calls them Undercover Superheroes. forget about what’s important and don’t stay grounded and true to who they are. And being true to oneself is something he firmly believed in. When Sean was bullied in school, Binda stood up for him. He protected and defended him and reminded him of his value.

in his cousin’s footsteps – he lives a clean life, has never had a sip of alcohol or experimented with drugs and is extremely proud of this. He doesn’t let peer pressure get to him and he credits Binda, along with his parents, for this and everything he is as a person.

Then in 2015, life changed and tragedy struck. Binda was diagnosed with cancer and after a valiant battle, he passed away, leaving behind a loving family who miss him dearly. This loss was the most difficult experience that Sean had ever had to deal with. When it became clear that they were not winning the battle, Sean knew that he had to let Binda know what he meant to him. He asked Binda if there was anything important that he needed to know. Binda advised that regardless of anything that happens in life, what you make,

You Can be a Superhero Too The anti-bullying flash mob has become an annual February event. Now in its 3rd year, over 1000 students in the Delta community took part this month in helping spread the message that bullying must stop and that it’s more than OK to be who you are. The flash mob is an event that brings youth together in a way that’s fun, builds camaraderie and self-esteem, and helps everyone learn that spreading love and happiness is leaps and bounds more rewarding aajmag.ca


than elevating your self-worth by bullying and victimizing others. Sean is the main event director but he has a depth of gratitude for the help he receives from a community of supporters who volunteer their time. The BC Lions,

the Shiamak Vancouver Dance Team, teaching staff, students, the media, family, friends, and other volunteers put in countless hours to help make the annual event happen. Not only is dance a creative and fun way of sharing a message but having members of our local football team participate creates a memory for the youth to take away that helps make an important message last. He believes that everyone has the power to become a superhero. How? It’s easy – bring a smile to someone through gestures of love and kindness. No matter how small or big, you never know what impact your actions can make on someone who may need it. 16

And who knows better than Superman how to do good? For his 28th birthday last year, Sean decided that he was going to celebrate by giving back to the community. Dressed in full Superman costume, he started the day at a skytrain station greeting commuters, giving them high fives, and spreading genuine cheer by transforming an otherwise mundane morning into a marvellous interaction. He continued the cheer by stopping at Richardson Elementary, a French immersion school, where he surprised 11 classrooms of students with a donation of toys and a message that they are all superheroes too. Next was a visit to the Kennedy Seniors Recreational Centre where he previously volunteered for 5 years. He helped with the lunch service while bringing smiles and laughter to seniors to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. Then followed a visit to the Canadian Mental Health Association – a focus that also is near and dear to Sean’s heart. And to complete the day was a visit to the BC Children’s Hospital where Sean had the honour of greeting kids who, regardless of their illness, gave him the greatest of all gifts – a smile. For Sean, this was the best birthday he ever had because the best gift you can ever receive is the gift of happiness that you feel from making someone smile.

It’s Just Love and Happiness When Sean thinks of who he is as a person, his definition is that of simplicity yet it has the weight of

purpose and the power to create change. In a world where the pressures and responsibilities of school or career distract us from the real meaning of life, Sean has his eye on what everyone’s ultimate goal really ought to be. In his words, “It’s just love and happiness.” It’s who Sean is, what he wants, and are two great gifts that he has an endless amount of to give. Bringing love and joy to those around him is the driving force behind his actions and encouraging others to do the same is a message he wants to promote.

Being ourselves, not yielding to peer pressure to change who we are, celebrating our differences without being ashamed, and making gestures of kindness – big or small – are key to helping bring an end to bullying and having a meaningful life that’s fulfilling. From Sean, we can all learn a valuable lesson: with love and happiness, we can all be superheroes too.

CLARISSA WEBER, is a Communications Manager at a national Canadian marketing company in Burnaby, BC and a devoted mother and life partner to a team of remarkable human beings. T:7.25” S:6.75”

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YES ALL WOMEN Indian women are fighting back against the mass molestation that took place on New Year’s Eve in Bangalore. On Saturday January 21st, 2017 Indian women and some men flooded the streets of every major city in India. During this past New Year’s Eve celebrations, crowds of men on the streets of Bangalore molested many women. It was reported that women were running towards the police on duty for help. However despite photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts, 18

no official cases of molestation were registered with the police. The Karnataka State Home Minister G Parameshwara dismissed the claims stating “that happens,” and suggested that these things happen when women dress and adopt a western lifestyle. The #IWillGoOut campaign started as a Facebook event and it gained momentum after the mass Bangalore molestations, that it went national. India has gained global scrutiny over the past few years, in

particular after the gang rape and death of Jyoti Singh Pandey in 2012. However, since the Pandey case there have also been several other cases, which have not gained the same attention. Often some cases are not picked up by the media or the public due to a woman’s caste, class or religion. Such as the Rohtak Dalit gang rape case, where a woman was gang raped twice in three years by the same men. There was also the case of ‘Jisha’ a 30 year old law school student who was also murdered and raped, similarly as Jyoti Singh

Pandey. Yet, these cases gained no public appeal or global attention. The #IWillGoOut campaign was one that has attempted to be more inclusive and intended to bridge the experiences of all women across the board. This campaign specifically reached out to marginalized women and encouraged them to raise their voices and take part in the movement. Many marginalized women, attended loud and proud at the #IWillGoOut march. They shared their narrative and gave their own personal accounts of sexual violence

marches across 28 cities in Canada. The women in India marched for their rights to occupy public spaces. Moreover, they are fighting to combat ‘victim-blaming’ when women are blamed for their rape, harassment or molestation. The women who protested today are also fighting for the right to have a voice and share their own narrative. This in particular came about when many Indian men began the hashtag #NotAllMen after women began speaking to their experiences of harassment, groping,

...they are fighting to combat ‘victim-blaming’ when women are blamed for their rape, harassment or molestation. experiences. The campaign was also timely with the Global Women’s March, which is a movement that is comprised of a global network of women who support equality, diversity and inclusion. This year the Women’s March had women marching across all seven continents, in solidarity with American women who were protesting attacks against immigrants, Muslims, Latino’s, LGBTQIA, Native Aboriginal, people with disabilities and survivors of sexual violence. Women together around the world joined forces to have their presence be seen and heard. Canadian women also geared up to show their support, and held

molestation, eve-teasing and rape. I attended the march in Delhi, I joined many women and some men at the intersection of Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy and we marched towards Jantar Mantar (the unofficial designated protest site in Delhi). The sheer energy and magnitude of the crowd was so vibrant and empowering. The women began using the power of their voices, chanting “Azadi Azadi Azadi” (freedom) commanding their civil liberty and rights. The chaos amidst the colorful crowd included women reciting poetry, people singing songs and women and men holding up posters. Many women



also brought their children along and in between the street vendors were trickling through the crowds selling tea, which many happily accepted on the cold winter evening. Yet, I found the chaos to be empowering and inviting. I thought of my friends who were going to be marching in

London, U.K. and in Vancouver, Canada later that day. I sent them a few texts and photos of what was happening here in India. It was at that very moment that the power of solidarity struck me - That today women across all continents were unifying and raising their voices as one. I am an Indo-Canadian woman, and I have been collecting research data on sexual violence against marginalized women in Delhi. One thing that I can say, unequivocally, is that I do not feel safe here when I am alone in the public. There is 20

a constant state of fear that runs through every woman’s mind that she could be raped here. This fear, takes over your life – as a woman you are constantly being reminded to be home by a certain time, to be in the company of a male or in a group, to not make eye contact with men, or to not do this or to not do that or to not wear this or that. Dr. Liz Kelly referred to a process called ‘safety work,’ where women will strategize and plan how to respond, avoid and cope with men’s violence. Moreover, I am not saying that I have never feared walking home alone at night in Vancouver, Canada or even London, U.K. because the truth is - I have. There have been many times, I have gone home late at night and saw a group of men or man standing in my path home and I chose to cross the street to avoid walking by them or him. There have been many times, I have had a car full of men drive by and yell something out or creepily drive up next to me and stare. I normally respond by quickening my step or I have turned into the drive way of someone else’s home, pretending it was mine. There have been many times, when I felt uncomfortable in the outfit I was wearing; so I would tug at my skirt or wrap something around me because of the way a man looked at me. There have been many times, I have had someone grab me, poke me, pinch me, tug at my hair or take over my personal space. More often than not, it was I who ended up feeling uncomfortable and ashamed.

I would question myself “Is my dress too short?” or “I should have taken a taxi” etc. We as a global society have attached stigma and shame to the women who have been violated and abused. Women all over the world are brought up to be afraid; more afraid of that stigma and shame than anything else. We refer to women who have been stalked, harassed, groped, molested or raped as victims, instead of as survivors. We have constructed women to be weak, modest and chaste and the women who ‘push’ those boundaries are criticized and seen as justified targets.

expose and bring out a unified fight to end violence against women. The city of Delhi is often referred to as the ‘rape capital,’ however it can also be argued this label has been given because the women of Delhi, India are challenging patriarchy at all levels - state, community and family. They are making their fight public and they are challenging their positions within society. They are reporting more and fighting back to reclaim their position within society. This is a global fight that all women have gone through and are still going through every. single.day.

I spoke to a young woman carrying the sign #IWillGoOut and asked her why she attended the march? She stated “I am here because all women have experienced some kind of sexual violence in their life. I am not independent in my own country and that is a shame. I have had men yell out rude remarks on me; I have had my bottom and breast fondled in the middle of the train platform during rush hour. And it was I who hung my head in shame, not the man who touched me.”

As I was leaving the march, I passed by a young woman who had a sign up that said “Day or night, stepping out is my right” and I asked her why she wrote that sign and she replied “Because it is my right to be in the public, the same as a man and no one has the right to tell me otherwise.” #YesAllWomen and #IWillGoOut

Thus, it is not only in India where women are raped, groped or molested because that is false - it happens globally. However, this #IWillGoOut campaign has helped

SUNNY MANGAT, M.A. is a Human Rights Activist, and a PhD student researching sexual violence against women in India. aajmag.ca



IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY Nicole G. Leier is a Canadian born L.A. based actress and producer whose career has seen her succeed both on the screen and on the stage in cities across North America. Married to cinematographer Brendan Uegama, they divide their time between Vancouver and Los Angeles. As a professional couple, both enjoying successful and ascending careers, life is certainly good for them for many reasons. But for Nicole however, life has not always been as good as it is now and the path that she has taken to where she is now from where she started out has been far from straightforward or easy.


Growing up in B.C.'s Interior, Nicole endured a challenging early life. Raised by her mother and step-father, she was often on the receiving end of abusive behaviour in the communities that she grew up in. Having also witnessed the damaging effects of alcohol abuse, her early experiences were not necessarily conducive to building a strong platform for future success. While many that experience such a challenging home environment during their early years sadly go on to repeat the pattern of abuse or become defined by it, Nicole knew that it didn't have to be that way. She believed that the world was essentially a good place and that most people are good in both their hearts and their minds, and that through believing that, she would be able to break to the chain. So, unable to change the environment at home she knew that she would have to get out and to carve her own path, taking responsibility for her own success and her own well being. And she did just that. Despite the pain of leaving her younger sister behind, she left home before the age of18. Driven to find success as an actress, she told her mother and her step-father that she was leaving saying, “I'll be back in two weeks to buy the family home, and after that I'm going to Hollywood!” Far from being encouraged, her declaration was met with the response, “If you're leaving don't think that you can ever come back.” Undeterred by the harsh ultimatum, she left, heading for Vancouver with the single minded goal of finding success as an actress in

the city's thriving film and television industry. Nothing she had endured in early life, however, could prepare her for her new life in the big city. Arriving without a support network or any sort of safety net, city life hit her hard. It hit her harder than she could ever have imagined and it hit her in ways she could never have anticipated. And it kept on hitting her. Nevertheless, she had already decided that her own success was her own business and knowing that no one was coming to rescue her, she hit back, taking several determined steps to build a healthy happy life and pursuing her dreams. After a little while, and working very hard towards her dreams, she found a roommate, the wonderful Victoria Clements, and a place where she could live and feel safe. Then she started to make connections, which in time, through the help of a Victoria Clements, led her to a meeting with with her fist talent agent Deborah Harry. Whereas many of us that have faced a significant challenge in life will realize that it's time to go big or go home, Nicole had already decided that she wasn't going home. So it was time to go big. With that in mind, as she sat in Deborah Harry's talent agent office, Nicole told her, “if you don't sign me right now as an actress, you will never buy your first house.” While we'll never know if the agent believed her or just admired her courage, it worked, and acting work started to come. Deborah Harry is a close friend to the Actor to this day and Nicole often looks to



Deborah for advice. Before long she found herself earning enough money as an actress to take care of herself and send a little money home for her mother and sister, Amber. Things were certainly moving forward but as most performers know, life in the performing arts is a mixture in varying quantities of success and rejection. Nicole didn't land every role that she went for, and as a result there were times when she had to take work as a stand in. But, just as the challenges of her earlier life didn't break her spirit, neither did these. As she persevered she did land more acting roles in TV, Film and on the stage including parts in The Bridge and Toni Braxton's: Unbreak My Heart amongst others. While she developed her acting career she met and married her husband Brendan, whose recent work as a cinematographer on the CBC's spy drama, The Romeo Section has earned him nomination for a Leo Award for Best Cinematography in a Drama Series, as well as a 2017 Canadian Screen Award Nomination. Together they have been able to collaborate on a number of projects as Producers giving her more say in what stories get told and how they get told. Her life as a producer has seen her tell parts of her own story in the autobiographical Kiss My Incoming Abs about developing her physical fitness which saw her perform on another stage as a competitive body


builder. Other titles produced by Nicole include the currently filming bromantic comedy, The Perfect Pickup and the soon to be released Black Chicks written by Neil LaBute and also produced by Nicole and Brendan with their company company Black Tree Pictures. In Black Chicks, Nicole plays the role of a female employee that encounters the harsh reality of inner racism through the actions of a co-worker that she had previously believed to be caring and compassionate towards her. In this role she is telling a story which she herself is familiar with. Although her career in film has been positive in so many ways on a number of occasions, while being outwardly welcomed, she has been steered towards roles based on her ethnicity rather than her ability. But through her acting, and as a producer, she is able to tell that story and raise awareness of an issue that is not understood by many. And that is the common thread that runs through Nicole's story. If life is not what you expect it to be or wanted it to be then you don't have to accept it and you can change it. Just as Nicole didn't accept that her early life had to be the way it was and that Vancouver was not going to let her succeed as an actress, she is not accepting that the inner racism (or any racism) should be tolerated. No matter what colour, race or religious background a person is, they should be accepted and respected in all contexts, and she is working to spread that message thought her work

as an actor and producer. Just as Nicole made the changes in her life to improve her situation, so can we in our lives. When faced with an unhappy home environment, she left in search of a better life. When faced with barriers to succeeding as an actress, she asked a friend for help and then pushed forward, never giving up. When faced with racism and hard times she chose to stand up and highlight the issues to help

others to see it. And the same is true for the rest of us. It doesn't have to be that way because if we work hard and never give up there is always a way to change things for the better. If you would like to follow Nicole G. Leier you can find her on social media: Facebook: /NicoleG.Leier Twitter: @NicoleGLeier Instagram: nicolegleier

MATT WILLIAMS is a Contributing Editor at AAJ Magazine and works in Vancouver’s vibrant Film and TV Industry.

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The Seasons of Love Wedding Show is an inspiring annual event that all brides-to-be should attend, hosted by Big Phat Indian Weddings. Last year, the event took place at Aria Banquet Hall, British Columbia’s premier reception location. With the Lower Mainland’s top wedding vendors congregating and showcasing their talents under one roof, The Seasons of Love Wedding Show

provides insight into the booming wedding industry and brings clarity to the bridal vision. From henna artists, decorators, makeup artists and photographers... to personal trainers and real estate agents... this event covers everything you need to know for the most exciting phase of your life! Save the date, November 5, 2017 for the 7th Annual Show!

NAVKIRAN BRAR, Editor of AAJ Magazine, is a well rounded professional, with a passion for writing, academics and entrepreneurship. aajmag.ca



HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT PAIR OF GLASSES One of the hardest tasks we have in life is choosing the right set of eyewear. Think about it. This is something every one you meet sees you wearing. 28

You have this wire or plastic contraption on your face virtually every day for a year or two (at least). It is likely the first thing people will notice about you when they meet you. Now on top of all that pressure to pick the perfect pair, the worst part about it is... "HOW do you pick something you can't even seen?!" Alas, you need glasses to pick out glasses. If you have found yourself in this position, or soon to be, fear not, we have the steps to provide you with clarity. Now more than ever, the choices of eye wear are limitless. Every major fashion house has put their spin on eye wear these days. To narrow down your choices, the first thing that you should decide is whether you want glasses that are minimalist and conservative, or bold and attention grabbing. When it comes to choosing shapes, the general rule was to go opposite of your face shape. For example, if you have a rounder face, it is recommended you go with more rectangular choices to balance it. Square jaws would be better suited with round edged frames. Listed below is a quick summary of face shapes and some general guidelines. Today's fashion, however, there are no hard set rules so don't be afraid to experiment


An oval face is considered to be the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions. To keep the oval's natural balance, look for eyeglass frames that are as wide as (or wider than) the broadest part of the face, or almond shaped frames that are not too deep or too narrow.


This face has a very wide top third and small bottom third. To minimize the width of the top of the face, try frames that are wider and deeper at the bottom

SQUARE A square face has a prominent jaw line and a broad forehead, and the width and length are in the same proportions. To make a square face look longer and to soften the angles, try narrow frame styles, frames that have more width than depth, and narrow ovals.

BASE-DOWN TRIANGLE A base-down triangular face has a narrow forehead and widens at the cheeks and chin areas. To add width and emphasize to the upper part of the face, try frames that have a pop of colour and/ or detailing on the top half. Cateye shapes may also be flattering choice for you; frames with vintage vibes are definitely hot sellers.


Diamond-shaped faces are narrow at the eye line and jaw line, and have broad cheekbones that may be high and dramatic. To highlight the eyes and soften the cheekbones, try frames that have detailing or distinctive brow lines, or try rimless frames or oval and cat-eye shapes.


A round face has curved lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no angles. To make a round face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow eyeglass frames to lengthen the face, a clear bridge that widens the eyes, and frames that are wider than they are deep, such as a rectangular shape. If you prefer a more subtle frame for your face, you will likely gravitate towards metal frames, specifically of the semi-rimless variety. Semi-rimless frames are the ones with a metal (or plastic) frame on top, with nothing at the bottom. The lenses are actually held in place by a high tensile nylon string; pretty much good quality fishing line. Regarding colours, if you're looking for the most blended look, I would recommend a light brown, or matte frame choice. Black will add a pop of contrast, yet, will still be clean and professional. The added benefit of going with a metal frame is that they usually come with adjustable nose pads, which can be custom fit to accommodate a variety 29

of bridge shapes. Anyone with a small or flat nose will definitely appreciate this feature. If you have an allergy to metal or just prefer your frames to be as light and durable as possible, any frame that is made out of titanium will be a very wise choice. I also recommend choosing a frame with a spring hinge because it will take the everyday wear and tear abuse better than a frame without could. The spring hinge allows the temple to flex out and retain its original shape. If you want to have a little more fun with this next (or first pair) of glasses, then plastic frames are for you. Oversize frames like the classic wayfarer are still very popular, as are the ones with the vintage vibe, especially the cat eye shape for women. Also be sure to try out the many colour combinations now available. For most people, a tortoise shell brown or a simple black will be the winner. What's been popular lately are the ones that pair those

colours on the front of the frame with a fun colour on the inside! That way you get the best of both worlds; glasses that will be easy to pair with work attire and yet still be fun enough for the casual weekend! If you are a contact lens wearer, I advise you to wear your contacts on the day you are shopping for glasses; it will make things much easier when comparing eyewear. If you don't wear contact lenses, your trusty phone camera will come in very handy. Take photos of each pair and compare them afterward with your glasses back on. It's best to take a shot from the front to see how the glasses frame your face, and a side profile shot so you can see how the temples (the side arms of the glasses) look as well. If you are the type of person who needs a second opinion, recruit a friend whom you feel has a good understanding of what kind of style suits you and your personality. Lastly, wherever you decide to shop for glasses, you will be surrounded by industry experts who help people see

each and every day; don't be afraid to get their opinion. If you want a truly unbiased reaction, approach anyone else shopping for glasses for their thoughts; you would be amazed how willing people are to give their opinion! When done right, shopping for glasses (and especially) sunglasses can be a very fun and stress-free experience. Besides, wouldn't you rather spend your flex health benefits on a nice pair of shades rather than, say, a painful root canal?! I know I would!

KELLY BHATTI, with his 20 years of experience, has the prescription to perfectly fuse the fashion and function that is superlative eye wear; his 2 stores reflect that passion. 30

inspired design connecting prople Print, Digital & Web Design • Illustration • Branding • Communication • Social Media Strategy


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CREATING GOOD MORNINGS You are a busy professional, and while an hour of hot yoga might be what your body craves, with a 50-hour work week and a to-do list long enough to span the Lions Gate Bridge, it is a miracle that you can even get more than a few winks of sleep per night. Although it may not be realistic to run a half-marathon before the 9-am grind, a few tweaks to your morning routine could yield major health benefits. Try a couple (or all) of the suggestions to below, and hack your way to a healthier life. 32


Since so much of our day is spent confined indoors, take some time at the start of the day to reconnect with nature. Whether you live next to a forest or an urban green space, the outdoors offer a boost to your mental and physical wellbeing. Countless studies have shown that being out in nature lead to many positive results. A few potential benefits of being in nature include:

• Improved short-term memory • Restored mental energy • Decreased stress levels • Improved concentration • Sharper thinking and creativity • A boost in Vitamin D production

IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA 15 MINUTES: CONTRAST SHOWER • If you’re going to have a shower anyways, why not get the most healthy bang for your buck? Contrast showers are an incredibly simple, yet effective, method of increasing your metabolism, boosting your immune system, speeding up recovery times, and elevating your vitality. When you are immersed in hot water, your blood vessels dilate and

increase blood circulation. Cold water, on the other hand, constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow. The net result is a pump-like effect that flushes your body of lactic acid and toxins.


• Start out with a hot shower (as hot as you can tolerate, but not burn) for 2-3 minutes. • Switch the water temperature to as cold as you can tolerate; shower for 1 minute. • Repeat for as many cycles you have time for, ending with a cold shower.

IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA 5 MINUTES: DO TWO SETS… • That's right! Do two sets, of anything! Moving first thing in the morning is an effective way of increasing blood flow throughout the body and to your brain. Rather than reaching for that extra cup of coffee, jump-start your metabolism and energy with some quick, full-body movements. Some of my favorite moves include push-ups, holding a plank, and mountain climbers. Not only will you be crushing your fitness goals, with all the endorphins that you release, you’ll be smiling all day.

IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA MINUTE: • Drink a glass of warm lemon water • I know you’ve heard of this one before. Turns out, all the uncles and aunties are right. Drinking a glass of warm lemon water on an empty stomach is an easy addon to your morning. Drinking warm lemon water flushes the digestive system of toxins and rehydrates the body (something that is necessary after 8 hours of no water). On a more superficial note, a single lemon contains more than 50 mg of Vitamin C, a key ingredient in collagen production, leading to healthier, more youthful skin. It is completely understandable that a busy schedule can sometimes get the best of us, but with a few small changes to your morning routine, you can take back control of your life and your health. Oh, and remember to floss! Disclaimer: Information can be empowering, but we all have unique health profiles and needs. Any health-related information contained in this article is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with your primary care physician. For more information or individualized treatment, consult a Naturopathic Physician near you.

ESHA SINGH, holds a degree in Kinesiology and Psychology from Simon Fraser University and is i currently completing her final year in Naturopathic Medicine. aajmag.ca




What is sleep debt? We are very concerned about debt as it relates to mortgages or loans or credit cards. There are seminars and books written on the importance of keeping debt under control. Seldom do we talk about sleep debt - in the big picture this may be more significant than any other debt. Spending late nights partying or being a slave to social media rather that sleeping, ultimately catches up and is difficult to compensate for. Sleep debt can occur if you miss out on your sleep requirements even for a few days, or several hours over a few days or weeks. This then begs the question, how much sleep do you need? If you are an adult, the national sleep foundation recommends you get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours whereas children between 6 to 13 years require between 9 and 11 hours of sleep. Younger children have a need for more sleep: between 10 to 14 hours. Horses, donkeys and elephants sleep between 2.9 and 3.5 hours. Lions sleep 13.5 hours, and tigers almost 16 hours. Most land animals lie down to sleep but horses can sleep standing up. Sparrows, chickens, dolphins, whales and seals can sleep with one half of their brain while the other half remains alert for predators! You may wonder - I am young and have a hectic lifestyle and am able to manage on 4 to 5 hours of sleep - I

must be different! You may have a rare genetic mutation or a variation that lets you function with less sleep. That could explain how Margaret Thatcher as a prime minister functioned on 4 hours of sleep. But if you do not have that gene, sleep debt will ultimately catch up with you! Why do we sleep and what happens if we do not get enough sleep? Sleep plays a critical role in brain development in young children. Sleep allows your body to get rest, and helps the brain process and store information. Many restorative functions including tissue repair and growth hormone release occur predominantly during sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to puffiness or bags under your eyes. It can lead to lapses in memory, headaches, daytime sleepiness, and difficulty in paying attention. Children can have difficulty staying awake in the classroom. Studies have shown that obesity and type 2 diabetes may be linked to sleep deprivation. The quality and quantity of sleep are critical, and shift workers have to be alert to ensure that they do not get into sleep debt. Children and adults have to be vigilant that "sleep hackers" (as I like to fondly address social media and television) do not disrupt their sleep and put them in debt!

Many restorative functions including tissue repair and growth hormone release occur predominantly during sleep.

DR. PARAMJIT S. BHUI MD FRCPC is a Paediatrician practicing in Surrey & clinical faculty at UBC for the past 28 years. Prior to moving to BC he was an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa & worked at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). aajmag.ca






When as children we dream, there are no boundaries, no barriers to what we can become or what we can do with our lives: “I’m going to be an astronaut,” “I’m going to drive trains” or “I’m going to be a princess” are often the aspirations of the young. While their choices may appear to be inconceivable in the adult mind, the child dreams big with no compromise. Recall when you were young being asked what you want to be when you grow up, what did you say? What was your biggest dream? As children age and the motions of life take hold, dreams and ideals are often lost or perhaps pushed back into the recesses of the mind to gather dust. While this is all a very normal part of growing up, one does not have to lose sight of the ability to dream or give up on becoming the person they believe they were meant to be. It’s important to honour the talents and strengths we have and use them to create a life worth living. 36

“So... what is your plan for YOUR LIFE? Do you know what your purpose is and what you want to dedicate your life to? What brings you joy and what is your unique contribution to the world?" This quote stood out to me as I reviewed the website of Monika Becker of Clear Directions Coaching in preparing this article. I know of several men and women who have jobs in which they are clearly unhappy. Yet, due to circumstance or uncertainty, they trudge through their days often afraid to make a change. Sometimes, however, a trigger in life leads you to question your life’s direction, marking the beginning of change. At a junction such as this, a coach like Monika may be just what you need to get things rolling.

deserve it. Having a low self esteem or feeling stuck in a situation that is seemingly out of our control can have an impact as well. Fear of both success and failure can be equally daunting. Monika’s objective voice, just like that of other professional coaches, helps to address these road blocks and customize a plan setting tangible goals with success in mind. Many coaches have developed specific, yet customizable programs they use to address their client’s unique challenges. It is in the initial exploratory conversations with your coach that you will jointly determine the best path to address them.

As a coach, Monika is approachable and friendly with a focus on helping her clients live their lives with values, integrity and direction. She guides with a well rounded approach, teaching people to empower and inspire themselves into action and through this, find the fulfillment and happiness they long for, both in their personal as well as professional lives.

M oni ka ’ s e x a m p l e s o f h e r customizable programs are the Pathfinder Program and Action Program. The Pathfinder Program helps people to gain clarity about who they are and what they want in their life regardless of age. This program is best suited for people who are at a crossroads in their life or are feeling lost or confused. Alternatively, the Action Program is a good fit for people who are not progressing as much or as fast as they hoped. It helps them become more effective in planning and working towards their goals.

In discussing the benefits of coaching with Monika, we first looked at the potential blocks to success. What is in the way of attaining goals? Included in this list you will often find self-limiting beliefs where we undervalue ourselves or don’t believe we

While working through a program with you, a coach is by your side each step of the way. As Monika puts it “I will be your voice of reason, a compassionate listener, resourceful supporter, excited fan, or “means business” accountability partner.

Monika Becker of Clear Directions Coaching



It’s important, Monika says, to ensure that your coach is a good fit for you. Not only should you feel supported and understood by your coach, you should also go into the coaching relationship with an understanding that its success will depend on your investment of time, effort, determination and integrity.

I invite you to think about your goals and your dreams. Don’t let them become lost in the day-to-day shuffle of life! If you don’t know where or how to start, a coach can help. I encourage you to explore and become inspired to be who you were meant to be, living your life with personal clarity, purpose and passion. What better gift to yourself and the world around you?

LAURA FITZPATRICK is a Registered Massage Therapist who is passionate about her work and understanding the human body and preventative care.

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As a child I had heard about the benefits of Meditation but never had a chance to explore it deeply. It wasn’t until I turned thirty that I read a few books on it and practiced what I read. I still didn’t understand the true purpose of it though. Later, a friend introduced me to formal Meditation with a teacher in Bangalore, India. I took a few sessions, but did not gain anything out of them. There was no noticeable difference in how I felt, and nothing had really inspired me to continue them. All I did was close my eyes and try to focus between my eyebrows while listening to some chanting or music. I thought I knew it all. When I met Master Sunita three years later, I realized that Meditation was a different ball game altogether. She introduced to me an ancient form of practice called ‘Sookshma’ meaning Micro.

It has simple, subtle techniques for physical rejuvenation that can be practiced by anyone at any age. It focuses on mental concentration, cleansing your emotional turbulence with breathing and eventually an energizing Meditation practice. The outcome of my first session with her was an experience of pure happiness, a feeling of fullness and a state of complete rest. My mind was not restless, and remained still. I felt like I had found something precious, a new me, the serene beautiful inner child in me. It felt like Home Sweet Home. My search for an effective meditation practice had come to an end. From that one small step, I took a giant leap with ten years of practice under Sunita’s guidance. Every session is a discovery of a new aspect of me, getting in touch with my ‘True Self,’ a third dimension which is beyond the mind and body. Immersing oneself in the serenity and sacredness of the True Self is critical to healing from within. Sookshma goes beyond the intellectual, positive physical benefits talk. It hits the core and it happens instantly. I have been a witness to many physical, mental and emotional healings, including my own gastrointestinal problems. I realized that True Meditation is a holistic mantra of Wellness because it rips us apart from inside, opens up all the erroneous zones within and reveals the good, bad and ugly of ourselves. But with the guidance of a teacher who is an epitome of aajmag.ca


unconditional love, empathy and compassion, one can easily cross the impurities hidden within to reveal the precious Pure Self. Sunita used to say “Sookshma energy will cleanse you, remove all the dirt and make you a clean white cloth. Be alert and aware in each moment when negative qualities like excess Desire, Anger, Greed, Delusion, Pride and Jealousy are waiting to attack from all sides and make that cloth dirty again.” She says that true meditation reveals your highest potential so that you become resilient to any challenges you come across, focused on achieving the goals of creating abundance in all aspects of life. True Meditation separates a Person from the Problem. Sookshma shifts you from problem to the solution by taking you to the source. You can be in the middle of Fire, but you will remain calm, stress free, taking every opportunity to educate, empower and enlighten the Self. It connects you to the subtle vibration of pure energy that started the journey as a single cell zygote in the mother’s womb, to who you are today. Two powerful takeaways from the Sookshma program are Wellness and Oneness. Wellness does not mean just physical health, but as Sunita says, “it is the cumulative benefits in every aspect of your being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states.” As you become the change at a personal level, you will flourish every moment onwards, beaming with incessant light and become an inspiration. The next 42

critical transformation in the inner journey is the realization of Oneness, to grow beyond the conflicting personalities and situations in life. Especially in today’s divisive world, I have realized the power of experiencing the Oneness in all, not at an abstract intellectual level, but by being able to feel and connect to the Pure Self that pervades in you, me and all. My past judgmental self and mind conflicts disappeared once I found the oneness within myself. We mirror the world with the images of our self-created mind. Once that mind is pure and clear, where is the Conflict? All that I see is Love and Oneness with everyone. The biggest misconception of Meditation is that “you can learn it by reading a book” or using an app on a smartphone. To become a doctor: to study, experiment upon, learn from and treat the tangible human body, it takes at least thirteen years, great academic dedication, motivation, and constant guidance from Medical Professionals. Now when it comes to Meditation, whose very essence is to understand and regulate this intangible presence, ‘The Mind’, imagine what kind of mentor, discipline and dedication is needed. Is it really possible to Master the mind by one self without any assistance? From my experience, I know that it’s not easy, but many start on this treacherous journey alone. When one is going through mental and emotional challenges, it is not easy to tame our wild minds. It needs guidance from an able

teacher who has gone through the journey inside out and understands the complexities involved. It is essential to find a teacher who can help you on this path. Sunita is an exceptional master whom I call a ‘Surgeon of Vibrations.’ She guides you on the path of Meditation and absorbs all your suffering by giving solace through laser like vibrations of pure love. Many people have a misconception that Meditation is about stopping thoughts. In fact, it is the ability to let go of your thoughts. The more you try to stop your thoughts, the more they rebel. Meditation is to let go of the daily clutter of life we accumulate and come back to the Being. We are carried away by the human experience, a roller coaster ride of mental and emotional turmoil. Meditation is to realize our very essence, and be able to witness the melodrama of life without being affected. ‘Being’ is beyond the Mind and Body. The very purpose of Meditation is to shift from the daily Human experience to the realization of ‘Being.’

bliss associated with it. However, when I came to Sunita, I experienced the shift instantly. Now it is not the question of ‘I have to practice’, there is the zeal and enthusiasm, ‘I want to Practice.’ With the experience & realization of your Pure Self, you will learn that every moment becomes Meditation. There are very few masters who are rooted in the essence of Purity as their foundation and Sunita is one such rare tower of energy who has transformed many lives to reveal the Wellness and Oneness in all. I have seen Teachers, Students, Seniors, Youth, Doctors, Diplomats, Actors, Artists, Writers, Professors, Inmates, Addicts and many more benefit deeply from the Sookshma program in a phenomenal way. True Meditation is a pilgrimage to the Pure Self and to soak in your Sacred Self. Yes, Meditation helps you to unwind and relax, but this is just the tip of an iceberg. As Sunita says, True Meditation is “Cleansing, Purifying, Silencing, Transformation and the Final Shift.” .

Many of us have a difficult time making Meditation a daily practice. In my case, the reason was the first few practices did not reveal my ‘Pure Self’ and the experience of

DR. SUMAN KOLLIPARA Co-founder of Peace Tree Society, a group that organizes workshops on overall well-being, using tools pioneered by Master Sunita. He comes with a unique background of Veterinary Medicine, Computer Science and 10 years of training in Meditation under Master Sunita. aajmag.ca



DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE From a young age, many women have been taught to deal with conflict with silence. And this is especially so in our Indian culture. Having said this, some situations are best dealt with by biting your tongue. A friend or spouse said something in the heat of the moment because they are frustrated at things not in their control. Or your colleague has snapped at you because they are in the middle of a deadline. During these moments it can be agreed that it is best to hold your fire and not retaliate because you do not want things to escalate. But, where do you draw the line in a situation that requires staying quiet and a situation where you need to step up and say something?


Even today in 2017, amidst all the progress that the world, technology, and humans have made, the topic of this article is one which is still prominent, not only in the Indian community, but in society as a whole. According to the most recent Statistics Canada profile, (Family violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2014) 49% of people reported that they had been abused at least one time during the previous five years of their spousal relationships. According to this same profile, 35% of people reported 2 to 10 violent episodes. And 2 in 10 people reported that they had been victimized on more than 10 occasions. Unfortunately, these statistics only refer to those incidents that were reported; there are still countless victims who do not come forward. Why is this? The reasons are not new or groundbreaking by any means. Victims are scared because they feel helpless and alone. They do not want to bring shame to their family or the person who abused them. They do not want to be blamed by society. They want to keep the family and their children together under one home. They do not come forward because they have been taught from a young age to deal with conflict with silence. Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy. Some victims find it easier to stay in that toxic environment, than to leave because this relationship is all they know and they feel they are not strong enough to leave. But you

must ask yourself: “is this what I really imagined my life to be?” Sometimes our lives end up becoming something that we never thought for a moment would happen to us. We get caught up in what is happening to us, and in an effort to “save our relationship”, we fall into a deadly cycle. We do not, and cannot, stop and think clearly about what is happening and we are quick to make excuses as to what is happening around us. As you read this article, whether it is you in this situation, or someone you know and care about, I hope it has sparked something in your mind to stop, think, and say something! Don’t suffer in silence! This is one conflict that should not be dealt with by biting your tongue. If you are not sure who to contact, please use the following resources as guidance and a starting point: VictimLinkBC is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service available across BC which is run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-563-0808. VictimLinkBC provides information and referral services to victims of all crimes and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence. If you are in immediate danger, call the police right away at 911. You may also contact The Canadian Bar Association BC Branch at (604) 687-3404 for more information about Legal Aid, and family and criminal law lawyers in BC.





Markets are unpredictable as Brexit and US elections were two of the biggest surprises of 2016… enter 2017, the year of volatility and extreme political views. As the bulls continue to drive the markets higher, surpassing the twenty thousand mark, one can’t help but wonder: How much higher can the markets go? Where can we find value in an overpriced environment? And is it time to perhaps reposition our portfolio? As Donald Trump takes over the White House in 2017, we can’t help but to urge caution. For instance, if the Trump administration starts driving trade rhetoric against China, the market may respond poorly and that uncertainty means volatility is the one thing to count on for 2017! With that being said, not all is gloom and doom! Stronger global growth, reflationary central bank policies, and lots of liquidity in the backdrop all make way for a positive outlook on Equities versus Fixed Income. Currently, Fiera Capital i s o ve r we i g h t i n C a n a d a , U S and Emerging Markets, which are performing well thanks to rebounding oil prices and

strengthening monetary policies. As we move along in 2017, look for deals in strong dividend paying stocks, as investors shy away on expected rate hikes and inflation. As we move into the world of fixed income and bonds, a bearish approach will continue. However, expect an upcoming bond buying opportunity in the approaching year, associated with a short-lived peak in inflation.

…look for deals in strong dividend paying stocks, as investors shy away on expected rate hikes and inflation.

increasing over the new few quarters. That’s courtesy of rising energy prices which ultimately affects both! The 30-year bond in Canada at 1.8% and 2.1% respectably for US may warrant a quick peek as well. A quick blurb about gold and oil in 2017: we see neutral to bullish play for gold as a hedge due to geopolitical risk and actions by central banks in the upcoming year. As for oil, major analysts see oil hovering between the 60/70 dollar mark by the end of the year, with a condition that non-OPEC countries stick to their word and cut back production as agreed upon. 2017 will be volatile and uncertain. However, if you are a long term investor, with a clear objective and a time line, your best bet is to remain resilient, don’t try to pick bottoms, rebalance if needed and have a balanced approach when it comes to your investment portfolio. Happy 2017!

Despite low yields, 10 year bonds from New Zealand, Australia and Norway offer good value relative to the underling credit. Inflation linked bonds are relatively attractive due to both headline and core inflation

EILA AKBARI’S experience includes working with professionals and upcoming retirees as a Wealth Management Advisor, that maximizes returns and reduces long term volatility.






Twenty years ago, the BC Liberals ran for office on a platform about “making our government smaller and smarter.” That was then, this is now. In December, those same BC Liberals unveiled the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership, which provides taxpayer-funded loans of up to $37,500 to first-time home buyers. The program is expected to fund more than $700 million in loans to 42,000 BC residents. It’s a second mortgage; a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years, but at market interest rates thereafter. The funds can be used to help these first-time buyers afford their down payment.

Not surprisingly, the BC media was filled with glowing comments from realtors and developers looking forward to more buyers and more money. But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), along with virtually every BC economist not connected to the real estate industry, had concerns. One comment from Premier Christy Clark was especially worrisome. “[Government is] going to be partners in their home,” she said. This is a classic example of political overreach – of moving beyond the mandate of what a government is legislated to do. Beyond increasing state intervention, the program has other flaws. Bringing more buyers into the low end of an


undersupplied market is bound to drive up housing prices. This will put housing further out of reach for other buyers.

owners and developers, not to the buyers,” said Andrey Pavlov, a professor of finance at SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

The BC program also contradicts what the federal government is doing. Ottawa is pushing buyers to reduce sky-high debt levels by forcing them to put more equity into their homes. This erodes that effort.

There is no doubt that the BC Liberals’ plan will help some families get into the market. But it will price out other ones, and put taxpayers on the hook if the housing bubble bursts.

This could lead to a nightmare scenario. What if interest rates go up? And BC home prices, already cooling, suddenly drop as the housing bubble pops? Many of these young buyers could find themselves underwater in their mortgages – owing more than their home is worth.

It’s important to note that there are many programs and subsidies already in place for first time home buyers. They are exempt from up to 100 per cent of the property transfer tax on that purchase. If they buy a new home, they are eligible for a GST rebate. They can also borrow money from their RRSP for a down payment.

Economists were all over these points in the days following the announcement:

The CTF has been pressing for a better way to help young people into the housing market: cutting taxes and red tape to speed up new home construction. Last year, the CTF issued a report showing new homes in Vancouver were subject to 107 taxes, fees, levies and regulatory costs, mainly imposed by city hall. These taxes added 65 per cent to the cost of a new home.

• “I hate it. To be very clear, I think it’s really bad economics... We have too much demand chasing too little supply,” said Tom Davidoff of the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business. • “ W h a t d o e s t h i s $ 3 7 , 5 0 0 enticement do but encourage people to take on more debt?” asked Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program. • “ I n a m a r k e t w i t h h i g h l y constrained new supply, any financial subsidy for buyers would get reflected in higher sale prices. Therefore, the benefits of the new program will flow to current

If Clark wants to help new home buyers afford a home, she should aggressively push city halls to approve the 110,000 units currently being held up by red tape. That’s nearly four years’ worth of supply, mainly at the lower end of the housing price spectrum, that could quickly change the entire real estate landscape.

It’s important to note that there are many programs and subsidies already in place for first time home buyers.



Of course, this program isn’t really about new home buyers. It’s about taking away a potential wedge issue in the May provincial election. The BC Liberal government wants to show it’s trying to help younger buyers get into the market. The BC NDP have been happy to oblige Clark on this one, already announcing that they would kill the

program if they win the election. Even the editors of The Globe and Mail, located thousands of kilometres away from BC, have sniffed this out. “What Ms. Clark’s government is proposing is to use taxpayer money to subsidize firsttime home buyers, and in a way that will likely push up prices at

the lower end of the market,” a recent lead editorial says. “We get the politics. The economics, not so much.” Decisions that put politics over economics should cause every taxpayer concern.

JORDAN BATEMAN is BC Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


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GREAT GADGETS With Christmas 2016 over, you may find yourself reflecting on the lovely back scratcher or that pair of socks you received, and thinking they don’t do justice to how good you were throughout the year. Well, we agree and it’s time to go shopping for yourself. Here are some great gadgets you need to get your hands on!


Google Pixel

Virtual Reality Headsets

Google's second foray into the smart phone market after the Nexus line of phones is the Pixel. The phones are available in 5" and 5.5" models, come with 32GB or 128GB of built-in storage and the latest version of Android, and are available on all three of Canada's major carriers. You may say the same things are available on the Apple iPhone. What sets the Pixel apart from other major smart phones is what extra features that are available out of the box.

Virtual reality is starting to make headway in the consumer space. Virtual reality headsets are available in either mobile or tethered models. Mobile virtual reality headsets rely on a user's cell phone to provide the VR experience. All the processing, graphics and audio is handled by the phone. Audio is provided by plugging standard headphones into the headphone jack of the phone. Motion tracking is handled by the phone’s sensors. Google’s DayDream and Samsung’s Gear VR line of virtual reality headsets are front runners in the mobile space.

The Pixel comes with the best camera on the market. The 12.3-megapixel lens can shoot video in 4K resolution and take pictures in near zero light. What good is a stellar camera if there's no room to store all those pictures and videos. You may think that 128GB or even 32GB of onboard storage may be enough. But all that storage can be eaten up quickly, especially when shooting in 4K resolution. To help you manage all this, Google is offering every Pixel owner unlimited storage of photos and video taken with the phone on their Google Drive online storage.

With tethered VR headsets, the headset is used to project the image and provide the audio. All the processing, motion tracking and graphics horsepower is handled by an external device. In the tethered space, the two big players are Oculus with their Rift headset, which requires a compatible PC for the heavy lifting, and the Sony PlayStation VR, which is specific for the PlayStation 4 gaming console.

The Google Pixel is also VR-ready for Google's DayDream virtual reality headset. Simply slide the phone into the back of the headset, put it on, and enjoy mobile virtual reality.



ASAP Connect Magnetic Nintendo Entertainment USB Cable System – Classic Edition If you’re tired of fumbling with connecting the cable to charge your phone or tablet, then this one is for you. Simply insert the magnetic tip into your device and plug your cable into the charging adapter. When the device needs a charge, bring it close to the cable and watch it snap to the tip in your device. The magnet is strong enough to pick up and hold the phone in case it gets dropped behind a couch or other hard to reach location. Magnetic tips are available in both Micro USB and Apple connectors. What’s more, the cost won’t break the bank.

Growing up in the 90s, the Nintendo Entertainment System was the premier gaming console. From the Super Mario Brothers collection to Zelda to Donkey Kong, the system provided countless hours of entertainment. Now, Nintendo has brought back the original NES in all its 8-bit graphics glory, but with some more modern technologies. The NES Classic comes with an HDMI connector and 30 preloaded games from the abovementioned titles to The Legend of Zelda, Pac-Man, Final Fantasy and more, all in a console that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and won’t break the bank.

PARDAVE LEHRY is a senior systems engineer with over 10 years of experience managing enterprise level IT environments. He is a passionate technology specialist who specializes in IT security, network infrastructure. 54


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Most of us have thought about opening a small business at some point. Whether we want to provide a service, make a product, or resell someone else’s product, the likely goal is to make money and become independent. Though we know that a significant majority of new small businesses regretfully do not make it past their first year, the Canadian economy is still significantly made up of small businesses. In June 2016, Statistics Canada released figures about the makeup of the Canadian economy at of the end of 2015. Of the 1,167,978 registered businesses in Canada, 97.9% of these are small companies with 1-99 employees. In BC, of the 178,966 registered businesses, 98.4% of these are small companies with 1-99 employees. With such a large segment being small businesses, they need to make the best use of resources and use the most productive tools to stay competitive and remain focused on their core business. Here are some tools which small businesses must absolutely consider.

provide support based on your business requirements. GoDaddy is a one-stop shop as it provides options to not only register domain names, but also to create and host websites, setup your business email accounts, and much more.


Office 365

We do not need to explore the importance of being online here, but if you are like most, the first thing we do when we start a new business is register a domain name for a website. GoDaddy provides customer service via phone to

Wix Building an actual website is a very daunting experience for most. But Wix is one of the many webbased tools which permits anyone without programming experience to develop their own mobile-friendly website. Wix has over 90 million users worldwide and offers a very stable platform to design beautiful websites. Wix also has thousands of plugins with third-party applications, from email marketing platforms to product catalogues which allow you to sell online.

Whether you have laptops or desktops for your team, equipping them with Office 365 is more than just Word and Excel. There are Office 365 packages which include Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher. Office 365 also offers options for team group chatting, aajmag.ca


cloud storage, and Skype for business which makes it easy to get your team making client calls and doing web-based presentations. Office 365 is scalable as your business grows and completely mobile.

Hootsuite In the November/December 2016 issue of AAJ, I spoke about the importance of using social media to grow your business. As part of managing social media, using a tool like Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple social channels from one central dashboard, which allows you to schedule posts, and engage with your followers across platforms easily. Hootsuite is truly scalable and enterprise-grade, with analytics, lead capturing, content suggestions, and hundreds of 3rd party integrations.

Sage 50 Managing the books of your small businesses will certainly make your Accountant happy but it will also help you make better and faster decisions based on challenges

which you may not see otherwise. With a global customer base of over 3 million, Sage is a mobile friendly accounting system fit for any business in any industry. The Sage 50 version allows you to manage your sales, purchases, inventory, projects, banking, billings, direct payments, and payroll. Sage offers product support, training, a university for advanced training, and a community for advice from users. Running a small business requires a lot of discipline, hard work, and focus. It also requires an infrastructure which supports the businesses ability to train and retain employees, create its products or services, market them, generate sales, service customers, and turn a profit. As part of all these moving parts, implementing tools can be intimidating in which case it would be wise to hire help. Do not shy away from building your businesses infrastructure, consider hiring business consultants on a project basis to see through implementations of news tools and ensure you commit your entire organization to using the new tools. .

HARPAUL LEHRY is a Director at Progrid, a company which helps busy professionals and small businesses manage their social media profiles. 58

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Picture yourself looking through the Hubble Space Telescope into the far distance, many light years away from Earth. Think about all of today’s higher technologies that NASA has created, in an attempt to take humans to another planet of our solar system. This will become reality between the years of 2025 to 2030. The isolated red planet of Mars will become the very first habitable planet for humans to migrate to. Just like how Europeans landed on Canadian soil in the 1600's for the first time, we will be embarking on the next big adventure. Last year, I watched a spectacular show on Netflix called, "Cosmos, A Space Time Odyssey" by Neil Degrasse Tyson. Neil is an American Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Centre for Earth and Space in New York City. Mr. Neil Degrasse Tyson is such an amazing man, who has so much knowledge about space and science, and is one of the top people that I look up to. This is certainly one of the main reasons why I am so intrigued about space and time. When I am alone with my thoughts at night, I reflect on deep space and it’s mesmerizing theories. I reflect on how one singular atom could have formed

stars, universes, black holes, dark matter and just about anything else that our eyes can see. T o d a y , we h a ve a f u r t h e r understanding about NASA's Ninth Orion Water Drop Test that launched on the 25th of August in 2016. This took place at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, at 3:30pm Eastern Daylight Time, 07:30 Greenwich Daylight Savings Time. Having the opportunity to write about NASA's project on the Ninth Orion Water Drop Test is something I did not ever think I could accomplish in my lifetime, and I would like to send many special thanks to Sasha Ellis for making this all happen. The Orion Capsule itself is NASA's spacecraft, one that they intend to send to Mars. As NASA continues to work on this project, they must continually test their technology to ensure that they are building a spacecraft that is capable of protecting the people inside. For this reason, they created the Orion Water Drop test, in which two human-like test dummies equipped with spacesuits with sensors, are placed inside a test capsule which will swing like a pendulum into the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA's Langley Research Center. The sensors inside can measure any possibilities of damage that might be caused by the impact of a landing itself. If you are measuring the flight coming back from space with speeds reaching an estimated 25,000 mph (40,000 km/h), let's just say that if aajmag.ca


there weren't a strong enough heat shield that could withhold this fast impact back to Earth, none of this could ever be made possible. For this mission, astronauts will need to travel roughly 9 months for a one way trip, in orbit alone. This risky enterprise will be a new beginning for us humans. It will be an opportunity to learn what the "Red Planet", Mars, is all about, and why it is worth all the top technologies, engineers, astronauts; as well as the massive fundings from NASA, their abilities, and their desire to proceed with this project. Are you as intrigued by our wonderful universe and how it works as I am? Or are you reading this article to gain some insight or knowledge? If it wasn't for all of NASA's engineers, higher technologies, and head staff; and their endless desire to determine where, when, why and how our universe functions, we would just stare out of the windows of our homes, cars, and patios for the rest of our lives; and all the next generations would follow through in the same manner. This sounds quite lifeless and a bit understated to me. We should explore the possibilities beyond our planet! I would like to thank all of the wonderful staff at NASA for their unmatchable endeavours and their innovative projects. They are researching and reaching out to make all of this happen. They are navigating human curiosity day by day, with 62

brilliant facts and news and with their outstanding achievements. If you are interested in getting involved at NASA, there are many options and ways to do so. Just put your mind to it, focus, and most importantly never give up on your goals and dreams. NASA provides opportunities to learn the basics about our sun and moon, change the way of life for all humans, create daring missions, invent high technologies, explore other planets, and utilize creativity and skill to save humanity and other lifeforms. Jim Corliss is the Project Chief Engineer for the Ninth Orion Water Drop Test and has shared some information about the mission with AAJ Magazine. We are honoured and humbled by his time and consideration. The following was Jim's response to my question: "What does a typical day for the Ninth Orion Water Drop Test team look like?" Jim Corliss: "The day of an Orion water drop test is very exciting. We start setting up for the test very early in the morning just after sunrise. There is a lot of work to do to set up the rigging hardware that suspends the capsule over the water. We use very detailed, step-by-step procedures for this set-up process to ensure that nothing is forgotten and that the test is conducted safely. There are a lot of people involved in setting up the test, including

the technicians, engineers, facility operators, and safety and quality assurance personnel. We are all outside working together all day to set up and conduct the test. By noon we usually will have the capsule set-up on its rigging and suspended under the gantry structure and ready to be positioned to drop into the water basin. But before releasing the capsule into the water it needs to be raised to its final drop position. This is a slow and time-consuming process because it is important for the capsule to be precisely positioned in order for it to impact the water at the desired angles and velocities for any particular test. This is also the point at which the excitement level starts to build because we are lifting a very heavy and critical piece of hardware that is important to NASA and the Orion program. Once the capsule is in its final drop position we calibrate the data acquisition system which takes about 30 minutes. These 30 minutes seem like hours because at this point we’re all very anxious to drop the capsule. But the calibration process finally finishes, we start a two minute countdown, and then we drop the capsule into the water. For those few seconds while the capsule is swinging towards the water basin and then free falling into the water everyone is holding their breath. When the capsule lands in the water and then comes safely back up to

the surface there is a huge sigh of relief, but it is combined with a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that

we’ve successfully conducted the test. At this point there is still a lot of work to do. The capsule is lifted out of the water, we transport it to the preparation building, and then we download the test data to verify that the data system functioned properly. It is usually early evening at this point, and we all go home exhausted but feeling a lot of pride in what we just accomplished."

Jim Corliss Project Chief Engineer This article was written with information graciously provided by NASA as well as sourced from their press release which can be found here: https://www.nasa.gov/pressrelease/nasa-invites-media-toorion-water-drop-test-updateon-journey-to-mars

MELINA PHAM, is a feature writer for AAJ Magazine for NASA’s news and technologies. aajmag.ca






The role of women has evolved over the last six decades and tremendous progress has been made, specifically within the working world. Gone are the days when women had limited options beyond running the familial household. While they continue to be responsible for the well-being of their families and home, nowadays women are also in powerful professional positions and working side by side with men. Women are employed as engineers, scientists, doctors, professors, lawyers, CEOs, politicians, and much more. Although women have achieved so much, there is still room for improvement. All cultures still have some degree of gender inequality, which may influence the well-being of women within that particular culture. As a result, conflicts

potentially arise which can result in barriers that limit women’s professional opportunities. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change,” exploring avenues to create a better working world for both women and men by promoting more inclusive and gender-balanced working cultures. Vancouver’s non-profit society, the South Asian Family Association (SAFA), hosted its annual International Women’s Day Celebration, “Be Bold for Change: Empowering Women in the Working World,” on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at Langara College. International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s. The first International Women’s Day occurred on March 19, 1911. The inaugural event, which included rallies and organized meetings, was a big success in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The March 19th date was chosen because it commemorated the day that the Prussian king promised to introduce votes for women in 1848. This promise gave hope for gender equality but it was a promise that he failed to keep. The International Women’s Day date was moved to March 8th in 1913. The International Women’s Day movement has become an important catalyst and vehicle towards greater change for women throughout the world. Locally, there has been a recent aajmag.ca


increase in immigrants and refugees relocating to British Columbia. In order to support their family financially, these new immigrant and refugee women are having to work outside the home, sometimes this being their first exposure to the working world and Canadian culture in general. While this may be intimidating in the beginning as they encounter language, cultural, and educational barriers, ultimately women become more empowered, independent, and knowledgeable as they gain opportunities in employment. Canadian young girls and women are fortunate to have ever increasing access to education, resources, and positive female role models, all of which are important tools in empowering women to achieve their personal and professional goals. As women thrive in their multiple roles as caregivers and workers, the well-being of their families also improves and society as a whole benefits. One of SAFA’s mandates is to strengthen and promote positive images of South Asians, which includes supporting opportunities for young girls and women to maximize their educational and employment potential. SAFA’s annual International Women’s Day workshop, “Be Bold for Change: Empowering Women in the Working World,” ran this year on February 18, 2017 from 12-5pm. This is a free, inclusive event that SAFA organizes each year. It featured two sessions, as well as audience


networking opportunities. It began with a panel discussion with four accomplished professional women from various career fields who discussed the biases that women face every day in the workplace and strategies for empowerment and overcoming barriers. The panel consisted of: Gurjinder Bhurji, a real estate agent; Sukhy Dhillon, a teacher and radio show host; Polly Kainth, a psychiatric social worker; and Sandip Rakhra, a teacher and cultural performer. Following the panel, there were individual presentations by four distinguished female speakers who shared their personal professional journeys and participated in audience Q&A sessions. The speakers were: Shushma Datt, Canada’s pioneering first Indo-Canadian broadcaster; Farzana Jaffer Jeraj, author, motivational speaker and life coach; Deena Safi, a community activist, wellness counsellor, and event planner; and Jivi Saran, an author and corporate mentalistchange management specialist. It was a great occasion for all to benefit from the advice and guidance of the participants, whether you were a high school student contemplating your future educational and career goals or a woman seeking to maximize your current working potential. Stay tuned to www. safa.ca for details on future similar events. - Contributed by the South Asian Family Asssociation.

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VANCOUVER, Canada—Ticket sales for Shen Yun Performing Arts’ matinee show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Jan. 30 set a record for Monday shows at the venue. The sales result for the show was 91 percent—something heretofore unheard of on Mondays, says the director of civic theatres for the City of Vancouver. “ Ye s t e r d a y ’ s m a t i n e e wa s definitely a record and a highly unusual thing to happen, so we are


all very, very excited,” said Sandra Gajic on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The renowned New York-based classical Chinese dance company’s three-day, three-show run also saw two sold-out evening shows on Sunday and Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Jan. 31. Demand for tickets compelled organizers to add 249 seats for the Sunday show and 62 seats for the Tuesday show. “In the theatre world, Mondays are usually what we call the

‘dark nights’—there are usually no performances. So for us, it’s wonderful to see the great success of Shen Yun. “It definitely broke the record for the theatre: the sold-out show Sunday night; and a Monday matinee, which is even harder to sell; and [a sold-out show] again on Tuesday night,” said Ms. Gajic, who has served in senior management positions in the theatre industry across Canada for over two decades, including in Toronto,

Calgary, and Edmonton, prior to coming to Vancouver. Founded in 2006 on the mission of reviving the genuine traditional culture of China, Shen Yun tours the globe every year with an all-new program of classical Chinese dance and music. It has been performing in Vancouver annually since 2007. “Shen Yun has been a wonderful partner to us [at] Vancouver civic theatres now for a number of years, and we look forward to many more years of this great partnership,” Ms. Gajic said. Shen Yun ‘Brings Such Wealth and Rare Level of Artistry to Vancouver’ As the director of civic theatres for the city, Ms. Gajic sees a great number of shows but noted that Shen Yun is one of a kind among all the different productions that grace the stage in Vancouver.

“It’s unique, so vibrant and rich and wonderful. It flows so nicely and it does tell a story. It succeeds to convey the message in the story. That makes it so accessible for people that come to see it,” she said. In the richly multicultural city of Vancouver, Shen Yun “provides a diverse and culturally very interesting, artistically really highlevel show. It’s a performance that brings such wealth and rare level of artistry to our city here in Vancouver,” Ms. Gajic noted. “I think it’s a great success that it attracts audiences from all walks of life, different diverse audiences. That’s what is always wonderful. It’s part of our mandate to really make sure that people come here of all origins. Me being also an immigrant, I am especially sensitive to that, to see people of all countries and places come and enjoy seeing and hearing [the performances].”

Ms. Gajic said she and her staff at the City of Vancouver's Cultural Services Department had no worries when they first learned that this year’s shows were going to be scheduled over the three days from Sunday to Tuesday. “We were not worried about that because we trust that as a product, as an artistic product, what they put on stage, what comes here, it’s so wonderful that the audiences will come. And it was right. It's amazing to see sold-out shows when normally you have dark houses.” Ms. Gajic speaks from her long experience in the performing arts world. She has previously served as CEO of the Edmonton Opera, general manager of the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts in Calgary, and operations manager for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.



She also managed the start-up process and later project-managed the design and construction of the Four Seasons Centre for the

Performing Arts in Toronto, where Shen Yun will be playing four shows from Feb. 28 to March 2. Reporting by Chen Si & Cindy Chan

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has five touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts. Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.







CHOHAN & DESJARDINS GALA Perminder Chohan of Desjardins Financial has achieved many great things in his lifetime, with more great things to come. Recently AAJ Magazine had the honour to cover the 7th Annual Awards Gala for Desjardins Financial, hosted by Perminder Chohan. The evening began with well dressed women, and men dressed in their finest, with everyone mingling before the formal awards ceremony, followed by dinner and dancing. It was a wonderful combination of class and elegance. Perminder Chohan

coordinates this event himself to honour his family, friends, staff and the community in every way possible. Always the gracious host, Perminder says that it is very important to him that everyone is well taken care of at his events. Thank you, Perminder Chohan, for such a meticulously planned and well put together event. Mr. Chohan would like to send warm wishes and congratulations to his top team players, as they have brought Desjardins in BC, Canada to the top standing for the past five consecutive years. Bringing in top revenue and recognition world

wide are: Sukhvir Sobti, Shavini Sobti, Karn Goyal, Rajdeep and Manmohan Sekhon, Supreet Singh. Last but not least, congratulations and warm wishes to the head office staff: Nancy Schafer (VP of Wealth Services and Life and Health Insurance), Mia Chang (VP of Distribution for Western Canada), Mark Studer (Regional VP); along with his honourable guest for the 7th Annual Awards Gala for Desjardins, Mr. Amrik Virk – Minister of Technology.

MELINA PHAM, is a feature writer for AAJ Magazine for NASA’s news and technologies. 72



Children laughing, Christmas carols playing, a bouncy castle, and most importantly, a Desi Santa with his rickshaw full of gifts for everyone - this was the sight that greeted people on the afternoon of December 18th, 2016, as they walked into Ultimate Banquet Hall. It was AAJ Magazine’s Candyland Kids Christmas party, and the energy was electric. “It was a good feeling, you know? It was something no one had done before. For being the first time ever, the turnout was amazing,” said Jim Kalsi of Ultimate Banquet Hall. Canex Building Supplies brought over 1000 presents for children of all ages and worked with a team of dedicated AAJ volunteers to make the afternoon at Ultimate Banquet Hall a success. But AAJ didn’t stop

there - we also hosted an evening Christmas party, sponsored by Nana’s Kitchen, aimed at also helping those less fortunate. It was a day filled with the giving spirit of Christmas, and AAJ decided to catch up with some of the people who were behind the events that day, to see how the story has continued to unfold, well into 2017.

“DesiSantaisacreationofaninspirationof my imagination,” Bruce Keller told me with a smile, “And the only thing I was disappointed with [that day], was when the lineup [of children] ended. I was having so much fun. I couldn’t have felt any higher.” The origins of the idea of Bruce Keller becoming Santa traces back to his father, who would be Santa Claus in the mall, but Bruce wantedtogivebackmorespecificallytotheSouth Asiancommunity-anditwasfromtherethatthe ideaofDesiSantawasborn. I discovered that not only did the Desi Santa give gifts to children whose parents wouldn’t be able to give them anything else for Christmas, but he also visited a senior’s home, where he discovered that some of the residents had never had anyone come and visit them, or give them any kind of

gift. Blinking back tears of emotion, Bruce said he made sure to tell them, “Santa is with you forevermore, 24/7. ...You will never ever be alone. Santa is with you and Santa loves you forever.” Truly, between giving to the seniors and the children, Bruce Keller and the Canex Team brought the spirit and magic of Christmas alive for the South Asian community.

The aftermath of how Desi Santa has touched the community is evident. From Facebook messages and photos to letters, people reached out to Bruce Keller and the Canex team to thank them again and again for what they had done for their children. In fact, the story of Desi Santa and Bruce Keller’s selfless giving all the way through the Christmas season travelled all the way to the House of Commons, where MP Randeep Sarai spoke of his generous donation to Chandra Bodalia, a local photographer who has documented the South Asian community in great detail, at a fundraiser to help raise money during Chandra’s time of need. “Kids still call me Santa,” Bruce said with a chuckle. “The story keeps on going...I just received these cookies the other day that were made to look like Desi Santa, with a jeweled turban and everything.” AAJ Magazine would like to thank Ultimate Banquet Hall, Canex Building Supplies, and Nana’s Kitchen for being generous sponsors of our events on December the 18th. AAJ would also like to thank all of the volunteers who gave their time, vision, and energy to help make it all happen. Thank you!

AAJ also caught up with Shelina Mawani of Nana’s Kitchen to get to know more about our evening sponsor’s business and what makes it different. “We’re the only federally certified HACCP food producers in British Columbia,” Shelina told me, discussing how the entire food production process happens in a very clean, controlled manner, all the way down to lab testing of the food Nana’s Kitchen produces. “Although we do make more than just samosas, we’re known as the samosa queens because there is so much more filling in our samosas.Eveninthecorners,it’snotjustpastry, but filling too, so you’re getting more for your money’sworth.It’safullmealdeal.” Nana’s Kitchen is clearly a business where the products are made with passion and thought. They take pride in the fact that they make over 20 000 samosas a year by


hand, and that their samosas can be found in several flavours in all major grocery stores. All of the recipes are created by Shelina’s sister Nasim, and made with that home-made feeling in mind. When asked about the name, Nana’s kitchen, Shelina told me that the word Nana exists in some variation in many languages as a term for “grandmother”, and having that feeling of being able to eat something comforting from your grandmother’s kitchen is a part of how you can taste the difference with Nana’s. Shelina herself is hugely respected in the community - not only does Nana’s Kitchen have a staff that consists of approximately 95% women, but Shelina is well known for her public speaking in the community and has been the recipient of many awards, such as the Shakti Award in 2014, the BC Multicultural Award in 2015 and in 2016 alone she received the International Trade Award, Immigrant Entrepreneur Business Fair Award, and the Times of Canada Award, as well as being featured on TV programs such as Women in Focus and the Harpreet Singh show. In addition to her speaking, Shelina gives back to the community by guiding new entrepreneurs and startups, and has been giving back to the community from when she was 21. She also made a special mention of WESBC - the Women’s Enterprise Society of British Columbia, which provides support to new businesses, just like they did for Nana’s Kitchen when Shelina and Nasim first started out. When asked what her secret to success is, she told me, “I always say I can do it. Anybody can do it. It’s a matter of what you throw out into the universe. Set goals that are possible and take baby steps to success. Even a failure is a step.”

NEELAM GANDEVIA, is the General Manager at AAJ Magazine, and is currently completing her Communications degree at SFU. Writing is one of her many passions. aajmag.ca



SHAKTI AWARDS When I started the Shakti Awards in 2000, I had just wanted to create a platform to celebrate the everyday woman, the unsung hero who goes to school, works, takes care of her responsibilities and lives through her challenges with a resilience and force that can only be attributed to an innate energy and power source, which I defined as Shakti. Shakti is a Hindi and Sanskrit word which literally means strength. In a spiritual context, it also means the creative force that exists in all human beings which can be nurturing, forceful and unshakeable in the face of challenges. In my work with women who had faced abuse in their homes and outside, I had seen a determination that enabled them to endure hardships and live through difficult conditions in order to provide for their children 78

or to keep the family name and home intact. Living in abusive relationships and leaving them are both equally hard and I wanted to offer hope, encouragement and admiration to the women that I worked with and supported. Thus the Shakti Awards were started and I held them on International Women’s Day, a day that commemorates the achievements of women in all fields. What started out as a small endeavour has become a big undertaking now where the logistics of organizing a grand event sometimes threaten to overshadow the purpose of the event. I have to remind myself and my team that Shakti is about empowerment, a word that is bandied around quite often nowadays, and empowerment is about awakening the power that is within each and every one of us.

Empowerment doesn’t come from handouts, bandaids or tokenism but from showing people their worth and how their values and actions have an impact on their lives as well as the people around them. Over the years, I have read hundreds of nominations of women who have been successful in various fields. Some have battled life threatening diseases and while not all have vanquished those deadly diseases, they have left behind a legacy of their strength and spirit which continues to inspire. The stories that have had the deepest i m p a c t o n m e h a ve b e e n t h e nominations for mothers sent by their children, quite often their sons. These women have beaten the odds by raising their children, quite often as single mothers in a foreign country, worked difficult jobs, quite

often more than one and managed to raise successful and compassionate human beings. To me, that is the ultimate sign of strength and no award can truly reflect the years of struggle and resilience exhibited by these women. There are numerous stories, from the previous years and many more to look forward to. As we prepare for our 15th Annual Shakti Awards Gala and start to read through the nominations, we are struck by the love and care taken in preparing and submitting the nominations and the skills and talents of the nominees. Every woman is Shakti and in this day and age as we get swept up in fads, trends and other fickle pursuits, it is important to reflect on our Shakti, the unshakeable core that will keep us steadfast and grounded through every circumstance. I hope that you will join us on March 25th this year as we honour the

Shakti Award recipients of 2017. It is a wonderful night of inspiration and celebration where heartfelt stories are shared and the endless possibilities of the human spirit are brought to the forefront. The volunteers of Shakti Society are hard at work to make this a memorable night for all. The funds raised by ticket sales go towards operational costs of the evening as well as other events that are hosted by this non-profit society such as Ccmmunity Cafes on violence against women and Wellness Days. We have begun to meet once a month for a Shakti Women’s Luncheon where we are building circles of support for each other. We are also hoping to start some other innovative programs that will truly awaken the power within, which is Shakti.

For more information, email us at: shaktisociety2000@gmail.com or visit our website at: www.shaktisociety.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/129957577154240/




SHAKTI AWARDS 2017 Do you know a woman who deserves to be recognized as a leader, advocate, artist, visionary or a source of strength? This is your opportunity to have them celebrated by nominating them for the Shakti Award. The Shakti Awards were founded in 2000 to recognize and honour women who have displayed Shakti-strength and energy, in their community, locally and/or globally. Shakti is the mother Goddess, the source of all, the universal principle of energy, power and creativity and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the

entire universe.

Not only is Shakti responsible for creation, it is also the agent of all change. Similarly, the Shakti that resides within every woman is a force to reckon with and to celebrate on this International Women’s Day. The women who have displayed Shakti amongst us represent an inspiring account of positive social, cultural and economic change in the world. The Shakti Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize these women and share their vibrant stories. If you would like to nominate a woman that embodies Shakti, please use the information below and email your nomination to shaktisociety2000@gmail.com no later than March 8th, 2017. Awards will be announced at the Shakti Awards Gala on March 25th at Bollywood Banquet Hall at 6:30 p.m.. Please note that nominations must be submitted via email. Submissions sent through other means, (social media, in-person or phone/text messages will not be considered). Ensure that the description of the nominee’s accomplishments reflect the category in which she is being nominated and provide clear examples of how the nominee has excelled in the specific field and why you feel she deserves the Shakti Award in that specific category. Categories:

Academic Achievement Award (High School or University/College student) Public Service/Volunteer Award Business Entrepreneur Award Artistic Achievement Award Sports and Recreational Award Resilience Award - A woman who has overcome adversity and has used her personal journey in a way to inspire can simply be a woman who takes care of her children, parents or herself.

or she

Nomination Information Name Age Address, phone number(s) and email Name, phone number and email of nominator

Brief summary of reason for nomination - how the nominee’s accomplishments relate to the stated category, the impact of their role, and why they should be chosen to receive a specific award. Identify how the nominee will contribute to Shakti: Empowerment of Women, Children and Families Society



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Aaj magazine 2017 Vol. 12 Issue 2  

Aaj magazine 2017 Vol. 12 Issue 2