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November-December 2016 Vol. 11 Issue 6 $4.95

REFLECTING TODAY SHAPING TOMORROW

AWARENESS OF DIWALI NAVRATRI - DANCING A LIGHTED PATH AN INTERVIEW WITH

ROBIN DHIR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 2.0

ISSN 2371-2481

6

27843 65722

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aajmag.ca


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FROM THE PUBLISHER This issue of AAJ Magazine is a very special one for myself and the rest of the South Asian community. The “festival of lights� is one of the biggest celebrations in the world, with participation of people all across India, and continuation across the globe by non-resident Indians and their children. AAJ Magazine is honoured to attend and support numerous events across the Lower Mainland in celebration.

I am also humbled and honoured to have been selected to be the Event Chairman of the Surrey Board of Trade. I would like to thank Shelina Mawani, Anita Huberman and Indra Bhan for their continuous support. AAJ Magazine is proud to continue its quest to bring the community together and bring unique coverage and hard-hitting stories to its audience. Thank you all for your endless support and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous Diwali!

Suki Pangalia CEO

P: 604.590.0007 E: info@aajmag.ca 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 2015 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved.

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THE TEAM Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu

Medical Editors Dr. Paramjit Bhui Dr. Raj Bhui Dr. Dennis Bhui

Administration Preet Dhaliwal

Editorial Reshma Balkaran Jordan Bateman Nalini Bhui Dr. Paramjit Bhui Jai Birdi Navkiran Brar Karen Dhaliwal Preet Dhaliwal Muhammad Khan Dr. Suman Kollipara

Executive Assistant

Editors Navkiran Brar Matt WIlliams Investigative Journalist Salim Jiwa

Harpaul Lehal Sunny Mangat Rina Popat Ashwani Sharma Junita Thakorlal Matt Williams Arsheen Vishash Design & Layout Brugge Design Adrian Brugge Tina Theuer Mark Lewis Distribution: Sahil Pangalia

Advertising & Sales Paul Baraich Kelly Uppal Steve Sandhu Sonali Pangalia Suki Pangalia Jay Nair Jaswinder Saggi Jyotika Jasuja Photography Aziz Ladha Adrian Brugge Sonali Pangalia Imperial Photo Studio

Anthony Peres Travis Broxton Images Credits 123RF Pixabay istockphoto Thank You! Sandiya Prasad Sasha Ramnarine Cassius Khan Thank You! GSBC


Gurjarti Cultural Festival 2016

IN THIS

ISSUE Awa r e n e s s O f D i wa l i

12

D i wa l i O n T h e B e a c h

18

Z e e t v C a n a d a’s G u j a r a t i C u l t u r a l Fe s t i va l 2 01 6

22

Ke e p i n g C r e a t i v i t y A l i ve

30

D a n c i n g A L i g h t e d Pa t h

34

J a z z y - B G e t s H i s S t a r

38

Making O f A Yo g i

40

Autism

46

Dusehra & D i wa l i

58

Casteism

54

Yo u r Ta x D o l l a r s A t Wo r k

56

Air Miles Rewa r d s M i l e s

66

Business D eve l o p m e n t 2 .0

70

Ro b i n D h i r

74

22 Dancing a Lighted Path

34

Jazzy-B Gets his Star

Awareness of Diwali

12 38 Autism

44 Business Development 2.0

18 Diwali on the Beach

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CULTURE

AWARENESS OF DIWALI

Another name for Canada is, a country of multiculturalism. More than 110 nationalities of the world have made it their home, a home away from home. I say it is a true Paradise on earth. After Christmas, Diwali is one of the most celebrated festivals in the world, particularly in South-Asia. 12


The awareness of Diwali will strengthen the spirit of multiculturalism and prove to be a true step forward to promote multi-culturalism on earth. Diwali (Dīvali, Dīpāwali, or Deepavali) is a festival of lights observed on the 15th day of the month of Kartika in the Hindu calendar. Many people in Canada celebrate Diwali each year.

BACKGROUND

Diwali is called the "Festival of Lights" and is celebrated to honour Rama-Chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and

for celebration by Jains and Sikhs. The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it's a great favorite with children. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India. The Times of India summed up the modern meaning of Diwali as follows: “regardless of the mythological explanation one prefers, what the festival of lights really stands for today is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and

its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light.”… the demon king, Ravana. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil (light over darkness).

goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple – and some not so simple – joys of life.”

The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the Earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities but its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light.”

SYMBOLS

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia. It is also an occasion

Lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminate this holiday, as the word “Deepawali” means “a row or cluster of lights” or “rows of diyas (clay lamps).” The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth, happiness and prosperity, is also worshipped during Diwali. aajmag.ca

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DIWALI IN THE UK DIWALI IN In Britain, as in India, the festival is SIKHISM

a time for thoroughly spring-cleaning the home, wearing new clothes and most importantly, decorating buildings with fancy lights.

The British city of Leicester is noted for its Diwali celebrations. The date of Diwali is set by the Hindu calendar so it varies in the Western calendar. It usually falls in October or November.

Diwali in Sikh Circles is also known as Bandi Chhor Divas. Bandi Chhor Divas is a Sikh festival which coincides with the day of Diwali. It celebrates the release of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes from prison in Gwalior. The word “Bandi” means “imprisoned” or “prisoner,” the word “chhor” (shodh) means “release,”

…fully translated in English, Bandi Chhor Divas means “Prisoners’ Release Day." Diwali is a New Year festival in the Vikrama calendar, where it falls on the night of the new moon in the month of Kartika. Business people regard it as a favourable day to start a new accounting year because of the festival's association with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Diwali is also used to celebrate a successful harvest. 14

and the word “divas” in Punjabi means “day.” Thus, fully translated in English, Bandi Chhor Divas means “Prisoners’ Release Day.” Why was Guru Hargobind imprisoned? His father, Guru Arjan, was killed by the Mughal emperor Jahangi, and this prompted Guru Hargobind to emphasize the military dimension of the Sikh community.


He symbolically wore two swords, which represented miri and piri (temporal power and spiritual authority). He built a fort to defend Ramdaspur (Amritsar) and created a formal court, Akal Takht. These aggressive movesprompted Jangir to jail Guru Hargobind at Gwalior Fort. It is not clear as to how much time he spent as a prisoner, but the year of his release was either 1611 or 1612. By that time, Jahangir had more or less reverted to the tolerant policies of his father, Akbar, and after finding Guru Hargobind innocent and harmless, he ordered his release. The Sikh struggle for freedom, which intensified in the 18th Century, came to be centered around this day. Guru Amar Das chose Diwali, later referenced as Bandi Chhor Divas, as one of the three festivals to be celebrated by Sikhs. The other two festivals are Maghi and Vaisakhi. The 2016 date of Bandi Chhor Divas is October 30th. In addition to Nagar keertan (a street procession) and an Akhand paath (a continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib), Bandi Shor (Shodh) Divas is celebrated with a fireworks display. The Golden Temple and its entire associated complex, is festooned with thousands of shimmering lights, creating a unique jewelbox effect.

DIWALI BY JAINS

In Jain Dharma, Diwali is celebration of Tirthankar Mahavira's contributions to humankind; it commemorates Mahavira's attainment of moksha or salvation in Bihar's Pavapuri.

In Jainism, Diwali was first referred as dipalika or splendour of lamps, in the Harivamsha Purana written by Acharya Jinasena. In his words, The Tirthankars illuminated Pavanagari by lamps to mark the occasion. Since then, on Diwali, the day when Mahavira attained nirvana, is celebrated with lamps. Mahavira was also known as Jinendra.

Swetambar Jains observe fasting during the three days of Diwali.

As tribute to the penance and sacrifice of Mahavira and his valuable contributions to our understanding of life and beyond, Swetambar Jains observe fasting during the three days of Diwali. The festival usually happens in the month of Kartik, in October or November. Devotees sing and chant hymns and mantras in praise of the Tirthankar and congregate for samaik or prayer and recite verses from the Uttaradhyayan Sutra, containing the last teachings of Mahavira. All celebration is marked by austerity, simplicity, serenity, equity, calmness, charity, philanthropy and environment-consciousness. Firecrackers are avoided as they cause noise and atmosphere pollution. Jain temples are decorated with lights; sweets and diyas or lamps are distributed - the lamps denoting knowledge or removal of ignorance. Devotees from around the world try to visit Pavapuri on this special day, offering their respects and prayers. The Jain year commences with pratipada, following Diwali. Jain entrepreneurs launch their accounting year from Diwali. Diwali illuminates the temple of heart and reveals aajmag.ca

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the horizon of the inner heart. Jain scriptures also mention that one of the ardent disciples of Mahavira, Gandhara Gautam Swami attained enlightenment on this day. In Mahavira's absence, he meditated to such an extent that his soul became liberated from all karma. Hence, prayers and meditation should be performed with utmost dedication in order to help eliminate the difficulties of life and finally help the soul to attain moksha. Mahavira contributed to the growth of scientific temper and encouraged

people to overcome superstition and blind faith. His teachings advocate gender equality, and also equality in all spheres including economic, political and social. He emphasized the importance of all species and he advocated a compassionate and ethical way of life that would help us evolve to higher planes. Mahavira promoted the concept of aparigraha or non-possessiveness to protect bio-diversity from human greed. The other important fundamental philosophy of Jainism is anekÄ ntavÄ da or principle

of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, and adoption of compassion and non-violence as a way of life. Diwali is celebration of Mahavira's nirvana as well as a day that marks new beginnings, a kind of New Year. Hence members of the Jain community wish each other a Happy New year by saying, 'Nava Saal Mubarak.' Diwali will be celebrated on October 30th this year. We wish you all a happy and prosperous Diwali and New Year.

ASHWANI SHARMA.

Happy Diwali From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau & the Liberal Caucus Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau Papineau

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SPECIAL CULTURE

DIWALI ON THE BEACH WHITE ROCK FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – DIWALI INTEGRATION Saturday, October 1st 2016, marked the date of the 3rd Annual Festival of Lights Diwali Integration celebration in White Rock. Lead by Mr. Moti Bali, Mr. Aditya Mohan and a dedicated Board of Directors, this is an annual program that focuses on bringing the community together and celebrating multiculturalism.

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It was Mr. Bali’s dream to host a program like this in White Rock. He saw other ethnic groups celebrating their festivals, and noticed a gap within the Indian community. Mr. Bali wanted to do something about this, but he wanted to bring everyone together, rather than hosting an event solely for Indians. With his vision in mind, Mr. Bali approached Gordon Hogg, MLA for White Rock – South Surrey, and told him what he wanted to do for the community. Mr. Bali says that this festival “is a reason to celebrate diversity, get all the different cultures together, teach our neighbours who we are, and learn from each other.” The festival began in 2014, and has been growing every since. According to Mr. Aditya Mohan, “it is a totally non-political and non-religious program that is celebrated every year, with multiculturalism being the core essence of it.” Each year, groups from more than 10 different countries participate on stage, showcasing various dances, songs and performances. Many Syrian refugees came to witness the event this year, and some of the children even had their faces painted. Mr. Bali wanted “everyone to feel part and parcel of the community,” and that is exactly what happened. The official Festival of Lights Diwali Integration event was preceded by a get-together at the White Rock Community Centre on Friday, September 31st, where Suki Pangalia taught bhangra to the audience, and a Chinese Martial Arts Master taught Chinese Martial Arts. Volunteers were given an orientation

and overview to prepare them for the next day. Free tea and food was provided by An Indian Affair restaurant. The Festival of Lights Diwali Integration event on Saturday began with opening speeches around noon, followed by performances by numerous volunteers, and ending with fantastic fireworks around 9 pm. Free parking was offered to all attendees, and a complimentary trolly ride was organized to transport visitors from the parking lot to the water-front. Goodies were also provided free of charge by Nanak Foods. The celebration attracts people from across the nation; whether it be tourists who are in the mainland at the time, or people who particularly take time out to attend this event. This year, for example, there were attendees from as far as India, Calgary and Portland. The event was emceed by Mr. Gordon Hogg, MLA for White Rock – South Surrey since 1997, alongside Mrs. Tejaswita Mohan, a well-known and reputable radio personality within the South Asian community. Mrs. Mohan has worked with numerous radio stations over the years, including: All India Radio in New Delhi, India, Spice Radio in B.C., and a radio station in New York, U.S.A. Unfortunately, due to liquid sunshine (the oh-so-famous British Columbia rain), this year’s festival did not attract as many visitors as the previous years; but it was still a highly successful event. The rain did not stop many enthusiasts from coming out to witness the celebration of multiculturalism and to show their support!

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The Festival of Lights Diwali Integration is one of the largest multicultural programs in British Columbia, and is hosted by the International Community Celebration Society. The festival receives immense support from the City of White Rock: avid supporters include Eric Stepura (Director of

Recreation and Culture), Claire Halpern (Manager of Cultural Development), and Amy Baumann (Special Events Coordinator). The event is further backed by a reputable and honourable Board of Directors. Among the team are Mr. Moti Bali (President), a living

legend who was Uganda’s top Tennis and Badminton champion, as well as the BC provincial and national Tennis champion in his age category; Ms. Judy Higginbotham (Senior Vice President), the longest serving city councillor for Surrey; Mrs. Beth Kish (Vice President), Executive Director of White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society; Mr. Aditya Mohan (General Secretary/Treasurer), who was recognized as one of the top 25 Canadian immigrants in 2011; and Mrs. Tejaswita Mohan (Joint Secretary), a celebrated South Asian radio personality. The organization is a non-profit organization, and any money generated from the event is donated to the Hospice Society of White Rock-South Surrey. For more information about the Festival of Lights Diwali Integration, please visit www.iccswhiterock.com

NAVKIRAN BRAR, Editor of AAJ Magazine, is a well rounded professional, with a passion for writing, academics and entrepreneurship. 20


Manisha Singh 1 21


SPECIAL CULTURE

ZEETV CANADA’S

GUJARATI CULTURAL FESTIVAL

2016

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GCF 2016 was an opportunity to participate in the richness of Gujarati culture and heritage, and to celebrate the multicultural diversity of our great nation! GCF 2016 allowed us to bridge the gap between cultures and communities through events that elevate and inspire us all, including networking, dance workshops, art, literature, cooking, kid’s craft fair, and much, much more. The highlight of GCF 2016 was a spectacular Raas Garba Dance Showcase (traditional styles of dance from the state of Gujarat, India) at the Orpheum Theatre, as well as a sports tournament at the Richmond Oval that included basketball, badminton, volleyball, floor hockey, and golf along with wellness and health seminars. We went to great lengths to develop a line-up of exciting events that reflected an eclectic balance of that which our forefathers have taught us, but with a modernity that appeals to the youth of today.

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Since 1967, the GSBC has been working to preserve the cultural and linguistic heritage of Gujarati’s living in BC, through events and education. The GSBC is a registered charity that is 100% volunteer-driven, serving thousands of Gujarati members and friends each year through community events and festivals. GCF 2016 was an opportunity to participate in the richness of Gujarati culture and heritage, and to celebrate the multicultural diversity of our great nation! GCF 2016 allowed us to bridge the gap between cultures and communities through events that elevate and inspire us all, including networking, dance workshops, art,

literature, cooking, kid’s craft fair, and much, much more. The highlight of GCF 2016 was a spectacular Raas Garba Dance Showcase (traditional styles of dance from the state of Gujarat, India) at the Orpheum Theatre, as well as a sports tournament at the Richmond Oval that included basketball, badminton, volleyball, floor hockey, and golf along with wellness and health seminars. We went to great lengths to develop a lineup of exciting events that reflected an eclectic balance of that which our forefathers have taught us, but with a modernity that appeals to the youth of today.

Karaoke Masti Our first official meet-and-greet event with GCF 2016 participants and families from all over North America took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Richmond. It was an evening of great food, singing and dancing.

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Spirit of Gujarat – The Jewel of Western India Gujarat took centre stage at the Pacific National Exhibition as the Festival Opener. This exciting event included traditional dance performances, a fashion show showcasing traditional and modern Gujarati clothing, crafts and food. The audience was encouraged to join in and learn Garba (a traditional Gujarati dance) and also assist in completing the colourful rangoli pattern.

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Dharmik Bhajans The following day, we gathered together to enjoy an evening of divinity and spiritual connection as Sumeet Tappoo sang beautiful bhajans and kirtan.

Sports & Wellness Day Sports and Wellness Day featured round robin tournaments where participants and teams battled for first place in badminton, volleyball and youth soccer hosted by KidsPlay. The Wellness event included yoga, naturopathy, nutrition, South Asians wellness and Bollyrobics hosted by the hilarious duo Shyam Valera and Kashif Pasta.

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An Evening of Romance The sensational Bollywood playback singer, Sumeet Tappoo, brought us an Evening of Romance at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. The audience was enchanted by his melodious voice, along with an 8-member band. We also showcased our local talent with performances by Kirti Arneja and Karishma Deo.

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

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Rass Garba Dance Showcase This traditional display of Gujarati cultural dancing was the most anticipated event of the entire ZeeTV Canada Gujarati Cultural Festival 2016. It featured participating teams from cities across Western Canada and USA. This event was a culmination of over 300 dancers who have been training for over a year to bring the absolute best of Gujarat to Vancouver. Categories included Youth Folk, Adult Garba, Adult Raas and Adult Folk. We enjoyed performances that truly took your breath away!

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Celebration of Stars Our final evening, was a glitzy affair focused on fostering relationships between all participants that took part in GCF 2016, with special guest performances by Sa Re Ga Ma Pa superstar Jugpreet Bajwa and local favorite Daksh Kubba. GSBC would like to thank everyone who made GCF 2016 possible, including our sponsors, donors, volunteers, participants, choreographers and the GCF and GSBC Executive Committees. Without everyone’s support we could not have hosted such a spectacular week-long event that showcased our rich Gujarati culture and heritage.

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CULTURE

KEEPING CREATIVITYALIVE I've been an artist since I could remember (or at least that is what I called myself since the day I discovered crayons.) It's been said that everyone is born with creativity, but as we grow older, we grow out of our creative mind, just as we grow out of our shoes and clothes. Is this true? Do we become less creative as we age?

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I used to teach art classes in a studio for children ages five to fifteen. Each class session was inspired by a historical artist such as Leonardo da Vinci, or Andy Warhol. The students learned about the life of the artist, and famous art pieces they were well known for. They would then create their own representation of the art pieces inspired by the artist they

experience their child’s development and creativity. There were parents that giggled at the artwork; there were parents that were offering their suggestions on what to add or what to take away; there were parents that said they were so amazed at what their child could do, and there were parents that shrugged and said, “maybe art is not for them."

We live in a world where possibilities are endless, where something extraordinary can be created from something ordinary. learned about. The extent of their creativity and imagination depended entirely on them, and I was not to influence them with my ideas but encourage their own. My job was to simply oversee their ideas, and teach them how to use the art tools in order to create them. What I discovered working at this art studio was how the ability to create and the idea to “step out of the box” had been so paralyzing for many of the older groups (ten to fifteen year olds) whereas, the younger groups were more open to try something new and different. I thought to myself everyday, why is it that these kids have such different perspectives and limitations to the same art assignment? It wasn’t until one day when the parents came into the class, that I found my answer. Of course the parents loved to look at their children’s work and we'd encourage them to do so to

I believed that many of the parents of the younger groups contributed less of their opinions simply because they didn’t expect much of their five year olds. But as these kids start getting older, the expectation grows with the hope that their kid wouldn’t draw lollipop trees in art class, and would create something a little more “realistic” which explained why the older children often felt suppressed when expanding their imagination. We l i ve i n a w o r l d w h e r e possibilities are endless, where something extraordinary can be created from something ordinary. Children lead the best example of this when they have extravagant imaginary tea parties or build wondrous forts out of pillows and blankets; as we all have done when we were kids. I've seen children create the most extraordinary, authentic and original art pieces that they loved making, and watched them change the whole thing because someone said they should. 31


Sound familiar? Most of us today, go through life unaware of the fact that we are constantly being suppressed of our creativity and individuality. We are constantly being told how to live; advertisements telling us what to buy, jobs that tell us what to do and how to do it. Our daily lives leave no room for the creative mind to wonder or tap into our own individuality.

But why is creativity so important? Creativity allows us to push every boundary in our mind, to think beyond limitation, to challenge and think outside of expectation. This is where the most growth and development happens. Some would challenge that our brain stops developing when we become a certain age, but I believe creativity allows us to channel new development and growth even when the rest of our bodies ceases to do so.

Creativity also allows us to live more vibrantly and encourages fun and play in our lives again, and when we have more fun, we live happier and we live better. So lets keep creativity alive! Have more dance parties, play more games, write a book, redesign a room, tell more stories, create something new everyday, and find the artist that still lives in you.

RESHMA BALKARAN, is a passionate artist and published author. She loves to dance and you may catch her performing or participating in various artistic events across the Lower Mainland.

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Words Like Poison Those words like poison filled my ears Leading me to believe you had no fears But of course I was mistaken because indeed You were afraid of love, I was so naive But I was scared of the thought of love For reasons of my past I hate to speak of Yet I fell for you hard, more than I could imagine And you fell the same, we were filled with passion Or so I thought you loved me back Your change in heart had me taken aback I wonder why the sudden change I began to feel a little bit strange But I looked past it all until you broke my heart From that moment onward my life fell apart You questioned my sincerity and love for you So shocked I was, I did not know what to do You told me it was a mistake, a bad decision To let me in your life. It was a prison, On my heart, but I'm setting myself free From the pain of love you had me feel and see ~ Manisha Singh

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CULTURE

DANCING A

LIGHTED PATH The melodious, traditionally dressed Gujarati singers belt out these fast numbers, and no one can resist the rhythm of the mesmerizing beats of the accompanying instruments - the manjira, dhols, daflis, and nagadas. Hours of dancing in a big hall with mirror work-embroidered chaniya cholis swishing around, and hundreds of dandiya sticks clacking in rhythm; watching the crowd move in concentric circles is a meditation in itself. Age is no bar as young and the young-at-heart all participate with joy and oneness in the rhythmic moves. The brilliant colours, sounds, and energy of traditional Raas Garba dancing during Navratri is a unique and exhilarating experience!

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The greater beauty is that Hindus all over the world celebrate the nine days of Navratri in this manner. How lucky are the children of such a compassionate culture that, in the true spirit of Gandhian philosophy, encourages love for all? Those who laugh together go forward through the beautiful journey of life together – it is with this thought that the Gujarati Society of British Columbia (GSBC) recognizes that spirituality is well and alive for future generations. “When one thinks of Gujarat and Navratri, the connection to dandiya and garba dancing immediately appears before the mind’s eye,” says Rajan Raniga, President of the GSBC. “It’s the happiness associated with dancing that we hope will draw in the kids to participate in their culture.” Navratri is a festival which marks the beginning of the Diwali season, the basic premise being the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Celebrated with joy and enthusiasm worldwide, Navratri, meaning nine nights, are spent in the worship of the nine forms of goddess Durga or Amba - the goddess of the original energy source or power of healing. Time in Hinduism is cyclical, and circles symbolically represent the Hindu view of time. Hence, the dancing in circles around the energy source, or Shakti. The tenth day is Dusehra, and according to ancient Hindu scriptures, it marks the day where the demon Ravana was destroyed by Lord Ram, the human incarnate of God. This festival has been celebrated by the GSBC since its inception in 1967 and since then, GSBC has been working to preserve the rich cultural

and linguistic heritage of Gujarati’s living in BC. It is a 100% volunteerdriven charity which has served over 25,000 members and patrons this year alone, through community events and festivals. In September 2016, the GSBC hosted the largest Gujarati Cultural Festival (GCF) in North America, which brought 14 dance teams together from Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Los Angeles to showcase the best of traditional Gujarati raas and garba. “Our aim with this festival was open Gujarati art and culture to the world, and to connect Gujaratis to their roots,” says Junita Thakorlal, Vice President of GSBC and a co-festival manager of the GCF. “We were absolutely thrilled with the outcome, hosting ten events in six municipalities at prestigious venues such as PNE and The Orpheum, and engaging over 500 families. It’s these types of events that unite us and blur the boundaries of caste and race.” T h e c o h e s i o n b e t we e n t h e choreographers, participants, volunteering boards, parents, committees and sponsors was indeed commendable. Transcending all ages, garba and raas were performed with such precision of rhythm and dancing that it took one’s breath away. Attendees were attracted from as far away as New Zealand to catch a glimpse of this colourful display of culture. GSBC is headed by an allvolunteer group of executives, to whom service is a passion. Even the talented musicians and singers are comprised of longtime volunteer members of GSBC, each of whom performed nonstop each night for six hours 35


during Navratri. “Belonging is a basic need that is being depleted in today’s materialistic, fast-paced and fragmented world,” Raniga says thoughtfully. “Praying and celebrating together has an energy all its own. And Navratri blessings dispel the fall darkness with colour, light and love in ways that one can only imagine.”

To think that a folk dance form such as garba (born out of a religious basis) has the power to unite scores of people, promote inclusivity, and bring sheer joy, is wonderful. GSBC’s final event of the season is a Diwali Gala which takes place Saturday, November 11 at 6:00pm at the Royal King Palace. The event will showcase the four spectacular

Vancouver raas and garba dance teams that graced the stage during the Gujarati Cultural Festival, and promises to be another sell out event. For tickets call Kala Chauhan 604291-9070 or visit www.gsbc.ca to get the full Gujarati experience. HAPPY NAVRATRI and SAL MUBARAK!

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

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CULTURE

JAZZY-B GETS HIS STAR

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Bhangra Superstar Jazzy B Becomes First South Asian to be Inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame

industry, elevating the Bhangra scene to a new level, and his albums became a hit across the nation.

Jaswinder Singh Bains, more commonly known as Jazzy B (Crown Prince of Bhangra), made history this year as the first South Asian to be inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. His name was added to the “StarWalk” on Granville Street in Vancouver, followed by an official celebration. The official induction ceremony took place on September 17th, 2016.

Fast forward over 2 decades: Jazzy B has fans all over the world, his music videos have garnered millions of views on Youtube, and his songs have been featured in both Bollywood and Hollywood movies. One of his newer songs, “Mitran de boot,” for example, has over 24 million views alone.

Founded in 1992, the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame was created to honour British Columbians who have made out st an di ng contributions to the entertainment industry. StarWalk inductees are featured with a plaque on Granville Street and a gallery in the Orpheum. Jazzy B was born in Punjab, India, and raised in Surrey, BC. He started his singing career in the early 1990s, and surpassed numerous barriers and obstacles in his quest for success. He is credited with reconnecting IndoCanadian youth to their roots, at a time in which racism was extremely apparent in the nation; a time at which many Indo-Canadian youth were “embarrassed” to speak in Punjabi, let alone listen to Punjabi songs. Jazzy B brought a fresh new style to the

Jazzy B’s collaborations have also been interesting: he has worked with Snoop Dogg, featuring him in his track entitled “Most Wanted.” He has also collaborated with Sukhshinder Shinda, Dr. Zeus, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Aman Hayer and more. Jazzy B repeatedly releases hit after hit, year after year, and there is much more success to come for Canada’s “Crown Prince of Bhangra.” Jazzy B’s star on the StarWalk can be found on the 800-block of Granville Street, near Zumiez clothing store and IndigoSpirit.

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

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HEALTH

MAKING OF A YOGI The developmental profiles of chiThrough my article in the last issue of AAJ magazine, I hope you attained some insight into my Sookshma journey with Master Sunita and how her emphasis on taking care of our Self leads to a life full of abundance. Now, let’s take a glimpse at Sunita’s life and journey of empathy as an innocent child that lead her to becoming the Savior of many lives. Born into a large family in South India, Sunita was the tenth child. She was a curious introspective spirit with a million questions on her mind, always in tune with her surroundings. She

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loved nature and her favorite haunt was the quiet rooftop terrace, where she could see the mountains, talk to the clouds and the birds that made their home above a window sill. Her best friends were the Sky and the little baby birds that she kept company until their mum came back to feed them. She noticed how hard the bird parents had to work all day to constantly feed their young, and learnt about the power of unconditional love from her little bird family. Rain or shine, she spent long periods of time with the vast limitless Sky, and constantly imagined her soul flying. These were probably her first meditative experiences. This is where


her journey into Infinity began. This affinity for embracing the Universe paved the way for her to become an embodiment of Infinity while helping many more to experience the boundless power within. Every morning, she would wake up to her father’s chanting of religious scriptures like the Pothana Bhagavatham, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavad-Gita. A very disciplined and traditional man, he would explain to her the essence and the lessons one should imbibe from them. Sunita eagerly lapped up all his teachings about the timeless wisdom of the ancient texts. Her favorite literary heroes were Ekalavya, who infinitely surrendered to his Guru, unhesitatingly cut his thumb and gave up his archery skills to obey his Guru’s command; amd Prahlada, whose love for God was so strong, that it saved him from his own demon father. Sunita found solace relating to such ancient souls and felt that there were people like her in the past times who were personifications of pure love. Before heading off to school, she would observe the beggars who came home daily for leftovers. She would look deep into their eyes and question why some were nice souls who would be grateful for what they got, whereas others were greedy and never willing to share. She would try and change the ones who listened to her, teach them about hygiene, and how taking a shower more often in the village lake would help them feel better and healthier. She always tried to find

opportunities and elevate everyone around her into better human beings. Sunita’s journey of Empathy and Equanimity to fellow beings started at a very young age. When she was around five years old, Sunita had an interesting experience in her parent’s Pooja room. It was a big room with some old metal trunks on the sides for storage. Big diyas (lamps) were lit every day for prayers. After prayers, her parents would offer Prasad (food offerings) to God, leave the room and close the door for a few minutes. She asked her parents why they had to close the doors. They told her that when no one was there in the room, God would come, touch, and bless the offerings. This explanation made the little girl very curious, so she decided to sneak into the Pooja room and closed the door behind her so they wouldn’t know she was inside. She wanted to see if God really would come, and if he did, she wanted to ask him not to take her old parents away from her too soon. Being the tenth child, she played with her eldest brothers’ children who were all around her age. Thus, at a young age, she learnt about old age through observing her parents, and her elder siblings’ families. She developed this fear of losing her parents soon, since they were older than other parents around her. While she crouched behind the trunk, she stared at the burning lamps. As she stared, the lamps suddenly multiplied and surrounded her. The firelight became intense and she felt like she was burning. At that point she screamed and fainted. Her parents heard her and came running into the room. Once they revived her, she aajmag.ca

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felt like she had gone through some sort of transformative moment. Were those lights really dancing around her, or had she just stared at the lamps for too long? Her family was concerned and wondered why this child was so different from the others, but her father seemed to understand her. He said, “Sunita is a special child unlike the others.” She realized that God is not outside and he does not actually come to the Altar and touch the offerings. Her questioning search for God began here. During festivals like Navaratri, wandering minstrels or holy men called “Hari Dasas” would visit her home to perform their religious song and dance dramas. Her father used to encourage them and listen to their devotional ballads. Sunita used to sit there and listen. She was gifted with a melodious voice and used to sing for them. After listening to her sing, they would put their garlands on her, bless her and tell her parents that she was no ordinary girl. If her father had to go to the fields to tend to his crops, she would constantly worry about the snakes on the forest path he had to take to get there, and she would pray for his safe return. She was always filled with empathy for

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anyone around her, an unusual trait for a young child. Her empathy knew no bounds. Even though it seems like it started with her father, beggar friends, birds and friends, eventually that pure empathy grew and has become the source of her infinite power of the Self and affinity to Universal energy that she brings out in her students. It is the foundation of her program “Sookshma.” Sunita says that Empathy is to feel another’s pain, but Divine Pure Empathy is to feel and absorb the other’s pain and relieve them from suffering and that can only happen when the soul merges with Universal energy and becomes one with it. In my decade long Sookshma journey, I have been a witness to what ordinary people would call Miracles and the basis for those miracles as I understand them today is the Pure Empathy of the vibrations of a person who is deeply committed to sharing the secrets of wellbeing and rejuvenation by developing one’s innate pure potential. The vision of Sookshma is Wellness and Oneness, and with her guidance many have discovered the joy of knowing one’s true Self, leading a life in bliss no matter what life throws at us.

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.


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HEALTH

AUTISM The term autism was first coined in 1940 however, awareness

has increased in the recent years. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a fairly common condition affecting almost 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. It encompasses a number of clinical entities with varying degrees of difficulties in communication, social interaction as well as repetitive behaviours. The manifestations can range from mild to severe. Some individuals may excel in math or music or art but may be socially inept 44

(Sheldon from the TV show - The Big Bang Theory, is an example). It is believed that Albert Einstein and Amadeus Mozart may have had ASD. Each affected child is unique in his or her presentation of symptoms. Behavioural and intellectual challenges may affect the quality of life to varying degrees. Hence, treatment must be tailored to each patient's individual needs. The developmental profiles of children vary but there are some behaviours or delays in certain milestones that should encourage you to speak to your healthcare provider


about further evaluation for autism. Those most common include --- the child not making appropriate eye contact or making unusual finger movements near the eyes; the child does not babble by 12 months of age or smile by 6 months. Instead of normal speech, the child continues to speak in jargon and keeps repeating words that do not make sense. Sometimes the speech that has developed begins to regress. There is a checklist available —MCHAT (modified checklist for Autism in Toddlers ) that caregivers can download and go through with their physicians to determine the need for further evaluation by a Developmental Behavioural Paediatrician. It is believed that although the developmental process that leads to autism may commence before birth, the most obvious clinical manifestations are usually not evident until 12-18 months after birth. Some infants develop normally and then begin to regress where they lose their previously acquired skills. Several years ago a small study raised concerns about the link between the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. The study has now been discredited and since then several large studies have found no link between autism and vaccinations. The unfortunate sequel

to this study has been that, it wrongly created a paranoia for vaccinations followed by a decrease in vaccinations given to the general population. This has led to outbreaks of measles and other vaccine preventable diseases resulting in significant morbidity and jeopardizing the safety of the whole community. Treatment is usually addressed by a multidisciplinary team with input from the occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, physical therapist, behaviour consultant and developmental paediatrician. The prognosis varies depending upon a number of factors: the age at which the intervention was initiated, the severity of the symptoms and the availability of support systems. Some improve with age and intervention, whereas others continue to be a challenge. Some of the high functioning individuals with ASD may be able to compensate for their lack of social skills and find a career that may unmask their genius and make this a better world! Where would we be without Albert Einstein, Amadeus Mozart, Sir Isaac Newton, Dan Aykroyd, Andy Warhol and Michelangelo?

DR. PARMJIT 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

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POLITICS & LAW

DUSEHRA & DIWALI

AN OCCASION FOR CELEBRATION OR A TIME TO GRIEVE & PROTEST

First of all, let's congratulate all who celebrate Diwali and its associated events. Faith, beliefs, and right to participate in cultural or religious festivities is a matter of personal choice; and, in a state of democracy, right to choose must be respected provided it does not impede, impact, or interfere with others’ beliefs, values, or sentiments.

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Diwali is a synonym for light. For some, it means or resembles light over darkness; goodness over evil; or, beginning of a new era. In Indian sub-continental context, for most people Diwali is a celebration of the day when Rama returned to his homeland after attaining complete victory over the Indian subcontinent. H o we ve r , t h e p r a c t i c e o f celebrating Dusehra and Diwali is now being questioned - particularly, burning of effigies of Ravana and his kins - although for various reasons. For some, reasons against burning effigies and firecrackers are environmental considerations. For others, these are reminders of atrocities and killings of Aboriginal communities during the Aryan invasion and the institutionalization of the caste-based

many bloodsheds and they eventually became slaves to the invaders. Let us take a look at Australia, as an example. In Australia, “The National Australia Day�, was proclaimed on January 26, 1778, when Captain Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain and proclaimed a colonial outpost of the British Empire. In recognition of this milestone, many official celebrations were started and some described reasons for such celebrations as time to recognize freedom and peace that was achieved on this date. However, a number of the Aboriginal communities of Australia did not see the National Australia Day in the same way. In 1938, on the 150th anniversary celebrations of The National Australia Day, members of the Aboriginal nations in Australia met and declared this day as a day of mourning and protest. For

the U.K. recently moved towards making caste discrimination an aspect of race discrimination discrimination, segregation, oppression and suppression. A closer look at the global context would suggest that invasion and colonization were not only limited to the Indian sub-continent but also occurred in other places such as The Americas, Australia, and many other parts of the globe. Similar to the experiences on the Indian Subcontinent, many Aboriginal nations across the globe were also invaded, won over through battles, and faced

these Aboriginal members, The National Australia Day reminded them of the violence and Frontier Wars, a period of conflict between settlers and Australia’s Aboriginal people, as well as number of other atrocities their ancestors had faced. Coming back to the context of the Indian subcontinent and the growing interest in denouncing burning of effigies, Kanchan Ilaiah is a highly regarded intellectual and a strong personality and he is one of such critical thinkers who challenges this practice. aajmag.ca

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“Nothing wrong if a nation or a section of the nation celebrates Ram's birthday or coronation day. But why burn Ravan's effigies on that day?” questions Ilaiah. “Dravidians and dalit-Bahujans across the country treat Ravan as their representative. His action of abducting Sita was seen by them as an answer to mutilating the beautiful body of Shurpanaka, his own sister, by Lakshman at the instance of Ram

Ashok Bhargava, a prominent writer and founder of Writers International Network, believes that it’s the “same blood that runs in veins of all Indians and we in the Indian subcontinent have the same DNA”. Bhargava also believes that since not all Dravidians are ‘Dalits’, Diwali should not be seen as a “Dalit versus Brahmin issue but nevertheless we can argue why burn effigies to celebrate light?”

what do we mean when we say this is a victory of “goodness or evil himself. Further, he did not physically assault Sita at all. They see Shurpanaka and Sita as women who have equal rights for their dignity and self-respect. Why demonise Ravan alone?” asks Ilaiah. Ilaiah further notes: “It’s only the evil, cruel mind which wants to celebrate death. Mahatma Phule was of the view that historically the Shudras and Ati-Shudras never celebrated death or murder. But now Diwali celebration has extended to them too. In a multicultural nation we all should protect everybody's right to worship birth, not death. We should celebrate creativity and productivity, not destruction”.

This Diwali, let us all also challenge ourselves and ask: what is it that we are celebrating? And, what do we mean when we say this is a victory of “goodness or evil.” Or are we celebrating death of those who gave their lives to defend their lands and sovereignty? Let us also think about our desires to create inclusive societies where everyone regardless of one’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or caste can live in harmony with one another and whether or not acts of celebrations or even endorsement of such celebrations would yield the outcome we so desire.

(Source: Round Table India)

JAI BIRDI is the General Secretary For the Chetna Association of Canada. He is an activist and writes on social justice issues and concerns. 50


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POLITICS & LAW

CASTEISM In 1955, the Constitution of India enacted the Untouchability Act, which was later renamed as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, which abolished the caste system. Yet, despite this legislation caste still appears to be a central prejudice which affects many people. Moreover, this shadow of casteism has followed many South Asians to the United Kingdom, Canada and elsewhere around the world. The Indian caste system is one of the oldest forms of social stratification that continues to exist today. The caste system essentially divides Hindu people into hierarchical groups. The hierarchies are formed on the basis of ones karma (work) and dharma (duty). The Hindu caste system has‌

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…f o u r m a i n c a t e g o r i e s , a n d in top down order: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Historically, the Brahmins were viewed as the teachers and the intellectuals of society. The Kshatriyas were viewed as the warriors or rulers of society. The Vaishyas were viewed as the traders of society. Lastly, the Shudras were the ones who did the menial jobs for society. Moreover, the Dalit’s also known as the “untouchables” of society are considered to be outside the caste system. The untouchables were considered impure, and that any contact with them by a caste member was considered contamination. The untouchables

level in the caste. I recently spoke with a woman who I will refer to as Priya, who stated that “despite being a lawyer and [her ] family converting to Christianity, [her ] family name is still seen as [her] main ‘weakness’ in the eyes of many Indians.” Priya comes from the Dalit community, also known as the “untouchables.” Priya’s family converted to Christianity in order to remove themselves from the stigma of caste, and when they immigrated to the United Kingdom this stigma followed them over. The issue of caste discrimination appears to be a hard hitting issue within the British Indian community, so much so that the U.K. recently moved towards

the U.K. recently moved towards making caste discrimination an aspect of race discrimination were the ones who would do the work that no one else would do, such as scavenging. These main caste groups are then divided into over 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes. The caste system has been a form of systematic oppression for over 2000 years, essentially privileging certain groups over others and establishing discriminatory practices that continue to exist today. Many South Asians have claimed that they have been discriminated by other South Asians, more so than other groups, due to their

making caste discrimination an aspect of race discrimination. This would make caste discrimination a criminal offence, through the Equality Bill. I also met with a young Sikh man, who I will refer to as Raj, on my trip home to Vancouver recently. Raj comes from the “Tarkhan” caste and he told me that he had previously dated a “Jatt” girl for two years. However, they had to call it off as her parents refused his marriage proposal due to his caste. What is interesting is that Sikhism rejects the caste system and recognizes all aajmag.ca

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human races as one. For example, the Sikh Gurus established langar (the food hall in the Gurdwara), in order to create equality. Langar was meant for people of all walks of life, despite caste, color, religion or gender to gather together and eat while sitting amongst each other, equally, on the ground floor because there is nothing lower than the ground floor itself. Moreover, all Sikh men and women were to take on the surnames

of either Singh or Kaur, in order to eliminate discrimination based on a family name. In spite of the progressiveness in law, on a global front, caste is still a rampant issue in the Indian community. Irrespective of which country; whether it be India, the United Kingdom or Canada, this is a narrative that sadly still exists.

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

Happy Diwali surrey city council wishes you and your family a very

mayor linda hepner

councillor tom gill

councillor bruce hayne

councillor vera lefranc

councillor mary martin

councillor mike starchuk

councillor barbara steele

www.surrey.ca

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POLITICS & LAW

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT W O R K BUYING YOUR VOTE

Election season is upon us, and British Columbians should be prepared for a blizzard of spending announcements and bad policy choices. It kicked off in late July when the Christy Clark government changed its mind on a foreign homebuyer’s tax. After years of making the case against gouging nonCanadian investors, it became clear in their poll numbers that they had to look like they were doing something to control housing prices. Voila! A new 15 per cent tax on foreign investment in the Lower Mainland was passed into law.

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It’s unclear what, besides securing their re-election, the BC Liberals hope the tax will do. They have offered no suggestions as to what they expect to raise in revenue from the tax. They have made no comments on how much, if at all, they would like to see property prices fall. They have the ability, with the stroke of the pen, to both increase and decrease the tax, but have not stated what would provoke such a move. They also won’t say what would cause them to spread the tax beyond Greater Vancouver – how hot do other BC markets need to get before they get the same “protection” from foreign investors? This nebulousness makes for bad public policy, as it offers taxpayers, economists and watchdogs no way

people paid no tax and most [have] never paid a BC tax of any kind ... these welcome newcomers should also contribute to the needs of the province.” Sounds a lot like the argument for this foreign buyers’ tax, doesn’t it? But Vander Zalm’s property transfer tax, once designed to hit only the top five per cent of homes, now drives up the price of virtually every property in BC Luxury taxes can quickly become everyone taxes. Other election goodies have already been announced by the BC Government, and you can see how each is targeted to a potential voting group. A couple of new schools in Surrey, always a swing community provincially. Freezing the hated Medical Services Premium tax after

election goodies have already been announced by the BC Government, and you can see how each is targeted to a potential voting group to gauge whether the tax’s aims have been successful. It’s like playing a hockey game with no nets – how do we know if we’ve scored? With that vagueness comes another threat to taxpayers. Almost 30 years ago, Premier Bill Vander Zalm brought in a property transfer tax because “Foreign investors, many speculatively, [are] driving up home prices beyond the reach of British Columbians. These

15 straight years of increases. A tiny tax credit (roughly $12.50 per child) for school supply purchases as a way to reach out to parents. The long-awaited Evergreen SkyTrain Line will open before Christmas as a way to show government’s commitment to suburban voters. A number of highway improvements throughout BC have been announced. Funding for a First Nations economic development

aajmag.ca

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strategy was unveiled, along with more money for aboriginal students and training. Half a billion dollars for social housing. To connect with the vital Indo-Canadian community, the government has borrowed $97.5 million on the Indian Masala bond market, and reinvested it in the Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited of India. The government expects to make a $2

million profit after three years – a very low rate of return. The biggest motivator seems to be entrenching economic links to India, especially as a BC lumber buyer, as a way to build the government’s connection to IndoCanadian voters here. Indeed, BC is spending $5 million over three years to promote BC wood in India. A noble cause, to be sure, but one that should be kept separate from BC's

investment decisions. A decision to risk $97.5 million should not depend on marketing aims – or on hopes to woo voters. All those announcements happened in the first two weeks of September. By the time the May 9, 2017 provincial election arrives, BC residents may not be able to sneeze without government rushing to offer us a taxpayer-funded tissue – all paid for with our

JORDAN BATEMAN is BC Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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BUSINESS

INVESTMENT PLANNING No one enjoys market volatility but it is an ever present consequent of investing in financial markets. Investors have come to learn that there are several ways to improve upon their investment experience especially when markets become turbulent as they have on numerous occasions the past few years. Regardless of your personality type, lifestyle or comfort level, the investment strategies discussed below will help you navigate through various market environments.Keep emotions in check

During periods of market uncertainty, it is common for some investors to get out of the market or to “park cash� into what they consider to be a safer investment option. Still, the evidence is conclusive that over long periods of time, constant switching between equities and fixed income or between any investments is a gamble. The reason it is a gamble is due to the difficulty that lies in two very important decisions that need to be addressed. The first decision is exactly when to get out of the market. Typically this is a lost cause as once a move is even considered, it is often too late as the 60


market has already declined. The second decision is when to move back in, which is no easier. When investment decisions are guided by emotion, the tendency is to wait for a noticeably positive trend to emerge before taking action. By that time, it is usually too late, and the opportunity has passed by. Changes in your investment plan should be based on changes to your personal circumstances and your investment time horizon or risk tolerance. They should not be driven by anxiety.

Focus on the long term

have all been positive and have been in a much more narrow range. The five-year returns and beyond for the moderate portfolio were positive 100% of the time. This illustrates the advantages presented by a balanced portfolio in terms of risk reduction.

Diversify your portfolio

Equity investments are an important part of a detailed investment plan as they provide

Equity markets have inherent risk and as a result, market volatility is often very pronounced during short periods of time. However, with time, this volatility is substantially reduced. As shown in the chart on the first page, in any one-year period, the returns of the Canadian market (S&P/TSX Composite index) have been as high as 86.9% and as low as -39.2%; a range of over 126%. This is extreme volatility. However, if investors extend their time horizon, this volatility decreases significantly. For example, in any 20-year period, the returns of the equity markets

the necessary growth to achieve your long-term financial goals. On occasion, they are subject to shortterm volatility, which is why a diversified approach to investment planning is best suited for most investors. Regardless of your investment timeframe, combining fixed income investments with your equity exposure will help you weather all types of market conditions. Effectively diversifying aajmag.ca

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• R e m e m b e r i n v e s t m e n t strategies like keeping your emotions in check, diversifying your portfolio and shutting out market noise. • A n o t h e r s t r a t e g y i s t o rebalance your portfolio, but keep in mind your expected need for portfolio growth, income, time horizon for investments and risk tolerance. • At the end of the day, your investment strategy should be matched with your financial goals, timeline and comfort level with risk to achieve your investment goals. • If you have any questions about investment strategies, I would be happy to help.

your portfolio goes beyond simply spreading your equity investments across several countries or regions. It is advisable to diversify your fixed income exposure as well, as not all bonds act in similar fashions. Short and long-term bonds for instance react quite differently to changes in interest rates and corporate and government bonds react differently to volatility in the bond markets. The market volatility we have experienced periodically in 2012 highlights the importance of balance between growth and stability in your investment portfolio.

Shut out the “market noise”

The daily economic news that you hear or read about can be troublesome and often distracting. Sometimes it leads investors to abandon their investment plan when there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. While it’s important to keep informed with what is occurring in the global economy, it’s even more important not to overreact to what is often referred to as “market noise”. Market noise is the delivery of economic and marketrelated information that investors are bombarded with in newspapers, online, and on TV. These news reports are short-term in nature and generally have no bearing on a long-term investment plan. The daily reporting of global events are often overstated to grab our attention or are one-sided to express an opinion. Investors should

be mindful of this information but should not usually react to it. Staying focused on your goals will allow you to maintain your plan and not be derailed by short-term market noise.

Take advantage of dollar cost averaging

Individuals with a lengthy investment time horizon, who are perhaps nervous about investing in a volatile market environment, can actually take advantage of the low cost of equities without assuming a great deal of additional investment risk. While it is never known when equity prices will rise or fall, employing a dollar cost averaging strategy of investing at regular intervals, regardless of market conditions, can lower the average cost of investments and contribute to higher long-term returns. For dollar cost averaging to be successful, you must be consistent. If you abandon your strategy when markets are volatile, the purpose of dollar cost averaging is defeated as dollar cost averaging helps ease the stress brought on by volatile markets. What was once seen as a setback can now be viewed as an attractive investment opportunity. If you’re committed to regular investing, you won’t have to scramble for large amounts of cash when it’s time to buy. For most people, investing in smaller amounts on a regular basis is easier on the pocketbook.

ARSHEEN VISHASH is a Consultant focusing on wealth creation and preservation for Canadians. 62


HAPPY DIWALI

DR. BHUI AND FAMILY aajmag.ca

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BCIBN’S

INAUGURAL DIWALI GALA

A GRAND SUCCESS

Surrey – BC-India Business Network’s (BCIBN) inaugural First Annual Grand Diwali Gala was a sold out event with BC Ministers Hon. Mike de Jong ,Hon. Amrik Virk , Consul General Rajiv Kumar Chander; YVR Airport President & CEO Craig Richmond and Senior Vice President of Air Canada Kevin Howlett as guests of honour for the evening. The Gala held at Fairmont Waterfront Hotel was sponsored by Patron Members Air Canada, Vancouver International Airport ; Platinum Sponsor Langara College, Silver Sponsors Maritime Services and Sprott Shaw College. This great event was hosted by well known media personality Sharad Khare. A large number of Educational institutes, Metro Vancouver’s business elite and government representatives were present at the Gala. Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Hon. Mike de Jong said Air Canada’s direct flight to New Delhi from Vancouver will only make BC-India economic, social and cultural ties stronger. “BC already engages greatly with India as far as business and cultural exchanges are concerned but considering the huge potential that exists, we can only forge stronger ties and steps such as this direct flight is one of them,” he said. Similarly Hon. Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services said BC hadn’t even scratched the surface as far as trade with India was concerned. “BC is fully engaged with India and the time couldn’t be better. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen our ties with India,’ said Minister Virk. Vivek Savkur, Chairman Emeritus of BCIBN, Catherine A. Sas President and Douglas Nazareth Finance Director, BCIBN, welcomed the guests and talked about BCIBN’s significant role in ensuring that Air Canada establish a non stop flight route to New Delhi from Vancouver. They thanked all the young volunteers and sponsors who made the evening a great success. Two business class tickets on the inaugural flight and other exciting prizes were given away as the evening progressed. The lucky winner of business class tickets to New Delhi was Mrs. Harinder Cheema wife of Former Provincial Minister of State for Mental Health and noted Surrey Doctor, Gulzar Cheema. The guests also enjoyed a delicious buffet prepared for the occasion by Indian chefs, Karan Suri and Mridul Bhat. A great line up of entertainment especially the vibrant bhangra dancers from Langara College and Lana, a young Bollywood dancer, kept the guests entertained through the evening.


hristmas C Celebr ate the Spirit of Giving & Caring with

AAJ MAGAZINE

For information about our special advertising rates for our Chistmas issue contact us at: 604.590.0007 or info@aajmag.ca www.aajmag.ca


BUSINESS

AIR MILES REWARDS MILES Canada’s Worst Loyalty Rewards Program?

We have all heard of the Air Miles Reward Program, and most of us are enrolled in it in one way or another. Many of us use our light blue cards to collect points at the local Safeway or Shell gas station, while others double or triple up on points using our collaborative credit cards. While the program gained popularity in the late 1990s, it is easily becoming one of the worst rewards programs in Canada. A word of advice that should be followed as soon as possible: use your Air Miles, and use them quickly. According to the program’s website: “Starting December 31st, 2016, Reward Miles older than 5 years will start to expire on a quarterly basis. Miles posted to your Accounts are date stamped and, if not used, are removed from your Account 5 years later, on the last day of that quarter. Quarters end on March

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31, June 30, September 30, December 31. For example, a Mile you got in January of 2014 would expire, if unused, on March 30th 2019.” The Air Miles Reward Program was launched by Loyalty One Inc. in March of 1992. Loyalty One Inc., a Toronto-based company, provides loyalty marketing and enterprise services across the globe. Within the first six months of introduction, the Air Miles Reward program attracted almost 2 million subscribers, with Canada Safeway and the Bank of Montreal being two of the biggest sponsors. In 1998, due to it’s rapidly

expired miles. If that fails, the suit is seeking some form of compensation for the annoyance program members had to deal with while trying to redeem their points. People have been noticing an abundance of discrepancies and issues with the redemption process. Examples of the scenarios people have faced while trying to redeem their Reward Miles include extremely long wait times on the phone, and different rewards available for different accounts. Shockingly, people have also noticed that the amount of Air Miles Reward Miles required for an item appears to be escalating. For

people have reported that there is no consistency in terms of which types of rewards are available for subscribers growing business profile, Loyalty One Inc. was acquired by a Texasbased company known as Alliance Data. Fast forward to 2016, and the Air Miles Reward Program has become a gigantic corporate mess. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Loyalty One Inc., which alleges that the company made unfair and one-sided changes to the terms and conditions of the Air Miles Reward Program. Furthermore, the suit claims that subscribers were not given adequate notice of program changes in relation to points-expiry, and the company has made it extremely difficult for the points to be used up before the impending deadlines. If the class-action lawsuit is successful, the Air Miles Rewards Miles may be forced to reinstate

example, a subscriber may see an item that she likes, but she is 100 Reward Miles short of being eligible for it. She then purchases those 100 lacking Reward Miles, or receives them from her spouse or friend. When she goes back to order that same item, the number of Reward Miles required has gone up once again. Other people have reported that there is no consistency in terms of which types of rewards are available for subscribers. For instance, a woman logged into the Air Miles website with her account number and saw different rewards than those available under her father’s account. Frustratingly, Loyalty One offers varying explanations for these differences. Sometimes, the company says the rewards accessible are tailored based on people’s personal preferences; other times, they say the rewards are

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based on an individual’s activity levels; and still other times they say the products are varied to see which ones resonate with the public. These are just some of the explanations offered. Due to the company’s lack of transparency, major inconveniences in the redemption process, and inconsistent explanations for why some people can receive certain rewards and others cannot, it may be a good idea to switch over to other reward programs that are more convenient and offer better deals and incentives. Points via credit cards, for example, are usually easy to build up and very easy to redeem, especially if you are an avid credit card user.

What should you do with your expiring Air Miles Reward Miles? Log into your account online, or call the company, and book a flight. You do not have to travel before the expiry deadline to use the Reward Miles; you simply have to complete the booking. However, it is important to note that the Air Miles Reward Miles program requires you to pay for the taxes associated with any flight that you book. You cannot use your Air Miles to cover the taxes. If you are looking for a flight within Canada, you may be better off booking a flight directly through a company called NewLeaf – their flights are so cheap that they may equate to the taxes that you would pay through

Air Miles. Thus, you may be better off saving those Miles for something else. Another option for your Air Miles redemption is to find a product that you like; many of which do not have taxes associated with them. If you cannot find a flight or product that you need, you can transfer your Reward Miles to a different account, which resets the expiry date another five years. However, this option comes with a cost of 15 cents per mile. For more information about the program and your options, visit the Air Miles Reward Miles website.

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BUSINESS

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

2.0

FIVE BENEFITS OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

Almost all of us have presence on social media one way or another. Whether it is Facebook to share updates and pictures with family and friends, looking up Diwali decoration ideas on Pinterest, posting vacation pictures on Instagram, to sending a Snapchat video with a face-swap, we are continuously connected to our social media accounts. With so much of our attention being dedicated to social media, it naturally makes for an amazing channel for companies to promote their products and services. The benefits are endless for both consumers and businesses. Are you running a business and trying to find the right strategy for social media? Here are five benefits of using social media to grow your business: 70


1. Ta rg e t i n g Yo u r F o c u s e d Audience Social sites offer businesses amazing tools which allow them to market to individuals who align with the demographic they are looking to target. But even if you aren’t interested in paid advertising, you can search for your prospective demographics; filtering by hashtags is another hack to finding like-minded prospects. Once you identify your ideal audience, its as simple as following them to start engagement. Engagement should be genuine and can encompass following, liking, and commenting on the posts of individuals and businesses whom fit the audience that you are interested in. 2. Consistent Communication By having social profiles for your business and taking a proactive approach to inviting e x i s t i n g a n d p r o s p e c t i ve customers to follow you, you are building the ideal audience that you want to be consistently communicating with. Your strategy to communicate can be unanimous for all channels or tailored based on the type of audience in each social profile. There is no right or wrong answer but you have the flexibility to experiment and see what works based on your goals. Being consistent doesn’t mean overloading your audience with content. Maintain a high grade of

quality and ensure your various messages cater to the different types of audience that you have. 3. Being Able to Test New Marketing Ideas With an audience that includes your existing customers and prospects across your social media profiles, you are able to easily test different marketing ideas. This could include a survey for a new product idea, a special offer to move out extra inventory, or a special concession for people hiring you during your slow time. In addition, you can experiment with selling your products online without investing a lot of time and effort on developing a shopping portal on your website. Besides promotions, social media sites also are fantastic for allowing you to try different types of advertisements about your business using various catch phrases and design aesthetics to see what’s popular. 4. Positive Impact on SEO Search engines take many different things into consideration when they rank websites, including: the layout of your website, the content on your website, if your website is mobile friendly, how frequently you update your website, how many other sites mention your business, how your content aligns with the keywords which reflect your business, and how active you are on various social media sites. By executive a 71


social media strategy which is consistent, you create greater organic opportunity for your prospects to find your business. 5. Q u a n t i f i a b l e R e t u r n o n Investment Social media sites provide amazing dashboards which allow you to track various metrics such as: which posts received the most likes, what days and times your posts are viewed most, and detailed breakdown of the types of individuals following you. By posting custom designed branded content with a clear call to action, you are able to track traffic coming from social sites, which will allow you to measure the leads and revenue

associated from social media efforts. By being consistent with social media, businesses are able to increase traffic and business leads, which are generally higher quality, and therefore have a higher probability of closing. An effective social media strategy with consistent effort can be cost effective, fitting every budget, and relatively low in risk, when it comes getting a multiplying effect on your investment. The necessity for companies to implement an effective social media strategy will continue playing greater importance, as it aligns with how consumers are researching and making decisions.

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

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ROBIN DHIR

Mentor & Motivator

PROFILE

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Who is Robin Dhir? He is a strategic advisor, property developer, philanthropist, mentor, motivator, husband, and father. Mr. Dhir the son of Punjabi born parents, was born in Vancouver and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia. After graduating high school with many bursaries, trophies, and awards, he attended Simon Fraser University and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. His children are now attending his old elementary and secondary schools. It is yet to be determined whether they will eventually apply to SFU, or UBC, where his wife Rena graduated from Commerce with an Accounting degree. Mr. Dhir, a successful businessman, holds onto the values bestowed upon him by his father. He believes in giving back. Mr. Robin Dhir himself has built his success based on honesty, hard work and determination, which has led to success in many areas of his life. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Dhir has “lived the dream.” The dream was built from learning how to


consciously make good choices from a very early age. Mr. Dhir set goals and worked diligently to ensure those goals were not only achieved but exceeded. He is definitely not done in that department, as he is reviewing other business opportunities as well. “Who needs sleep, it is so overrated!” As his parents before him, Mr. Dhir believes that his success should be shared with others and the less fortunate, which is why he is directly involved with many charities and boards. Over the years Mr. Dhir has helped raise millions for many causes and charities. His focus is to support

Pants Off Vancouver event, which raises funds for Prostate Cancer Canada and the Vancouver Prostate Centre, to name a few. Mr. Dhir, is a man who stands for something so much bigger than all that he has achieved in his life. At present, he is a highly sought professional, Strategic Advisor to Fasken Martineau, and President of Twin Brook Developments. He is a man who gives back whenever he can. From a young age, he too has taught his children to also give back. “If you’re passionate about something, get engaged,” says Mr.

“Be proud of your strengths; build the inner strength to go conquer what you want.” groups that focus on children. His brainchild, the A Night of Miracles (ANOM) gala is now in its 8th year, with all proceeds to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. This is the first and only Black Tie Gala in the South Asian community, and by the end of this year’s gala, ANOM will have raised over $4 Million for BCCHF. Robin Dhir has been visionary in finding opportunities to engage groups to do good things in the community. He was a founding Cabinet member of the Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame, which raises funds for Junior Achievement of BC. Millions have been raised to educate the next generation of business leaders, primarily in the high school system. He was part of the original committee to launch the

Dhir. Mr. Dhir believes that his life is fulfilled and enriched largely due to his family and involvement within his community. During my interview I noticed many wonderful motivational sayings: “I didn’t go looking for these positions, but in many cases they landed in my lap.” “Be proud of your strengths; build the inner strength to go conquer what you want.” “If I can’t jump in with both feet, I won’t do it. How do I transfer knowledge?” Mr. Dhir wants people to get motivated. He believes that we should all give back, not only monetarily but 75


with our time. We as members of a larger community should be involved in ways that motivates us. Making a positive impact is on the top of Mr. Dhir’s list as he believes that we should be creating a legacy… a legacy people will remember. A man whose mentorship will create leaders of the next generation, it is people like Mr. Dhir, who through their own skill set and knowledge, will give their time willingly in a way that has a trickling effect: unleashing greatness within others.

When I asked Mr. Dhir how he defines success, his simple reply was “a good night’s sleep.” We elaborated to say that when he has had a productive day and feels that he has impacted someone’s life in a positive way, he has achieved something that day. “When people do good things they can feel at peace.” He starts all over again the next day.

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Mr. Dhir’s rule for joining a Board of Directors is straightforward. He will join a Board if he can give to the Board in a way that brings value when he contributes his time and expertise. He also believes that it should give something back to him for his own personal growth. He adds new skills to his skill set; skills that he can pass on to others or learnings that can be used in other situations. In November of 2009, Mr. Dhir and his wife Rena had the great pleasure of meeting members of the Royal Family, namely Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, when they were invited to attend a reception held at the Olympic Village. Robin was able to share information about the real estate market in British Columbia with Prince Charles, along with details about his involvement in the BC, construction and development industries. More recently, in September of 2016, Mr. Dhir had the privilege, once again, to attend a reception held at Government House in Victoria, in honor of the next generation of Royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate. When I asked Mr. Dhir what he took away from his conversation with the Duchess of Cambridge, his response was that he felt humbled to see the reinforcement of their engagement in society and with social issues. This conversation reaffirmed for him that one can be of royal descendants and still give back while taking positions on social issues.


Mr. Dhir advocates that we all have a role to play in giving back to society and to seek real change; to make giving back about other people. It is important to find out what other people are interested in.. Mr. Dhir’s true passion is to help and inspire children. He continually strives to give in a way that fosters a new generation of people that values the importance of giving away their time to a cause that is greater than themselves. In summary, Mr. Dhir believes that as British Columbians we all need to work together to achieve a better result. We need to share our knowledge and skills with others. Mr. Dhir does not hold his skills or knowledge back. He advocates to connect people so they can connect ideas and get involved and give back together. “We can not expect that government will do everything for us. We need to be proactive and manage our health, finances, family, business in an orderly fashion and not just expect that government will be there to clean up the mess for us!” We didn’t even delve into Mr. Dhir’s political activism. We will leave that for another talk in the future, as we are not done profiling him. Who is Robin Dhir? He is a strategic advisor, property developer, philanthropist, mentor, motivator, husband, and father.

Making a positive impact is on the top of Mr. Dhir’s list as he believes that we should be creating a legacy… a legacy people will remember.

KAREN DHALIWAL is born and raised in BC, holds a BA with Honours and LLB. Karen is an entrepreneur, the Co-Founder and CEO of Love PH Water. She has a passion for reading, writing and giving back however she can. 77


CHILD HAVEN Now in its 27th Annual Fundraising event, Yamini Gendesha, held this event in Vancouver, with entertainment from Jyotika Jasuja, to a sold out night, with over 400 people in attendance. Inspired but the ideals and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Child Haven International is a registered Charity founded in 1985. We assist Children, and women in developing countries, women in need of food, education, health care, shelter and clothing, emotional and moral Support. Child Haven has five homes in India, One in Nepal, one in Tibet, China, and One in Bangladesh. Our homes accept children who are disabled, parentless, or from socially disadvantaged situations. Those who are destitute, i.e. do not receive one good meal a day, can find a home, and help here. Girls and Boys are treated equally, and without regard to race, caste, colour, religion, or culture. Living is simple and meals are vegetarians. Although this organization was set up by two individuals from western countries, they attempt to raise them according to the highest ideals of their own culture, and respect that heritage of each child; whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, secular, or other. Already in preparations for its 28th Annual Fundraising event, please feel free to Contact Yamini at 604999-2549 for more information and how you can help this great cause.

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REMEDIOS LAUNCH With the support of AAJ Magazine, Remedios Law group, in addition to their global offices, has opened its newest offices in Surrey. Donations to Pingalwara Society in India were accepted in lieu of any ticket to the event, and also to utilize this evening as a networking and, fundraising event, held at Spice 72. An evening full of door prizes, entertainment, and of course, the coveted ribbon cutting ceremony. A huge congratulations to Anthony, and Amy Samra for organizing the entire event, Thank-you for the on-going Support to the community from Bruce Kehler of Canex Building Supplies, and Congratulations to Remedios Law group for their Newest Office.

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VIBE 9

Asked by the city of New Westminster to organize a Fashion show to officially open the New Gallery, Ornamenting the Ordinary at The Anvil Centre, Kam Bains of Singh Styles. Kam decided to take this opportunity to showcase South Asian arts, inclusive of cultures from Afghanistan to India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Able to represent their Cultures were Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. India was able to showcase dance from 3 different regions, and also 3 different era’s. Bhangra, from the North, a traditional Punjabi dance; Bharatanatyam (?) from first Century CE, a classical India dance which is a story in itself, from Southern India. And a Bollywood Dance, which is from Central India. Afghanistan, was able to showcase a beautiful, traditional dance, that was unique, and for many of us, something new to see. The belle of the ball, was the fashion show; a story form the different regions of India. Each design and runway outfit, was made into a story, where the differences of the nation, were brought together in one show, ornamenting the Ordinary.

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PICS A day full of laughter and entertainment, in honour of her mother’s memory, Shelina Mawani held this annual event at PIC’s Assisted Living and Care Centre. This was an all-day affair, where there was live entertainment, from Jugpreet Bajwa, Nishant Sharma, Anzoom, Anil, Karim, and Almas. The community pitched to bring an array of food for all the guests, and Shelina gave a very heartfelt, and touching speech. We hope that with the memory of her mother soaring over everyone’s hearts during the day, Shelina was able to accomplish what she set out to do, spread love and laughter to everyone involved.

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DUECK ON MARINE

A night of Glitz, Glamour, and Models; both on and off the runway. Dueck on marine held an evening oat their Grand Location to launch the latest models & Series of Cadillac 2017 Line. Acrobats, Trampoline, Hors d’oeuvres, delicate Chocolate, signature cocktails, and Trevor Linden. All this made this incredible night to remember. Even though we were there to look at this new Cadillacs models, we were also there to view an Exclusive preview event for Vancouver Fashion Week. Two of the fashion lines, Atelier Grandi, and TKC, were on location to showcase their latest works of art, as was Jamal Abdourahman, the founder of Vancouver Fashion Week, which just concluded its 28th season.

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SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES In loving memory of Navlesh ‘Sippa’ Mudlair,

Sonam Naidu organized an event that was straight out of an Original Movie Premiere. It was a Dinner and Dance fundraiser event hosted in the Portugese Cultural Society of BC. The night was entertaining, showcasing wonderful performances, a night of fun, with friends willing to showcase their, various, talents, and also a musical night, with tunes from DJ High Voltage, of High Voltage Entertainment. All Revenue, from the tickets, to the cocktails, and revenue, all the proceeds were donated towards ‘The Sippa Memorial Scholarship’ at the Vancouver Film School. What an event, for a First ever, the possibilities are endless for what can happen next year!

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TAARE ZAMEEN PAR Fashions shows always showcase the latest in design for us adults, but what about the children? Armaan DB, organized the first Annual Childrens Fashion Show. In all essence, it was a day for the kids; entertainers, balloons, chocolate and candy stations, food and beverages galore! An amazing idea, made possible by the support of the community, parents, and last but not least, the children who gave practiced hard and followed instructions for the ramp walk, and choreography of the day’s events. , and by the gorgeous designs on these children, who were owning the runway! Congratulations Davi, we can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

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KLOSE TO YOU The first of its kind, Sonu Nigam, and Atif Aslam came together on stage for this once in a lifetime experience. Fan favourites, and two singers who appeal to both the new Hindi fans, and those who love a mix of old and new. Sonu Nigam was able to bring his melodious voice to the people of the Lower Mainland, and serenade us with his emotion driven singing. There are new singers every day, but Atif Aslam has captured the hearts and soul of generations to come. Together, it was truly a night to remember to another sold out concert organized by Kamal Sharma of KVP Entertainers.

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MUSHTARI BEGUM FESTIVAL The 5th Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance took place on Saturday September 24th 2016. People from all over, even as far as Los Angeles, came to enjoy this one of a kind mosaic of Indian Classical Music and Dance, organized by the world renowned "Ghazal/Tabla Wizard" as is written on the webpage for the festival, Cassius Khan, and the Whimsical Kathak dancer and Harmonium exponent, Amika Kushwaha. The Massey Theatre in New Westminster came alive once again, where the crowd was immersed in awe of performances by musicians Kaushik Sivaramakrishnan and Abhishek Iyer on Violin and Mridangam, Sharanjeet Mand's sonorous Sitar and Special Guest Pt Salil Bhatt's thundering Satvik Veena from Jaipur, Rajasthan. The magic and leaps and bounds that the MBF has made over the past years, was seen in the latest event as well.

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Support from the community was abundant, and all were jovial with appreciation for the dedication and the pure-essence of what brings this festival together through Cassius and Amika, who performed their trademark art forms of Kathak, Ghazal, Harmonium and Tabla. For the 5th year in a row, Ghazal/Tabla wizard Cassius Khan and Kathak Dancer Amika Kushwaha, are delighted to present and promote Classical Indian Music and Dance, through the Mushtari Begum Festival. The difference between a festival that promotes a singer, and musician who is already famous, or for this generation, mainstream; this festival is promoted sincerely through the organizers, who want to spread this joy to everyone, and show this invaluable forgotten art. Another milestone moment in Cassius Khan's career was when he was presented the traditional white cotton shawl with the pure gold threaded border directly from Salil's father, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, to be titled officially as Ustad of his ability to play the Tabla and sing Ghazal simultaneously. That was one great moment! When learning about what Kathak is, we imagine the Bollywood Actresses, in the movies that attempt the represent Historic stories, and love. The music is what we deem to be an accurate demonstration of the Tabla, (think Raj Babbar and Juhi Chawla in Shaheed Udham Singh). What we fail to understand is, there is more to the simple movement of their bold eyebrow, or a flick of their wrist, that we will never understand until we see these arts in their truest forms. Amika and Cassius, bring us themselves, so we can open our eyes, and see what they have spent their entire lives learning. We can close our eyes, and open our minds, and soul to hear what they have spent their entire lives learning. We can be transpired, and virtue, thrown into a space where we feel the music, feel the essence of education, feel inspired.

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ON SCENE

White Rock Celebration of Light - Diwali Intergration

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Fijian Interdependence Day Celebration

Surrey Board of Trade

3300 BCR Army Cadets

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Fleetwood Festival

Congratulations to a lovely couple

Luv Randhawa video shoot 92


Soni Samaj Navratri Celebrations

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Surrey Police Officer Awards hosted by SBOT


Armaan children's fassion show

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Indian Ex-service Society of BC

Happy Navratri 96


wishes you a

Happy Diwali

From the Directors and Staff of the Surrey Board of Trade

Dr. Greg Thomas Chair, 2016-2017

Anita Huberman

Chief Executive Officer

Indra Bhan

Chief Operating Officer

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Saturday, November 5 Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown

Please join members of the South Asian community and help BC Children’s Hospital acquire vital operating room equipment for the care of children during surgical procedures. For more information please contact anom@bcchf.ca or call 604-875-2444

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