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From the

CEO’s Desk

Welcome to AAJ, Canada’s Premier South Asian Lifestyle Magazine

A

aj is today; AAJ is about your world— about you.

Aaj welcomes you! This publication reflects our generation: our roots, our journey and our destination. We are in a very unique situation; a blend of cultures, of both Eastern and Western influences and values. AAJ will take a slice of this and serve it nine times annually. We hope to stimulate your mind and heart in many different ways with each issue. So, who are we? In 1997, friends of diverse backgrounds and specializations linked up to create a publication that gave voice to our generation. I want to thank my partners, the pioneers of A A J who created this gem in 1997: Gautam Lohia, Mahendra Singh, Khurram Saeed, Paul Dhillon and Tinu Mathur, Monica Mather, Namtez Sohal and Hari Varshney. Your vision and dedication proved invaluable.

THE TEAM

Along the way, we have added many talents to grow our vision.

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Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu

Photographers Aziz Ladha Sonya Toor Neelu

Advertising & Sales Kelly Paul Baraich

Thank You! Angela Yeung Barbara Bell-Olsen Bharthi Sandhu Bilal Cheema Bindi Bains Chanelle Ho Dee Bains Deepak Budlakoti

Editor Hardeep Design Crystal ball Advertising SEPT/OCT 2015

I thank our new publishers, Steve Sandhu and Goldy Pataria, who inspire me to take this publications to new heights. I also appreciate the wonderful people who are the back-bone of AAJ today: Hardeep Sidhu, Kelly Uppal, Paul Baraich, Jon Singh, Dr. Paramjit Bhui, Tony Singh, Perminder Chohan, Rita Chohan and Harj Sajjan. You are the magic behind the curtains, and I am indebted to your efforts. This publication is the fruit of many people’s ideas and hard work- from conception to completion- all with the common vision of providing first-generation South Asians with something to call their own. We will continue to touch upon issues that are important to you; to enlighten, to entertain, to shock, to uplift and to redefine our role as young South Asian Canadians. We will continue to present hard-hitting and controversial stories that shine a light on the darker areas of our society. To truly make this a magazine about you, we welcome your feedback.Please feel free to write, email, or call us with your insights and thoughts. Positive or negative, it’s merely hearing from you that we value. That’s how we can grow and continue to serve you. Enough with the introduction. Sit back, relax and welcome to the world of AAJ

Deepak Hari Dereck Kankam Dr. Sukh S. Mann Harvey Kooner Iti Kalsi Jazzy B Jon Singh Jordon Smith Keven Brown Kuljeet Kaila Naaz Khimani Raj Bhui Richard Hosein Rita Ramen

Roc Morin Ronnie Sidhu Sandiya Prasad Sasha Ramnarine Sherry Duggal Shobna Prasad (Miss Fiji Canada) Sonia Andhi (Shakti Awards) Surdel Party Rentals Vincent Prakash (Jai Fiji) Special Thanks Manjit Minhas

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2015

Sept / Oct 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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CONTENTS CONTENTS

COVER SOTRY

MANJIT MINHAS: The Fiercest New Dragon in the Den

AAJ FACES 24 From Robin Hood to BAREFOOT

WARRIOR

30

BC’S VERY OWN SUPERMAN Hari Varshney

36

ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS Sasha Ramnarine

46

TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE LIVING Perminder Chohan

LAW & POLITICS 26 Twenty-Five-Year-Old Man is Being DEPORTED TO INDIA...Except He’s Not Indian 38

IS CANADA HOME? How A Text Could Change That

SPEICAL FEATURES 50

JAZZY B The Crown Prince of Bhangra

32

INDIA’S ‘THIRD GENDER’ Is Marginalized and Sanctified

58

ON THE RIGHT PATH Nasir Kamrudin

20

TO BHANG or not to Bhang

HEALTH 62

CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

64

BINDI BAINS FITNESS About the trainer

68 Sometimes, It’s Good to Be a 72 What ’s eating your 75

BABY TEETH?

THE SCOOP ON POOP

ENTERTAINMENT 80 RANVEER SINGH 82 84

QUITTER!

BHANGRA IDOL

is more than a pretty face 10th Anniversary

AAJ ON LOCATION

COMMUNITY AT A GLANCE

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EXPECTATIONS EXPECT

EXCEEDING

WORLDWIDE

FEATURING THE LARGEST & MOST LUXURIOUS FLEET OF VEHICLES IN THE GREATER VANCOUVER METRO AREA

800.803.9222 OR 604.685.5600 RESERVATIONS@STARLIMOUSINE.COM.COM WORLDWIDE

VANCOUVER, CANADA


About Us Some of our innovative initiatives are introducing new innovative health management systems such as rapid blood test by HealthTab, which is the first pharmacy in Canada to use this system to measure and monitor lab accurate 21 key health markers for chronic diseases. We are there to lead these initiatives and increase awareness to out patients through our work. PharmacyBC.com was the first in Canada to offer Point-Of-Care Rapid HIV test in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care. Our locations were the first nationally to pilot Chronic Kidney Disease screening in partnership with BC Branch of Kidney Foundation and funded by the BC Ministry of Health. Ministry of Health and BC Pharmacy Association have recognized our work as the first few pharmacies picked for the Medication Management Project. We have been selected to participate in a pilot program with UBC for Genome Sequencing and INR. We are one of eight pharmacies selected in a partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health to provide in-home medication adherence monitoring services to mental health and addiction patients.

www.pharmacybc.com Health Tab

Visit your local Medicine Shoppe for a comprehensive review of your medications including a FREE Healthtab blood analysis ($39 value). We are the FIRST pharmacy in Canada to offer this service!

✔ Fast & Convenient! Results in less than 15 min. ✔ Personally motivating! Track your progress and set personal health goals

✔ Lab Accurate Results!


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

COVER STORY

MANJIT MINHAS THE FIERCEST NEW DRAGON IN THE DEN

by Hardeep Sidhu

“I CHOOSE TO HAVE A TOUGH SKIN ABOUT IT. IT’S NOT EASY, BUT IT GIVES YOU THIS GUSTO INSIDE TO BECOME THE BEST“.

M

ath genius, beer baron, author, mother of two, and now an investor on Dragon’s Den. Is there anything Manjit Minhas can’t do? Conquering Canada in the perfect red dress, Minhas has no plans of slowing down. When we spoke to her, we anticipated a no-nonsense, to-the-point personality. Instead we were received by an, affable, eager and focussed woman. We were excited to hear about this young South Asian woman and her experiences 14

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in the Den. But how did this former petroleum engineering student leave the security of a career to jump into the brewing industry? Before the Brewery Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta to a close-knit family, Manjit (13 at the time) and her brother Ravinder worked on the weekends at the family liquor store, labelling bottles and keeping the location clean and tidy. This is when she meticulously studied

the industry, which developed into her passion for making beer. She wanted her parents to create a house brand for their stores after noticing restaurants purchasing the cheapest brands for their beverages. “When you go into a bar and ask for a rum and coke, unless you specify differently, they give you a bar stock rye”. Then it dawned on her: by wholesaling the house brand, a good quality product at a low price, this aajmag.ca


could become the bar stock. Manjit and her brother marched on after convincing their parents, starting with a line of spirits that performed well in their stores. A year later, other liquor stores started to ask about carrying the product as customers began requesting it. The Minhas clan had a decision to make: would they continue as a private label brand or take their product to the masses?

Manjit and Ravinder were university students at the time and did not have the time for such a large endeavour. But they took the leap of faith and expanded to create Blarneys Irish Crème, as well as a house tequila for their company Mountain Crest Liquors Inc. (MCLI). Luck was on their side, as they f inished packaging their tequila just as Mexico faced an agave plant shortage (a vital ingredient in tequila

production) and tequila prices doubled. They gained market share since they could sell their tequila at cheaper prices, at almost 45% less, than their competition. This success drove their decision to enter the beer market in 2002 with Mountain Crest Classic Lager and led to their international expansion i n 2 0 0 6 w h e n t h ey p u rc h a s ed the oldest brewery in the United States, renaming it as Minhas Craft SEPT/OCT 2015

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COVER STORY

Brewery. The rich history of the brewery, operating since 1845 and throughout the prohibition era, inf luenced Manjit’s purchasing decision and led to the launch of her book, “Brewing Up A Damn Good Story”. There was a steep learning curve with the brewery, and Manjit had to quickly understand the m a n u f a c t u r i n g o f b e e r. He r expertise was in marketing and sales. Manufacturing was a whole other ball game which pushed her boundaries. That and adjusting to Wisconsin. But she had to learn everything herself to train her employees. A point to note about Manjit is that she refuses to leave anything to chance and calculates every action. Of course she could learn about manufacturing beer at the new brewery, but hungry for knowledge, she took her thirst into the beer school in Chicago. Now

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she has an amazing team running the brewery in Wisconsin while she enjoys managing it from Calgary.

course, like any entrepreneur, Manjit has experienced failure. “You learn from it and you move on”.

One fact Manjit proudly shares is that not one dollar of debt was put into the company. Every cent the company made was reinvested into Minhas Breweries to keep it debt free and to maintain full ownership of all assets. “We have no debt. It’s all ours,” she expressed; “The beauty of starting a business without a loan is you can make your own decisions and control things the way you want, because there’s no one else involved.”

A WOMAN? In the BEER Industry? “All of the other breweries have been operating for hundreds of years. It’s an old boys club. People would wait for someone else to walk behind me to deliver the pitch. It was frustrating. I choose to have a tough skin about it. It’s not easy, but it gives you this gusto inside to become the best. I had to be over-prepared in every single aspect to gain the respect in the industry.”

“Your fate is in your hands. We can be fast and be nimble, and when we see trends happening. We can make decisions quickly of our own accord. We don’t have to go through a board, red tape or hierarchy for a decision.” She confidently shares that making decisions without bureaucratic hurdles is one of the cornerstones to the success of the brewery. But of

In today’s progressive world, sexism and discrimination unfortunately still rear their ugly heads. Manjit uses that as her fuel, boasting about the fact that theirs is the first brewery in Canada to put a warning label on their beers and of how they are huge supporters of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). It’s hard enough gaining respect as a woman entrepreneur, but there is also the stigma attached to women

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and alcohol in the Indian culture. Manjit credits the support of her family for helping her deal with this. “At the end of the day it’s a business. People will talk about me regardless. Whether I’m making samosas or making beer. It’s a business!” Interesting ly, Manjit actually created a beer for women. “Uptown Girl is great in taste, low in alcohol and low calorie. There’s no bloating because it’s less carbonated, it’s lighter, and stays colder. Uptown Girl is for the woman who likes beer”. Dragon’s Den Manjit agreed to attend a screen test after an unexpected phone call from a producer of the show. She flew to Toronto five days later. After consulting her husband about how the brewery and her family would be taken care of, she decided to take her seat in the Den, but not before going through the lengthy process of finding the perfect outfit for the season, as the Dragons wear one outfit throughout the series. She laughs at the outfit selection process. The Victoria Beckham design, of which there were a limited number, was carefully s e l ect ed a n d t ed i o u s t o p i n down. They had to call Victoria Beckham to fly over an extra one. A regular Den viewer herself, she told us about how “all of the Dragons are so interesting and we all come from such different backgrounds. Of course there were things we didn’t see eye-to-eye on, but it was a lot of fun getting to know everyone”. Surprised by the fact that no one actually knows anything about each SEPT/OCT 2015

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COVER STORY that region. Personally, I’m excited to get my daughters involved with all of the new experiences in my life. They were so excited to see me on Dragon’s Den, they knew all of the names of Dragons and couldn’t wait for hair & makeup. I love that I’m cool in their eyes! D o yo u h ave a ny a dv i c e fo r e nt re p re n e u r s wh o a re j u s t starting up? You work at it day-in and dayout –11 hour days – for something you love. Find something you’re passionate about and like doing long-term. Some people know it off the bat and for some it takes time; it’s not an overnight experience. Everyone will tell you about the 20 failures they had before the one hit. It takes time and energy to be successful. You have to work harder than anyone else around you. There’s no elevator to success—you have to take the stairs. pitch, she quickly learns to read people, as they are only given one hour, a piece of paper, and a pen to help decide whether to invest or not. “Pitchers are asking me for MY money. My hard-earned money. So I’m going to ask some tough questions. If those questions can’t be answered I’m not going to invest. At the end of the day I’m investing in people. You’re the one who is going to run the business. Not me. So I need to trust your instincts,” she advised. A woman building an empire and knowledgeable about many industries (construction, television, graphics—thanks to other family businesses), she adds incredible

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value to any entrepreneur lucky enough to have her on his/her team. “I’ve been able to live my dreams, creating a business that is operating in 16 countries including Japan, Guam, the United States, Mexico and Barbados. I can’t wait to breathe life into the dreams of some other Canadian entrepreneurs.”

7 Questions for the Dragon What’s next for Minhas Breweries and you personally? We want to expand further into Eastern Canada in the next five years. We have about a 10-15% market share in the provinces where we sell our product, so there’s definitely more room to grow into the east and we would love to open up a brewery in

Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the most important decision you made that contributed to your success? To do it with my own money. I know, even now, if I had investors or other decision makers, a lot of the decisions we made would be slowed down and maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today. Control over every aspect is key. W hich was more rewarding: making your brewery a success, or being able to continue keeping it successful? To keep something successful, to keep it growing and dynamic, and keep your business profitable is hard work. But I have to say, it was

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more challenging to make our brewery successful because it’s such a competitive industry. If you could travel back to the first day you started your brewery and have 15 minutes with your former self, what would you say to her? I would tell myself to travel more…for fun! Also, I didn’t have a ton of friends when I was younger, but I was working a lot. I would take time to enjoy my youth a little more. Now I’m married with kids, so fun in your thirties is different from fun in your twenties. Fun has to be planned a little more! How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifle or trip or stop so many entrepreneurs with great ideas... what pushes you through? Too many entrepreneurs give up before they make it. The biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is that success will come relatively overnight-success in nything takes hard work and time. Also, it

will be a bumpy road and a couple failures before you have a success. When things are tough it’s important to remind yourself of your passion and why you got started in the first place. Too often entrepreneurs get diverted from their original goal and vision and then they don’t enjoy the journey because it’s not what they had dreamed of. Dreaming in Technicolor is so important, meaning that you are constantly innovating and improving yourself and your company. How can an entrepreneur on Dragon Den get you to invest in him/her? Know your business inside and out, especially your financials, cost of goods, net and gross margins, expenses, profit, customer acquisition costs etc. No matter how great you and your product or service are, if I don’t have faith you can handle my money, I won’t give it to you! Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

SPECIAL FEATURE

To Bhang or Not To

Bhang? Why that is still the question. By Richard Hosein

Richard Hosein is an activist, politician, a founder of the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG) and a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC. Richard enjoys hiking and the outdoors.

Yesterday: Cannabis or the more widely used term, marijuana, has been at the forefront of society’s controversial dialogue since it’s prohibition in the early 1900’s. Spearheaded through racist legislation, marijuana was criminalized in Canada’s House of Commons in 1923, without debate. Some argue that cannabis is a “gateway” drug, but in a 1999 report 20

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from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences it’s stated: In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug. But because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and rarely the first, “gateway” drug to illicit

drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. Today, public opinion has changed and it is in the limelight.

Cannabis in BC Today: President of the Vancouver Kush Medical Society, Tony Sing h, aajmag.ca


started a medicinal cannabis dispensary in 2011 after doctor prescribed Tylenol 3 and other anti inflammatories did more to worsen his Capital Femoral Epiphysis than help the condition. After meeting barriers to access cannabis he took things into his own hands and created a reliable and safe source for patients to obtain cannabis for medical use. In the fall of 2013, a citizen action group, Sensible BC, led the bid to have a referendum to end arrests for marijuana prohibition in BC. Their aims were to end prohibition and to create the opportunity for the citizens of BC to have a say in how drug laws are enforced in our province. With nearly 75% of British Columbians in favour of marijuana reform, they were able to meet the requirements to have a referendum. But, their attempts failed to muster the leadership and skills needed to run the massive province-wide campaign. In 2013, the Harper government announced they would be spending 11 million dollars of taxpayer money on ads targeting cannabis. Sensible BC noted in response, “[The Canadian Government,] no longer are the proponents of the war on drugs willing to argue based on facts, they have doubled down on scare tactics aimed at maintaining the status quo.” According to a survey done by researchers at Insights West, 87% of BC residents believe taxing marijuana would generate revenues that can be used to benefit all Canadians, such as areas

in health care and education. Almost fourin-f ive British Columbians also think dispensaries are a safer way to sell marijuana (78%) and believe marijuana has legitimate health benefits (also 78%). Three-in-four residents (75%) think legalizing marijuana would allow police to focus on other things, instead of chasing marijuana producers and traffickers. About two thirds of British Columbians also think that marijuana should not be compared to other drugs, like cocaine or heroin (68%), that legalization will decrease gang violence (67%), and that prohibition of marijuana has failed to control production and use (66%). “BC should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, becoming Canada’s version of Washington state”, said former BC solicitor general Kash Heed, who also served as the commanding officer of the Vancouver Police Department’s drug squad. “BC could do it in a responsible way, if there was the political will provincially.” These sentiments have been echoed by many and increasingly so.

The Future of Cannabis: Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) replaced the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) on April 1st, 2014. The old legislation allowed licence holders to grow cannabis

themselves or find designated growers. This new legislation essentially took away patient’s right to grow their own cannabis and created “conditions for a commercial industr y that is responsible for the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes”, as the Harper government describes. However, many medical marijuana patients in Canada are struggling to buy cannabis under this current legislation and are turning to the black market, according to a University of British Columbia study. Many patients have noted t h e re a re s eve ra l p reva i l i n g issues with the new legislation; 1) affordability, the old program allowed patients to grow their own marijuana at a cost of about $2 a gram, compared to purchasing it at about $8 to $10 a gram through the new program; 2) difficulty getting a doctor’s approval in rural areas; and 3) inadequate supply from the larger companies that operate under the MMPR. Many patients, growers, and activists are noting these changes as corporations taking over medicinal cannabis, concentrating business in the hands of people with ties to the big American pharmaceutical conglomerates. SEPT/OCT 2015

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SPECIAL FEATURE In June 2015, the City of Vancouver council voted to regulate and license the roughly 100 medical marijuana retail dispensaries in the city, becoming the first city in Canada to do so and receiving fire from the Harper Conservatives. The bylaw is set to charge retail dealers a $30,000 licence fee, which is the city’s highest permit cost, and prevent shops from operating within 300 metres of community centres, schools and other dispensaries. The bylaw does not allow the sale of edible products like pot brownies, with the exception of edible oils, which would include tinctures and capsules. W h a t ’s a l l t h e f u s s about? The United States has had its foot in the war on drugs for decades. Creating hysteria in t h e e i g ht i e s by t h e Reagan administration, today the amount spent annually in the United States on the war on drugs is more than $51,000,000,000.00. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, The prohibition of marijuana is an utter failure. The United States wastes billions of dollars enforcing marijuana laws even for lowlevel offenses, incarcerating and penalizing marijuana users, and denying seriously ill patients access to beneficial treatment including disproportionate targeting of blacks and Latinos at the heart of that enforcement surge. So have things changed? Is there a resurgence of a progressive America? Alaska, Washington,

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and Colorado have all legalized recreational cannabis use in the last few years with Oregon as the latest state on the list. Many arguments for progressive reform include economic benef its. Combined with the savings from ending prohibition enforcement, marijuana taxation could generate revenue for federal and regional governments, an enticement that any capitalist cannot ignore. In fact, now that cannabis is permitted in some form in 23 U.S.

Prohibition, Regulation or Legalization? Prohibition has proven to fuel organized crime and violence in an illegal market. Decriminalization allows some public safety and health issues to be addressed, but organized crime still has influence over the industry. Regulation allows for public safety and health. Legalization is a path to corporate oligarchies and privatized profit, which leaves the public without potential revenue.

Pros of a Regulated Cannabis Market

states, the typical flow of cannabis from Mexico has signif icantly been reduced and, to a growing degree, reversed. The expanding U.S. corporate pot industry is transforming the drug distribution patterns of the notorious cartels— forcing them to deal more exclusively in heroin, for example— and leading to both cultural and economic change in Mexico’s own consumption of marijuana. Two prospects may arise: a business boom for legal corporate pot producers in the U.S. and Canada and the chance to concentrate the drug war on far more deadly substances, such as cocaine, meth, and heroin.

• E l i m i n a t e s t h e black market and illegal sales (i.e. organized crime and violence) • Adds tax revenue to provincial coffers to use for education, health care, provincial parks, etc. • Control the f low and availability of recreational marijuana into the commercial (taxed) market • Provides additional legal income for licensed medical marijuana growers Cons of a Regulated Cannabis Market • Public safety implications (i.e driving or using heavy machinery after using cannabis) Perhaps now it is time for British Columbia and Canada to become the progressive societies that Canadians value greatly. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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AAJ FACES

FROM ROBIN HOOD TO BAREFOOT

WARRIOR

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Rajen Toor’s Growing Fame as an Actor, Producer, and Entrepreneur

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orn and raised on an orchard and vineyard in Oliver, British Columbia, 23-year -old Rajen Toor has big-city dreams, but when speaking to him it’s clear that he is humble with a hint of that small-town charm. Raised in a household of five cousins (whom he calls his sisters), one little brother, and many aunts and uncles, Rajen worked in the family wine shop. I sat down and talked with him for almost an hour, utterly unaware of his stuttering speech impediment (which he later shared with me). Not only has Rajen overcome this himself (without professional help), but he

whim. After earning a small role and “throughout the week of rehearsing, learning improvisation techniques, and learning from the directors, I just fell in love with it!” During a rehearsal, one of the directors urged him to take up formal training to foster his natural talent. Rajen was on a plane to Los Angeles one summer later; a ticket to the New York Film Academy for a two-month program. Here he had the opportunity to connect with other youths in drama from around the world, and experience his f irst moment in front of the camera. Rajen returned home recharged, took more

He wanted something different. He paused his studies, and landed the lead role in Vancouver indie film Maple Heart. This was also when his friend, Shane Brar (an acting colleague), called him with a proposition: “Do you want to start our own production company?” “ Yes. Yes I do!” And Self less Pictures was born.

launched a production company, Selfless Pictures, at age 23, and continues to work as the Sales and Marketing Manager at the family’s Desert Hill Estate Winery,.

drama classes and attended the Vancouver Film School. Here he realized that film may be a career option.

after high school, with a promise to gather one day for a road trip to see the Northern Lights. They leave their jobs/situations and head on the road while sharing and hiding their struggles. We don’t want to spoil the story for you, so you will have to catch it when it releases in August 2016. Until then, keep an eye out for Rajen in Mera Wattan, Maple Heart, and Barefoot Warriors.

Rajen never thought he would be interested in drama, but he fell into it serendipitously. In grade 10, he accompanied his friend to an audition for their high school’s rendition of Robin Hood, on a

After graduating from high school thoug h, rather than fur ther pursuing his passion, Rajen attended the University of Victoria to complete his studies in business and economics. However, his heart and head were still with drama.

Now with his team of four, Rajen is working on his first feature film, Aurora, from script to the lead role to post-production. It’s about three childhood friends, from (you guessed it!) a small town who went their separate ways

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LAW & POLITICS

Twenty-Five-Year-Old Man is Being

DEPORTED TO INDIA... Except He’s Not Indian The Story of a Deepan Budlakoti, the Stateless Man

D

eepan Budlakoti was born in Ottawa in 1989 after his parents arrived there in 1985 to work for the Indian High Commission.

After 24 hours in “the hole”, the CBSA came to see me. And they had news: apparently, I am not a Canadian Citizen.

Like others born here, he was issued a Canadian birth certificate, passport and enjoyed all of the rights of a citizen. Everything was fine. Or so it seemed. He was convicted of trafficking drugs and weapons when he turned 19, and his life understandably took a sudden turn. We thought it would be best

for Deepan to tell his story: I have a Canadian passport and an Ontario birth certificate. I was born and raised in the capital city of Canada. As a child, I grew up in group homes under the care of the Children’s Aid Society, and I became a Crown Ward when I was 13 years old. I was having family problems at this time and ran away from home, which led to troubles at school. Being a part of the system, dealing with a social workers, constantly moving to different group homes,

To learn more about Deepan’s case and support his cause visit www.justicefordeepan.com to sign his petition. 26

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schools, jobs, and always adjusting with new “families” was taxing. I realized that I was just another number in the system and felt that no one cared about me, whether it was my family, co-workers, or staff at the group homes. I experienced loneliness ever since I became a part of the system. And since I couldn’t trust anybody I decided to hide my emotions, be independent, and stay strong to survive.

Of course, as a 14 year old kid, I had issues in the group homes with the other kids and family visits. But I wanted to move forward with my life, so I focussed on my schooling and worked at a mall in Orleans. It was a difficult commute from Cumberland (where I lived) because there was no public transportation in that area. The group home staff would pick me up every night and drop me off to go to school every morning. I felt locked up, since I had little control over what I could do, where I could live and my mobility. I eventually left that group home and moved through three others until I finally got my own place in Ottawa when I was 16 years old. When I was 17, I purchased my first car when I earned my full license. I became independent, quickly learned how to do things on my own and kept moving forward. That is, until I turned 19. A mutual acquaintance was looking for a

hunting rifle and I helped him find one. Little did I know that who I was helping was an undercover cop. I experienced entrapment and received my first federal sentence. I was arrested in the parking lot of Lone Star Texas Grill in the west end of Ottawa. I was held at gunpoint, handcuffed and so violently abused that I sought medical attention. While I was searched, my face was smashed into the back of the police car, as the officers told me to stop looking at what was happening. Like I mentioned, I was handcuffed and was placed in that position by the officer. I couldn’t move if I wanted. I was just a small brown kid to these officers, and they acted like they had carte blanche to abuse their power. Once I was taken to the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC), I was held in maximum security. My life became a

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LAW & POLITICS downward spiral. My brother visited me while I was in prison and brought me a newspaper to read. Other inmates wanted it, so we got into a physical altercation. I was sent to solitary, or as we call it in prison, “the hole”, for 24 hours. While I was in “the hole” a guard asked me if I was a Canadian citizen. I told him that I was born in Canada and he said he would look into it. Now, I want it to be clear that this guard was going out of his way to contact the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA). There is no policy in place that OCDC checks the citizenship status of its inmates; this was clearly racial profiling. After 24 hours in “the hole”, the CBSA came to see me. And they had news: apparently, I am not a Canadian Citizen. I was shocked and confused to say the least. I gave them a copy of my Canadian birth certificate and a copy of my Canadian passport. Two weeks later they told me that my Canadian passport was given to me in error, and I am not a Canadian citizen even though I was born here. I was not given my rightful due process, as I did not see any judge or tribunal. I thought I would have received some form of review as it is a right under Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But the CBSA just took it away, and I became a Permanent Resident. The process restarted as though I was never even born in Canada. Then, suddenly, I learned that I was facing deportation! I immediately contacted the Public Safety Minister, who stopped everything as they needed to determine how I received my Canadian passport. While this process was taking place, I was sentenced for my first federal offence and a deportation order was reissued. My sentence was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada found that mandatory sentences are violations of the Charter. I received the mandatory sentence (3 years for my first federal offence). Because I was dealing with the CBSA I was not able to be released on early parole. Once I served two out of my three years, the CBSA moved me from Ottawa to Toronto. I believe they made this decision out of spite and to separate me from my family, friends, and lawyer. At the Toronto West Detention Centre, I was locked in a cell with three people, where I slept on the floor. The washroom was also located in this tiny cell, and I used the sheets I slept on to cover myself as I used the toilet. It was difficult enough sleeping in this place with a toilet and three others, but the guards always found ways to make it harder. At night, every 15 minutes, a guard walked by our range, while tapping three keys on the security sensor. The beeping of the sensor was loud and

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VJAccounting &IncomeTax

frustrating, so it took a while to get used to sleeping with that noise. I was finally released with very strict conditions. Paranoid about the CBSA coming to my home, I never adjusted well to the outside world. In fact, the CBSA sent five officers with firearms to my home to intimidate me. For my safety, I have installed 12 cameras around the house with jammer blocks on each line, and a direct feed to an online location where the footage is saved (and a copy sent to my lawyer’s office). This helps me feel a little safer, knowing that there will be video evidence of any future visits from the CBSA and how they treat me. This experience has traumatized me. I had only been out on bail for two weeks and the CBSA was already haunting me. I didn’t want to be a victim anymore. I wanted my independence back. So I contacted Solidarity Across Borders, who put me in contact with a team in Ottawa. I met them and have since formed a support committee that helped me launch my national campaign to fight the state and get my citizenship restored. I am facing three challenges: public, Charter, and health. Publicly, I need to gain the support of organizations and draw attention to this issue. With respect to the Charter, I am asking the Supreme Court of Canada to declare me a Canadian citizen. Of course, until I am a Canadian citizen, I have no health care (that I can afford).

Accounting Book Keeping Payroll, Personal Tax Corporate Tax New Company Formation

I have a United Nations application filed through the Canadian Civil Liberties Association about violations by Canada in making me stateless. I have been having ongoing detention reviews since my release to ameliorate or remove my conditions. I am indefinitely detained under these conditions with no end in sight. I don’t sleep well and I have developed extreme anxiety. Since I am not a Canadian citizen, I have to apply for a work permit, a lengthy and cumbersome process. Once I have a work permit, I will have to renew it, which could take months and result in me losing whatever job I may have had. This means I currently have no income. I am living in limbo. I visit a counselor regularly, and take medications to help with my sleep, anxiety and panic attacks. But this is expensive without health care coverage. But I know these hard times must be faced so justice can be served. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

VJAccounting&IncomeTax Ph: 604-583-2256 Cell: 604-202-4338 vijaythapar20@hotmail.com


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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BC’s VERY OWN SUPERMAN Venture Capitalist, Philanthropist And Recipient Of Our Province’s Highest Honour: The Order of British Columbia

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he greater the risk, the greater the reward. Hari Varshney is an example of this, as he often made risky moves since his early years in India. From achieving the highest marks at Agra University to leaving his stable, well-paying job in Canada for an entrepreneurial journey to recently receiving the Order of British Columbia, Hari Varshney swears by hard work and calculated risks. Born and raised in the rural village of Kazimabad, India among four brothers, Hari developed a good work ethic and humility as such an environment fosters. He would bike five kilometers to a neighbouring town daily to complete hig h school; he received a scholarship to Agra University where he completed a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree; and he completed a Master’s in Commerce, again finishing at the top of his class. His effort led him to occupy the position of Lecturer at Agra University and after getting married, to his wife Madhu, landing a comfortable job that provided him with a good salary, furnished home, and vehicle. Life was good with his wife and two baby boys, Praveen and Peeyush, but Hari wanted to push his boundaries further. He read about the MBA programs offered in Canada and received a scholarship from the University of British Columbia (UBC). With

the love and support of Madhu, he moved to Vancouver and came across an opportunity to work as a Chartered Accountant (CA) while at UBC. It was a position he desired , and now opportunity was knocking. He did it! He was working for BC’s largest accounting f irm then, Arthur Andersen. He even fast-tracked his schooling to complete the MBA in a year. Hari fell in love with Vancouver and moved his family (including new daughter Vandana) to the city, and purchased his f irst home. Again, Hari and Madhu built a comfortable life for their family. But the itch returned. After Arthur Andersen, Hari started his own audit practice for public companies. The owners of these companies would risk hundreds of thousands of dollars to become a public company in the hopes of reaching financial success. “If they can do it, so can I,” and that was the start of Varshney Capital in 1986. Today, his sons join him in the family’s venture capital firm in downtown Vancouver, where they invest in public and private companies in industries spanning f r o m r e s o u r c e , t e c h n o l o g y, construction, and real estate. Hari now bets on the same entrepreneurial success that drove him. A strong advocate for community involvement, Hari told us that “In life you have to be grateful

when people help you. Never forget to help people. That’s the secret to happiness”. He participates on a variety of committees, including the Founding Governor’s Council of St. Paul’s Hospital, the UBC President’s Campaign Cabinet and the Varshney Capital Charity Golf Classic. His work with the UBC President Campaign Cabinet ambitiously aimed to raise $1.5 Billion for the University, and they exceeded their goal over the last six years. The Varshney Capital Charity Golf Classic initiative has raised over $1 million for children’s charities. His support for these projects and more has led to a nomination for the honourable Order of British Columbia award. Out of 249 nominees, Hari was one of 16 leaders appointed to receive the hig hest honour in British Columbia, given to those who make a significant positive difference for British Columbians, while achieving remarkable feats in their field. He is the type of role model deserving of this award for his community volunteer work, philanthropy, and support of BC’s economic activity. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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CULTURE CULTURE

INDIA’s

‘THIRD GENDER’ IS MARGINALIZED AND SANCTIFIED by Roc Morin

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eams of cathedral lig ht illuminate the empty innards of overgrown warehouses on the outskirts of Mumbai. For most of the locals, the abandoned,

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British-colonial-era buildings serve as a latrine. But for Kali (not her real name), stepping carefully among piles of excrement, it is a workplace. aajmag.ca


“Often, I dream of being at a family celebration. I am wearing a sari, but they accept me as I am. They are happy with me, sharing all the joys of life. When I wake up, I am alone.” “I am a ghost,” Kali lamented. “I cannot be part of my family. It’s against their reputation, what I am today.”

why I look different nowadays.” I told Kali that I was working on a project collecting dreams from around the world, and asked about her own.

Her gender awakening began at nine, but she lived as a male for years to protect her four sisters. “If I had become hijra,” she explained, “it would have been difficult for them to find a good marriage proposal. So I opened up myself late.”

“Often, I dream of being at a family celebration. I am wearing a sari, but they accept me as I am. They are happy with me, sharing all the joys of life. When I wake up, I am alone.”

The only regular family contact she currently maintains is with her mother. “Maybe once a month I dress like a man and go to stay the night with her,” Kali said. “I leave in the morning. The neighbors ask about me, about my long hair and

Paradoxically, for hijra like Kali, the same gender ambiguity that makes her a social pariah also grants her a holy status among some Hindus. Hijra are associated with Shiva, god of destruction, who is often worshipped in lingam form—as a stylized fusion of male

The 30-year-old is a hijra, the panIndian term used to describe cross dressers, naturally intersex people, or transgender women. Stats on hijras are limited, but their numbers have been estimated to be as high as 6 million. The word itself originates from the Semitic root hjr, meaning to leave one’s tribe. It is an apt etymology, as hijra live on the edges of society, outcast by their kin. SEPT/OCT 2015

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CULTURE and female genitalia. This coupling of the masculine and feminine symbolizes an inseparable cosmic unity. Hijra are also associated with the mother goddess Yellamma. Their intersex status is widely attributed to spiritual possession, a perception that allows hijra to perform blessings in exchange for money or goods. The most lucrative blessings—at births, weddings, and business openings—are conducted by a small number of well-known (and usually elderly) hijra. These established hijra, known as gurus, charge hundreds of dollars for their services. Hijra like Kali, who almost always work under the authority of a guru, make far less. She told me her usual income is 10 or 20 rupees per blessing—the equivalent of about 15 to 30 cents. Even so, she is unable to keep most of her earnings, as her guru requires a payment of 5,000 to 6,000 rupees per month from each of her 80 hijra. Kali lives in the shade of the broken warehouses. She moves s l ow l y t h ro u g h o u t t h e d ay, following the shifting shadows. In addition to offering blessings, she works as a prostitute to supplement her meager income. When a man approaches from the road, Kali never knows whether he has come for a blessing or for sex. Sometimes, he asks for both. “I used to work for an AT&T i n t e r n a t i o n a l c a l l c e n t e r,” she recalled. “It was a nice salary—21,000 [rupees] in hand. But I always felt I’m not the person

that I am. I was pretending to be one of them in a false body.” “I don’t like this job,” she continued, referring to her sex work, “but I like the lifestyle. I’m free to dress the way I want, free to wear makeup and jewelry.” It’s a freedom that puts hijra like Kali at least partly outside of the law. She said the police are reluctant to be involved with her community, and disputes are usually handled by gurus, though the Indian Supreme Court did recognize hijras as a “third gender” and protected class last year. “The authorities know that we that we are shameless people,” Kali elaborated. “People are very fearful to talk to us because we’re not from a good background. They know that we don’t talk respectfully. Here in India, we never even pay tolls when we cross a bridge. We just clap our hands and they let us through.” At a busy intersection in downtown Mumbai, a group of hijra f lit gracefully among the rows of halted cars, knocking on windows. Lakshmi, Kamla, and Anita work for a guru they called

Shamila. Periodically, a window will open for a quick blessing in exchange for a tip. “We each do 300 or 400 blessings per day,” Anita explained. Unlike Kali, Anita and her crew did not identify as female growing up. “We became transsexual because of poverty,” Anita told me. “At 14 or 15, we had little to eat and few friends or family so we came here and joined this society. It was not by choice. After we were here for a while though, we started feeling transsexual. Most of the people you see wandering around under the traffic lights have the same story.” I asked for a blessing and they spoke a few words before touching me with the edge of their saris. Kali had done the same earlier that day. “Does this blessing work?” I asked. “I’m not so sure,” she replied. “I have always believed that God has given each and every human being equal power. It’s not that we are born something special. We eat the same thing that you eat, so how can we be so different?” Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

AAJ PROFILE Sasha believes in leading with compassion. As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation�. Sasha believes in such and will lead Canada with compassion. If elected, Sasha will serve New Westminster-Burnaby by collaborating with its residents and ensuring that that the individual voices of New Westminster-Burnaby are heard in Ottawa. Sasha Ramnarine is the Liberal Party of Canada Candidate for the riding of New Westminster-Burnaby in the upcoming Federal Election in October 2015

ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS Sasha Ramnarine Gives 150%


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assionate about working hard to improve the lives of families and individuals, Sasha’s mission in life is to inspire and touch the hearts of many people as he walks through life. A bearer of many hats, Sasha is known for putting 150% into every project. Whether he is navigating through business, social justice, or driving public advocacy in Ottawa, Sasha strives to help Canadians achieve their potential. Since he was nine years old, Sasha learned the trials of starting a business at his family’s restaurant, Roti Bistro. Quickly developing the leadership skills necessary for an entrepreneur’s success, Sasha was managing all aspects of the restaurant by the time he was 16 years old. Roti Bistro is where he developed a strong fiscal and business acumen, which has helped him in starting and building his own legal practice serving small businesses and start-up companies.

engagements motivating others to pursue their passions. But from where does this natural inclination towards entrepreneurship stem? As a second generation Canadian, Sasha witnessed the adversity and hard work of his parent’s adaptation to Canada as immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago. His background and experiences in his upbringing have led him to dedicate his time to support new immigrants and refugees. As a career mentor for MOSAIC BC, Sasha mentors new immigrants that come to Canada to build a better life. He helps new immigrants and their families find their paths to success in Canada by aiding them with their job search, networking skills, and teaching workshops about personal development. He devotes himself with an understanding of the value of international immigrant talent to enhancing the Canadian labour force. However, he also understands that we need to take care of the people in our country.

Familiar with all of the trials that occur when starting/ running a business, Sasha has dedicated his work to helping small businesses build a strong legal foundation to ensure their success. But his passion for entrepreneurship stretches beyond business. He gives his spare time to organizations such as the Vancouver Board of Trade, and Burnaby Board of Trade where he acts as a mentor to new entrepreneurs and business students, and the Small Business Council, where he acts as the Chair for the Events Committee. With his team, Sasha has organized numerous speaker events to educate small business owners about business growth. This is play for Sasha as well, since he often participates in speaking

With this in mind, in 2011, he began his volunteer work with UOttawa Environmental L aw Clinic Ecojustice Canada in Ottawa. His projects addressed issues facing First Nations communities and the research he conducted contributed to a strong argument to establish a legal right to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. Sasha continues to support environmental work that impacts all Canadians and is committed to environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, he has also been applying research methods to other social justice issues. For almost two years, Sasha actively applied his research background regarding high-risk youth and worked with various organizations to recommend

policy changes to the B.C. Government. Sitting on various committees via the Vancouver Board of Trade, he also worked on initiatives to help homeless individuals throug hout the Lower Mainland, encourage more jobs in the region, and identify ways to reduce traffic pollution in the greater Vancouver area. Though Sasha spends energy working on a national, and provincial scale, his heart belongs to New Westminster and Burnaby. New Westminster is where he first acquired his post-secondary education at Douglas College. Burnaby is where he worked for the City of Burnaby Park and Recreation department since 2007. These cities are where Sasha had played one of his favourite sports, cricket, as an all-rounder, opening batsmen and offbreak bowler with the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League. That’s why he is running in the upcoming election for New Westminster-Burnaby. He believes that by collaborating with its residents in his home riding and being the voice of New Westminster and Burnaby, he will be able to make change in Ottawa through compassion. Because, as Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation”. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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LAW & POLITICS

Is Canada Home?

How A Text Could Change That By Jon Singh, B.A, B.Ed. , J.D. Peter A. Allard School of Law University of British Columbia

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am Canadian, or so a certain beer titan tells me. But what makes one Canadian? There are so many varied views on this, and the Canadian Federal Government has theirs: either you are born one, or you are on the lucky side of a day and a test. There is the citizen, with all the rights and privileges like voting, running for public office and living anywhere around the world. And there is the Permanent Resident. They are non-citizen Canadian residents, in a zone

between visitors and citizens. They have most of the citizenship rights but cannot vote or run for office. They must spend a prescribed amount of time in Canada—approximately four years— and pass a test to qualify for citizenship. On the surface it appears fair and balanced, but some peeling exposes an unpleasant layer. Permanent Residents can be deported to their “home” countries for criminal convictions. A twoyear jail sentence was an automatic ticket out. Two years is meaningful because that is when the sentence is served in a federal jail to reflect more serious crimes. Shorter sentences meant that Permanent Residents could plead their deportation order before the Immigration Appeal Division; it is an independent tribunal—a check on the government’s immigration powers. It would hear both sides. The Permanent Resident would have a fighting chance.


The law has recently changed, and now a six-months-orhigher sentence is an automatic deportation with no chance to appeal. There’s more. Merely being convicted of a crime punishable with a maximum sentence of at least 10 years leads to the same fate, regardless of what your actual sentence is. The Permanent Resident can petition the Citizenship and Immigration Minister to stop it, but it’s like the slim chance of the executioner staying the blade. Law-abiding Permanent Residents may not worry about this; they steer wide of criminal activities. But lets be candid: many people use their phones while driving. It may be those boredom-busting chats, or for that slayer of navigation frustration we call GPS. It could be that text message that cannot wait. Many do it and will continue to. But if you cause an accident while using a phone and injure or kill someone, then it is likely a criminal offence—punishable with a six-months-or-higher jail sentence. Willfully destroying

computer data carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. This begs an uncomfortable question: is it fair to deport someone because of the confluence of a poor decision at an unfortunate moment, or simply because a crime has that maximum punishment? There is no legal difference between a Permanent Resident who has been in Canada for a day or a decade, and this exposes a contentious element of this law. The Permanent Resident can be the 55-year-old teacher living in Canada since infancy to the neighbor who arrived last week. Both will be deported. This law does not discriminate and it targets without prejudice. The Immigration Appeal Division’s ability to stop unjust deportations h a s b ee n s h a r p ly c u r t a i l ed . Now they can only hear appeals for sentences of less than six months and crimes punishable by maximum sentences of less than 10 years. Not all criminal cases are decided fairly or correctly. This is common knowledge. Issues with evidence

and wrong ful convictions are a reality of criminal justice. It’s why we have appeals courts. Yet this law strips away an important avenue for appeal. Perhaps some discrimination is needed here. Many crimes are due to isolated, exceptional reasons. The man who stole his ex-girlfriend’s mail simply to spite her can be sentenced to six-months in jail. His otherwise stellar record and contributions to the community is irrelevant. It’s a lifetime punishment for a bad decision— a very human trait. Canadians should question whether these are fair grounds to exile our neighbors and strip them of their liberty to live here. Why a day and a test? Permanent Residents who are a day short of the residency time for citizenship are subject to this law, along with those who have lived in Canada for decades but have not passed the test. Misfortune smiles on the one who has spent her life in Canada but whose English is not sufficient for the test. There are compelling and legitimate reasons for this law; terrorism for example and a nation’s need for robust immigration rules. But laws must be balanced against individual rights—the foundation of our liberal democracy. W hat do you do if you are a Permanent Resident? Avoid anything remotely criminal, finish your residency requirements and pass the exam. Do not be a day and a test short. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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LAW & POLITICS

ARE YOU SELLING PROPERTY WHICH HAS:

a mortgage helper, an unauthorized accommodation, renovations , enclosed garage suites, enclosed balconies, opened-up loft areas and more...

ALL WITHOUT PERMITS? By Barbara Bell-Olsen

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t’s time to sell and you have a basement suite in your home. It’s unauthorized; in other words no permits were obtained to have the suite up and running. You may have enclosed the garage area or any of the other items mentioned above and all were done without permits. Now what? You need to take care of two things 1) Disclosure and 2) Insurance. DISCLOSURE A written disclosure about the existence of any of these items must be presented to any potential buyer prior to entering into a contract. After composing the disclosure you will have a statement in your contract stating, for example: “The Buyers received separate written disclosure of the unauthorized suite separate, in

writing and prior to entering into this Contract. The Buyers were afforded the opportunity for independent legal professional advice.” Your REALTOR® will be able to assist you with the proper predisclosure and the confirmation that needs to be in your Contract of Purchase and Sale.

preparing to go ahead with their offer. The key is that you, the Seller, must make the proper disclosure. It’s not a big deal as long as you disclose in the proper manner. If in doubt about anything, just disclose. You don’t want someone coming back to you in the future, so disclose and sell your property without any problems.

This is necessary because the above items are considered material latent defects. The onus of disclosure falls on you, the Seller.

INSURANCE Ensure that your insurance company knows about the unauthorized suite or anything where you may not have followed the rules. Your own homeowner’s insurance may not cover, for example, a secondar y suite. However, insurance companies do not care about the legalities, but you must let them know so they can insure you correctly with the right protection. This is extremely important.

Don’t panic. There are thousands of unauthorized suites and renovations done without permits, and the general public is aware of it. But the law requires we do this in a separate written disclosure. This information helps the Buyer make an informed decision on

By Barbara Bell-Olsen Author of ‘Stay out of Real Estate Jail’ Managing Broker, Royal LePage Westside Website | www.barbarabellolsen.com E-mail | barbarabellolsen@shaw.ca 40

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Insurance companies do not pass on any infor mation to t h e M u n i c i p a l it i e s o r o t h e r government authorities. Insurance might cost you a little more but at least you are protected. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ROAD SAFETY

DISTRACTED DRIVING THE NEW DRINKING AND DRIVING By Harvey Kooner, ICBC road safety coordinator most drivers agree it’s risky, about one quarter still admit to texting and driving.

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e’ve all heard our parents’ stories about how “back in the day” everyone had a few drinks and then drove home – it was no big deal. People even drove around without wearing seatbelts! Now, after more than 35 years of education and enforcement, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in impaired driving related deaths and it’s no longer socially acceptable to drink and drive. But while we’ve made serious strides with impaired driving, the number of people killed and injured as a result of distracted driving is steadily increasing in B.C. and has now, in fact, passed impaired driving. In a survey conducted for ICBC, B.C. drivers said they consider texting while driving to be more risky than drinking and driving. And while

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We know answering our phone or sending a text message takes our focus away from the road, yet we don’t seem to make the connection that it’s dangerous. Perhaps because as a society we’re used to multi-tasking and, most of the time, nothing bad happens. But not all multi-tasking is equal. We can drive and do something like turn up the volume on the radio or roll down the window without much danger. But if we’re driving and want to call someone or send a text message, our brain has to do a lot more conscious thinking: choosing the right words or keystrokes, or responding quickly to avoid gaps in the conversation. These tasks are more complex and require greater mental resources. So our brain switches “off” of driving and “on” to the phone conversation or text message. In those few seconds, the likelihood of crashing greatly increases. In fact, we are four times more likely to crash if we use our phone while driving – never mind the near misses and annoyed drivers.

It’s time we all agree to put our phones away when we’re behind the wheel. Although we can feel like we should be constantly accessible, it can actually feel good to disconnect – to enjoy a few moments of silence, listen to music or take in the scenery. Companies who have implemented a “no phones while driving” policy report no loss in productivity, happier employees and more importantly, improved safety records. Police will be cracking down on distracted drivers this month. Cell Watch volunteers will also be out there reminding drivers to stay focused on the road and local ICBC road safety coordinators will be setting up a driving simulator at community events around the province to help drivers understand how distractions can impact your ability to complete simple tasks. Everyone plays a role in keeping our roads safe including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Get involved – encourage a safe driving policy at work, talk to your family and friends about the issue and share your experiences on social media. You can also pick up a “not while driving” decal at ICBC or Autoplan broker offices as a reminder that no call or text is so important it’s worth risking your life or anyone else’s. Remember, when you’re on the road, stay off the phone. #LeaveYourPhoneAlone Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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AAJ PROFILE

TRIPLE BOTTOM HOW ONE SURREY BUSINESSMAN LEADS A FULFILLING LIFE

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e all know Perminder Chohan the successful businessman at Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network (DFSIN). L ast time we caug ht up with Perminder we learn about his book Uncommon co-authored with Brian Tracey. Soon after, we met with Perminder at the Uncommon launch party and he hit us with the news that he had just received a written invitation from Sir Richard Branson, to co-author another book, Performance 360! In Performance 360, Perminder will be writing about the things he keeps in mind to achieve his peak performance and the steps regular people can take to move forward and excel in their fields. A part from becoming an international author, Perminder has been focusing on developing his business in Canada by expanding his DFSIN network from BC to Calgary, Alberta. The new office recently opened and will be ready on October 1st. Perminder goes to Calgary every 2-4 weeks, but that seems to be the only challenge. “It just takes a little more travel.” When you’ve been doing this for as long as Perminder, expanding a business becomes second nature. “If you want to grow in business, you must travel to new places for expansion.” It’s all a part of his vision to make his DFSIN group the largest and most successful

in Canada. Perminder is wellaccomplished. We already know this. But what about Perminder’s socially and culturally oriented side? Perminder attends up to three events on a weekly basis. It’s a part of his routine as a sponsor for a new child development facility and events such as Literacy for life, at which Surrey Public Libraries fundraise to grow library resources, and the child development facility Not only does he generously contribute financially to various organizations, but he also donates his time as a member of SurreyNewton Rotary Club. As a member of the club he participates in planning various events such as blanket drives for homeless people and preparing food to feed the homeless at Surrey Urban Mission with his son. But his strong desire to create an impact has his hands in growing youths, such as supporting Princess Margaret students on a trip to NASA, participating in the Children in Nepal fundraiser, and also building a school (through Rotary) in the Philippines that was destroyed in a typhoon. His youth focus has also lead to development of community forums against gang violence and drugs. Parents, youth, police officers, and community activists from different organisations attend the forum and talk about various topics of concern

to reduce the communication gap between parents and kids. As a supporter of over 15 charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Global Girl Power, and Kids Play it can be difficult to track where Perminder’s support is going. That’s why Perminder was inspired to start his own non-profit organization, through which he acts as a middle man to send his money to other charitable organizations. Though he enjoys giving back to the community at


LINE LIVING

large, he takes pride in his cultural background. Immersed in his cultural roots, Perminder believes in amplifying this in the diversity of Surrey through activities including a turban t ying competition at Bombay Banquet Hall to keep children educated about Punjabi culture. A classical Hindi music (especially Suf i) enthusiast, Perminder sponsors the soulful sounds of ARIF Luhar, Shiv Prasad Mallya’s

Tribute to Legends, Nitin Mukesh and Anupam Kher who will be performing at the Bell Centre for Performing Arts. It keeps him connected to his roots and he wants to spread the culture, while listening to his favourite artists! He is also the main sponsor of Surrey Hawks Cricket Club. He recently started a scholarship for an organization called SOAR that helps students that excel in a field through their post-secondary education.

up to? Perminder is inspired by people who are performing life-changing work for other people such as Brian Tracy, Tony Robinson, Mike Cuban and John Maxwell . He wants to grow as a motivational speaker to lift the spirits of people to create a positive change in the lives of others. “I perform all of these activities to achieve my biggest life goal -to make a difference in the lives of others.” Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

PLANNING A ROADTRIP? REMEMBER TO PACK THESE ITEMS!

By Hardeep Sidhu

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ummer is here! We can now travel where and when we please! The weather is great, your outlook is positive and your kids are ready. What to do? How about venturing outside your city limits and enjoying a small town. An economical way is driving, so we have compiled a checklist for your road trip should you find the need to leave the suburbs. This list is split into three categories: Navigation, Equipment, and Basic Items. Navigation Once you know your destination, it’s time to figure out how to get there in the most timely and safe manner. These items will help make your travels efficient and less stressful. -GPS -Maps -Research route (detours) -Phone charger -Equipment Before leaving for your exciting road trip, be sure to put some effort into giving your vehicles an overall walk around. You should also make sure that it is up-to-date with maintenance and things are clean inside and out. Here are some specific things to look into.

Insurance/roadside assistanceWheel/tire checkOil/filter/fluidsExtra car keysBasic items and Accessories Here are some things that will help you and your family feel comfortable and safe on your journey. These are fairly easy to find in any local store and will greatly improve your road trip experience. -Water and non-perishable food -Flashlight -First aid kit -Sunglasses/sunscreen -Music! -Cooler (it can be quite a distance between towns/ stores)

Most importantly, you need to be patient. Remember that half of the fun of the road trip is getting there. Think about it, you are spending time with friends and family that you wouldn’t have during the work week; have interesting conversations and catch up on what you have missed throughout the year. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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SPECIAL FEATURE

J A Z Z Y 50

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From Londono Patola to Mitran De Boot, the Crown Prince of Bhangra has chart-topping songs that are sure to please and keep the dance floor rocking all night! From humble roots in Surrey B.C. to mainstream Punjabi cinema and everything in between, Jazzy B has shown how hard work and perseverance pay off.

by Bharati Sandhu


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

SPECIAL FEATURE

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aj magazine feature writer Bharathi Sandhu sat down to get an inside look at what’s important to Jazzy, and what pushes him to move forward in the ever evolving world of entertainment, and even got to reveal his motivation during the tough times, and what keeps him humble while he’s on top. Bharathi: You just headlined the 2015 Surrey Fusion Festival. What was that experience like back in your home town? Jazzy B: The experience of performing in front of a home crowd is always amazing, and then running into old friends I went to high school with who still remembered me was even better! I want to thank Councillor Tom Gill, the City of Surrey for the festival, and the home crowd that encouraged me. Bharathi: With a career spanning over 20 years you keep providing your fans with one hit after another. After the success of Londono Patola, we were treated to the likes of Soorma, Naag, and now the very popular Mitran De Boot. What keeps you fresh and creative to keep pushing out one hit after another? Jazzy B: The fans are the push. Thanks to social media it’s really easy to receive feedback, and I try my best to give them what they want. They wanted something more desi which led to the collaborations album with Sukhshinder Shinda for example. I try to stay with the time and remember what the fans want, and that keeps me fresh. Bharathi: You’ve been happily married for several years, how has your wife supported you in your success? What role does she play? Jazzy B: My wife plays a huge role! Without her I wouldn’t be able to move forward. She’s a great mother to my 2 kids, I always know that no matter what, they are safe if they are with her. A lot of times she plays a double role of mother and father, because I’m away a lot, that’s the nature of my job. She has my back no matter what, and gives me honest feedback. Bharathi: Adding to your long list of awards on the music scene, a delayed yet huge congratulations on your 2014 Best Male Debut Film award for “Best of Luck”! What was it like to shoot your debut Punjabi film,“Best of Luck”, with Miss India Universe 2008, Miss Simran Mundi and Gippy Grewal? Can we look forward to seeing

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you in more Punjabi or even Bollywood films? Jazzy B: Gippy Grewal is a great friend of mine so the experience was great! The videos we shoot are ver y different from films, there’s no storyline and no script. Film was a very different experience, it wasn’t all about Jazzy that’s for sure! I’ve got a few scripts in the pipeline (for Punjabi movies), but I’m picky. I have to be happy to do a film as I’m not in a rush; it has to be quality work. Bollywood, why not? It’s all about the takeover! (Laughs) Bharathi: You’ve definitely got a fun, unique sense of style, What is your inspiration? Jazzy B: There’s a Punjabi saying which roughly translates to “Eat what you like, but dress the way society does” but I don’t believe in that at all. I say believe in yourself. BJazzy clothing line is a reflection of my style. I like to experiment with clothes, and be different out of those hundreds of others out there. Bharathi: W hat was your motivation when times were rough, what kept you focused and moving forward? Jazzy B: I remember in 1997 I went through a really rough patch. I lost my voice and suffered from meningitis. All I could do was rest but I couldn’t because I had commitments. I cried myself to sleep at night. I had no backup plan, and no time for 6-8 months of downtime. I eventually had

laser surgery in Canada, to help repair some of the damage to my vocal chords. I released “Folkal Attraction” after that. I prayed a lot, attended the temple, and reminded myself that He (God) can take it all away in a second so I must be humble. Bharathi: What responsibility do you feel you have to society, considering you are a role model to many? Any words of wisdom to the youth of today, with all the negative influences around them? Ja z z y B : I de f in ite ly fee l a responsibility to represent Surrey to the world because I’m from here. My songs have lyrics like “Surrey De Vich Galan Hundiyan” and “Sun Surrey Shehr Diye Kuriye Ni” to represent. I remember where I’m from and what my community did to build me. The gang and drug situation gives me a lot of sadness. It’s easy money. Kids always want more. My advice is don’t be greedy. Don’t lose your family connection. Kids, work hard. It all takes time but if you do it the right way you don’t always have to look over your shoulder. I have done all sorts of work, I picked berries, I worked as a framer. My humble request is to stay away (from gangs and drugs). Play sports! The real role models for kids are the parents so my request to parents is to spend time with your kids and Youth

also have to respect the language, that’s what’s going to get you far. Bharathi: What inspired you to produce the religious/dharmik albums? Do you identify strongly with Sikhism? Jazzy B: I definitely identify with Sikhism. I always do “Ardaas” (formal Sikh prayer, asking for a blessing) before performances. I wanted to pay back to the community. Bharathi: W hat would your advice be to new hopefuls in the Punjabi music industry? Jazzy B: I’d say work hard. Don’t quit. It’s not easy. There are lots of one hit wonders, and it’s hard to stay on top. Legends like Gurdas Mann stay humble and that’s who I learn that from. Bharathi: Outside of your own work, what is your favourite song? Jazzy B: Kuldip Manak Ji’s “Ma Hundi Ae Ma”. It’s a message to respect your parents, they are the only people who truly have your back. Bharathi: Who are your favourite up-and-coming artists? Jazzy B: In England I’m liking Jaz Dhami, he’s well trained and versatile. In BC I like Inder Kooner. He reminds me of myself when I was younger, and I think he’s going places. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

Feature writer Bharathi Sandhu runs a successful financial planning practice in the lower mainland. She’s active in the bhangra community, a worldtraveler, and self-proclaimed social media junkie.

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HEALTH & FOOD

UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING YOUR PAIN WITH THE HELP OF KINESIOLOGISTS Jordan Smith | MA(Kin), RK-BCAK, CSCS | Clinical Kinesiologist | jordan@essentialkinetics.com

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e can all agree that pain is a universal human experience. As health professionals we now understand that a significant portion of pain is produced by the brain. You might have experienced pain for a few weeks or months -this is called “acute pain” and is common with tissue damage, such as from a back injury or ankle sprain. With this type of pain, you may have seen a physician and were encouraged to stay active and gradually get back to your normal duties and activities of daily living.

your traditional pain treatment with kinesiologydirected corrective exercises and movement education.

Or you may have experienced your pain for longer than three months -- this is called “persistent pain”, also commonly known as “chronic pain”. Ongoing pain produced by the brain is less about structural changes (e.g. tissue damage) in the body and more about the sensitivity of the nervous system; in other words it’s more complex. Having a brain that continues to produce pain, even after the body tissues are restored and out of danger can be difficult for one to navigate. Some people say that they still “feel like they must have something wrong.” To try and figure out what’s wrong, you need to begin by re-training the brain and the body’s movement.

By providing clinical physical training, expertise and education, kinesiologists empower you to rehabilitate and maintain pain-free movement. Pain comes from the brain and it can be re-trained. When looked at it from a broad, whole-person perspective, it gives you a lot of opportunities to manage it effectively. Get a helping hand from a kinesiologist, set a goal and begin!

Kinesiologists are specifically trained in clinical corrective exercise as opposed to traditional personal training. Experts in body mechanics, these health professionals pursue a higher level of education and are committed to educating patients, while providing long-term tools so you are not dependent on ongoing treatment.

If you are living with acute or chronic pain, visit www.painbc.ca or www.pipain.com to beg in the process of achieving the life you want to live. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

Medication can help, but it’s limited. It is the more active approaches that are necessary to re-train the brain. Physical activity and function - from the brain’s perspective - and getting moving at comfortable levels without fear is optimal and will help to gradually restore your body’s movement. We need to re-train our brain and body with proper balance, mechanics and alignment to reverse the pain cycle. The best way to do this is to combine

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RECIPES

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elicious elights Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles

By Angela Yeung

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ne of the best ways to cool down on a hot summer day is to have a nice refreshing popsicle. They are easy to make at home with a mould, or even in paper cups. The options are endless when it comes down to making these chilled treats, but it’s always best to use what is in season. Blueberries are a summer classic and are great when paired with some nice creamy yogurt. These popsicles are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face!

Blueberry and Yogurt Popsicles Yields 8 – 10 popicles 2 cups blueberries ¼ cup granulated sugar 6 tablespoons water 2 cups plain Greek yogurt 4 tablespoons honey Juice from ½ a lemon

releasing a beautiful rich colour. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. While the blueberries are cooling, mix together the yogurt, honey, lemon juice and remaining water. Stir well. Once the blueberry mixture is fully cooled, prepare the popsicles by alternating layers of yogurt and blueberries into the popsicle mould. Be sure to leave about ½ centimeter of space at the top to allow room for expansion. Place the popsicles in the freezer for about 45 minutes before inserting the popsicle sticks. This will ensure the sticks will stay straight and not sink in too deep. Put the popsicles back into the freezer and continue to chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

Enjoy!

Combine the blueberries, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. After it begins to bubble, turn down the heat to low and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. The blueberries should burst,

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Fried Rice in a

Few Minutes Simple Stirfry

By Naaz Khimani

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!) 3 tbs sesame oil 1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed) 1 small onion, chopped 2 tsp minced garlic 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1/4 cup soy sauce On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated! Remember to make it your own and add any vegetables or protein you prefer!


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

SPECIAL FEATURE

Picture source: www.Ride2Survive.ca

ON THE RIGHT PATH by Kuljeet Kaila

“Every year, hundreds of bike riding enthusiasts go on a 400 kilometre journey all in the name of raising awareness and much needed funds for cancer research. This years Ride 2 Survive has helped raise over $3.5 million dollars in total since the ride started in 2005. All of the money goes straight to cancer research. This is the story of one of the newest volunteers.� 58

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olunteers come from all backgrounds, ages and take on various projects in all kinds of sectors like helping seniors or sick kids or local food banks. In most cases it’s a gradual transformation – you find a charity to work with and start off a few hours here and there.

with the Ride 2 Survive team he sent shock waves through the community. How can such a busy man in charge of a huge car dealership with a growing family, complete with two grandchildren, not be thinking of winding down and working towards retirement?

But that is not how Nasir Kamrudin, GM of Surrey Honda, has ever done things. He jumps in with both feet and while mid air in that jump, he manages to post a goal so high most people can only look at and think “that’s just crazy.”

AAJ magazine sat down with the man on a mission to find out what inspired him to take on such a huge venture at an age when most people start to feel over the hill, not inspired to climb hills. What pushed Kamrudin to become part of Ride 2 Survive – a one day bike ride from Kelowna to Delta that is almost 400 kilometers to raise money that goes directly to cancer research.

Earlier this year when Kamrudin decided to sign up to ride his bike from Kelowna to Delta in one day

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SPECIAL FEATURE I was late to training a ct u a l ly. I o n ly d i d a few spin classes through the winter. It is recommended you do things like cross training and riding on your own a s m u c h a s yo u ca n which I did. Group training started in February and it is a mix of rookies and experienced riders who have done the route before. You do some extra training d u r i n g t h e we e k o n your own and then take part in a weekly ride with the group which usually happened on the weekend.

Picture source: www.Ride2Survive.ca

A one day ride that takes months of training, a big time commitment and a lot of fundraising efforts to be part of the team of hundreds of cyclists in blue uniforms encompassing some big hearts. 1. Why did you join Ride 2 Survive and decide to take on such a big volunteer position being as busy as you are? I heard about Ride 2 Survive the very first year it started and I wasn’t a bike rider at all at the time. But I heard about these 12 individuals who drove up to Kelowna and bike all the way to Delta to bring awareness to cancer research because one of them had been diagnosed with cancer. They just went up there and did it on their own – no support vehicles, no volunteers, nothing. That was 11 years ago. Some of the originals are still riding. I remember hearing the story back then from a trainer and just couldn’t believe what I 60

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was hearing that someone would actually do that. And that story just sat there in the back of my mind for years. Years later when I got into riding, I happened to be at a physio appointment and saw the poster for Ride 2 Survive and I asked her if she did this ride. She said yes and in fact her parents were two of the organizers. So I asked her if I could do it and she said anyone can do it. 2. Weren’t you scared though – 400 kilometers? Of course you’re scared! It is scary but it is really important to understand that this is not a race. It’s a group ride and it’s supported by hundreds of volunteers. There’s a lot of training that goes into it to make you ready for it. They say on their signup sheet that they have had everyone from the age of 17 to 78 olds - so it is doable. 3. What was your training like? How far in advance did you start?

4. What was the hardest part of training and at any time did you get nervous and not want to continue? Every training ride was nerve racking. You would meet up on those mornings and the routes were pretty hard and some were even more difficult than the actual ride it seemed like. One of the training rides is called the three climbs – it starts in South Burnaby, goes up to SFU and that’s just the warm up part. Then you go to North Vancouver and Cypress Mountain and back again all in one day. That is a lot of climbing and some parts are very steep. Imagine climbing that on your bike. There was never a time you just quit the program but you can sit out parts of the ride that are too much for your body. I also had a couple of falls during training too. The experts on the ride keep a lookout for other riders and notice if you are hurt. It is always safer to sit out a aajmag.ca


part of a ride than further injure yourself or the entire team. 5. You surprised and even shocked a lot of people – family, friends and your work family when you first told them you were doing this. Even through weeks of training people thought this was a crazy venture you were on. How do you respond to that? Really? Why? Well go big or go home right. You have to take it on as a challenge but after I got involved it in, it wasn’t about the ride as much as it was about the team aspect and how they acknowledge cancer survivors and patients. Every time we did a weekend training ride, there was a ride by to visit a patient to hear their story and let them know we are out there supporting them and raising funds that go directly to research. At that point you realize very quickly it is not about the ride, it’s about raising awareness and much needed funds. 6. Are there any direct correlations you took from taking on such a huge venture to how you do business as GM of Surrey Honda? Well the aspect is, like you say it’s crazy to sign up for a 400 kilometer ride but it is the same thing you apply to business. You set a big goal and you work towards reaching it as a team. It is not a one person mission. You set up short terms goals along the way to get to that ultimate goal. Just like with each training session you get stronger, you learn, you get one step closer to accomplishing the big goal you have set together as a team. I couldn’t do that ride on my own – there is no way. You need support and a lot of volunteers.

It was on the actual ride day I realized how many volunteers and just how much work it takes to put this ride on. It was a huge eye opener to see the amount of work it took to put this day on and how many people volunteer and work tirelessly with so much passion. Hard work is required to meet any big goal in life and business. 7. Has this ride changed your relationship with staff at Surrey Honda? I think they were part of it too. We gave away a car that and already have one decaled up for next year that you can see on our lot. They helped and came out to fundraising events and many showed up to the night we finished the ride in Delta. There was a sense of pride shared among the staff. The best was when the Ride 2 Survive team was going around to all the sponsors to say thank you and we stopped by the dealership with very little notice. The entire team at Surrey Honda really came out and shocked us riders with the welcome we got. 8. What was the day before you drove up to Kelowna like for you – what were you feeling? I drove up with three other riders and kept looking at the road and thinking we have to ride back on this road. It was through the drive through the Coquihalla highway that I kept thinking of the massive climb we would have to ride back up. I hadn’t driven that road for a while and had forgotten about how steep it was. I had never cycled that route before either. 9. You train for months, pack up and drive to Kelowna only to get up at the crack of dawn – like 3am – to ride for about 20 hours

to Delta – was there any point you felt really nervous or sick? All of that fear and those kinds of feelings were replaced by the people we met during training. One of the last visits before the big ride day was with the parents of Megan Mclean. She was a 16 year old girl in Delta who had died after battling cancer four times. When you go by and see those parents and hear their story, it is at that point you get it. It’s not about the ride, the hours, the kilometers – it’s about those people and families fighting something much bigger. Ride 2 Survive is about raising awareness and money that goes directly to cancer research. The reason why I chose this particular organization and ride is that is all volunteer based and 100% of the money raised goes directly to cancer research. None of the money raised is used for full costs or anything like that. Something everyone should look into before making a donation. 10. How long after you parked your bike after this year’s ride did you know you were going to sign up again for next year? I think I knew before I even finished the first ride. Fundraising is ongoing all year round and plans are already starting for fundraising events in February – anyone can volunteer to help the set up stations along the way and so much more. A great example is the south Asian business association and Inspector Ken from Delta police when they put on the event for the riders to celebrate after our ride in June. Anyone can volunteer or simply donate anytime online at www.ride2survive.ca You can also read blogs about the riders and why they have signed up along with the families supported by the money raised. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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HEALTH & FOOD

CHILDREN WITH AUTISM: HELP US HELP THEM Autism Spectrum Disorder (www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/autism/)

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By Kevin Brown

utism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex condition that impacts normal brain development and affects a person’s social relationships, communication, interests and behaviour. Because ASD is a spectrum disorder, there is wide variation in how it affects each person. Individuals with ASD vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities but most have common types of characteristics including: • difficulties with communication and social interactions • repetitive interests and activities • unusual attachments to objects or routines The effects of ASD may not be visible to most people. Many parents feel a sense of guilt because they have a child that does not learn at the rate that the others do, or exhibits troubling behaviour both inside and outside the home. For these parents their sense of shame is so great that they do not want their children interacting with the others in their community. As a result, their children get even less time to learn how to behave socially than others and fall further behind in their social skills development. The real tragedy here is that children with special needs often need more time than other children to learn these skills. When I work with these people, my job is often made harder by the fact that, for

example, a 12-year-old who has been kept away from other children on the playground will not have the verbal skills to tell the others that he would like to play with them because he or she hasn’t been put in that position by the parents, who might be right beside the child everywhere they go and making decisions for them about who they should play with. In situations like this, an opportunity for personal growth is taken away from the child. Over the last 20 years of working with children with special needs, I’ve seen these issues on a regular basis. A child won’t always embrace the idea of independence at first. If they have, up until now, lived a life where they don’t have to take on any of life’s responsibilities, it may be hard to get them to change and to move out of their well-developed comfort zone. But change needs to happen, and you can start this in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways is to talk to a counsellor at your child’s school. Counsellors are aware of what is available for children both in the school and in the community. Remember, the sooner you make the decision to help your child, the more that can be done by others to help where it is needed. You can be assured that even though your son or daughter won’t tell you that they want to be more independent, they’ll be much happier when they can make more of their own decisions. But the decision begins with you. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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FITNESS

BINDI BAINS FITNESS About the trainer

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indi Bains Mackoruk is a registered personal trainer at Flex Fitness Club in Surrey. Her passion for fitness and health became her profession after she transformed her body from its post pregnancy state to a competitive bodybuilding level. She wanted to give back to women who thought getting fit was not possible after childbirth. Through her knowledge and experience in the field, Bindi has helped many individuals in the community reach their fitness goals. Bindi is a three time National Level Champion in Women’s Figure in the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation. If you are looking to better your health and take your physique to the next level, contact Bindi Bains Fitness to help you get there.

“Personal Training is all about guiding, directing and motivating a client through a series of fitness sessions. In these sessions you will learn about the delicate balance between knowledge, intensity and technique. The key to maximum results comes from blending these concepts to suit your body type, fitness level and personal goals. It’s one thing to know how to lift weights but there is so much more involved in achieving effective, long-lasting results.” Bindi Bains Mackoruk www.bindibains.com | info@bindibains.com 64

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Flex Fitness Club 201-7130 120th St. Surrey

info@bindibains.com


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

FASHION & BEAUTY

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The Glow Getters Kim Kardashian and Jessica Wright Ditch Contouring in Favour of Strobing

IM Kardashian, Jessica Wright and Fearne Cotton are just some of the celebrities who have turned to strobing.

By Chanelle Ho

Jessica Wright has also been getting her strobe on [Jessica Wright/Instagram]

Fearne Cotton used pink hues to highlight her cheekbones [Wenn]

Kim Kardashian has even created a beauty tutorial on how to perfectly strobe [Kim Kardashian/Instagram] 66

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I n a b i d t o h i g h l i g ht t h e i r cheekbones to instantly lift their face, even the likes of Miranda Kerr is getting involved. To avoid looking somewhat like a disco ball though, here’s our guide to strobing for the perfect summer holiday glow.

What is strobing?

Strobing is a way to contour your face by focussing on the areas that you would highlight. That’s the cheekbones, down the nose bridge, the centre of your forehead and chin, your cupid’s bow, the inner corner of your eyes and your brow bone. It’s an instant lift for your face, accentuating your features, like car ving out Kim-esque cheekbones, without the heavy contouring.

Who does it?

Kanye West’s wife started this make-up trend and has recently filmed a tutorial with her artist, Mario Dedivanovic. The other Kardashians and Jenner sisters Kylie and Kendall have

also been spotted using strobing instead of contouring in recent months. TOWIE beauty Mark Wright’s sister f launted her highlighted cheekbones on Instagram for a glamorous look too. Fearne Cotton has also sported a strobed look, with a subtle twinkle to gently catch the light.

How to get the look

Firstly, moisturise your skin with an illuminating cream. The MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream will hydrate and prep your skin whilst giving radiance. After applying your base and other make-up, it’s time to pick your highlighters. For fair skin, pick a champagne tone like the rms Beauty Living Luminiser. If you have medium/olive skin, a pink champagne or golden tone found in Benefit Cosmetics Sun Beam will do the job. If you have dark skin, f ind a terracotta shade highlighter to flatter your skin tone such as the NARS Multiple in South Beach. For the most natural look, make sure you blend out all the products properly. For powders, a fan brush like the Smashbox Fan Brush will give an even distribution, and for cream highlighters, use your fingers to lightly blend in the product. Avoid using shimmery blushes, bronzers and powders and keep everything else matte. Make sure to set everything in place so the highlight sticks to only the areas that would catch the light. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

HEALTH

SOMETIMES, IT’S GOOD TO BE A

“There will never be a “perfect” time to quit smoking. A time when you don’t have any distractions or stress... If you had started today one year ago, this would not even be an issue for you today! Don’t waste another year!” - Mark Twain

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f you haven’t already started [smoking], don’t start,” he said wearily. He was a military veteran and I was a medical student working in the hospital, years ago. He was one of my first patients but I can still hear the hoarseness, pain, and hope in his voice. He was in his early 40s and he had smoked one pack each day for 15 years. But, he was more than just a veteran - when his wife came to visit every evening, she was always flanked by their three young children. He was a young man with a young family. Alas, he would not live long enough to see any of his children finish grade school, passing away that same month I met him.

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By Dr. Raj Bhui Tobacco addiction is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in Canada. While many are aware that it increases the risk of lung cancer, smoking also increases the risk of many other cancers – including oral, throat, stomach, and bladder – and decreases fertility. It is also the most important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In 2014, 18.1% (more than one in six) of Canadians identified as smokers. Smoking contributes to over 37,000 deaths each year, of which over 10,000 are cardiovascular-related. Around the world, it kills almost 5 million people each year. “Cardiovascular disease” is a general term referring to any diseases involving the heart and circulatory system, as well as their sequelae. The circulatory system is comprised of the vessels that carry blood throughout the body. Some examples of cardiovascular disease include heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes. Unfortunately, the effects of smoking are not limited to the smoker themselves, but also extend to anyone exposed to the tobacco smoke or smoke particulate. Smoke particulate sticks to clothes and enters the house with the smoker, even if they smoke outside. This secondhand smoke exposure can hurt the development and health of unborn babies, infants, children, adolescents, and other adults. Smoke exposure early in life increases the risk of pregnancy

complications, low birth weight, poor lung development, increased respiratory illness, and even sudden death in infants. At any age, it also decreases lung function and physical f itness and is a common cause of chronic cough. Additionally, smoking stains teeth and prematurely ages skin – this includes causing wrinkles. Most people start smoking in their teens and are addicted by adulthood. Children and youth often start because they believe it makes them appear mature or they want to copy someone they admire. For some youth, it is a way to experiment with something forbidden. Adults tend to smoke because they enjoy the nicotine rush or the social connection smoking can facilitate. Others smoke because they feel stressed, they “just don’t feel right,” or they feel cravings to smoke. These may be symptoms of an ingrained habit to smoke or of the body’s dependence on nicotine. Many of my patients have tried to reassure me that, “it’s okay, doc. I roll my own,” “it’s natural,” “I only smoke cigars,” or “I’ve been smoking since before you were born and I’m still not pushing up daisies.” Loose tobacco, shisha (smoked throug h a hookah/ water pipe), cigarettes, cigarillos, and cigars are but a few sources of tobacco smoke. In particular, smoking shisha attracts youth because of the plethora of flavours in which it is available – everything from apple and bubble gum to chocolate and coconut. This is particularly concerning because

teens that have smoked hookah are more than eight times as likely as their peers to experiment with cigarettes. One common misconception is that smoking shisha in a hookah is safer than other forms of smoking because the water filters out toxins. But, the opposite is actually true – hookah smoke contains the same nicotine, tar, heavy metals, and other cancer-causing toxins as cigarette smoke and it is at least as toxic as cigarette smoke. Furthermore, because it is less irritating, hookah smokers tend to inhale more frequently and deeply than cigarette smokers. In terms of the amount of smoke inhaled, one hookah session is equivalent to smoking 5-10 packs of cigarettes! Additionally, hookah smoking is touted as a safe and relatively inexpensive social activity. However, because the mouthpiece is shared when smoking in a group, there is a risk of transmitting infections, including herpes, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. Stopping smoking is not easy for everyone and it may take more than one attempt to quit. The first step is in recognizing that you want to or need to stop. Some people are able to quit cold turkey, but many of us are aware of the struggle that friends, family, and even celebrities face when trying to stop smoking. Even Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has been battling his nicotine addiction for years and Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has not been able to quit yet. As the notable American writer SEPT/OCT 2015

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Mark Twain wryly joked, “giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Bu t d o n o t l o s e h o p e . M a ny resources are available to help smokers stop smoking. In 2014, smoking rates in Canada fell to their lowest level since 2001! Ideally, treatment is multifaceted, including counselling, behavioural t h e r a p y, a n d m e d i c a t i o n . C o u n s e l l i n g a n d b e h av i o u ra l therapies provide smokers with support and practical skills, while medications can help to reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal, cravings, and the urge to smoke. On their own, therapy and counselling are effective in increasing abstinence from smoking. However, the combination of therapy or counselling and medication is more effective than either treatment alone. These are some great resources for starting the process: • QuitNow (for phone, text, and online community support, along with detailed information about available resources): http://www. quitnow.ca/ • Dial 8-1-1 from anywhere in BC to contact a nurse who can direct you to resources in your area • HealthLinkBC: http://w w w. healthlinkbc.ca/healthfeatures/ smoking-cessation.html • B.C. Smoking Cessation Program (free nicotine gum or patches throug h PharmaCare): http:// www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/ health/health-drug-coverage/ pharmacare-for-bc-residents/ what-we-cover/drug-coverage/ bc-smoking-cessation-program • Smokers’ Helpline (for phone and online community support,

along with online self-help tools and workbooks): http:// smokershelpline.ca/ • Your family doctor If someone close to you smokes, start the conversation. Share your concerns with them and support them in seeking help quitting. Ultimately, choosing to smoke is a personal decision. I strongly encourage you to make sure that it is an informed one. References: American Lung Association. An Emerging Deadly Trend: Waterpipe Tobacco Use. Washington: American Lung Association, 2007 [accessed 2015 August 8].

Thinking of Buying or Selling your Home?

Ashwani

Kalia

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘ CDC - Fact Sheet Hookahs - Smoking & Tobacco Use’. cdc.gov. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015. Health Canada. ‘Health In Canada | Statistics Canada’. Statcan.gc.ca. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015. Healthlinkbc.ca. ‘Quit Smoking Healthlinkbc’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015. Pipe, Andrew L. et al. ‘Smoking Cessation And The Cardiovascular Specialist: Canadian Cardiovascular Society Position Paper’. Canadian Journal of Cardiology 27.2 (2011): 132-137. The Canadian Action Network for the Advancement, Dissemination and Adoption of Practiceinformed Tobacco Treatment. ‘Canadian Smoking Cessation C l i n i c a l P r a c t i c e G u i d e l i n e .’ nicotinedependenceclinic.com. p.9, 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

C:604-649-2100

F: 604-439-2299 ashwanikalia@remax.net ashwanikalia.com 2808 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

HEALTH & FOOD

WHAT’S EATING YOUR BABY’s

?

by Dr. Ranveer S Sidhu

D

o babies need to brush? Is it safe to feed babies before bed? How do you brush your babies teeth? In this article we will answer all those questions and many more to help you keep your babies smile as beautiful as they are! Many infants are put to bed with a bottle of milk in their mouth. Breast milk and formula nourish and comfort the infant, but what

parents don’t know is that it can also lead to dental caries, or cavities. What can nourish your baby can also nourish the bacteria that lives in your baby’s mouth. Early childhood caries also known as Baby Bottle caries is a very common bacterial infection. From the moment the infant’s first teeth erupt (six months or so), they are susceptible to caries (cavities). Consumption of liquids containing fermentable carbohydrates (e.g., juice, milk,

formula, soda) increases the risk of dental caries. This is due to increased contact between sugars in the liquid and caries causing bacteria on the teeth. These bacteria create acid from sugars present in the milk, formula and juices. This acid is strong enough to etch the enamel. The result can be quite dramatic and lead to severely rotten teeth and the condition known as Baby Bottle caries. In normal conditions, the saliva present in our mouth help swish food and debris out of the oral cavity. Enzymes in the saliva digest the sugars in milk and juice into safe forms that your baby can use. So, the clear saliva you see from time to time drooling from yo u r b a b y ’s m o u t h actually helps to prevent lengthy exposure to toothdamaging acids. The problem arises when we g ive an infant a sugary drink at nap

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or nighttime. Saliva production plummets. Swallowing decreases. And any liquids still in the mouth will pool next to the teeth, and slowly dissolve the enamel. If left untreated, caries can result, which can cause pain and infection. Severely infected teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth caries, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth will normally result in healthy permanent teeth. Unlike adult cavities, which are usually hidden from view, cavities in the baby’s mouth affects the most visible portion of the front teeth. Once the outer layer of tooth enamel has been breached, the unsightly process accelerates quickly. The upper front teeth are most commonly involved in this infectious process. Tooth caries can be observed by careful inspection. The teeth appear to be stained by a brown to black discoloration. In the late stages, the remaining black stubs of the teeth are clearly visible from a far. Treatment can vary, depending on the extent of the caries.

babies, feeding is the only way they become drowsy enough to slip off into sleep. Gently brushing the teeth becomes extremely important for these children. If the cleaning is done during deep sleep, when the baby is limp and not moving, the child is unlikely to awaken, and the teeth are rescued from hours of decay. Use a tiny dab of baby tooth cleanser on a soft infant toothbrush or on some soft gauze. This should be done whenever a child falls asleep within 15 minutes of feeding. The only safe liquid to put in a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is water. The American Academy of Pediatrics wisely recommends that parents only give bottles during feedings and not allow their children to carry a bottle between meals. In addition, decreasing consumption of sugar, especially between meals, will help prevent infant caries too. Keeping your baby’s teeth are clean and healthy is an expression of your love. Children with healthy teeth can chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence at you and at the world. Following the previous steps can help give your child a beautiful smile! Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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AWARENESS

Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

THE SCOOP ON POOP CONSTIPATION Dr.P.S.Bhui MD,FRCPC

W

e seldom appreciate our gut as long as it is performing what it is programmed to do. But should it start to act up, it brings misery.

There is even a movie, ”Piku”, that depicts how constipation can lead to dysfunction in the family. Fortunately the movie had a happy and romantic ending. That often is not the case in real life. Constipation can stink (pun intended) up relationships. It can make life unbearable not only for the person suffering from it but also those around them. What is constipation? It usually means difficulty in passing stools that are hard or a decrease in the frequency. The frequency and consistency of normal bowel movement varies with age and diet-an infant who is breast fed may pass stools several times a day to once in a few days. As one gets older the transit time for food from the mouth to the anus becomes more regulated. After you eat food, the nutrients are extracted by the gut and the waste is what makes “poop”. Normal poop is usually soft and does not cause discomfort during its transit from the gut to the outside world. The colour can vary-but clay coloured or black or red poop should raise a red flag and needs urgent consultation with your doctor. What causes constipation? A number of factors can be at work -inadequate intake of fluid and fiber, physical inactivity, obstructive lesions in the gut (tumors, twisting of the gut), certain drugs, pregnancy, lifestyle (especially in children who are busy playing and hold their poop or the jet setting executive), diseases that affect your hormones (decrease in thyroid function) and other diseases of the muscles and nerves.

attempt to prevent it if possible-drink enough fluids and say hello to fiber. Have a regular time to not only to meditate on, but also to process your bowel function. Your gut may call only once and if you do not listen to the call of nature, like an obstinate child the waste matter settles down and refuse to budge. The longer the waste matter stays in the large bowel, the harder and bulkier it gets as more water gets absorbed by the lining of the gut. A hard poop is hard to push and may cause a tear resulting in pain that culminates in children holding it back more, thus creating a vicious cycle of -hold the poop--hardening of the poop-painful poop-holding it further and making the constipation worse. Regular evacuation reduces the risk of constipation and its complications - encopresis where the stools leak out and soil the underwear. This destroys self esteem and often lead to being bullied by other children. As a first line of treatment, I tell my patients to attempt to fart-yes, Fart! Fluid and fiber in diet to be optimized Avoid the triggers that result in constipation. Reassess your lifestyle-increase your exercise, reduce inactivity and To see your health care provider if no improvement or if complications are observed. If constipation recurs, becomes chronic or recurrent of if complications are seen, then further intervention would be indicated using stool softeners, gentle laxatives, glycerine suppositories, fleet enema,etc. Primary causes of constipation should be addressed if detected.

That my friends, is the scoop on poop!

Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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LAW & POLITICS

Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

EXCLUSIVE GRAND OPENING EVENT! Mortgage Alliance, AAA Canadian Lending & Omaxwell Realty

F

aiyaz Khan (president of Mortgage Alliance AAA Canadian Lending) and Jag Bhandari (president of Omaxwell Realty) are in partnership and offer outstanding mortgage and real estate services. Mortgage Alliance AAA Canadian Lending and Omaxwell Realty offer their special thanks to the Honourable Prime Minister (PM) of Fiji, Rear Admiral Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, for attending their Grand Opening Event Sunday August 9, 2015. The PM flew into Vancouver on Tuesday August 4, 2015 where he, his wife and his delegates were welcomed at a remarkable dinner event at the elegant Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. He was warmly greeted by Faiyaz Khan’s family and friends at this event which featured spectacular entertainment and delicious cuisine. This event, sponsored and hosted by Faiyaz Khan, was attended by more than 80 people. The PM’s last night, Sunday Aug 9 2015, was the highlight for Mortgage Alliance AAA Canadian Lending and Omaxwell Realty. They were greatly honoured and thankful to have the PM perform their Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at their Grand Opening Event. His Farewell Isa Lei Night was an impressive event with a turnout of over 1200 people, talented entertainers, tribute speeches, awards and savoury food. Faiyaz Khan also wrote and dedicated a special song to the PM called “You Made Things Right”, sung by Fara Palmer. This event celebrated the PM and gave the Fijian community an opportunity to enjoy his company and his last night with everyone. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

SPECIAL FEATURE

MODERN DAY HEALER FOR THE ACTIVE

MODERN MAN Dr. Sukh S. Mann, BSc, RMT, SMT (cc), DC, ART

“My passion is helping people achieve their health goals and I am here to assist them in rehabilitating and being able to perform at their optimal levels.”

W

ith numerous letters behind his name, Dr. Sukh Mann may seem intimidating on paper, but when speaking with him we found him to be a down to earth and humble individual who credits his success to his mentors. A practicing Doctor of Chiropractic, he has a keen interest in sports related injuries. Interestingly, he is one of only a few doctors that were previously trained as a Registered Massage Therapist and is fully certified in Active Release Techniques, a movement based technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.

“My passion is helping people achieve their health goals and I am here to assist them in rehabilitating and being able to perform at their optimal levels. I am a piece of the whole puzzle. Along with other health care professionals and educators, we all have our individual specialties that we excel in to help someone.” Born and raised in Northern BC, Dr. Mann was a multisport athlete throughout high school and his early twenties. “I was involved in sport from an early age. My parents wanted us to be successful in whatever we put our minds to, but also excel in


education as many South Asian parents,” he explained. Through many injuries and visits to his local health rehabilitation clinic he realized that he wanted to pursue a profession in health services. One of the highlights of his career was when he was selected to be a part of the host medical team at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. “This was a big honor for me to be selected for such an international sporting event.” This opportunity helped him develop relationships with other

internationally renowned health professionals and National Sports Organizations opening doors worldwide. Today, Dr. Mann continues to work with high profile professional

and Olympic level athletes. He is in his ninth season as a team Chiropractor for the CFL BC Lions Football Club and sixth years with the Canadian Olympic National Rowing Team travelling internationally as part of their medical support team. He also worked for four seasons with the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps as a lead therapist as well as other sporting events such as Davis Cup Tennis, Canada Rug by League, Pan American Games, Ironman Canada and multiple marathons to name just a few. “Although I do have a special interest in wo r k i n g w i t h athletes, I see many patients with day to day aches and pains, headaches, neck and back issues. We treat ICBC , WCB cases free of charge upon acceptance of a claim and can bill extended health plans.” With two offices; Performance Health Group Surrey in Guildford and Legacies Health Centre Ltd. at Nordel and Scott Road, Dr. Mann is ready to help heal. Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow


Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ENTERTAINMENT

RANVEER SINGH

IS MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE

By Meena Baraich Photo by GQ

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ne of Bollywood’s most energetic and charming actors recently entered the dirty thirties, so it’s only fair that we share a few lesser known facts about last 29 years of this sex pistol`s life. We all know he’s gorgeous, but he’s intelligent in avenues more than just the art of acting.

A Creative Business Mind Before he transitioned into acting as a career, Ranveer worked as a copywriter at renowned advertising agency, O&M. It’s clear he takes his personal brand and marketing strategy into consideration. In fact, because his name is so similar to Ranbir Kapoor, he considered changing it to something completely different. We speculate that the benefits of keeping it similar worked in his favour since now he’s an immediate comparison to Ranbir. Instead, he dropped his last name Bhavnani, to create an easier name to remember, Ranveer Singh. We’re sure you’ll agree that Bollywood fans will be cheering his name for years. Persistent Fighter He suffered not one but two leg injuries on different occasions. The first was during Bajirao Mastani and the second during Lootera. We have to give him props for continuing the shoots like a champ! Versatile Actor Ranveer can play a romantic lover (ladies, we know this). But surprisingly, he played a con-man in his second movie Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and in Lootera. A Connected Networker Did you know Sonam Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are cousins? That’s why they have such a strong relationship. Their moms’ are sisters! That’s the Bollywood network he grew up with, but it takes more than genetics to truly succeed in any industry. You need to know the right people, and if you believe the saying, “you are the product of the people you hang out with”, Ranveer is living proof. Before Ranveer entered the spotlight, he was dating Ahana Deol (Dharmendra’s daughter). He landed a role on Band Baaja Baraat and the rest is history. A Gorgeous Man We’re just going to let the picture speak for itself.

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ENTERTAINMENT

BHANGRA IDOL

H

eart pounding music is the backdrop of exhilarating, world-caliber performances at Vancouver’s premiere bhangra competition, Bhangra Idols. Having established itself as North America’s hardest judged competition, for the last 10 years teams have come together from across the nations to compete to be number one. This year, on the 10th anniversary of Bhangra Idols, let’s delve a bit into a few of the teams that are coming out to compete.

One of the premiere junior teams in the circuit is Shan E Punjab Little Stars, who have a 9-time first place streak going into Idols. Their academy has won over 40 first place trophies in countless competitions. Shan E Punjab Arts Club was founded in April 2008 by a group of passionate bhangra and giddha devotees, all of whom have countless years of practice and knowledge under their belt. The joint passion for their culture, heritage and musical art was combined to create this flourishing academy. Shan-E-Punjab Arts Club promises to keep the next generation linked with their beautiful folk dances and to keep the ethnic Punjabi culture and heritage alive. Through winning numerous competitions coast to coast throughout North America, they have helped their students build confidence, important life skills and lifelong relationships. The senior competition gets more intense as the years pass with teams constantly bringing out ways to one-up the competition and establish themselves at Bhangra Idols. 82

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One of the premiere senior teams to compete is VanCity Bhangra, which is a high energy bhangra team based out of Vancouver B.C. The team’s claim to fame is that they have placed at each and every competition they have competed at since 2012, when they formed with 16 members. As their team developed into the success they are today, their membership has swollen to 25 members. They offer high impact routines with high entertainment value and are confident going into Idols this year. New to Bhangra Idols this year is Dub City Bhangra, hailing from Seattle, Washington. Their members are a blend of professional dancers and new students, across various cultures, who are all devoted to the advancement of Bhangra. They do much more in addition to competitions but at this time are focusing their resources to establishing themselves at Bhangra Idols 2015. Last but not least is PANJ Bhangra, one of Vancouver’s oldest standing teams hitting the ten year mark very shortly. They have competed and placed at many of North America’s large scale competitions, but are always most pumped to compete in front of a home crowd. PANJ focuses on folk bhangra and traditional steps but likes to experiment and add a modern touch with gimmicks and entertainment value to engage a variety of audiences. Audiences have much to look forward to at Bhangra Idols 2015, with organizers pulling out all the stops for their 10 year anniversary! Please visit www. bhangraidols.com for more information about tickets, it’s an experience not to be missed! Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ENTERTAINMENT

AAJ ON LOCATION COMMUNITY AT A GLANCE

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ENTERTAINMENT

AAJ ON LOCATION COMMUNITY AT A GLANCE


The 13th Annual Shakti

AWARDS T

he 13th Annual Shakti Awards were held at the Aria Banquet Hall on April 10th, 2015. It was a sold out fundraiser attended by prominent business men and women, community leaders, politicians, media and hundreds of people who support empowerment of women. Vendors displayed an exciting array of products and services and were a popular spot for women to browse and shop through the evening. The evening was hosted by CKNW’s popular host, Maureen McGrath. It began with the traditional Pooja dance performed by Sudnya Dance School. The dance was an invocation of the Goddess Durga. As the presenting sponsor, Mr. Daljit Thind of Thind Properties said a few words about the significance of the Shakti awards and initiated the award presentation ceremony. The keynote speaker was Vicki Waters who received the Honorary Award of Excellence for her courage to speak about the sexual abuse she endured from her relatives as a young girl. All the recipients of

this year’s Shakti Awards had amazing stories of grace under pressure and of sharing their blessings whether it was their wealth, their knowledge or their art in order to empower other members of the community. A major highlight of the evening was the much anticipated fashion show by Sonia Sidhu of Resham Couture, coordinated by Mannu Sandhu. A surprise dance item was performed by this year’s Athletic Achievement award, Karima Essa. She performed with her students and ended the award ceremony with a bang. Gary Luddu of DJ Decibel lit up the dance floor with his non-stop hits of Hindi, English and Punjabi music that had the crowd going until the wee hours of the night. With the help of sponsorships, donations and ticket sales, $35,000 were raised from this year’s Shakti Awards. The proceeds will go towards the ongoing work of Shakti Society which is of creating community

awareness and empowerment through the community cafes on violence against women as well as the annual wellness day. Shakti Society has also initiated the WINGS project, Women INspiring women to Go Soar. This is a fund that will be created to support women who face financial emergencies and are unable to access resources that then hinder their ability to leave abusive relationships or live with dignity. Funds will be loaned interest free to women who exhibit a financial need with the expectation that they return the money over a certain period of time and share the vision of WINGS with other members of the community. The Shakti Awards Coordinating Committee of Sonia Andhi, Anju Bedi, Paulie Bhambra, Iti Kalsi, Monica Kanda, Sandhya Prasad and Jessica Sandhu would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, donors, vendors, photographers, videographers, media, models, artists, Aria Banquet Hall and most of all the attendees who made the night special and memorable. www.shaktisociety.com Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ENTERTAINMENT

Diner En Blanc A fairy tale picnic party in a secret public venue. Yes! This Paris originated party is a must attend and one you will soon not forget if you are lucky to score a ticket or invite. It’s not too late, there is still a chance to get yourself a ticket. Check out the vitals for details Vitals Venue: Mystery location, public space Date: August 25th Attire: All white everything Participation: Must know a table leader, get sponsored, or apply to guest list Even we can’t get you in.

Bon Jovi & The Summer Cinema The Summer of Suburbian Kings Doubling as an outdoor movie All things Groovy Never has so much goodness come out of one event - the August 22nd concert features great food, all kinds of beverages, and best of all, two great causes to support. One, you will help raise $100,000 to builds schools in Ethiopia and also plant 75 trees in the park. What more could you ask for? Vitals Venue: Stanley Park, Vancouver Date: August 22 Tickets: www.urbanforest.club 88

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theatre, Stanley Park and Evo Car have been showing some of our favorite movies since July. If you haven’t been yet, check out the lineup: August 18 – Jurassic Park (1993) August 25 – Tomorrowland (2015) Vitals Venue: Ceperley Meadows, Stanley Park Date: July 7 – August 25 Price: Free VIP Packages Available @ http:// w w w. f re s h a i rc i n e m a . c a/ summercinema/index.html

Robson Square has seen a lot of action this summer. The Vancouver Street Festival just happened and every Sunday since July has been Free Salsa Dance Day at the Square. Go on and show ‘em what you got. That means you. And don’t forget to bring a partner. Vitals Venue: Robson Square Time: Sundays, 3:30pm – 7:00pm Cost: Free

aajmag.ca


What Goes Bump In The BC

Night?

Get Tribal By Dereck Kankam of Tribaly.ca

Photo Credits Urban Forest Concert

The Mad Decent Block Party

The guys who brought us Fvded in the Park, Blueprint and Live Nation now bring you the Mad Decent Block Party. Check out Major Lazer and a host of other “Mad” artists. Vitals Location: PNE Amphitheatre – 2901 East Hastings, Vancouver Date: September 6, 2015 Tickets: www.maddecentblockparty.com

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Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

ENTERTAINMENT

Festival

2015

Another Successful Year!

T

his year’s Fiji Festival took place at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby BC on July 18. The festival encouraged the diversity of families from our provinces communities to come together and celebrate the day! Featuring local dignitaries who participated in the traditional Fijian Yagona ceremony, Fiji Festival’s honored guests were presented with a performance piece from our Polynesian dancers. The stage was also graced by our local classical Indian singer/ songwriters, Bollywood dancers and even a fashion show. The event ended on a high note with a fantastic raffle and the traditional Fijian goodbye. Isa Lei. “We would like to thank all those who have made the festival a success including all our volunteers, sponsors and attendees. We would also like to send a big thank you to the Bula Fiji Association, their lovely volunteers, and the President of the organization, Mr. Vincent Puran Prakash.” Reflecting Today, Shaping Tomorrow

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Aaj magazine sept issue  

In this Issue: Manjit Minhas, "the fiercest Dragon in the Dragons Den". Full Cover Story in this issue of Aaj Magazine along with othera tha...

Aaj magazine sept issue  

In this Issue: Manjit Minhas, "the fiercest Dragon in the Dragons Den". Full Cover Story in this issue of Aaj Magazine along with othera tha...

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