May is Asian Heritage Month

By Shirley Torres

Xie Xie ( see see) – Mandarin,  Gamsahabnida ( gam-samnda) – Korean , Domo  arigatou ( doh-mo-ah-ree-gah-toh – Japanese, Camanba (gahm-un-ban)- Vietnamese, Dhanyabad ( dhan-naii-bat) Nepali, these are only a few of the numerous ways of saying Thank you in Asia.

In  Filipino, we say Salamat. In whatever Asian language we say it, we express the same gratitude  for having  an  Asian Heritage Month, an opportune time to  acknowledge and recognize the contribution of Asians to Canadian Society and to celebrate and appreciate their  culture.

A large percentage of immigrants like me are from Asia and we have made Canada our home. When we came to Canada, we were determined to strive and work hard to achieve our goals and realize our dreams and in our own little ways, we believe that we contributing to the growth and development of our workplace, our community, the society and the country. We also brought along with us our rich culture which we will always be proud of but at the same time we are also learning and appreciating the many diverse cultures in Canada.

There are many Canadians of Asian descent who have excelled in the fields of politics, economics, science, arts and service . One of them is Senator Vivienne Poy, the first senator of Asian descent. She proposed the observance of Asian Heritage Month and it was adopted by the Senate in 2001. The government of Canada signed a declaration designating May as Asian Heritage Month in May, 2002.

This month of May, I invite everyone to celebrate with us, have a taste of our various cultures and enjoy an Asian experience. Check out the various activities and festivities that have been organized by Asian Heritage Societies in your communities. This is a great opportunity to learn more and appreciate Asian culture.

Happy Asian Heritage Month!

Shirley Torres is the UNE Human Rights Representative for the B.C. and Yukon region.