Canada Inaugural Event
On August 3, leaders from the Chinese community in Toronto came together to inaugurate the Chinese Peoples Federation for World Peace in Canada. The 200 guests also included leaders from a number of Asian cultural groups that make up the Canadian Multi-Cultural Council.
The venue was graced by a display of artwork provided by local Chinese calligrapher and artist Peter Ly. The centerpiece was a framed calligraphic display of the famous Li Yun chapter of the Book of Rites, one of the Confucian Classics.
Congratulatory remarks were offered by the Hon. Vincent Ke, Member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario; Dr. Adrian Cheung, Chairman of the Chinese Cultural Center of Greater Toronto; Rev. Ventura Xianyi Yuan of the Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church; and Dr. Peter Chao, Chairman of the CPFWP USA. The Hon. Shaun Chen, Member of Parliament, was represented by a member of his staff, and three other MPs sent congratulatory letters.
Mr. Henry Lee Leong Bee, Honorary Consul General of Malaysia and President of the Malaysian Chinese Association, gave a lively talk about Chinese culture and values. A personal testimony and video by Kim Phuc, known as the “Napalm Girl” because of a 1972 photo of her injuries during the Vietnam War, deeply moved the audience. Her story of finding peace through forgiveness brought the entire audience to their feet.
CPFWP representatives from Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong and New York introduced the different situations and activities in each of their communities. Their stories confirmed that Chinese people all around the world are striving to maintain their cultural traditions in this modern age. For example, Ms. Eve Lau explained how the Hong Kong affiliate is promoting filial piety among middle and high school students through an annual writing contest and award ceremony. Taiwan representative Dr. Lee Ker-shung explained how his organization is working with religious leaders to promote family values.
The speeches were interwoven with colorful performances, including a display of Chinese tai chi forms, traditional high-pitched singers, graceful ethnic dancers, a musician playing the guzheng (the Chinese zither), and a ‘fashion show of young men and women in beautiful Chinese costumes.
To conclude the program, a huge drum was rolled out to the center of the stage, and all the speakers joined in to create a thunderous rhythm to declare the official inauguration of CPFWP- Canada. Afterwards a sumptuous dinner was served, as new acquaintances chatted, exchanged contacts, and took turns posing for photos with one another.
The Chinese community in Canada, which surpasses 1.7 million, is comprised of people from different parts of China, speaking different dialects. They also include many whose routes to Canada were by way of a third country, some of whom took on the language and culture of those intermediary countries. Second and third generation Canadian-born Chinese tend to be more fluent in English than in Chinese. Therefore the program was conducted mostly in Chinese with English translation; sometimes the reverse.