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Chinese Canadian Historian Lily Chow Named to Order of Canada

My article about Lily Chow and my acquaintance with her was published on Lahoo.ca, a popular Chinese media. For the full article on Lahoo.ca, please visit here.

Chinese Canadian Historian Lily Chow Named to Order of Canada

By Eileen Lao, Special for Lahoo.ca, December 31, 2020

On December 29, 2021, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor-General of Canada, announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada. This is our country’s highest civilian honours. BC Chinese-Canadian Historian Lily Chow is recognized for preserving and promoting the history of early Chinese immigrants to Canada and their contributions to the country’s social and economic development.

Lily Chow was born in Malaysia. She moved to Canada in the ’60s. She has taught in the Prince George school district and at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Credit: Steve Chow

Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation. The appointees include Companions (C.C.), Officers (O.C.), honorary Member and Members (C.M.). Lily Chow is one of the Members (C.M.) appointees.

An outstanding academic, historian and author

Lily has devoted herself to research and writing for decades. She has published four books about the history of Chinese Canadians over the past 20 years:

• Sojourners in the North (1996)
• Chasing Their Dreams (2000)
• Blood and Sweat over the Railway Tracks (2014)
• Blossoms in the Gold Mountains (2018)

Lily’s first book Sojourners in the North won the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award. This book and another one Chasing Their Dreams were translated into Chinese by the Wuyi University, Jiangmen District, Guangdong Province and “distributed various colleges and universities in Guangzhou (Canton), Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Xiamen (Fujian) for scholars and students to learn about the Chinese immigration and settlements in British Columbia.”

Her 5th book about Chinese Canadian history in Kootenay, a district in the southeastern of British Columbia, has been completed. It’s yet to publish due to the pandemic.

In honor of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2020, Lily released her essay: Tragic Legacies: The Residential School System in Canada (1876-1998).

To recognize her long-time contributions to the community, Lily was awarded the Queen’s diamond jubilee medal twice. She was honoured with an eponymous award – Lily Chow Cedar-Bamboo Heritage Award by the British Columbia Historical Federation in 2020.

Connect with Lily through Barkerville

Reunites in Barkerville
From left: Eileen Lao, former Barkerville CEO July Campbell, and Lily Chow

Lily is the first board member for multiculturalism at Barkerville Heritage Trust, the governance body of the Barkerville Historic Town and Park.

Over her nine years with the board, she has been dedicated to promoting the history and contributions of early Chinese Canadians to the province of B.C. and across the country. She also extended her network to China to raise Barkerville’s awareness internationally.

As early as 2005, she learned that the then governor of Guangdong Province (also the sister province of B.C.) was about to lead a large official and trade delegation to visit B.C. Lily was hoping to invite a small group of delegates to tour Barkerville. Coincidently, I was the one who facilitated the Guangdong delegation at the Canadian Consulate General in Guangzhou. Due to the delegation’s tight schedule, logistics challenges, and little knowledge about Barkerville, we were unable to recruit a group to make this trip to the Cariboo. We became friends. That was my first time learning about Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville.

On my second year moving to Canada, Lily nominated me to replace her as the director for multiculturalism at the Barkerville Heritage Trust when she announced her retirement from the board after nine-year services. I joined Lily to Barkerville for the first board meeting, her last one in 2009. That was my first time visiting Barkerville, the largest city north of Chicago and west of San Francisco back in 19 century and western Canada’s largest heritage attraction today. I fell in love with this gold rush town right away.

Joining Barkerville Heritage Trust has opened a new window for a new Canadian from South China. When I joined at the 1st board meeting with Lily, her last one, among other 13 board members from various political or professional backgrounds, I knew I had some big shoes to fill. Lily has been a great mentor for me. I am very grateful for her inspiration and guidance then and now.

Barkerville has the oldest Chinese Freemason building in Canada. In 2007, the Chee Kung Tong Building in Barkerville was designated a National Historic Site of Canada because it illustrates the community building among immigrant Chinese labourers and merchants in new settlements throughout Canada in the 19th century, and it is a rare surviving example of a Chee Kung Tong structure in Canada. Lily is a strong advocate and supporter to make this happen.

After departure from Barkerville, Lily joined the board of the New Pathways to Gold Society until 2020.

“I am just an Advocate for Multiculturalism”

In her response to my congratulatory message, Lily said, “I am very grateful to all my colleagues and friends who have helped me arrive here! I am just an advocate for multiculturalism but firmly believe that it is necessary to address and repeal justice for people of minority, and to document the wonderful relationships between the indigenous people and the Chinese immigrants/Canadians, not only in British Columbia but also in the entire country, Canada where we call home today.”

Congratulations to Lily. My salute to this extraordinary lady!

About the author

Eileen Lao is a constituency assistant for Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver Langara. She was the public affairs manager at S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the largest social service agency in British Columbia. Before that, she worked for the Canadian Consulate General in Guangzhou as the public affairs officer and trade commissioner. She was the director-at-large for multiculturalism and secretary of Barkerville Heritage Trust for nine years.

For the full article on Lahoo.ca, please visit here. https://lahoo.ca/2021/12/31/230691

#OrderofCanada #ChineseCanadianHistory #Goldrush #Books #ChineseCanadianHistorian


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Lunar New Year in Richmond – Richmondites making Lunar New Year more inclusive

By Nono Shen, Richmond News

A Richmondite is encouraging her neighbours, irrespective of their cultural heritage, to decorate their homes for the Lunar New Year.

Colourful Lion Dances, splashy performances and massive crowds doing the traditional “countdown” may not be happening this Lunar New Year thanks to the pandemic, but one Richmondite is still confident she can salvage the festive time by drawing on the support of neighbours.

In fact, Eileen Lao thinks Lunar New Year 2021 might be even more inclusive than in past years.

Lao was recently inspired by a New Westminster mother who encouraged her neighbours to celebrate the Lunar New Year by putting up decorations on their front doors and in their windows.

“This is such a brilliant idea. Throughout the past years, I have been doing similar things, such as hanging up red lanterns and couplets, representing happiness and hopeful thoughts for the coming year,” said Lao.

This year, Lao plans to encourage all her neighbours — regardless of whether or not they are Asian or traditionally celebrate Lunar New Year — to join her in creating colourful neighbourhoods.  

“It might feel a bit lonely to do this all by yourself, but with more people to join you, the occasion becomes even more festive. It also helps to create the sense that, although we live apart, our hearts are together.” 

Lunar New Year is one of the biggest international festivals around the world and is celebrated in various Asian countries. It’s seen as a time for families and loved ones to gather together to enjoy a big meal and honour ancestors.

In past years, Lao and her family have attended Lunar New Year events at the Richmond Public Library to learn about Lunar New Year traditions, such as what lucky food to eat on this special occasion. 

Now she plans to share the history and folklore stories behind the Lunar New Year with her neighbours. 

“Sometimes you don’t need grand dancing performances to help people from various cultural backgrounds understand each other’s cultures. Some decorations, a small kind gesture, a kind smile and good storytelling could facilitate understandings and create common ground between us,” said Lao. 

Community activist Karina Reid also shared a post on the Richmond Come Together Facebook group encouraging Richmondites to consider decking out their houses with Lunar New Year decorations. Reid told the Richmond News she was overwhelmed with the positive feedback she has received so far.

“There will be lots of people doing the New Year decorations, for example, Richmond-Steveston MLA Kelly Greene said she is going to decorate her doors. It’s like at the beginning of the pandemic, we put hearts in our windows to honour our health-care heroes,” said Reid.

Source: Richmond News

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政客深耕社区 选民积极参与 提高华人影响力

一个偶然的机会,我闯入了政治的圈子。透过省议员办公室这个窗口,让我得以直接、正面认识政客(elected officials) 。

光明节(Vaisakhi)是印度锡克教的重要节日。 每年温哥华和素里都举办光明节游行。

从政, 是一种抱负,是一种信念,是一个7/24的全职职业,需要热情、精力、心力体力和学习能力,同时需要透过个人的政治魅力,影响周边的人,使他们成为自己的团队成员和强有力的支持者。 要成功当选或再次当选,天时、地利、人和缺一不可,要得到选民的支持,最重要的是深耕社区。

很多政客对政治的热情源自青少年时代。他们在步入社会之前,就从学校或家庭的教育中了解感兴趣的社会议题、法律、规定,逐渐培养改变社区的个人抱负。他们不少都参加过不同党派和机构的青年顾问委员会(youth council or youth advisory committee),主动联络感兴趣的机构,如非牟利机构、政治团体、议员办公室等,申请义工、实习的机会或参与活动。据我观察,这些青少年,他们对目前社会关心的议题都有自己独特的见解,如气候变化、大麻合法化、LGBTQ、加拿大不同政党的政策等。重要的是,他们将这些议题视为同自己的生活息息相关的社会议题,并非政治议题,积极参与其中。 其中一位十一年级的华裔实习生,曾经参加过联邦主要政党温哥华某选区的青年委员会,协助过国会议员的成功当选。随着该政党政策的改变,她又觉得其与自己的理念渐行渐远,选择退出了该青年委员会,认为道不同不相为谋。 她的故事让我印象深刻。



相信绝大部分人从政的主要原因并不是因为经济收入,更多的是在财务自由之后,才出来竞选。很多候选人,当选前很多都是专业人士,如专科医生、律师、会计师、社会知名人士,或是著名传媒人、商人和企业家等, 选前的收入比从政还要高。 曾经与卑诗省内陆三级政府的代表探讨过这个话题,有些成功当选的年轻政客,因为投入工作时间过长,收入未能和投入的时间成正比,年轻政客难以靠从政薪酬养家,也无暇妥善照顾家庭, 唯有辞去议员的职务。





议员选区办公室的服务范围主要包括提供政府服务和规划资讯;协助解读政府的相关政策;在新政策、重大项目的推出、政府宣布预算前,咨询、收集选民的意见;社区拓展和参与活动、协助有需要的居民获得政府的服务以及处理居民的个案和诉求。 这些服务时时考验议员的社会资源、对政府运作的熟悉程度和处理选民个案的处理能力。

选民的诉求涵盖自方方面面,可以是政府服务咨询、倡导某一议题,如青少年的安全,建议在所有校车上安装安全带;也有遭遇生活不幸:失去工作、租客被无良房东逼迁、房东被无赖租客弄得官司缠身、长者迫切需要护理服务、新移民家庭因联邦、省两级政府的政策改变无法及时更新驾照,造成生活极度不便。有时也会遇到一些不常见的求助,如无家可归者寒冬拒绝入住临时居所、社区热心人士求助议员办公室帮忙劝说;被解雇,无所适从;居民被取消MSP,生病前往Walk in 求医被拒,来到议员办公室求助:“我今天必须要看医生”!!


在奥列治中心(Oakridge mall), 一位退休老太太无意遇到前来中心来打发时间的另一老妇,从闲聊中得知长者独居,行动不便,靠轮椅出行,儿子在战争中失去了生命,除了爱犬,家中再无别的亲人了。 出于同情,她开始不定期探访老人家,带些食物,时不时还要随叫随到。老妇租住的地方要拆迁,居所成问题,老太太四处打听,帮助她申请轮候卑诗房屋局的廉租屋。最近,老太太的先生被诊断患癌症,她分身无术,不想撂下老妇不管,所以四处求救。她说这是一杯咖啡惹来的麻烦。欠缺足够的长者护理、面对孤独、可负担房屋轮候时间长,是不少长者面对的困境。


很多政客在自我介绍的时候都会特别提到自己和选区的密切联系,比如自己和家人在区内学习、生活、工作多年,增加自身在社区的知名度,是获得选民认同的最直接的方式。 积极参与社会活动,如各种机构的开放日、社区各种节庆、学校的毕业典礼、家长会、公众咨询会、婚礼、葬礼等等,不断提高亲和力。不少政客当选前有长期服务社区、参与公益的经历,如在非牟利机构和社区团体做义工,参与理事局、咨询委员会或特别工作组的工作,为当选奠定坚实的社会基础。从政是一门科学,需要长期的规划和专业的竞选团队,从候选人的形象、宣传途径和方式、筹款、义工招募都要进行系统的管理等,还要讲究政治语言和技巧。

华裔政客或候选人中学习过政治学(political science)的人数比例有限。政治学基本趋向理论化,旨在探索国家、政体、性别问题、身份、政党、经济问题。尽管政治学和从政没有直接的关系,但它几乎可以说涉及社会的方方面面,有助“看世界”,了解加拿大政治、国际政治、政治哲学等,培养批判性思维。

省选硝烟正浓, 希望参选的华裔能够顺利胜出,更多的华人可以走进政治圈,实践解从政规则,华裔选民积极参与投票,发出自己的声音,从总体提高华裔的参政议政水平。

(备注: 文章内容纯属个人观点。)

劳晓红(Eileen Lao), 曾任温哥华兰加拉区省议员李耀华助理、中侨互助会公共事务经理10年、加拿大驻广州总领事馆公共事务主任及商务专员8年,并曾任卑诗省最大的历史遗迹-巴克维尔理事局秘书及多元文化理事9年。

发表于乐活网: 政客深耕社区 选民积极参与 才能提高华人影响力

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A Blessed Christmas

Christmas is an occasion of love and sharing, no matter what religion you are. I love my family and friends. I am blessed to have the best of both. Love you all. ♥♥♥

As 2021 is coming closer, we wish each of you a safe and healthy holiday season!

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疫下慶聖誕 市民更用心

Published on Singtao Daily, December 25, 2020

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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Canada

When Eileen Lao moved to Richmond, B.C., 10 years ago from Guangzhou Shi, Guangdong, China, with her husband and daughter, celebrating Chinese New Year that first year was a little bittersweet. For Lao, one of the most important parts of the holiday is being with family and close friends.

“When I was young, the best part of Chinese New Year was getting together with different family members and close friends in the neighbourhood and we would make Chinese New Year food together,” she says. “We handmade the fried dumplings one week before the new year. Those were my favourite.”

Everyone would gather and judge whose dumplings were best. “That was the sweetest part of the celebration for me,” says Lao, who is the public affairs manager for immigrant services agency SUCCESS.

After they moved to Canada, that tradition changed  — “there are so many choices here for food, so we don’t have to make it ourselves” — but she felt fortunate to find a group of friends that she would share the holiday with in years to come. “I call these friends our extended family here,” says Lao with a smile. “We usually have a gathering on Chinese New Year Eve. It’s important we keep the Chinese traditions and share it with our kids.”

Sharing Chinese New Year traditions

Traditions like the red pocket, where adults give money in red envelopes to children. “For kids, we have kept that tradition. We used to put cash only, but now we have more choices. Sometimes we give a gift card or lottery ticket, as it’s about luck for the new year. Or even chocolates. It’s not just about money, but about the wish you pass on for our next generation.”

Cleaning and organizing the house is also an important part of Chinese New Year for Lao. “It’s not just about keeping house a clean and tidy; it’s symbolic for the end of year. You cleanse for your next year. You might also add new decorations for the house or change something. It’s about keeping you happy and ready for a new year,” she says.

Lao start cleaning well in advance; in fact, Chinese New Year is a 15-day event, which caps off with a traditional lantern festival. “The lantern festival is on the 15th day and marks the first full moon in the Chinese calendar. It marks the return of spring after a long winter and symbolizes the reunion of family.”

Communities across Canada join in such festivities with lantern-making activities and Chinese New Year events and parades like the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown, featuring the popular lion dance, which will take place this year on Jan. 29. “I enjoy the richness of it here,” adds Lao, who is also a dedicated supporter of Canadian heritage as a director with the Barkerville Heritage Trust in northern B.C. “It’s very festive and it’s not just about Chinese traditions, but we can also appreciate celebrations from other communities.”

Year of the Rooster

The rooster is 10th of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2017. If you are born in a Year of the Rooster, here is a little Chinese folklore for you.

Lucky colours: gold, brown, yellow

Lucky numbers: 5, 7, 8

Lucky flowers: gladiola, cockscomb

Unlucky colour: red

Unlucky numbers: 1, 3, 9

Personality traits: observant, hardworking, confident, courageous, talented, frank, honest, amusing, charming, popular

Best-suited careers:  salesperson, restaurant owner, athlete, teacher, farmer, journalist, dentist, soldier, police officer, surgeon

Best love match:  ox, snake

Worst love match: rat, rabbit, horse, pig


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Do you know about Trade Commissioner Services (TCS)?

Hundreds of Canadian companies are active in China. What are the views of some premier Canadian firms on the opportunities presented by the China market, the challenges of doing business internationally, and what the Trade Commissioner Service can do to help them explore new markets.

If you’re a Canadian SME and have questions about doing business in China, e-mail to SMEgateway@international.gc.ca. All services of the Trade Commissioner Service are free of charge to qualified Canadian clients

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Barkerville a guest at the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations Grand Inauguration of the 6th Executive Team Ceremony in Vancouver’s Chinatown

Barkerville had the pleasure of being a guest at the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations Grand Inauguration of the 6th Executive Team Ceremony in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Chief Executive …

Source: Barkerville a guest at the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations Grand Inauguration of the 6th Executive Team Ceremony in Vancouver’s Chinatown