It would be easy to misconstrue yesterday’s high-impact Asian New Year Celebration at Park Royal as merely a cultural success.
The event was the third annual celebration of its kind, the culmination of a full year of planning and work by a dedicated cohort of volunteers. Certainly, it was a masterpiece cultural show in its own right, showcasing Chinese, Korean, and Filipino dance, music, and cuisine. The volunteers turned the Atrium area of Park Royal South into a grand theatre for the day, open not only to those who came specifically in response to widespread publicity but also to those shoppers who were treated to an unexpected, free pageant. One Park Royal staffer remarked that “Thousands of people must have come by.” Energy and colour were the themes — the costumes of performers expressed their pride, traditional dancers, taekwondo masters, and West Van High students comically closing out the show with their interpretation of “Gangnam Style.”
But the benefits of the program went much deeper than cultural appreciation.
Participation by representatives of the governments of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong sent the message that the people-to-people communications underlie healthy and happy relations between countries and regions. Business, investment, tourism, trade, and student exchange occur more fluidly when people proudly express their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, knowing that people of different cultural or linguistic backgrounds are open to receive the message.
As the MP under whose auspices the event occurred, I thank the many volunteers for their hundreds of hours of time; I salute the five generous sponsors (District of West Vancouver, West Vancouver Community Foundation, Park Royal, Prince Seafood Restaurant, and Beijing Chinese School); and I applaud the way people in our community embrace our various cultures. Vive la difference!
John Weston, M.P.
West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country