Current Position & Experience:
- Private Practitioner (cardiologist)
- Clinical training in New York, Chicago and Toronto University
- Founding member and President of the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (FCCP) (1977-1978)
- President of the Clinical Society and Chief of Cardiology and Internal Medicine at Humber Memorial Hospital
- President of the CMC (Canadian Multicultural Council, Asians in Ontario)
- 2012 – Diamond Jubilee Medal of the Canadian Governor General – by Government of Canada
- 2002 – Golden Jubilee Medal of the Canadian Governors General – by Government of Canada
- 2002 – University of Toronto 25 Year Service Award – University of Toronto
- 1997 – “Salute the City” Award – by Toronto Eaton Centre
- 1994 – Madam C. Y. Lee Tang Memorial Foundation Award – by C.Y. Lee Tang Memorial Foundation
- 2018 – Congratulatory Letter from Current Prime Minister of Canada – by Prime Minister of Canada
- 2017 – Special Recognition of Canada – by Government of Canada
- 2015 – Order of Ontario – by Ontario Government
- 2007 – Scarborough Walk of Fame(Recognition of Community Contribution) – by City of Scarborough
- 1978 – Fellow of American College of Cardiology – by American College of Cardiology
The Value of Traditional Chinese Culture in an Ever-Changing World
Canada is a country with immigrants from over 100 different countries and regions of the world. Canada has been described as a beautiful garden into which hundreds of flowers from all over the world have been transplanted, but each is allowed to grow in its own best way.
Of course, while Canada is known to be one of the most inclusive and culturally diversified countries in the world, it is not immune from historical and ongoing issues of discrimination and stigmatization against minority groups. For example, in the early 1900s, Canada enacted the Exclusion Act and the Head Tax legislation against the Chinese immigrants. More recently, the horrifying discovery of the unmarked graves of countless indigenous children at former residential schools across the country has shone a light on the terrible cost of Canada’s racist history. In all of these cases, it will take brave and principled leaders and governments to acknowledge and apologize for mistakes made, and to make appropriate compensation to the victims and their relatives.
I came to Canada over half a century ago and although I love my new home, there are both benefits and drawbacks to being a cultural hybrid. I am very aware of the conflict that exists within an immigrant like myself. As Chinese Canadians, we are proud to be Canadian and we benefit from Canadian policies that celebrate inclusion and diversity. At the same time, whether they arrived half a century ago as I did or more recently, most immigrants retain immense pride in their heritage. These immigrants dream of success and acceptance in their new homeland, while being free to share the best elements of their heritage with their children and grandchildren. For Chinese people, some of the best elements of our culture are teachings and beliefs that are thousands of years old.
For 2500 years, Chinese culture has drawn on the teachings of Confucius and other great thinkers by valuing harmony, mutual respect, peace, and equality. For people of Chinese descent everywhere, one of the more treasured elements of our heritage is belief in the virtue of Filial Piety. Respect for one’s parents, elders and ancestors is not unique to our culture, but it is particularly revered. Other valuable teachings include the importance of taking care of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society:
Which can be translated as: ”An elderly person does not only look after his/her own relatives; not only take care of his own children. The old should have a peaceful ending; the strong adults should become most useful; the young should have the opportunity to grow; the widows, the lonely, and the sick should all receive support.” These concepts are remarkably relevant to the today’s challenges of poverty, inequality, and the protection of society’s most vulnerable.
The world has changed rapidly in the last few years. New political issues and geopolitics have made the lives of cultural hybrids more challenging and at times, difficult. Many are feeling pressured to take sides as extreme ideology and polarization threaten to disrupt harmonious coexistence. In these unsettled times, it is more important than ever to be able to turn to these proven principles that have been a part of Chinese heritage for centuries. The value of these teachings still apply, and it is crucial that we continue practicing and sharing these beliefs with our children and the rest of the world.
The Chinese community in Toronto is fortunate to have a unique space in which to share our culture with the rest of Canada. Thirty-three years ago, with the help of thousands of donors and volunteers, the community built the largest Chinese Cultural Centre in North America. When we started the project to build the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, it was seen as ambitious and daunting. However, those involved trusted in the wisdom of another great Chinese thinker, Lao-Ziu (老子): “A journey of thousand miles starts with a single step.” (千哩之行始于足下)。 I am so glad that we took the first step. Now is the time to harvest the dream by sharing the best elements of our culture with the rest of the world.