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Asian Heritage Announcements

These blurbs take about 40 seconds each to read as part of a school's morning announcements.

Adrian Clarkson came to Canada with her family as a refugee in 1942 when she was three years old.  She was born in Hong Kong, which is now part of China, and her family was getting out of a war zone.  They came here with very little, but she stayed in school, which prepared her to become a writer and TV personality.  For many years she was known across the country because of her work on CBC TV.  In 1999 she was appointed as Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada.  She is the first Chinese Canadian and second woman to hold this position.

Ujjal Dosanjh was born in a small village in Punjab, India.  After the Second World War  he moved to England for four years as a teenager.  He then came to Canada and worked as a mill worker and taught English as a Second Language.  After going back to school he became a lawyer in Vancouver.  Fourteen years later he was elected as a member of the British Columbia parliament.  He later became the premier of British Columbia, the first provincial leader of Indian heritage.

Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver British Columbia to parents of Japanese descent.  During the Second World War the Canadian government sent Joy and many others whose family was from Japan, away from their homes.  Many of these people lost their homes and everything that belonged to them.  She graduated from high school in Alberta.  She wrote a book called Obasan about the racist way that people like her were treated which was an important step in the people of Canada realizing that it had been the wrong thing to do.  She has written other books including several books of poetry.

Kim Kwong Yew was also known as Normie Kwong, the China Clipper.  He is the only person to wear rings for both the Stanley Cup National Hockey League trophy and Grey Cup Canadian Football League trophy.  Born in 1929 in Calgary Alberta, he was the first person of Chinese descent to play Canadian football in the CFL. At the age of 18 he became the youngest player to be on a winning Grey Cup team.  He played for 13 years and is a member of the CFL Hall of Fame, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.  When he retired he held more than 30 CFL records.  He won his Stanley Cup ring as co-owner of the Calgary Flames.

Deepa Mehta is a film maker who was born in India and came to Canada when she was twenty three years old.  She has made many movies about the culture and political tensions in India.  Some of her films were about subjects the people feel very strongly about.  She was forced to stop filming one of her projects, which was about religion, because it got people in India too angry.  With her next film, called Hollywood/Bollywood,  she decided to have the story to be about less serious topics.  Deepa lives part time in Canada  and part time in India.

Rohintin Mistry writes books showing what it is like to live as a poor person in India.  He was born in India and came to Canada after he finished university in his home country.  Rohintin's stories have won many writing prizes, one was made into a movie and another was selected to be a novel for Oprah's book club. 

Michael Ondaatje does many different kinds of writing, including novels, poetry, and movies.  He was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, moved to England when he was nine years old and settled in Canada when he was nineteen.  He has received many awards for his writing and is now a teacher at the University of Toronto.  One of his books, The English Patient, was made into an academy award winning movie. 

Dr. David Suzuki was born in Vancouver, British Columbia to parents of Japanese descent.  He has an international reputation for his work in environmental education.  He has hosted several television shows about science and nature.  He has written many books and newspaper articles on the topic.  In 1990 he created the David Suzuki Foundation to find and tell people about practical ways to balance human needs with the earth's ability to keep us all alive.