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Living Today by Roladan Sevillano Jr.

    Strength in our differences

I never gave it much thought but my family has become quite the multi-cultural bunch. My lovely sister Kim is married to Sasha Dukic, her very Serbian husband. Then there’s my brother Jasper happily married to Rachelle who is half Chinese and my other brother Sean who shares his life with Nicole, who is equal parts French, German and Metis. Add to that six nieces and one nephew of various mixtures, and we’ve got us a mini Folklorama.

The lesson here is simple, love speaks all languages. It does not discriminate, rather takes the impossible and breaks it down to small, manageable, bite-size possibilities. Where there were once walls dividing, now exist bridges of understanding. This is the birthplace of acceptance and diversity.

Brining it back to our Pinoy culture, have you ever felt pressure from your mom or dad to marry another Filipino? Do you remember the epic speech, “Anak… you need to find yourself a nice Filipina wife.” Do you remember the anxiety in their faces as you entertained the thought marrying someone not Filipino, oh the horror!

That was a long time ago, for the most part any way, times have definitely changed. Ever since the first wave of Filipino immigrants in Manitoba during the 1950s, we have slowly broadened our kababayan family to include all peoples from around the world. We have overcome one of the greatest challenges to any culture: integration.

Congratulations, but before you pass go and collect two hundred dollars, I would like to leave you with this final thought: fifty years from now what do you think it will mean to be Canadian? Factoring the rate of cultural integration, I suspect tomorrow’s Canadian will be a hybrid of multiple cultures. Does this mean Canada’s identity is slowly eroding, or is something more beautiful taking place?

To me it’s quite simple. Canada’s identity is broken up in two parts, her past and her future. I am proud of what our Canada has accomplished over the years. She has faithfully served as an island of stability and acceptance for millions who have made Canada their home. Onward and upward. I believe Canada will continue to preserve her reputation as a sympathetic, compassionate people, understanding of culture and heritage. As Canadians we are strong not in spite of our differences but because of our differences.

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