Daughter of HSA member wins NUPGE scholarship

The Report: October / November 1999 vol.20 num.3

For the second year running, a student has won NUPGEs visible minoritiesscholarship through HSAs affiliation to the National Union.

Each year, the National Union of Public and General Employees offers four scholarshipsthat reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for all workers. These scholarships are opento the children of NUPGEs 320,000 members who are seeking a post-secondaryeducation.

Lisa Airds essay, chronicling her great-grandfathers experience in comingto Canada, won her this years $1000 Visible Minorities scholarship. Lisa is thedaughter of Mee Yung Aird, a Medical Technologist at St. Pauls Hospital inVancouver.

The other awards NUPGE offers are the Tommy Douglas scholarship, the Terry Fox memorialscholarship, and the scholarship for aboriginal Canadians. Children of HSA members havewon NUPGE scholarships for three of the last four years: Melina Mathew won the VisibleMinorities scholarship last year, and Tasmien Behra won the Tommy Douglas scholarship in1996.


For more information on other scholarships available through HSA, please contactMaryann Abbs, HSAs Education Officer.

Excerpt from Lisa Aird'swinning scholarship essay:

A cold gust of wind blew at fifteen year old Lai Hong On, ripping the warmth away fromhis body as he walked across the dock. It was 1919, and the boat from Hong Kong hadfinally met its destination: Canada.

The papers were in order, hed paid the huge sum of $500 for the head tax, and yetanxiety was written on his face as he pondered the new life he was going to build inCanada. He recognized that his relatives were going to provide the only support from whichhe could draw.

Initially Hong On went to school for one year, in order to get a rudimentary knowledgeof the English language, then he began to work ... first in his relativeslaundromat, then in the restaurant industry.

Years of hard work passed. Hong On went back to China briefly and was married byarrangement. In 1954, his wife ... Gin Oui ... and daughter joined him in The Pas,Manitoba.

In this cold North Canadian small town there were only four other Chinese families. GinOui went briefly to school to learn some English, but the classes did not last long. Shewas left with little knowledge of the English language, and therefore in relativeisolation. As their little daughter grew up and went to school, Gin Oui began to rely onher as an interpreter, and so the older generation was burdened with reliance, and theyounger was burdened with responsibility.

In the present day, Canada is a haven for immigrants and refugees alike. Theimmigration process has become easier, and the amount of discrimination against visibleminorities has dropped considerably. These improvements are due to the expansion and highquality of the public services, such as education, law enforcement, social work,recreation and fitness, and health care, offered to Canadians through the government.These services guarantee visible minorities with a relatively high basic standard ofliving, acceptance, respect for their culture, integration, equality, security andopportunities for growth. Furthermore, these services remove the burden of dependentimmigrants from their relatives, and gives them independence. It is essential, therefore,that public services are administered to provide service of the highest quality, as thequality of life for visible minorities depends upon it.