RPOU(W) - Asian Heritage Month Professional Development Day

Planning Session - Vansa Chang, Sustainability Coordinator (Engineering Student), Parneet Saini, OC Dundurn, and Capt Ho, Operations Officer
A 'Taste of Asia'
Asian Heritage Month Professional Day – RPOU(W) Group Photo
Vansa Chang, Sustainability Coordinator (Engineering Student) wearing traditional Chinese dress “Qipao” and Kendra Cooper, RPOU(W) Administrative Officer are celebrating Asian Heritage Month
Parneet Saini, OC RP Det Dundurn in traditional Indian clothing
Publication Date 
14 May 2024

Article by: Capt Kyle Ho, RPOU(W) Operations Officer

May, which fills the air with excitement, marks the beginning of Asian Heritage Month. It's a time to joyfully celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and contributions of Asian communities in Canada. This month-long celebration is not just a time to learn, but also an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the diverse histories and identities of the Asian population in Canada. From a demographic perspective, approximately 20% of the Canadian population identifies as having Asian heritage. Education can deepen our understanding of Asian culture, challenge stereotypes, and foster a more inclusive society. To promote the concept of inclusivity, Real Property Operation Unit (West) (RPOU(W)) hosted a professional development opportunity in recognition of Asian Heritage Month. This event was led by Parneet Saini, RPOU(W) Dundurn Detachment OC and Vansa Chang, a co-op student working at RPOU(W) HQ. 

To promote cultural exchange and foster meaningful connections between people from different backgrounds, employees gave cultural briefs on India, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Education, whether formal or informal, allows us to challenge Asian stereotypes and promote accurate representations of Asian communities. Many RPOU(W) and Defence Construction Canada (DCC) employees supporting RPOU(W) have linage of Asian heritage. They range from being professional engineers to project managers with unique skillsets and have filled many leadership roles. Parneet Saini, an OC at Detachment Dundurn summarized profoundly the importance of inclusivity: "May the stories of our ancestors ignite the flames of resilience, the spirit of unity, and the power of progress in equality through education and mutual respect."

Following the cultural brief, RPOU(W) HQ hosted a "Taste of Asia" which involved, volunteers bringing traditional Asian food to showcase the pride they emulate respective of their cultural heritage. There are employees within RPOU(W) who are second —or even third-generation Canadians of Asian descent. Through these initiatives, individuals who may have lost touch with their culture, are presented with an opportunity to bridge those gaps. Vansa Chang, an employee of RPOU(W), who is passionate about sharing her unique culture, engaged in meaningful and interactive ways. Vansa’s cultural exposure to her Asian roots are mainly learned through her parent "I mainly learn about my culture through food my parents cook at home. It is appreciated that RPOU(W) has provided me with a platform to share that learning and to hear about cultural experiences of others. RPOU(W) is not only a place that encourages cultural diversity, but they encourage me to share it; I feel empowered and encouraged to celebrate my cultural uniqueness.  It is my hope to return to RPOU after my graduation next year."

As we celebrate Asian Heritage Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting, understanding, respecting of Asian cultures. By embracing diversity, challenging stereotypes, promoting cultural exchange, and building inclusive communities, we can create a more equitable and harmonious society for future generations.