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A lesson in Sikh philosophy

Alex Sangha
Aug 13th, 2012

South Asia is not only home to the philosophy of non-violence as espoused by Gandhi, but is also home to numerous spiritual and religious ideas.  Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism are all major world religions that evolved from the Indian subcontinent.  

I was born into a Sikh family, but I am only starting to grasp some of the concepts of Sikhism in middle age as I strive to find answers to many of the questions of our existence and purpose in life. 

The New Punjab

Alex Sangha
Apr 15th, 2012

Photo of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar by Tomasz Wagner.

My ancestors originate from Punjab, which is the land of five rivers in northern India. Punjab has been consistently ranked as having the best quality of life, best infrastructure, lowest hunger level and best overall state in India for a number of years. It has been described as the “granary of India” because it produces much of the country’s cotton, wheat and rice. About 25 million people live in Punjab: 15 million Sikhs, 9 million Hindus and smaller populations of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jains.

The Punjabi Sikhs are well known for their contribution to India’s military forces, as well as the historical role they played in battles for the British Empire. In fact, much of Punjab and northern India formed part of the sovereign Sikh Kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh prior to British colonial rule.

The Punjabis are a mixed people. Along with the British, the Turks, Persian, Afghans and Greeks, among others, invaded northern India. The farthest extent of Alexander the Great’s empire was the Indus River—the Indus Valley and Vedic Civilizations flourished in northern India.   

Job creation ideas for Prime Minister Harper and Premier Clark

Alex Sangha
Mar 20th, 2012

Below are some simple job creation strategies that I feel Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Stephen Harper can adopt to get people working again.

Environment – Sponsor an Eco-Fair where the government would offer substantial prizes for the development of new eco-friendly goods and services.

Government employees – Encourage full-time government employees to work half-time in order to double the number of job opportunities available. 

Immigration – Actively recruit investor immigrants from abroad, and streamline the process of becoming a Canadian citizen for immigrants who create permanent full-time, high-paying jobs in Canada.

Industry – Counter the high Canadian dollar with tax incentives and support for new and existing industries, such as the movie industry in Vancouver.

Government employees to work less and from home?

Alex Sangha
Mar 13th, 2012

With all of these collective agreements ready for negotiation in British Columbia, I propose two ideas which I feel will improve the quality of life of workers.

The first is encouraging telecommuting or working from home. Employees would have better and longer sleep, and arguably, more productivity on the job working flexible hours at their peak. The environment would also benefit with less congestion on the roads and public transport.

The second is providing full-time government employees with the “option” of working part-time. This will result in more time off to spend with families, a lower tax bracket for employees, and more jobs for new workers. It’s a great way to redistribute the employment wealth during these tough economic times. Yes, government employees would have to learn how to live on marginally less income but this does not mean they will suffer from a lower quality of life. Maybe this will result in a shift in consumer spending priorities and lead to innovation, market ideas, and more affordable goods and services.

What do VO readers think of these two ideas?

A winning election platform for Christy Clark or Adrian Dix

Alex Sangha
Feb 8th, 2012

 

Below are some election platform ideas for Christy Clark and Adrian Dix.  I have listed all the government ministries and at-least one policy under each ministry that I would like to see implemented.  I would love to find out what the Vancouver Observer readers wish list is for our provincial leaders? 

Let the citizens create the next winning election platform.  

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

  • Establish an aboriginal portal on the internet where British Columbia First Nations can sell, market, and promote their goods and services to the world.

Advanced Education

Men who have sex with men outside of marriage

Alex Sangha
Jan 11th, 2012

Many communities, such as the South Asian community, have a high focus on marriage and children. This poses a dilemma for many gay and bisexual men. Should they abide by cultural and religious norms and marry a woman or settle down with a man who they are sexually compatible with? This is not an easy question to answer.   

Sometimes it’s not easy for the mainstream community to understand why some gay men cannot come out of the closet and be honest with themselves and others about their sexuality. Well, many of these men may have had an arranged marriage when they were in their early twenties.  This may have been a time when they were still coming to terms with their sexuality and are not necessarily ready for marriage. 

For others, they may not want to shame their family and community.  Many South Asian men, for example, live in extended families. Their loyalty, land, money, and social status are tied to their family duty and above all they are raised to respect their elders and parents. As a result, sex in a marital relationship is often not a priority consideration. 

A lifetime of prisoner responsibility

Alex Sangha
Jan 7th, 2012

The Stephen Harper government wants to spend more and more money on prisons and the army.  Great the country has money to jail pot smokers and sex trade workers and occupy protesters and a few hard core criminals, but no more money for health or social services which actually might help to reduce and prevent crime. 

I'm all for strong prison sentences for those who commit serious crimes.  I will go one step further and say the federal government needs to introduce a Prisoner Lifetime Restitution and Responsibility Act.  This act would essentially be a victim assistance fund that the victims of crime can turn to for support and assistance with their lifetime injuries. 

It would essentially work by deducting 10-20 per cent of the gross income of all convicted criminals for life.  I feel if criminals damage the life of an innocent person for life, then they should also have to take responsibility for life.  I don’t care if the criminal never works or makes a billion dollars. 

The Modern Thinker

Alex Sangha
Dec 30th, 2011

Photo of Alex Sangha courtesy of Sandra Minarick

Vancouver visionary and social activist launches his new book, The Modern Thinker

The world is changing every day; what is your part in making a difference?

Delta, BC – Everyday, around the globe, events are unfolding that have a direct or indirect impact on one’s life. Social activist and VO contributor Alex Sangha covers thought-inspiring subjects that range from compassionate capitalism and government debt, to Canadian immigration policies, Quebec secession, and an aboriginal parliament, not to mention a refreshing take on spirituality, in his new book, The Modern Thinker: Timeless Ideas, Inspiration, and Hope for the 21st Century.

Says Alex of his book, “We who are lucky to have been born or raised in Canada face a fraction of the economic, political, social, moral, religious, and sexual issues that affect others around the world. Yet there is a synergy between all things past and present and our actions today will define our lives tomorrow.”

How to increase mental health and wellness in society

Alex Sangha
Dec 7th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

B.C.'s health care system needs to provide more of a focus on preventative health care.

A good start would be to include counselling services as a benefit, along with optical, dental, chiro, massage and physio. A comprehensive health and wellness medical services plan would save millions of dollars in health care, social service and police, court, and prison-related costs.

For instance, if low income families or citizens who have little or no private insurance coverage receive counselling services through the provincial MSP program, then it might reduce crisis situations such as suicidal ideation and domestic violence. It might have a direct impact on family breakdown, child protection and abusive situations such as teenage bullying, racism and other forms of discrimination.

The Aboriginal crisis on our reserves: time for a land swap

Alex Sangha
Dec 5th, 2011

There are hundreds of reserves across Canada where Aboriginal people live in deplorable third world conditions: a lack of clean running water, suitable housing, high unemployment and an array of social problems such as drug and alcohol addiction.

It’s about time for the federal government, in partnership with Aboriginal communities, to take serious action.

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