Asian Heritage Month: Profiling Jack Yong, Partner and Head of our China Initiative
In honour of Asian Heritage Month, we recently interviewed Jack Yong, Partner and leader of our China Initiative. We asked Jack a series of questions about his background and community involvement. To learn more about local organizations he is involved with, the Canadian of Asian Heritage who inspires him, and the most important lesson he learned from his parents, read the full interview immediately below:
Q: What is your earliest memory of celebrating your Asian Heritage?
A: I spent part of my childhood in Malaysia and Singapore, which have a wonderful combination of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Indigenous and Western cultures. Growing up, I closely experienced a mix of Asian traditions, foods and languages, which our family maintained after moving to Canada.
Q: Are you involved in any local communities or organizations with ties to your Asian Heritage?
A: I am currently a director of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. I was also a director of the SUCCESS Foundation, the Vancouver Cathay Lions Club, and the Association of Chinese Canadian Professionals.
Q: Can you name a Canadian of Asian Heritage who inspires you?
A: I am particularly inspired by Lillian To, who was a Founder and CEO of SUCCESS, the non-profit immigrant services society. Lillian did tremendous work in setting up an organization that helped smooth the way for so many immigrants to settle and integrate in western Canada. She was also a tireless advocate for multiculturalism.
Q: What is the most important lesson you learned from your parents?
A: Always keep a positive outlook for the future, while not forgetting the lessons of the past. My parents and their parents went through hardships that I could not imagine today, to give their children and grandchildren a better future. My grandfather escaped from China to Malaysia to avoid political persecution. My mother and her siblings, all only a few years old, spent much of World War II hiding in the jungles from invading soldiers. It’s important, when we are so caught up in today’s challenges, to keep the future in mind and do what’s best in the long term.
For the Chinese translation of this post, please click here.