The shadow of 2014 is still in our backyard, vanishing its memories into the nothingness as the hopes and wild expectations of the 2015 have been creeping into our consciousness. No doubt we are hoping and expecting that the best things in life are in store for the next twelve months of the year.
To an individual consumer, the lower gas price. .82.9 per liter as of this writing, is a blessing and many economists are expecting more personal money will be spent to buy more consumer goods, and looking forward to have an out of province and international travel plans. But behind the falling price of oil, $50.00 per barrel as of this writing, the federal and some provincial governments are facing a dire financial reality, let alone adjusting their budgetary formula to address the changing fortunes from oil and gas industry. Consequently, due to the falling of oil prices, the executives of many oil and gas companies are postponing some major plans, cutting expenses, and possible lay-off of thousands of workers.
In our province, Manitoba, a non-oil economy, has maintained its economic stability due to a diverse industry, making the province as one of the most progressive provinces in Canada but recently, the government is rocked by the question of leadership, leading to the probable changes in the rank and file in March when the new NDP leader and premier will be known. And federally, there is a continued economic progress in all fronts, making Canada as one of the most stable countries among the members of G8 (group of industrialized nations composed of France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and Russia). Again, Canadians will be facing the Federal Election in October this year, hoping the best to come out for continued economic stability.
And in our Filipino community, with 70,000 strong, considered as one of the fastest growing community in Manitoba, what do we expect in 2015?
The Manitoba Filipino Business Council is a force to unite the Filipino business initiative into a fruitful fusion of a much stronger economic base in our community. The MFBC has recognized business leaders who have been forging their efforts and goals to maintain and sustain its economic presence in a multi-ethnic business climate. If one is aware of the rise and fall of Filipino businesses since in the early 70’s, then, the MFBC has more challenges to face, let alone to encourage the business owners to be collaborative and engaged to move forward in the years to come.
Volunteerism is in the highest echelon of priorities among the leaders of the various Filipino associations and organizations. Just at the beginning of 20915, the Quezon Province Association of Manitoba has recently engaged in helping the Winnipeg Harvest with its “Kapit-Bisig”. The leaders and members of Manitoba Council of Canadian Filipino Associations Inc, (MaCCFA composed of OFSAM.Quezon Province, Batangas and Bulacan Associations, Lupao Association, Bacoor, Pangasinan Group, Teatro Filipino) the Filipino Senior Group, Bisaman, The Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, PCCM, PAM, AIM, FCTPAM, Philippine Canadian Guardian Brotherhood Inc., Filipino Journal, CKJS, MFBC, the Bicol Association thru its medical mission; and the collaborative effort of Dr. Tom Colina thru his dental/medical missions in the Philippines, have extended their times and efforts to help our kababayans in our home country. Other local associations have extended their help for local needs, like the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Associations and the University of the Philippine Alumni Association by providing scholarship to those who are aiming for a post secondary career; and even MaCCFA officers had been inducted at the Siloam Mission, and this followed by the induction of the officers of QPAM at the Winnipeg Harvest, two local organizations, per record, to do such charitable gestures.
And to mention our growing corporate citizenry, companies and corporations, like UMAC, Vickar Community Auto Group, Lucky Supermarket, Sunnyday Group of Companies, the Filipino Journal which have been the major financial contributors in various charitable initiatives. And other Filipino and Canadian businesses which have been generous in helping our kababayans.
The brand that the Manitobans are the most generous to charitable initiatives in Canada is keeping us proud, more so, when we open our hearts and our wallets. And for 2015, more charitable actitivies which encourage volunteerism will be in our cards!
But it seems we have no strong initiative to address the needs of our Filipino youth, the so-called Third Generation. This segment in our Filipino community must be maintained and sustained for the continuity of our community. Even our Filipino seniors are partly left out, thanks to the officers and members to the Original Filipino Association of the Manitoba (OFSAM), the Filipino Senior Group of Winnipeg and the Filipino Canadian Seniors Association (FILCASA) who have been working hard to serve the Filipino seniors, but more help and assistance are needed to stimulate their energy as part of our growing community.
Politically, the Filipinos are more engaged to throw a hat into the political arena. With the coming of the Federal (Octobber 2015) and Provincial (April 2016)elections, many of our kababayans are preparing their arsenals to face even our kababayans in the nomination process and in the actual election time. And the election of a new mayor, Brian Bowman, the Filipino community had become more engaged in the last civic election. Brian Bowman has become an inspiration for young Filipino politicians, a new mayor who started with a 14% popularity to 56% tsunami votes! We have to encourage more kababayans to be “inside the box” in the civic election, especially in the field of education, as member/s of the school boards.
But as the weather drops, make your 2015 winter activities alive and kicking, like ice fishing, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, family or group downhill skiing, or just skate at the Forks, all these would give you the best taste of winter. Remember, spring is just at the front fort of our yard.
Based on the Chinese lunar calendar, 2015 is the year of the Sheep (Goat or Ram) when calmness and prosperity are in the offing.
And we end up with some New Year’s musings:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” T.S. Elliot
“To dress up today in the threadbare garments of yesterday is to create an impoverished tomorrow.” Craig D. Lounsbrough
“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, crack to be patched. Maybe this year, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not look for flaws, but for potentials.” Ellen Goodman
“Waste no tears over the grieves of yesterday.” Euripedes
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.” Benjamin Franklin
and lastly, Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” Jonathan Edwards
All the best for 2015!