On January 21, 2017, the lawyers @ Kubitz & Company were delighted to attend the 8th annual PINOY Times New Year’s Gala and Outstanding Pinoy 2016 Awards Night. We had a fun-filled evening of laughter, great food (that was catered by Mr. Enrique Asuncion of Mama Nita’s Binalot), great conversation and celebrating the volunteerism and community involvement of the following recipients in their respective categories:
1. SENIORS – ELVIE ABELLA VALEROSO – a teacher in the Philippines who worked in Oil & Gas administration after her arrival in Canada, Elvie volunteers by assisting seniors in the Filipino Community, Filipino flood victims and is described as follows: “She may be one person in the world, but she is the world to so many people whose lives she has touched”. Walter Kubitz Q.C. and I had the honor of presenting Elvie with her award.
2. VOLUNTEERISM– JULITA CASUNCAD, a porter @ a local hospital and an active volunteer and honorary member with the Golden Generations Seniors Club and Filipino community;
3. MEDIA: TEOFY BULURAN a radio announcer for CJSW 90.9, a Chaplain, a busy mother of 6 and a shining example of volunteerism with some of the following local organizations (to name a few):
a. Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre;
b. Bridge of Love ministries;
c. CoSA with the Mennonite Central Committee;
4. COMMUNITY SERVICE: MARLOUN MANUEL, a business owner of a landscaping company who chairs the TAU GAMMA / SIGMA FRATERNITY and SORORITY. Marloun’s volunteerism includes serving @ the Mustard Seed Street Ministry, Calgary Interfaith food bank as well as a host of other organizations in the Philippines;
5. AMBASSADOR OF GOODWILL: LIMUEL HAYAG VILELA, a model, flight attendant, entrepreneur and global advocate of hope, whose volunteer commitments include the Brigada Eskwela Public School project, Young Generation Talents program, and a number of other international volunteering programs;
6. YOUTH: CATHIA GARALDE is a high school student and was awarded for her leadership at her local Parish, high academic standing, extracurricular activities, numerous volunteer commitments and leadership amongst her peers;
7. BUSINESS – ENRIQUE ASUNCION is a chef and owner of MAMA NITA’S BINALOT. He started a restaurant that serves Filipino cuisine by using the “boodle fight” concept of feasting. The “boodle fight” tradition of eating has its origins in the Filipino military in which soldiers feast on food that sits over banana leaves over long tables. Eaten with bare hands, the boodle fight is a symbol of fraternity and equality.
I was humbled when the PINOY times asked me to prepare a short speech to their community, which I present below:
Good evening. We are delighted and honored to be here.
My name is Peter Trieu. I am married to Katherine. I am a lawyer @ Kubitz & Company and I have the great privilege of practicing alongside Walter Kubitz Q.C and Ryan Lee, who is here with his lovely wife, Rhea. Our firm practices exclusively in Personal Injury Law where we represent the rights of injured Albertans whose injuries have created a life-changing impact or resulted in their deaths.
As I’ve said earlier, it is a real privilege for us to be here – To journey alongside you by celebrating the distinguished accomplishments of several recipients in the Filipino community.
I’m here to speak briefly about the links between community and success.
History, tradition, culture
By way of background, my father jointly owned a rice company, and my mother operated a small grocery store that was seized by the Vietnamese Communist government after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. My dad tells me that the communist government purchased their equipment and goods with South Vietnamese currency, and when my dad (and a host of other business people) tried to purchase other goods with the money they had received, he discovered that the South Vietnamese currency was worthless. To survive, my parents bought fish sauce in bulk, and re-sold it.
They struggled and faithfully did this for 4 years. Then, an opportunity came. My parents are ethnically Chinese, and had an extensive Chinese community around them. In 1979, they were in contact with a Chinese shipbuilder, and eventually, my parents paid a registration fee to the Vietnamese government to leave Vietnam. They were on the last registered boat for their region and fled Vietnam in May 1979. They were sponsored by a Church in Norquay Saskatchewan, and moved to Calgary in September 1980.
A week after I was born, my dad worked for 31 years as a meat packer at XL Foods packing and shipping meat. My dad worked alongside several tremendous and hardworking Filipino colleagues. My dad got laid off from XL foods in 2012, and operated a small donair shop with my mom until their retirement in 2015.
Humility – none of our success occurs in a vacuum.
I graduated from law school shortly before my dad was laid off and was called to the bar in 2013. My accomplishments and success did not occur in a vacuum—I could not get to where I am today without the hard work and sacrifice of my family, a great community of friends, and great community of colleagues within the legal profession. I cannot get to where I hope to be without drawing strength & inspiration from my community of faith, cultivating my relationships with my family, friends, and colleagues, and continuing to serve the community at large. For some of you, that may be with your local Filipino community, your neighborhood, or within your profession.
Regardless of whether you are in a community of faith (or not), there’s a verse in the Bible that says, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid”. May your path be lit by the source of all that is good and all that is beautiful. May you look for that light – and may that light shine.
Article by Peter Trieu, a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta