Bluffs Advocate

Mental Health

Five-hundred Enjoy Hong Fook Gala

Participants hear that normal can mean many things

Enjoying the Gala, are (left to right) Gala co-chair Kam Lo, title sponsor Bank of Nova Scotia’s representative, keynote speaker, Dr Peter Chang, Gala co-chair Emily Lee            The 2016 Hong Fook Gala of June 11 drew a crowd of over 500 to the Hilton Suites Hotel in Markham. Castro Liu, a Richmond Hill city councillor, introduced the keynote speaker, Dr Peter Chang.

Dr Chang spoke about the changing definition of normal in his forty years as a psychiatrist and urged those in attendance to help those who are suffering from mental illness. He is a founder of the Hong Fook organization and established its importance in developing strong supports for patients and their families.

Clearly, Dr Chang's message needs to travel further. Several hours later, in a gay nightclub just a thousand miles south of us, a gunman killed 49 persons for being part of the LGBTQ community. Our Gay Pride Month is a time of acceptance of those with a non-heterosexual life-style that most persons now consider to be just another phase of normal.

The Advocate is the media sponsor for the Gala. As such, we are honoured to support such a worthy cause. We agree that society's concepts of normalcy need changing for the better as Dr Chang's remarks made clear.

The Gala not only heard an inspiring and important message, it attracted a number of political VIPs. Not only did Liberal MPPs Arnold Chan and Sue Wong attend but Markham city council gave Hong Fook a cheque for $10,000 to support the organization's efforts.

People who attended were generous in their praise for the event. Some of their comments: "I really enjoyed the program last evening. The fashion show was very professionally set-up. Evan Yanagi presented a great array of clothing-lines, very well paced and entertaining. The food was excellent; everything was served well. Congratulations to all the coordinators and organizers."

"It was definitely a different evening experience with the highly successful fashion show."

"We had a wonderful time last night. It was another successful, enjoyable gala. "

"I am so glad there were smany wonderful silent auction items to choose from. We had fun bidding and got really good deals."