Remembering Jack Layton – A Canada’s Official Opposition Leader

The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am, Monday August 22, 2011, peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. To remember the legacy of Mr. Layton, the Chairman of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation delivered his speech to the Khmer-Krom community members at the Centennial Park in Hamilton, Canada. Respected Venerable Monks, Friends and my fellow Khmer-Krom: Thank you for allowing me to speak to a large crowd at the Annual Picnic of Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Association at Centennial Park in Hamilton. I want to share with you my thoughts about an individual, who some of you might not have known because today Canada is mourning of his death and celebrating of his life. Equally important, I want to talk about him because the Khmer-Krom can draw some lessons from his example. His name is the Honourable Jack Layton, the leader of New Democratic Party of Canada. Most Canadian fondly call him Jack. He was a career politician who tirelessly fought for social justice, equality, and well-being of the “little” people. Even though his endeavors faced many failures but he never gave up. His endurance, which driven by “Hope and Optimism”, has taken his party from 13 MPs in 2004 to 103 MPs in 2011 — 59 from Quebec — and making Layton leader of the Official Opposition. In his testament, Mr. Jack Layton wrote “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world”. What Khmer-Krom, especially Khmer-Krom leaders, can learn from Jack Layton’s life long services to his country? Let me derive some of his lines: Politically, we must be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. Believe in grassroots power and work together as a team and solidarity. The cause is much bigger than any one leader. Personally, we should treat each other with love and not to despise those who don’t share our ideas. My friends, As you can see, Jack Layton’s life philosophy is very close to those of Khmer-Krom’s bramhma-vihara (4 Sublimes Abodes). They are metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic), and upekkha (equanimity). Let us say thank you to Jack Layton for reminding us these values. Let us pray for Jack Layton rest in peace. Thank you, To Kim Thong Chairman of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation.

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