Harmony Day is a day to celebrate multiculturalism and the richness it brings to the Australian way of life. For this year’s Harmony Day, we decided to feature some of our members and share their views on what harmony day means to them.
Saalihah Seedat is a Consultant Clinical Pharmacist, social entrepreneur, philanthropist and mentor who is passionate about leadership, social issues and making a difference in people’s lives. A mom of 3, Saalihah strikes a work-life balance between working as a Consultant Pharmacist conducting medication reviews in the community sector, a part-time Clinical Pharmacist in private hospital practice and as a My health for life Facilitator. Along with her passion for inspiring and motivating individuals as a personal development and wellbeing specialist, Saalihah is a highly skilled social innovator of change. She says that she owes her success and achievements to her supportive husband who has been her biggest cheerleader since they migrated to Australia in 2002 from Southern Africa.
What harmony day means to Saalihah:
Harmony Day. It is a day to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, based on the successful integration of migrants into our community. It’s about ‘inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values’. We may come from a myriad of places, have different cultural and linguistic backgrounds yet what unites us more than ever before is our common belief system. Our core set of Australian values. Our friendliness, our inclusiveness, our acceptance for all. For me, when I think of Australian values, I think of freedom of speech, of education, of religion. Freedom to love whomever you like, regardless of gender. To have your say, without fear of retribution or reprisal.And as I look around at this remarkable country that we are so incredibly lucky to call home, I think ‘indeed we are’.
I am of Fijian Indian origin, having come to Australia in 1987 as an overseas student to complete high school and university studies. I am a Senior Associate at Mullins Lawyers (Brisbane) in their Litigation & Insolvency Team, and a Sessional Academic with the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty. On a personal note, I love being out in nature, the whole works: waterfalls, fresh green and colourful flora, all fauna (other than some creepy crawlies); and gardening.
What harmony day means to Veena:
Harmony Day celebrates inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians. For me, Harmony starts very locally and individually: I would like to see a world which is filled with people, women and men, young and old, who support each other in every way, whether it be at home, socially or at work. We all have choices: Harmony can only be achieved if what we think, what we say and what we do are all in Harmony. Assessing and reassessing what we think, say and do, before we execute them, will bring Harmony to us and to those around us. Words and actions can build or tear down. Working towards attaining Harmony within and outer is what Harmony Day means to me. This may sound simple, attaining this is very difficult.
Caroline is the vice-president of NCWQ. She is an industry expert in governance, risk and compliance and an adviser to associations, not for profits and companies in relation to their company secretariat. She has 20 years’ experience in capital markets and corporate governance, enhanced by executive education and professional training as an advocate and has previously served on the Management Committee and worked with NCWQ with its Creators of Change program, the pre-cursor to NCYWQ.
What harmony day means to Caroline:
Harmony Day provides us with a day to reflect on the diverse tapestry of cultures that is Australia and the fact that Australia’s culture would be significantly different without the opportunity to know our neighbours and their culture.
For me, it is a time to focus on what we can do to ensure that there is equity and acceptance amongst all Australians; to ensure that we all have the same access to health, education and justice. This inevitably requires a targeted approach to ensure that there is representation at the upper levels of our society to allow all voices to be heard. Harmony day provides inspiration for all Australians and should provoke a conversation for us all about knowing and helping our neighbours and our broader community.
Chiou See Anderson
Chiou See was born in Singapore and came to Australia in 1988 to pursue an Accounting degree. As an Accountant, she worked in a great variety of Australian industries – motor vehicle dealerships, retail, legal services, coal mining, unions and aviation training. In 2003, she bought a block of land to set up a retirement village in Springwood. Elements @ Springwood turned 10 last year with 123 homes and 184 residents. She was the Vice President of the NCWQ from 2010 – 2012 and came back as Acting President in mid-2019 before being elected as President at the 2019 AGM in September. In addition to her role at NCWQ, she is the Treasurer for the Regional Development of Australia (Redlands and Logan) and the Chairperson of Conpago. Conpago is a tech start-up based in Brisbane.
What Harmony Day means to Chiou See:
Harmony to me means peace; peace with people and peace with who you are and what you have. Growing up in Singapore, we had to recite the Singapore pledge every morning at our school assemblies and it goes like this. “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.” I guess this pledge has always lived in my heart and in everything I do. I love the diversity of the NCWQ members and how we are able to embrace and harness this energy.
The National Council of Women of Queensland Inc (NCWQ) is a non-party-political, non-sectarian, not-for-profit, umbrella organisation with broadly humanitarian and educational objectives. It seeks to raise the awareness of members as to their rights and responsibilities as citizens and encourages their participation in all aspects of community life.
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